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LRT STARTS EARLY BIRD SKED AT 5 A.M. LIGHT Rail Transit-2 operations will start at 5 a.m. tomorrow instead of 6 a.m., LRT Management said Saturday, coinciding with a lawmaker’s proposal that all ranking civil servants take public transport every Monday following presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo’s “commute challenge.” Panelo on Friday took public transportation, as he previously promised, to work, traveling 3.5 hours to arrive 46 minutes late at Malacanang. But he said he was not insensitive when he said Filipinos should leave home early to arrive at their destinations on time – a comment criticized by commuters who said Panelo should take the public transport every day to see that there was a transport crisis, a situation he had denied existed in Metro Manila. After the October 3 fire that paralyzed the line’s operations for days, LTR-2 resumed its trips but partially – servicing the Cubao-Recto-Cubao portions only. On October 8 the partial operation began at 6 a.m. Two days after, the LRTA management announced the new schedule of free rides for students in light of its new operating hours following the fire. In a statement, the LRTA said the free rides for students will be available only from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The original schedule was 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Turn to A2

HALANDUMON CHAMPION. Barangay Pahanocoy’s Okoy-Okoy Festival, declared grand champion of the 1st Halandumon Festival Street and Arena Dance Competition held at the Bacolod City Government Center Football Field last June. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia is eyeing to institutionalize the Halandumon Festival. In a letter last August, Leonardia asked the Sangguniang Panlungsod to come up with an ordinance that would make the festival a “part and highlight” of the Bacolod City Charter Day celebration every year. According to Leonardia, the Halandumon Festival paved the way for Bacolod residents to show off their “artistic talents and ingenuity.” He added that the celebration “brought together our city barangays in the spirit of unity and cooperation” despite having “different stories to tell.” He said the Halandumon Festival showcased the support of barangays to city affairs as they are the “vital components of the city’s family structure and governance.” Leonardia hopes that the celebration would also make waves and be “world-renowned” like the MassKara Festival, one of the most sought-after festivals in Western Visayas, held every October.


By Vito Barcelo and Maricel V. Cruz


HILIPPINE National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, scheduled to retire on November 8, may face charges over his alleged involvement in the drug recycling and “ninja cops” issues, with malacanang saying it will announce his possible successor tomorrow.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the panel would recommend the filing of charges against Albayalde, adding, replying to questions, “we can prove it (if he is guilty),” adding “He really needs a strong lawyer.” During the “In Focus” news forum in Quezon City, Gordon told report-

ers that his committee’s report on the Senate’s probe on the ninja cops issue is just awaiting the signatures of his fellow senators. The report, he said, included recommendations on what charges would be filed against the top cop. “What charges? We don’t know yet,” the senator said. Turn to A2

OIL PRICE CAP MULLED AMID SUPPLY SWINGS By Vito Barcelo MALACAÑANG may grant power to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to impose price caps on some oil products as part of the government contingency plan to address global oil supply concern brought about by the attacks in one of the world’s biggest oil sources in the Middle East. The Department of Energy (DOE) proposed a policy that would mandate oil firms to unbundle, or itemize, the costs of petro fuel, from the


pump to the consumers, due to unstable price of oil products which change every week. In a statement, Palace spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the DOE proposed an executive order that would create an inter-agency body that would provide an oil contingency policy and review fuel purchase, conservation, substitution, and rationing, among others, in times of crisis. “ The DOE also introduced

By Joel E. Zurbano

LANTERN LOGO. A maintenance worker of the bayside Cultural Center of the Philippines hangs a lantern Saturday to a lamp post at the CCP Complex in Pasay City, revealing a commemmorative logo of the Center’s 50th anniversary. Norman Cruz

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Prayers helped Pat Pesquera and her University of the Philippines Maroons team to score Saturday a thrilling 55-52 win over University of the East in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament at SM Mall of Asia, ending the Lady Maroons 36-month 38-game losing streak.

PAT Pesquera’s prayers were answered as she buried the miraculous three-pointer from halfcourt to finally end University of the Philippines’ heartaches with a thrilling 55-52 triumph over University of the East Saturday in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament at SM Mall of Asia Arena. What a way it was for the Lady Maroons to end their gloomy three-yearlong 38-game losing streak with the graduating winger swishing her Hail Mary at the buzzer to finally taste their first victory of the season. MlaStandard ManilaStandardPH


The game winner capped off Pesquera’s superb performance with her 13 points, seven coming in the payoff period, to go with nine rebounds and three assists where UP fought back from a 13-point first half deficit and help UP rise to 1-8 in the standings. “Sobrang saya. It’s about time,” said Pesquera, who also delivered the winner in the Lady Maroons’ last win back in Season 79, a 46-44 victory over FEU in November 9, 2016. Rei Sanchez added 10 points and

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Stand up and be united against threats. This was the message of President Tsai Ing-wen to her people during the 108th celebration of Republic of China’s Double Tenth National Day in front of the Presidential Office. “My fellow citizens, when freedom and democracy are challenged, and when the Republic of China’s existence and development are threatened, we must stand up and defend ourselves. The overwhelming consensus among Taiwan’s 23 million people is our rejection of “one country, two systems,” regardless of party affiliation or political position,” said Tsai, who received a standing ovation from a thousand attendees. “Another year has quickly passed. The world is still changing fast, and the changes are even more dramatic. The US-China trade dispute continues. And not far from Taiwan, Hong Kong is on the verge of chaos due to the failure of ‘one country, two systems,’” she said. “Nevertheless, China is still threatening to impose its “one Turn to A2

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'SENATE... From A1 Gordon, however, said that based on the testimonies and evidence gathered by the Senate panel, Albayalde might be criminally and administratively liable. “It can be graft and corruption; at the very least, negligence. But the committee will discuss these first,” he said. In a statement, former Presidential aide now Sen. Christopher Go said the three being considered for the top PNP post were Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and Lt. Gens. Archie Gamboa and Camilo Cascolan. “Possible choices based on seniority. But it’s the President’s prerogative to choose anyone he likes,” Go, in a statement, said. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed this, saying the President was likely to respect seniority in the ranks of the PNP. Go said the early retirement of Albalyalde was due to the coming Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on the first week of November The President is scheduled to leave for Bangkok, Thailand and the schedule for PNP turn-over will be adjusted, he said. Albayalde said he was okay with the date of the turnover rites. At the same time, a party-list congressman urged the immediate filing of charges and speedy trial of suspected ““Ninja cops.” “Ninja cops” are policemen who, instead of turning over confiscated drugs to the courts or other agencies tasked to hold such drugs in safekeeping, sell the drugs to other traffickers. “These ‘ninja cops’ should be put on trial for brazenly defying the legal provisions that are there precisely to thwart the rampant recycling of confiscated drugs back into our streets, which has become a lucrative racket for crooks in the force,” Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said. “These rotten officers have been operating above the law and have made a mockery of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which mandates strict guidelines in the proper accounting, custody and disposition of impounded drugs,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said. Atienza cited Section 21 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which provides that: “The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice, and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.” Albayalde has been embroiled in a drug scandal involving 13 of his men when he was Pampanga provincial police head. Officers led by then Maj. Rodney Baloyo IV, one of Albayalde’s deputies in Pampanga, allegedly kept for themselves cash, vehicles and some 160 kilos of shabu with a street value of over P650 million, following an operation against suspected Chinese drug trafficker Johnson Lee in Mexico town on Nov. 29, 2013. In exchange for a P50 million payoff, Baloyo’s team also allegedly set Lee free, and instead presented another Chinese, Ding Wengkun, who was later acquitted of the charges. According to Atienza, the criminal activities of “ninja cops” serve as one of the strongest arguments against the return of the death penalty, according to Atienza, a pro-life crusader. “Every citizen is vulnerable to potential drug evidence-planting and extortion by these police scalawags who are illegally hoarding seized drugs, and whose apparent sole motivation is to use their positions of authority to make money for themselves,” Atienza said. “These ‘ninja cops’ are bound to use the hazard of death sentences to threaten their victims of extortion, if and when Congress brings back capital punishment,” Atienza warned. The Dangerous Drugs Act mandates that within 24 hours upon seizure, all illegal drugs have to be delivered to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) forensic laboratory for qualitative and quantitative examination. The PDEA’s forensic laboratory is then required to produce within 24 to 48 hours a sworn certification of examination results under oath. After the filing of criminal charges in court, the judge, within 72 hours, is then expected to conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs. Within 24 hours after the inspection, the court, through the PDEA, is then expected to cause the destruction of the seized drugs, also in the presence of a representative from the media, the DOJ and an elected official. A sworn certification of the drugs destroyed, along with a preserved representative sample—duly weighed and recorded—is then submitted to the court and kept by PDEA for use as evidence.



OKYO—Powerful Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday, killing one even before making landfall and prompting authorities to issue their highest level of disaster warning over “unprecedented” downpours. More than 7.3 million people were placed under non-compulsory evacuation orders as officials reported serious flooding and several landslides that left at least three people missing. More than 30 were injured, four seriously. Even before making landfall, Hagibis caused enormous disruption, forcing the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches, delaying the Japanese Grand Prix and grounding all flights in the Tokyo region. It crashed into Japan’s main Honshu island just before 7:00pm local time (6:00 pm in Manila), barrelling into Izu, a peninsula southwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The storm has weakened, but was still packing gusts of wind up to 216 kilometers per hour around an hour before the central eye hit the shore. And it claimed its first victim hours before arriving on the coast, when strong winds from its outer bands flipped a car in Chiba east of Tokyo and killed the driver.

But it was Hagibis’ torrential rain that prompted the JMA to issue their highest-level emergency warning for parts of Tokyo and the surrounding areas, warning of disaster. In Manila, more airlines announced the cancellation of ManilaJapan flights on Saturday, Manila International Airport Authority’s record showed. There are now 27 flights between Japan and the Philippines canceled. These include: Japan Airlines (JL) 746, 742, 745 Manila-Narita Jetstar Japan (GK) 40 Manila-Narita Delta Airlines (DL) 180/181 Manila-Narita-Manila Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PR) and Cebu Pacific have already announced the cancelation of a number of their Japan flights supposedly scheduled for Saturday. All Nippon Airways (NH) flights 820/819 Manila-Narita-Manila, and NH 870/869 Manila-Haneda-Manila were also canceled. For Sunday, meanwhile, six flights have already been canceled:


five boards, while Jona Lebico had nine points and seven rebounds in the win. “The right word is it’s a miracle and it’s really a miracle that she made it,” said coach Paul Ramos, who also won his first game at the helm for the Lady Maroons. “I think it’s still a culture of working together and really working to get better every game, even if it’s so hard to win each game. I’m very happy and very glad that we’re finally able to break the curse. Everyone deserves this win.” Pesquera actually put UP ahead, 52-51, with her bucket down low with 2:11 remaining, but both teams struggled to execute in the endgame. Princess Pedregosa drew a foul on Pesquera with 15.1 seconds left, but could only muster a split to knot the game at 52. UE had a chance to win the game, but Joyce Terrinal muffed her trey that led to Pesquera converting on her winner. “If she’s not capable of throwing that, we may not be able to take that win. But I said to the team kanina na di kami mapupunta sa sitwasyon na yun if we did not work together to be competitive at makadikit kami sa UE,” said Ramos. Terrinal led UE with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Jearzy Ganade had 15 points, seven assists, five boards, and two steals. Princess Pedregosa also saw her double-double effort of 10 points and 18 rebounds down the drain as the Lady Warriors sunk to a 1-9 record.

Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao plans to file a House measure titled “Public Servants’ Commuting via Public Transport Act.” Siao, chairman of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, said this would remind officials “of the suffering the masses endure on a consistent basis.” “[E]very Monday, all government vehicles used to fetch and bring home public officials from the divi-

TAIWANESE... From A1 country, two systems model for Taiwan. Their diplomatic offensives and military coercion pose a serious challenge to regional stability and peace.” “As President, standing up to protect national sovereignty is not a provocation—it is my fundamental responsibility,” Tsai said. For 70 years, she said, Taiwan faced many serious challenges and these challenges have made the country stronger and more determined. “We endured the August 23 Artillery War of 1958 in Kinmen, and the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1996 together. Time and again, the people of Taiwan have faced diplomatic offensives and military coercion without ever backing down.

tered at a center in Tateyama in Chiba east of Tokyo. Just over 50,000 people actually heeded the order to evacuate to shelters. Hours before the storm neared land, its outer bands brought tornado-like gusts of wind to Chiba, east of Tokyo, where one home was destroyed and several damaged. Five people including a threeyear-old boy were sent to hospital, but none suffered serious injuries, the local fire department told AFP. Rugby, F1 disrupted In Gotemba, west of Tokyo, the fire department said it had rescued one man who fell into a swollen canal but was still searching for a second man. The JMA has forecast half a meter of rain for the Tokyo area in the 24 hours to midday on Sunday, with more for the central Tokai region, but many rivers were already close to breaching their banks by Saturday afternoon. Thousands of homes in Tokyo and the surrounding areas lost power, though in some cases only briefly, with crews working to reconnect people as quickly as possible. Automakers, including Toyota and Honda, have shut down their factories, and many supermarkets and convenience stores in the capital have closed, a day after residents shopping for typhoon supplies emptied the shelves. AFP, with PNA

OIL... From A1

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LRT... From A1

PR 423 Tokyo Haneda-Manila PR 431 Tokyo Narita-Manila NH 819/820 Narita-Manila-Narita NH 869/870 Haneda-ManilaHaneda Typhoon Hagibis reportedly began lashing Japan on Saturday morning and is expected to make landfall later in the day. ‘Unprecedented’ rains “Unprecedented heavy rain has been seen in cities, towns and villages for which the emergency warning was issued,” JMA forecaster Yasushi Kajiwara told reporters. “The possibility is extremely high that disasters such as landslides and floods have already occurred. It is important to take action that can help save your lives.” At least two landslides were already confirmed, with three people missing in Gunma prefecture north of Tokyo after a landslide destroyed several homes. By early afternoon, 3.25 million people were under non-mandatory evacuation orders, and thousands of people had moved to shelters, including some whose homes were damaged by a powerful typhoon that hit the region last month. “I evacuated because my roof was ripped off by the other typhoon and rain came in. I’m so worried about my house,” a 93-year-old man told national broadcaster NHK as he shel-

amendments in the Republic Act No No. 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Act of 1998. These include the granting of power to the Secretary of Energy to define the maximum price of oil, and to authorize the unbundling of price of oil products,” the Palace spokesman said in a statement. According to the DOE, the proposed policy enables the unbundling of the base prices of petroleum products, namely, gasoline, automotive and industrial diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, bunker fuel oil and household and automotive liquefied petroleum gas. “This is the first time that the government, through DOE, will require oil companies to make public the breakdown of the costs that go into the pricing of fuel,” it said. Earlier, Cusi said a possible contingency measures should be implemented to mitigate potential supply shortages, saying it is important to address issues beforehand so that the government may have contingency measures to sustain

sion chiefs to cabinet secretaries to elected public officials would be grounded at their respective motor pools,” Siao said. Earlier in the week, an LRTA official admitted the agency did not have a disaster recovery plan to deal with events such as the fire that forced the shutdown of three LRT-2 stations on Oct. 3. “Sorry, sir, I don’t think we have one,” said Federico Canar, manager of the LRT Lines 1 and 2 Engineering Department, after Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon asked if there was a playbook to deal with such disasters.

Together, we have defended the land on which we stand and our national sovereignty.” “We endured the panic following our withdrawal from the United Nations and repeatedly withstood the pressure of severed diplomatic ties. Yet the determination of the Taiwanese people to embrace the world has never wavered.” Tsai is optimistic they will overcome the challenges awaiting Taiwan. “We are witnessing China’s rise and expansion, as they challenge free, democratic values and the global order through a combination of authoritarianism, nationalism, and economic might. As the strategic forefront of the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan has become the first line of defense for democratic values,” she said. “China is encroaching on us through their sharp power, but as a crucial member of the region, we know that Taiwan

the country’s economic growth and provide basic services to the people In his recent visit to Russia, President Rodrigo Duterte opened the door for a Russian firm to explore for oil and gas in Philippine waters being claimed by China. Duterte invited Russian oil giant Rosneft to conduct oil and gas exploration in various parts of the Philippines, including the West Philippine Sea, which Beijing continues to claim through its 9-dash line, which was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016. Areas in the West Philippine Sea were offered as possible exploration areas, apart from 14 areas in different parts of the country that have been previously offered as options for other firms. “The 14 pre-determined areas are all within Philippine sovereign territory. We also mention the available areas at WPS (West Philippine Sea) which they can nominate to explore. Invitation of PRRD covers all,” said Cusi.

Canar’s testimony was part of a hearing into the partial suspension of the LRT2 conducted by the committee on transportation led by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento. Reacting to Canar’s admission, Biazon said this was “a glaring gap” for critical infrastructure, since any breakdown, manmade or natural, would cause “a lot of havoc.” Hernando Cabrera, corporate board secretary of LRTA, said the agency’s board would check if this is included in the company’s risk management plan. LRT-2 suspended its operations from Oct. 3 to 7 after a fire caught

one of its power transformers, forcing 200,000 daily passengers to find alternative modes of transport. The LRT-2 normally accommodates passengers through its 11 stations running from Santolan in Pasig to Recto in Manila. Anonas, Katipunan and Santolan stations will also be closed for at least nine months for repairs. Last week, the LRT-1 also halted trips due to mechanical issues, the same day that an MRT-3 train stalled between Magallanes and Ayala stations, forcing scores of passengers to walk along the rail tracks.

must fulfill its responsibilities to the international community. We will not act provocatively or rashly; rather, we will work with like-minded countries to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered.” She added: “We must also hold firm our values of freedom and democracy. The Taiwanese people walked the difficult path to democratization together, and though it may sometimes be tumultuous, only democracy can ensure our hard-won freedom and offer the next generation the right to choose their own future. “Our future path is clear, as are our goals. First, we must ensure that the people continue to remain united under the banner of freedom and democracy to defend our sovereignty. Second, we must continue to build a stronger Taiwan and bolster our economic capabilities to

create a prosperous society and powerful country. Third, we must actively engage with the world and overcome challenges, so that the Republic of China (Taiwan) can hold its head high on the international stage with bravery and confidence.” After the presidential speech, 23 floats from civic groups, students, and artists joined the parade while performances by the armed forces and law enforcers were shown prior to the arrival of the Chief Executive. Mascot“Bravo the Bear,”a smiling God of the Earth, the High Speed Rail, a tiger that brings people wealth and fortune and one devoted to Taiwan’s indigenous planes were shown at the parade. Another float was made by the China Airlines, Taiwan’s flagship carrier. Foreign delegates and the International Press Officers also participated in the ceremony.




ACLOBAN CITY—About P1.6 million worth of assorted frozen pork products from Bulacan were seized in Tacloban City on Friday, October 11, following the city’s total ban on pork-related products coming from Luzon due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever.

Dr. Eunice Alcantara, city veterinarian, said the driver of Marby Food Ventures delivery van failed to present complete documents required for meat products to enter Tacloban. “The driver only showed us the delivery receipt of the products coming from Bulacan, which is

considered as the “ground zero” for ASF that is why we confiscated the shipment,” Alcantara said. The van was intercepted at around 10:20 a.m. Friday at the Veterinary Quarantine Checkpoint in San Juanico Bridge after it was found with 700 crates of frozen meat products. “Shipments of Meat and other frozen meat products from outside Tacloban should have documents such as License to operate from the Food and Drug Administration, Certificate of Product Registration, Shipping Permit and Veterinary Health Certificate in case there are shipments of livestock,” the city veterinarian said in a statement. According to Henry James Roca of the City Information Office, the driver showed receipts indicating that the products were bound to be delivered to stores in Tacloban, Ormoc, Digos City, Iligan City, San Francisco City, Koronadal City, Butuan, and Surigao. He added that the confiscated pork meat

products will be buried at the city-managed sanitary landfill in Barangay San Roque. Mayor Alfred Romualdez has issued Executive Order No. 19-09-6, calling for ban on swine and pork products from Luzon and other identified ASF-affected areas in the country effective September 2019. His order also led into the creation of an executive committee and task force to implement ASF preparedness and contingency plan to protect local hog raisers. Alcantara assured the public that there is no shortage of pork products in the city. “We need not worry about the pork supplies in the city, we have enough supplies coming from Mindanao,” said Alcantara in the report. She added that there is no recorded case yet of ASF in Tacloban and nearby municipalities. Although ASF is not a threat to human health, its deadly virus continues to affect domestic and wild pigs.



CLARK-GUANGZHOU FLIGHTS TAKE OFF ON NOV. 11 FOR HISTORIC LINK By Joel E. Zurbano GOKONGWEI-CONTROLLED Cebu Pacific Air on Saturday said it would commence its first direct flights between the Clark International Airport and Guangzhou, China this November, becoming the first Philippine carrier to link the two cities. Beginning November 11, Clark flights to and from Guangzhou are scheduled to operate four times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday). The flight departs Clark at 11:35 p.m.; while the return flight departs at 3:15 a.m. of the next day. Seats on the new Clark-Guangzhou route of Cebu Pacific will be sold for as low as P1 base fare from October 12-17, 2019, with travel period from November 11, 2019 to March 31, 2020. The new route will cater to increasing demand for leisure and business travel. It will further enhance the potential for investments in the special economic zones in Central Luzon, including the 9,450-hectare New Clark City. The Clark International Airport is within proximity to vital infrastructure expected to be operational by 2022, such as the Manila-Clark passenger railway that will connect Manila to Clark, and a cargo railway connecting Subic to Clark. Guangzhou is one of China’s nine National Central Cities, and as such, is at the forefront of political, cultural and economic development. It is a wholesalers’ haven for retail and popular consumer goods, making it an ideal destination for e-commerce micro-retailers and starting businessmen. For leisure travelers, the city appeals to foodies eager to experience world-renowned Cantonese cuisine. “With direct air service between Clark and Guangzhou, it will be easier for entrepreneurs and businessmen in the e-commerce space to meet up with suppliers. They can conveniently attend mega-trade events such as the popular Canton Trade Fair,” said Alex Reyes, Vice President for Commercial of Cebu Pacific.


LA NAVAL DE MANILA. Devotees of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila

gather at the lobby of the Quezon city Hall on Saturday led by City Mayor Joy Belmonte, to celebrate the “Mass ng Bayan” during the city’s 80th Foundation Day. The feast of Our Lady of of La Naval is celebrated on Oct. 7. Manny Palmero

STORM VICTIMS PRESS FOR GRAFT CASES VS CONTRACTORS, HOUSING EXECS TACLOBAN CITY—A broad alliance of storm survivors in Eastern Visayas has welcomed the filing of charges against against erring contractors and National Housing Authority officials over the bungled resettlement projects for the victims of the November 2013 Super Typhoon Yolanda. “CYSP has been calling for the government to be more decisive in dealing with anomalies on housing reconstruction in Yolanda avenue and to be more people-centered and participatory to avoid anomalies from occurring. It also called for a serious performance and financial audit of Yolanda reconstruction,” said the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP). On Friday, October 11, the Presi-

dential Anti-Corruption Commission said it will file more cases against public officials and private individuals who were allegedly responsible for the delayed and “substandard” housing projects. At least 12 NHA officials were already facing charges for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, Government Procurement Act, and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Office of the Ombudsman last October 9, said PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez. Since 2016, CYSP and its allied groups have consistently engaged with the national government for reforms in the reconstruction process and consistently exposed the

MMDA CONFERS RED ORCHID AWARDS ON TWO CITIES THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Saturday commended the cities of Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong for a back-to-back win in the Red Orchid Award conferred on them by the Department of Health. The award is given annually to smokefree compliant government agencies, local government units, and government hospitals nationwide. This marks the second time that the cities of Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong have been named as recipients of Red Orchid Award. Moreover, the two cities have received a grant amounting to P100,000.00 that could be utilized for their exceptional implementation of tobacco control programs. MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said he commended the local governments of Muntinlupa and Mandaluyong for their unrelenting efforts to strictly enforce its antismoking regulations and protect the public from second-hand smoke that can lead to a variety of health ailments. “I hope that all of the 17 Metro Manila

LGUs would be pro-active in implementing a 100 % smoke-free environment as a way to safeguard public health,” Lim stressed. The nominees were judged based on the World Health Organization’s “MPOWER” initiative, which stands for the six proven tobacco control strategies, namely: M for monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; P for protect people from the effects of smoking; O for offer help to quit tobacco use; W for warn against the dangers of tobacco; E for enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; and R for raise taxes on tobacco. Pink Orchid Award, on the other hand, was bestowed on the City of Taguig. Also recognized during the awarding ceremony were the local government units of Pateros, Malabon, and Valenzuela for winning the White Orchid Award. The ROA, an awards system developed by the DOH, aims to encourage LGUs and other government agencies to actively implement the 100 percent tobacco-free policy as mandated by the DOH Administrative Order No. 10. Joel E. Zurbano

anomalies in housing reconstruction in Yolanda corridor. CYSP maintained in legitimizing the substandard houses, the NHA instead asserted that the housing construction were merely defective that can be remedied. “It is through these exposes that substandard housing and dancing houses’ to describe swaying of walls due to poor construction were coined and made public. Unfortunately, the NHA chose to ignore the plea of survivors to investigate these anomalies,” said CYSP in a statement. Lita Bagunas, president of Uswag Este-Katarunagn and member of CYSP, said that as a result of the inadequacies in housing reconstruction, more than 50,000 housing units

classified as “ready for occupancy” have no takers as survivors refused to relocate. “These unoccupied housing units represent more or less P15 billion in public funds. The fact that it cost a lot, however, should not be the basis of forcing people to occupy,” said Bagunas. Vincent Basiano of G-Watch, a member group of CYSP, said that Yolanda survivors continue to resist relocating to “completed” housing projects “precisely because many resettlement sites are substandard and lacking in basic facilities, have no livelihood and social or support services, and are far from survivors’ sources of livelihoods resulting in their economic displacement.” Ronald O. Reyes

A PARTY-LIST legislator is pushing the development of the bamboo industry to address climate change. Rep. Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWWA said that bamboo, considered the “grass of life” is believed to be instrumental in mitigating climate change “due to its vast environmental contributions.” Garin pushed anew the passage of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act of 2019, which aims to promote the sustainable management and appropriate utilization of the country’s bamboo resources. She echoed the call of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg for world leaders to take concrete actions in saving the world from destructive practices. Garin said that the bill’s passage would play a big role in the country’s efforts to minimize carbon footprint while simultaneously supporting livelihood programs that target Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), the marginalized sector, the unemployed, and retrenched Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). “This is an opportune time to utilize bamboo, both economically and environmentally. Bamboo has properties of fast growth and rejuvenation after cutting, which makes it harvestable every one to two years once matured. It propagates on its own as well. Replanting is not required and needs minimal tending. “As to its environmental impact, bamboo can lock carbon in its fibers and in the soil where it grows. It also regulates water flow and reduces soil erosion,” she said.


Members of the Manila Police District’s Bomb Squad surround the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila after a suspicious package was found inside the campus. The package, however, did not contain any explosives, police said. Norman Cruz




Workers collect thousands of dead fish among rubbish that washed ashore along Manila Bay on Oct. 11. An agriculture department official said the government suspects the fish kill was caused by water pollution. AFP

By Vito Barcelo

PROGRAM TO END HUNGER BY 2030 APPROVED By Joyce Pangco Pañares PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved an enhanced anti-hunger program that aims to achieve zero hunger in the country by 2030. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles requested for the approval of the memorandum of understanding for the government agencies that will serve as members of the Enhanced Partnership against Hunger and Poverty during Friday night’s Cabinet meeting. “Our aim is to eradicate hunger by 2030. But EPAHP is more than just hunger mitigation. It is also about food security and poverty reduction,” Nograles told Manila Standard in a phone interview. “We will be sourcing products directly from farmer organizations for our government feeding programs, including those in child development centers under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in schools under the Department of Health, and in our jails under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. By going straight to our farmers and bypassing the middlemen, our farmers will earn more while we ensure a sustainable supply of produce for our hunger-alleviation programs,” he added. EPAHP will have for its members the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, DSWD, DepEd, Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Science and Technology, National Nutrition Council, National Youth Commission, and Land Bank of the Philippines. “Millions of kids benefit from government feeding programs, but there are many more we still have to reach. We still have a lot of work to do to make sure every Filipino child is properly fed until we can finally say #GoodbyeGutom,” Nograles said in an earlier interview. In the second quarter survey of pollster Social Weather Stations, the number of Filipino families experiencing “involuntary” hunger slightly increased by half a percentage point, from 9.5 percent in March (equivalent to 2.3 million families) to 10 percent in June (equivalent to 2.5 million).



ATER pollution and not blast fishing caused the recent case of fish kill off Las Piñas and Parañaque in Manila Bay where at least 30 tubs of dead fish were found along the coastline, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said Saturday. “We need to find the source of the pollution. Like what we always say, we need to keep our waters clean to preserve marine life,” said BFAR Region 4A director Sammy Malvas said. He said water quality tests showed poor levels of dissolved oxygen and elevated levels of ammonia and phosphates that could come from animal waste and domestic sewage. The ammonia in the water supply might have also come from agricultural, domestic and industrial wastes. “These chemicals at high levels may cause detrimental effects which may result in fish kill,” the agency said. Based on BFAR, estimates, the fish kill resulted in the loss of an estimated volume of one to two tons of fish. Meanwhile, a legislator from Cavite, one of the provinces around

Manila Bay, is seeking a legislative inquiry into the status of the cleanup of the bay that was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, filed House Resolution No. 247 directing the natural resources panel to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the status of Manila Bay rehabilitation and the cleanup of water tributaries leading to it, “The continuous pollution of Manila Bay had impacted the health and livelihood of the coastal communities and produced deleterious effects on the marine life and resources in Manila Bay and contingent waters and tributaries leading to the said bay,” Barzaga

said in his resolution. Barzaga noted the continuing mandamus against issued by the Supreme Court on different government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and to restore and maintain its waters to Class B Level that is fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation. The Department of the Interior and Local Governments was ordered by the high court to direct all local government units in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan to inspect all factories commercial establishments and private homes along the banks of the major river system in their respective areas of jurisdiction. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was ordered to maintain water treatment facilities while the Local Water Utilities Administration, through water districts, was tasked to set up sanitation facilities and ensure the efficient and safe collection treatment and disposal of sewage in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan “at the earliest possible time.”

THREADS OF CULTURE. The 9th Likhang Habi Market Fair, a two-day exhibition of handwoven textiles, crafts, and accessories at Glorietta in Makati City, aims to preserve and promote the indigenous industry. Diana B. Noche

UN BEARS BRUNT OF ‘WORST CASH CRISIS’ IN NEARLY A DECADE STALLED escalators, the heating turned down, even the diplomats’ bar closing early at 5pm: already the United Nations’ budget crunch, one of the worst in a decade, is making itself felt in a series of measures announced by the world body on Friday. “We really have no choice,”said Catherine Pollard, a top official in the UN’s management department. The main priority now is ensuring the next paycheck for the UN’s 37,000 employees. In a letter to staff, a copy of which was seen by AFP, Secretary General Antonio Guterres laid out the looming cutbacks he said would mean fewer flights

and receptions, limits on hiring, fewer documents, reports and translations and even an end to water coolers. Guterres called the crunch the “worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade.” He warned the organization “runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.” The UN announced a $1.4 billion shortfall on its operating budget this year, blaming the funding gap on around 60 states that had been late paying their dues. Of those, just seven countries made

up 90 percent of the deficit: the United States, whose outstanding payments top a billion dollars, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Iran, Israel and Venezuela. ‘The poor cop it’ Contributions to cover peacekeeping operations—which come out of separate pot—have also suffered from tardy payment. In 2019, France for example owes another $103 million. For the peacekeeping budget, the US owes another $2.3 billion, according to UN documents. As a consequence, the UN is deferring payments to countries that have contributed troops, with some of the outstanding bills, such as

Bangladesh, reaching huge sums. “When the rich refuse to pay, it’s the poor who cop it,” said one UN official, asking not to be named. The UN has always faced budget struggles, but these days they are getting bigger, surfacing earlier and lasting for longer, the UN said. The UN budget runs according to the calendar year, while the US fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30, and the UN hopes Congress will free up the funds by the end of the year. The UN budgetary rules do not include any penalty or interest on late payments. AFP

MALACAÑANG on Saturday ordered a special investigation into the attempted murder of broadcaster and Davao del Norte provincial government public information officer Pat Lucero Pacquiao in Tagum City Friday morning. “As co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, I have ordered a special investigation to build a solid case, and eventually attain justice for Mr. Pacquiao,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar. “The PCOO condemns any act that threatens the well-being of media practitioners simply for doing their job of informing the public. Our office is dedicated to creating an environment that fosters press freedom and where the media can work free of harm,” he added. The vehicle of Pacquiao, owner of radio station 99.9 RPFM Tagum, was shot several times by a motorcycle-riding gunman while he was driving in Purok White Dove, Brgy. Visayan, Tagum City. He sustained a gunshot wound at the right upper back of his body. Media organizations have condemned the slay attempt on Pacquiao. “We reiterate that harming any member of the press for any adverse commentary is a dastardly act not worth of a civilized society,”said the Mindanao Independent Press Council in a statement. “We also appeal to the authorities to provide Mr. Pacquiao adequate security. We will continue to monitor this incident and will assist in any way we can to help prevent any such violent act against Mr. Pacquiao and any other members of the press, for that matter,” the MIPC said. With PNA

INDIAN LEADER ARRIVING THIS WEEK FOR 5-DAY STATE VISIT INDIAN President Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to undertake a state visit to the Philippines from October 17 to 21 at the invitation of President Rodrigo Duterte. “The state visit marks an important milestone in the Philippine-India bilateral relations as both countries commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said. During Kovind’s Manila visit, he and Duterte will hold a bilateral meeting on October 18 to discuss areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, cultural, and people-to-people engagement. On the sidelines of his visit, Kovind is expected to meet with members of the Indian community in the country and the Filipino beneficiaries of the Mahaveer Philippine Foundation Inc. Kovind would be the third Indian leader to make a state visit to the Philippines since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1949. Last year, Duterte visited India, during which he invited the South Asian country to make the Philippines its manufacturing hub for key medicines, particularly those for cancer and the human immunodeficiency virus, as well as drugs for diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases. PNA




Adelle Chua, Editor





IVE score and 18 years, the world has seen nearly a thousand people and organizations receive the coveted Nobel Prizes, established in 1895 and named after the Swedish inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel, with the first awarded in 1901. Awards analysts worldwide say the prizes—recipients called laureates receive a diploma, a gold medal and a cash prize that to date generally exceeds $1 million—are of consequence and understandably so. The prizes, described by some as not the run-of-the mill, sticky-backed and

gold-star award, recognize advances in scientific and cultural fields: literature, peace, economics, chemistry, physics and medicine. This month, the 118th year of the prizes, the identities of the Laureates have been announced starting on October 7, ending October 14, revealing

the names of the scientists, writers and peace workers who—in keeping with the vision of Nobel—have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. In that span, we have seen, and been overwhelmed, by the credentials of the recipients, properly the thinking person’s thinkers, the men and women who have magnanimously, if unselfishly, dedicated their lives to making public the secrets of man’s existence and have, in the words of Nathan Chandler, helped “propel humankind’s collective intelligence higher.” Beyond doubt the recipients are, individually and collectively, all transformative and groundbreaking people, the likes of Hermann Muller

By Robbie Corey-Boulet

(awarded 1946) whose work made people realize the importance of tempering our knowledge with safety and caution. There was also Martin Luther King Jr. (awarded 1964) who had a dream but did not dismiss that as a capricious midnight vision, pursued it in full daylight against scorn and cynicism and eventually paid for it with his life. Then there was Mother Teresa (awarded 1979) who reached the world’s poorest through her incessant charitable work. No ifs, ands or buts, these laureates —and the ones not named because of space restriction—give us, the present generation and the ones after us, good reason to be grateful they helped change the world to be a better place.

THE son of poor villagers, a spy boss, and now the man behind dizzying attempts to reform Africa’s fastest-growing economy and heal wounds with Ethiopia’s neighbors, Abiy Ahmed has seen an unpredictable and peril-strewn rise to fame. Another chapter was added to his remarkable tale on Friday when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since becoming Ethiopian prime minister in April 2018, the 43-year-old has aggressively pursued policies that have the potential to upend his country’s society and reshape dynamics beyond its borders. Within just six months of his swearing-in, Abiy made peace with bitter foe Eritrea, released dissidents from jail, apologized for state brutality, and welcomed home exiled armed groups branded “terrorists” by his predecessors. More recently he has turned to fleshing out his vision for the economy while laying the groundwork for elections currently scheduled to take place next May. But analysts fret that his policies are, simultaneously, too much too fast for the political old guard, and too little too late for the country’s angry youth, whose protests swept him to power. Despite the challenges, Abiy’s allies predict his deep well of personal ambition will prompt him to keep swinging big. Tareq Sabt, a businessman and friend of Abiy’s, says one of the first things that struck him when they met was the prime minister’s drive: “I always said to friends, when this guy comes to power, you’ll see a lot of change in Ethiopia.” ‘SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR’ Born in the western town of Beshasha to a Muslim father and Christian mother, Abiy “grew up sleeping on the floor” in a house that lacked electricity and running water. “We used to fetch water from the river,” he said in a wide-ranging radio interview with Sheger FM last month, adding that he didn’t even see electricity or an asphalt road until the seventh grade. Yet Abiy progressed quickly through the power structures created by the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), after it took power from the Derg military junta in 1991. Fascinated with technology, he joined the military as a radio operator while still a teenager. He rose to lieutenant-colonel before entering government, first as a securocrat—he was the founding head of Ethiopia’s cyber-spying outfit, the Information Network Security Agency. He then became a minister in the capital Addis Ababa, and a party official in his home region of Oromia. SEIZING THE MOMENT The circumstances that led to Abiy’s ascent to high office can be traced to late 2015. A government plan to expand the capital’s administrative boundaries into the surrounding Oromia region was seen as a land grab sparking protests led by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and the Amhara people. States of emergency and mass arrests— typical EPRDF tactics—worked to quell the protests but failed to address the underlying grievances. When then-prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned, many feared a power-struggle within the EPRDF, or even an unravelling of the coalition that would leave a dangerous vacuum. Instead, the coalition’s member parties chose Abiy to become the first Oromo prime minister. “He’s the only one that could have saved the EPRDF,” said Mohammed Ademo, a journalist who accompanied Abiy on his first visit to the large Ethiopian diaspora community in the United States last year. “My feeling is that he’s prepared for this moment all his life.” As prime minister, Abiy has sought to shape events across the Horn of Africa, fuelling criticism that he is taking on too much at once. Beyond the rapprochement with Eritrea, for which he was cited for the Nobel, he has played a leading role in mediating Sudan’s political crisis and has also tried to revive South Sudan’s uncertain peace deal. Yet whether any of these initiatives will ultimately succeed is an open question. Even the Eritrea deal, which many see as Abiy’s signature achievement to date, has been undermined by a lack of tangible progress on critical issues like border demarcation. “Abiy has had real foreign policy successes, but there has been some misguided optimism from abroad that he can transform the Horn of Africa,” said James Barnett, an analyst specializing in East Africa at the American Enterprise Institute. “The Horn is volatile. I’m sceptical that one leader can undo decades of competition and mistrust.” ASSASSINATION BID The immediate demands of Ethiopian politics may leave Abiy with no choice but to shift his focus inward in the months to come. Holding credible elections by next May, the current timeline, is a daunting task, yet Abiy is keen on scoring the kind of victory that would give him a mandate with the general public. First, he must contend with Ethiopia’s formidable security challenges. Ethnic violence has been on the rise in recent years, causing Ethiopia to record more internally displaced people last year than any other country. And last June, Abiy faced the greatest threat yet to his hold on power when gunmen assassinated high-ranking officials including a prominent regional president and the army chief. Abiy seems well aware of the danger he faces, and from time to time makes public reference to attempts on his own life, including a grenade attack at a rally just two months after he took his post. For now, as he noted in the Sheger FM interview, he remains in control. “There were many attempts so far, but death didn’t want to come to me,” he said. “Death shied away from me.” AFP

OFFENDING RELIGION: THE CASE OF CARLOS CELDRAN MANY in the art community and general public mourned the passing on Tuesday of performance artist, history advocate, and cultural gadfly Carlos Celdran, who in his short but eventful and productive life helped bring matters of societal import to the forefront of public discourse. He is best known for his 2010 ‘Damaso’ stunt, where he wore 19th century clothing, complete with bowler hat in reference to national hero Jose Rizal, and stood in the middle of a Mass attended by highranking clergy at the Manila Cathedral holding up a placard bearing the word ‘Damaso.’ The word refers to the abusive priest in Rizal’s novel ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and is shorthand for the excesses of friars that characterized the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. In a 2019 documentary by Sienna Hagedorn, Alexandra Gordon, and Katharine LoScalzo, Celdran said the message he wanted to send the bishops was “Stop getting involved in politics.” At the time, then-President Noynoy Aquino was pushing for the passage of the reproductive health bill but it was being blocked by efforts of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, which is against contraception for religious reasons. Celdran was sued by lay Catholics under a blasphemy law against “offending religious feelings” (Art. 133

of the Revised Penal Code). After years of litigation, Celdran was sentenced to one year, one month, and 11 days in prison. He fled to Madrid, into “exile” as he put it. In the short documentary, Celdran looks at the impact on society of his Damaso stunt. “It mobilized the Philippines… that image of me holding the ‘Damaso’ and the hat became a symbol of the reproductive health movement. And that symbol, I guess, catapulted the RH bill into national consciousness.” He adds, “Four years later, the RH bill passed. But the downside of this is that I have to go to jail.” Celdran said that the law he was charged under is an “archaic code” that dates back “to the Spanish era.” Which brings to mind the question, will that same law be called into play in the future to silence other critical voices? Or was Celdran’s case a one-of? Many critics of Celdran comment that he shouldn’t have gone inside the church. That was disrespectful. He could have done his demonstration outside, but, admittedly, it would not have had the same shocking impact. However, the said law is too strict. Really, a year in our notorious hellholes of prisons for a prank? Where is any sense of justice and proportion here? Before Celdran left for Madrid early this year, he visited the National

Museum and viewed the exhibit of ‘HoCus’ paintings, works envisioned by lawyer-historian Saul Hofileña Jr. and executed by painter Guy Custodio. In September last year, Celdran posted on Instagram a photo of HoCus’s “La Pesadilla” (The Nightmare) with the following caption: “One of the most beautiful paintings I’ve seen in a while. Heironymus Bosch meets Brenda Fajardo with a bit of Jojo Legaspi thrown in. Hidden away in a remote area of the National Museum. Love it.” “La Pesadilla” is massive, an oil on canvas triptych 4 feet by 11 feet that “depicts Good and Evil locked in a fierce battle for hegemony over the Earth and its creatures,” as Hofileña writes in a book that accompanies the artworks from the HoCus I series. Among the villains of the piece are a “demented friar” and a rapacious member of the principalia. Skeletons and zombies abound, a straightforward device to present the terrors that marked the age. The work is a savage indictment of the abuses committed during the Spanish colonial period and a polemic in images about the longterm consequences of colonialism on our country and its people. Hofileña’s visions are a reminder of the Church’s power over the country’s fate in the past, while Celdran, in ‘Damaso,’ pointed to same institution’s

encompassing and continuing influence over the country’s politics. Will the blasphemy law be invoked again? Will the focus now be on HoCus? Will artists have to pull their punches so as not to be charged under this law? It is true Celdran disrupted a religious ceremony, but aren’t there other laws that penalize such behavior? Weaponizing an ancient law against “offending religious feelings” is a reminder that the Church is still a significant force in this country, separation of Church and State regardless. It is sad to think of Celdran spending his last days far from home. He died too young; the loss of the art and contributions to society that he could still have made is incalculable. In a 2013 television interview with Mel Tiangco, Celdran said, “I really believe arts and culture is [sic] the best way to change society.” No better epitaph can be found for this cultural activist, artist, and Filipino. “It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal.” ~ Jose Rizal /FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO

Rolando G. Estabillo Publisher ManilaStandard

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EU, UK INTENSIFY BREXIT GAB AHEAD OF KEY SUMMIT BRUSSELS, Belgium—British and EU negotiators agreed Friday to intensify efforts to find a new Brexit withdrawal agreement, just days before a key European summit. European Union member states will review progress on Monday, following a meeting between influential leaders French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A European diplomat, however, told AFP that EU ambassadors may gather as soon as Sunday for a stock taking if Barnier feels there is any backsliding from the British side. The stepped-up negotiations came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar held a meeting Thursday both sides dubbed “promising”. That led to a Brussels working breakfast Friday between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay to break the talks logjam. Neither side revealed much detail about what was discussed. But a European official told AFP: “Basically, the British are ready to evolve on the question of customs, towards an all-island economy.” Asked whether the British province of Northern Ireland might remain in the EU customs union after Brexit, Johnson refused to give what he called a “running commentary” on negotiations. “I can certainly tell you that under no circumstances will we see anything that damages the ability of the whole of the United Kingdom, to take full advantage of Brexit,” he said. The president of the European Council Donald Tusk, who hosts next week’s summit, had said he would have pulled the plug on plans to discuss Brexit if there was no hope of progress. But, after Barnier’s meetings, the European Commission said: “The EU and the UK have agreed to intensify discussions over the coming days. “The Commission will take stock with the European Parliament and member states again on Monday,” it added, to allow time to draw up the agenda of Thursday’s EU summit. AFP

PROTESTS IN IRAQ SET STAGE FOR IRAN, US TUG-OF-WAR BAGHDAD—Iraq’s deadliest wave of protests since the 2003 ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein has made the country vulnerable to a battle for influence between its two main competing allies, the United States and Iran, analysts say. The anti-government protests that erupted on October 1 echoed the demands that young Iraqis have made over recent years. But the demonstrations played out differently this time, as tensions spiraled between the US and Iran. “Without this context, Iran would not have intervened,” Iraqi political analyst Munqith Dagher said. Tehran denounced the week of demonstrations that shook Baghdad and southern Iraq as a “conspiracy” that “failed”. This response cost Iran “a lot of credit and support in Iraq, especially among Shiites,” said Dagher. “But it sacrificed that in order to maintain the system in place in Iraq and to guard the country as an asset in negotiations with the United States.” The wave of unrest left more than 100 people dead, mostly protesters, and put Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi in a weaker position than ever. Even before this Abdel Mahdi headed an unwieldy government. The coalition includes Shiite populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr -- who won the most seats in the last parliamentary elections—and Fatah, the political arm of Hashed al-Shaabi, the paramilitary force dominated by pro-Iran groups. As protests peaked, Sadr called for the government he helped form to resign. The Hashed took the opposite position, saying it was ready to crush the “conspiracy” aiming to bring down the government. Since then state institutions have been paralysed by division, effectively preventing concrete responses to protester demands for jobs, services and ending corruption. Caught in the middle, Abdel Mahdi is “even weaker and more vulnerable to pressure from the largest political blocs,” said Maria Fantappie, an International Crisis Group Iraq analyst. AFP


TURKISH PUSH. Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, in a picture taken from the Turkish side of the border in Akcakale on Thursday, on the second day of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces. Turkey has vowed to destroy the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which controls much of northeastern Syria, and set up a “safe zone” for the return of Syrian refugees. AFP



ASHINGTON—US President Donald Trump announced late Friday that acting US homeland security chief Kevin McAleenan has resigned, becoming the latest in a long list of top officials to leave the administration. “Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down,” Trump said in a tweet. “Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector. Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done!” McAleenan served in the role for six months, replacing Kirstjen Nielsen, who sat at the helm of the powerful agency for 1.5 years. Trump said he would announce a new acting homeland security secretary next week, and that there were “many wonderful candidates.” During McAleenan’s brief tenure, the Trump administration stepped up efforts to discourage an exodus of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador by asking Mexico to impede their transit and requiring them to apply for asylum in the first country they enter -- meaning either Guatemala or Mexico. Cracking down on illegal immigration is a major goal

on Trump’s agenda, and efforts have been paying off. US border agents arrested or stopped nearly one million undocumented migrants at the southern border with Mexico in the last 12 months, the most in more than a decade, according to statistics released this week. Migrants arrested at the border fell to just over 52,000 in September, the final month of the 2019 fiscal year, down from more than 144,000 in May and the lowest monthly figure in one year. McAleenan’s exit came after he told The Washington Post that he did not feel in control of his department, as news reports said he was discouraged by his standing in the Trump administration. “What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,” McAleenan told the paper. “That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure.” On Friday he tweeted a thank you to Trump and highlighted his department’s accomplishments. “With (Trump’s) support, over the last 6 months, we have made tremendous progress mitigating the border security and humanitarian crisis we faced this year, by reducing unlawful crossings, partnering with governments in the region to counter human smugglers and address the causes of migration, and deploy additional border security resources,” McAleenan said. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called McAleenan’s exit an “ouster” and said Trump must urgently appoint a permanent replacement. AFP

ISTANBUL—In the vanguard of Syrian revolt before being ripped apart by division and indiscipline, the Free Syrian Army has returned as a key component of Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militants. The broad-ranging coalition styled itself as the moderate force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but lacked the funding and support to compete with extremist groups such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS) when they emerged around 2012. Having all but disappeared for several years, the Free Syrian Army regained the spotlight in 2016 when it participated alongside Turkish forces in Ankara’s first incursion into northern Syria against IS. But images of FSA fighters posing with mutilated bodies of Kurdish militants and looting stores during a second Turkish operation in Afrin two years later undermined their reputation for moderation. The group recently rebranded itself as the Syrian National Army (SNA), under the authority of the opposition’s “interim government” in exile, based in Turkey. They are armed, trained and paid by Ankara, and once again joined Turkish soldiers this week as part of “Operation Peace Spring”, launched on Wednesday against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. “The Syrian National Army is the indigenous component of the Turkish operation. It’s an important infantry force for the offensive,” said Emre Kursat Kaya, of the EDAM think-tank in Istanbul. “The group is formed around Sunni Arab and Turkmen fighters who are locals of the region. Thus, their presence in the operation provides an undeniable intelligence advantage.” The SNA now claims to have some 80,000 men at its disposal, having boosted its ranks earlier this month by integrating another coalition, the National Liberation Front, based primarily in Idlib province. Some 14,000 of its fighters have been mobilised for the new operation, according to the group’s spokesman, Major Yusuf Hamoud. “That number can increase as the battle unfolds,” he told AFP. A large number of these fighters come from areas targeted by the Turkish offensive, he said, which is aimed at pushing back the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia. AFP

TRUMP TRIES TURNING SCANDAL INTO REELECTION FUEL WASHINGTON—As impeachment pressure mounted on President Donald Trump, he left Washington for a second day in a row Friday to rally hardcore supporters in a bid to turn the scandal into fuel for his 2020 reelection. Trump lifted off from the White House in Marine One to catch a flight to Lake Charles, Louisiana, telling reporters the impeachment investigation is “a hoax.” Polls show growing public support for the probe into Trump’s request for Ukraine to push a corruption case against one of his main Democratic opponents in the 2020 election, Joe Biden. He is only the fourth US president to face an impeachment probe but after an initially stumbling response the Republican has hit

on a strategy of maximum resistance to try to transform the threat into a boost. But despite White House attempts to stop witnesses from appearing before congressional investigators, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was fired by Trump, testified before three House committees on Friday. According to The New York Times, she told legislators that she was forced from her job as a result of “false claims.” There was possibly worrying news for Trump as troubles mounted for his colorful, but controversial personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a central figure in the administration’s murky contacts with Ukraine. Congressional investigators see Giuliani as

Trump’s point man in a campaign to extract dirt on Biden from the Ukrainians. On Wednesday, two of the lawyer’s clients were arrested in a campaign finance violation case involving foreign money. Asked Friday if Giuliani continued to be his lawyer, Trump gave a less than convincing answer. “I don’t know,” he said. “He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.” Trump’s previous personal attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years prison in 2018. Trump’s Louisiana rally comes after he barnstormed a gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Thursday, vowing a “backlash” against Democrats. AFP


LOS ANGELES—Wind-driven wildfires forced the evacuation of about 100,000 people in southern California Friday and destroyed dozens of structures and homes as authorities warned it could take days to extinguish the flames. By Friday evening, the strongest blaze, dubbed the Saddleridge Fire, had consumed 7,542 acres (3,052 hectares) in areas of the San Fernando Valley, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles, fire officials said. They added that it had damaged or destroyed at least 31 structures and was 13 percent contained as of Friday evening. One man in his 50s died of a heart attack as he struggled to save his home in the Porter Ranch area, fire officials said. The fire quickly got out of control

after it erupted late Thursday for unknown reasons in the city of Sylmar, driven by low humidity and gusts known as the Santa Ana winds. “This is a very dynamic fire,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas told a news conference. “Do not wait to leave,” he urged residents. “If we ask you to evacuate, please evacuate.” He said some 1,000 firefighters, backed by water-dropping helicopters and planes releasing fire retardants, were battling the blaze that forced the shutdown of several major highways. The metro line in the area was also closed as were schools and businesses. “We’ve calculated that the fire is moving at a rate of 800 acres per hour,” Terrazas said, adding that it would probably take days to get it under control. AFP

JEWISH FEAST. A Jewish man arranges palm branches for the roof of their Sukkah,

the temporary huts constructed to be used during the weeklong festival of Sukkot, or the feast of the Tabernacles, in the Jewish ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea-Shearim of Jerusalem on Thursday. Sukkot has Jews eating and sleeping in makeshift booths to commemorate their exodus from Egypt some 3,200 years ago. AFP





CLOSURE ORDER. Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso puts the padlock on Isetann mall’s doors after serving the closure order on Wednesday after the city government discovered the mall was violating city ordinances and misrepresenting its applications for permits. Norman Cruz

HARSH HEARING. Senator Cynthia Villar (left) tells Agriculture Secretary William Dar to spend more for projects that benefit farmers rather than overhead or operating expenses, during the second hearing of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Thursday on the proposed P71.8-billion budget of the Department of Agriculture for year 2020. Lino Santos

GERMAN GRIEF. A couple hugs at the synagogue in Halle, eastern Germany, on Thursday, one day after the attack where two people were shot dead by a gunman who targeted Jews on the holy day of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). AFP


Municipal workers fumigate against the aedes aegypti mosquito, vector of dengue fever, Zika fever and chikunguya, at an apartment building in El Dorado, Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela on Wednesday. The Chacao municipality started a fumigation plan in public and private schools in addition to neighborhoods with the aim of preventing the spread of the mosquitoborne diseases. AFP

TRAIN STOPPER. A boy wearing a Spiderman costume stands on Hanoi’s popular train street on Thursday following a municipal authority order to deal with cafes and “ensure safety” on the Vietnamese railway track. AFP

ILOILO MICE LAUNCH. The Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, and MICE Alliance

officially launched the Iloilo City Meetings, Incentive Travels, Conferences/Conventions, and Exhibitions/ Events (MICE) Campaign with the tagline ‘Meet You in Iloilo’ on Thursday at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. At the launch were (from left) Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Senator Franklin Drilon, and former Tourism Secretary Narzalina Lim. Teddy Pelaez

SINABBADAN FEST. ‘Indak Indak’ performers do their best as they perform during the closing program of the Sinabbadan Festival in Makilala, North Cotabato, a weeklong celebration of the town’s 65th Foundation Anniversary and the unity among its people. Geonarri O. Solmerano



Riera U. Mallari, Editor




IKE the popular combination deals of fast-food chains, Coach Marvin Somodio is a complete package. He is a combination of intelligence and strength, passion and composure, and hard work and luck. More than 20 years ago, 12-yearold Marvin left his home town of Iloilo and ended up in Baguio City. When he was 15 and in third year high school, Marvin was influenced by a classmate to try his hand at boxing with the Baguio Basic Amateur Sports Program Council. He pursued engineering in college, where he became a member of University of Baguio’s boxing team. He went on to join the National Team (formerly Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines) as its 99-pound pinweight bet, trained by Coaches Leopoldo Tatancio, Nolito Velasco, and Boy Katoliko. Training at Cooyesan Hotel’s Shape Up gym proved to be Marvin’s greatest stroke of luck when he was discovered by famed trainer Freddie Roach, who brought him to his world-renowned Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as assistant trainer. In his seven years at Wild Card, he helped Roach train his kababayan, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and five-time and four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, among others. “Masarap siya katrabaho, arawaraw may bago ka matututinan,” Marvin said of seven-time trainer of the year Roach.

Marvin Somodio: From boxer to elite trainer/coach

Somodio also trained Brian Villoria, Ruslan Provodnikov, Victor Postol, Jose Ramirez and Dennis Levedev. Since he set foot in the USA to work with Roach, the idea of putting up his own gym has been in his mind. He wants to emulate Roach, who search for young talents and train them to become world champions. He also aims to discover Filipino-American athletes who he can help develop to represent the Philippines in different international competitions. “Malay natin, makita na natin ang first Filipino Olympic gold medalist in boxing,” said Somodio. After the March 18, 2018 fight of Ramirez, Somodio took a break and has been staying in the Philippines with his wife and two children when

the People’s Champ Pacquiao hired him as one of his chief trainer Buboy Fernandez’s assistants for the Keith Thurman fight. In July 27, 2019, Somodio’s dream gym was finally realized when the Combinations Boxing Academy in Los Angeles was inaugurated. The 4,000-square feet gym has two boxing rings, free sets of barbells, a pair of threadmills, stationary bikes, a mobile sauna, three double end balls, four speed balls and eight heavy bags. “Dito siguradong ma-maximize ko ‘yung potential ko bilang isang trainer. Mahal ko ang pagtuturo ng boxing at gusto ko mag-share hindi lang sa mga elite, kundi sa lahat ng tao,” said Somodio, adding that the gym is open to those looking to develop competitive boxing skills or boxing for self-defense. The gym has welcomed baseball player Adrian Gonzales and rap artist Usher.

Marvin Somodio with Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao


UNDERWATER hockey is making its debut in the 30th Southeast Asian Games and the Philippine team is making sure to make a splash. Dennis Valdes, president of the Philippine Underwater Hockey Federation, which is the sport’s governing body in the country, has noted his teams’ hard work and dedication, traits which he hopes can be translated into medals. “I believe the Philippine UWH Team will do very well at the SEA Games. I am personally hoping to get four gold medals out of four events. Of course, this cannot be guaranteed, but our athletes are training very hard for this goal,” said Valdes. Also known as Octopush, underwater hockey is a sport in which two teams compete to drive a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team’s goal by propelling it with a hockey stick. Four gold medals are at stake in the men’s 4x4 and 6x6, and women’s 4x4 and 6x6 in two days of competition set Dec. 2 and 3 at the New Clark City. “At the beginning of our SEAG journey last December, I told the prospective athletes, ‘I want one year of your life.’ This has not been an

Photo shows Indonesia’s women’s underwater hockey team, one of the Philippines’ rivals in the coming SEA Games later this year. AFP

exaggeration. All have sacrificed an enormous amount of time this year. They have had to ask their families for understanding, their bosses at work for support, and most importantly, their own selves for the drive and capacity to keep training for an entire year just to peak during the week of SEAG,” Valdes revealed. In order to ramp up the training

of the underwater hockey players, the federation sent players to the Australian Underwater Hockey National Championships in Cairns, Australia, where the PH team’s top athlete in Christian Policarpio played on the New South Wales Men’s Masters team, which bagged its second gold medal at the Aussie Nationals. Policarpio is a flight attendant.

“For the Men’s Team, we have high hopes for our forward Topz Policarpo. For the Women’s Team, it’s our forward Nadj Buenafe. We hope that both will score a lot of goals for Team Philippines,” said Valdes. The teams’ overseas exposures have been coupled with their continuous training, with the help of coaches provided by the Philippine Sports Commission. The men’s team is expected to mix it up in the gold medal running, while the women’s team is the team to beat after winning the Asian Championships twice. “The preparation for the SEAG has been an incredible journey for the athletes, plus all the people around them, who are so supportive of their efforts. Looking back at the year, I can say that whatever happens during the SEA Games, all can be assured that Team PHI did everything possible to attain the golds. We all trained, we all got support, we all gave what we could. We hope that all that is good enough to attain four golds,” said Valdes. “Our fiercest rival is expected to be Singapore, although the Indonesia and Malaysia Teams are also training very hard,” he said.

MILO, POC, PSC, PHISGOC ENERGIZE A NATION OF CHAMPS MILO Philippines and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) officially announced their campaign for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this coming November. Held at the Conrad Hotel Manila, the collaborative effort reinforces MILO’s commitment to the advancement of local sports and a promise to energize the entire Team Pilipinas to become champions. Present at the press conference were Veronica Cruz, Vice President, Nestle Philippines-MILO, Lester P. Castillo, Assistant Vice President, Nestle Philippines-MILO, Hon. Alan Peter Cateyano, Chairman, PHISGOC, Hon. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, President, Philippine Olympic Committee, Ramon Fernandez, Commissioner, Philippine Sports Commission (in behalf of PSC Chairman and SEA Games Chef de Mission William “Butch” Ramirez), who shared a common goal of rallying the nation to support the athletes representing the country under one “LABAN PILIPINAS” battlecry. Joining them on stage were national athletes and MILO Sports Program graduates

and ambassadors Alyssa Valdez (MILO Champion - Volleyball), Pauline Lopez (MILO-Philippine Taekwondo Association), and Kiefer Ravena (MILO BEST Center - Basketball), who each shared their own inspirational stories of starting out in MILO sports programs at a very young age and now representing the country in a global stage. They also harped on the positive effect that the crowd’s energy can have on them during competitions. A SHARED CALL OF UNITY This year’s theme and motto, “We Win As One,” celebrates unity in diversity and heralds the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship among Filipinos and neighboring countries in the region. This aligns with the lifelong values learned through sports that MILO has been advocating in its grassroots programs such as the MILO Sports Clinics, MILO Little Olympics, MILO Barangay Liga, MILO Champ Camp, and National MILO Marathon, along with the true essence of what it means to be a champion in sports and in life through its revered Champions, ambassadors and partners.

Show of Unity: Veronica Cruz, Vice President, Nestle Philippines-MILO; and Hon. Alan Peter Cateyano, Chairman, PHISGOC; (center) present the SEA Games torch along with (left to right) Kiefer Ravena, MILO Champion; Lester P. Castillo, Assistant Vice President, Nestle Philippines-MILO; Ramon Fernandez, Commissioner, Philippine Sports Commission; and MILO Champions and SEA Games Athletes Alyssa Valdez and Pauline Lopez. “As a longtime supporter of Philippine sports, it is with great honor and privilege that MILO comes in as a gold partner for the historic 30th SEA Games,” said Veronica Cruz, Vice President, Nestlé Philippines-MILO. “As our athletes

and local sports communities continue to work hard in the preparation for the SEA Games, we want to help energize the country to cheer them on and let them know that we are all with them in defending our homecourt, win or lose.”

LASCUÑA STRIKES AGAIN, TOPS PGT DAVAO—Tony Lascuña turned in another virtuoso performance that foiled not just one or two but three rivals of varied skills and talents, closing out with a scorching backside assault for a course recordtying 66 and a three-stroke Lascuña victory over Ira Alido in the ICTSI South Pacific Classic here yesterday. One stroke behind Michael Bibat, Clyde Mondilla and Alido after 54 holes, Lascuña played with so much confidence and poise of a veteran campaigner, flashing solid drives, superb iron play and putting that produced seven birdies, including four in the decisive stretch that turned what had appeared to be a tight finish into another romp. “I played a superb game, especially at the back. But I just want to think that this (tournament) is really mine. This (victory) is so sweet,” said Lascuña, who punched the air with his left hand after holing out and hugging his fiveyear-old son Antonio III as he completed a 12-under 276 total worth another P550,000 he received from Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. executive director Narlene Soriano. Lascuña, who dominated practically the same field at Apo which he also won by three over Fil-German Keanu Jahns last week, sizzled early with three birdies against a bogey at the front but it was not until he rolled in another birdie from short range on the 10th that he caught up with Bibat at nine-under overall. He then stormed ahead for good with back-to-back birdies from No. 12 in second-to-last flight, a charge that the erstwhile leaders had failed to match, enabling the Davaoeño ace to close out the milestone 10th season of the Philippine Golf Tour with back-to-back victories. Make it three as the former three-time PGT Order of Merit winner, who struggled in the early going of the season hobbled by a dip in form and personal woes, sparked his late rebound with a thrilling victory in PGT Asia in Taiwan three weeks ago. Sharing the spotlight was Japanese Takahashi Keisuke, who scored the first hole-in-one on No. 3 for a 67 also he settled for joint 18th with Nilo Salahog, who carded a 71, at 288.

SUN LIFE AQUATHLON TO AWARD CHAMPS THE much-awaited Sun Life Aquathlon, a multi-sport racing event hosted by Sun Life Philippines in partnership with BikeKing Philippines, is set to award its winners at the finale of the series championship on Oct. 13 at the Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus City, Cavite. The event will mark the conclusion of the Sun Life Aquathlon Series Championship Series 2019, which includes the Vermosa Sports Hub Aquathlon 1, Vermosa Sports Hub Aquathlon 2, and the Aquaman Aquathlon. “Hosting the Sun Life Aquathlon enables Sun Life to nurture the growing interest of Filipinos in multisport events. This is very much aligned with our thrust to promote health and wellness in the country,” Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa said. Now on its third year, the Sun Life Aquathlon will see almost 400 participants racing to garner more points in the last leg of the series, in hopes of winning their respective categories. Categories are divided by age-appropriate distances: the shortest course is a 100-meter swim combined with a kilometer run designed for children ages seven to eight; while the longest course is a 500-meter swim combined with a five-kilometer run for participants 15 years old and above. The Sun Life Aquathlon series points will be tallied and the Top Aquathlete of 2019 and other champions of the series will be announced during the awarding ceremony. Moreover, top three winners of each age-group category will receive specially designed finisher medals and gift packs.




Ray S. Eñano, Editor / Roderick dela Cruz, Issue Editor


N ISRAELI company that aims to replace diesel-fed generators with zeroemission fuel cell technology has chosen the Philippines as its Asian hub.

“Diesel generator belongs to the past. The worldwide legislation right now is against diesel,” Rami Reshef, CEO of GenCell Energy, says in an interview at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City. “The world must reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030. We believe that with GenCell, we can contribute a small bit to this by eliminating the combustion engine, eliminating the use of fossil fuel or diesel generator,” says Reshef. Established in 2011, GenCell develops fuel cell solutions to provide the world with a stable source of clean energy. Its hydrogen-based solutions produce no emissions, noise or vibrations and are available with a weather-proof shelter that is resistant to storms, floods and earthquakes. It tapped Amorele Technology Inc., a local technology solutions provider based in Biñan, Laguna to distribute its products in the Philippines. GenCell offers to back up local businesses such as bank ATMs, medical clinics, telecommunication facilities, utilities and manufacturing plants with a constant source of clean energy that can withstand earthquakes and typhoons. “Blackout is the fear of every utility in the world because nobody can prevent an earthquake or typhoon. Based on statistics, the cost is around P5 billion to the Philippine economy for a one-hour downtime. This type of solution can avoid this blackout. The quality of life will also dramatically go up,” says Reshef. “The role of fuel cell is to try to immune the distribution channels, try to look at the critical points in the economy and improve the quality of life in the Philippines by providing emission-free energy and greater availability of power,” he says. FUEL CELL Reshef says the fuel cell technology, developed as early as 1839 by Welsh lawyer and scientist William Robert Grove, offers ultra-reliable, zero-emission and long-duration energy. He says GenCell uses the same breakthrough technology that has powered American and Russian spacecraft. Power is produced from the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, the same elements that comprise water. “This is 100-percent green. So we are generating green energy,” he says. “You take oxygen and hydrogen and you have H20 or water. We are making water. As a byproduct of making this water, we have energy. We capture this energy and this is what we are using,” Reshef explains. Reshef says GenCell came from the words generator and fuel cells. As a business, he says GenCell aims to do good not only for the shareholders but also for the humanity. In the Philippines, he says GenCell offers backup power to ensure that the critical points in the economy will keep running despite natural disasters such as typhoons, floods and earthquake. He says that unlike other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, GenCell is not weatherdependent. He says it can also provide 24-hour power to islands which are not connected to the power grid. “As a company, we are going after these two markets. We provide a long duration backup for the critical points in the economy such as banks, medical facilities, telecommunication and anything that develops the economy. Second, we are going after remote areas where power is not there. We offer an ultimate solution to deliver green, weatherindependent and cost-effective solutions,” he says. Reshef says that unlike the existing generators, GenCell products are free of vibration, noise and emissions. “There is flexibility because there is no combustion engine, no moving parts and it involves an electrochemical process,” he says. He says that in terms of cost, fuel cell is cheaper than diesel. “Our running cost is a third to half

Axinan founder and CEO Wei Zhu


GenCell Energy CEO Rami Reshef (right) and Alain Caparanga of Amorele Technology Inc.

lower than diesel. With GenCell, you have a new technology than can challenge diesel, not only in terms of environmental effect but also in terms of financial effect,” he says. ASIAN HUB Reshef says he is looking at the Philippines as the hub of GenCell in the entire Asia. “Two years ago, we started our exploration in the Philippines. We found out that the Philippines has the right mixture of challenging infrastructure, and it has a very promising economy and business community. Shortly after we started our exploration, we have committed to a relationship with Amorele, and we have already opened a demo center and right now we are heavily involved in several segments such as telecommunication, medical facilities and financial institutions,” he says. He says the company plans to bring the technology to the Philippines and hire engineers to assemble the GenCell devices here. “We are an Israeli company. All our R&D and production are in Israel. We are active in Europe and North America, Central America and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. We believe that the Philippine market has the right culture for us. What we want to do in the future is not only to bring the products, but also to bring the technology. It means we can produce it over here to serve different countries. I would say the language, the culture, the way that code of business we found here in the Philippines really fits with our culture,” he says. “We love the Philippines. We enjoy working with our partners here. Our plan is to build presence here and develop our offering to different markets such as telecom, the utilities, banks and eventually we would like to make sure we have strong presence that will allow us to bring this technology to the Philippines, not only as a closed box. We are looking at assembling the products in the Philippines in the future,” Reshef says. Reshef says the company can also help the Philippine government address the issue of global

warming. “Seven million people die each year form pollution. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming in excess of 1.5 degree of Centigrade will put millions more at risk. The world scientists have sounded a clear alarm about climate issue,” he says. “GenCell is completely green, with zero emission. I believe that this will be our contribution to the global warming campaign,” he says. GenCell is also looking at expanding to the automotive sector as a part of its next-generation business. “Definitely, you can have public transportation running on hydrogen fuel cell. This is something that we as a company is already working on, and we are planning to bring it to the market,” Reshef says. Alain Caparanga of Amorele Technology says noisy, leaking and polluting generators cause harm to the environment and GenCell solutions can provide a resilient and sustainable alternative. GenCell products include GenCell G5 LongDuration UPS, an alkaline fuel cell that runs on hydrogen cylinders to provide critical back-up for indoor and outdoor applications; GenCell G5RX which comes with a protective shelter built and certified to withstand 7.2 magnitude earthquakes; and GenCell A5 Off-Grid Power Solution, an ammonia-based off-grid fuel cell power solution that extracts hydrogen from liquid ammonia. GenCell now has a working unit that powers the whole showroom of Amorele in Biñan, Laguna. Reshef says nobody can ignore anymore the impact of global warming. “Everybody needs to start in his backyard. I am calling on the business community and the government to look into sustainable, green solutions. The time is now before it becomes too late,” he says. “There are moments that we as people have to take responsibility. We have to make sure we are leaving behind for the next generation a world that is sustainable,” says Reshef. Roderick T. dela Cruz

S I N G A P O R E - B A S E D insurance technology provider Axinan teamed up with local non-life insurer Mercantile Insurance Co. to provide smartphone protection in the Philippines. The partnership between the two parties is one of the first in the Philippines between a non-life insurer and an insurtech player. Underwritten by Mercantile, the insurance solutions introduced will be in the area of mobile phone protection through Axinan’s consumer brand igloo. As one of the first movers in Southeast Asia in the space of digital insurance solutions, Axinan will offer its proprietary tech capabilities while Mercantile’s niche in non-life insurance gives both parties a competitive edge through this collaboration. A global study by SquareTrade1 in November 2018 revealed that 66 percent of smartphone owners damaged their phones in the past year. Cracked screens was the most common type of damage (29 percent) while scratched screens (27 percent) and non-working batteries (22 per cent) took second and third place respectively. According to the International Data Corp.’s report in 20182, there has been a shift in the Philippines smartphone market, where Filipinos are moving towards mobile phones with higher specifications and better features. In the same study, it was revealed that this trend is coupled with a higher average selling prices of mobile phones, with a 13 per cent year-on-year increase in 2017. As mobile phones become increasingly important for Filipinos, Axinan’s solution comes at an opportune time. “The Philippines insurance industry has shown positive growth in recent years as the country’s economy grows. The overall net income of the nonlife insurance sector grew by 9.76 percent from 2016 to 20173. While the segment is smaller than the life segment, there are considerable growth opportunities due to the low levels of penetration and the potential for fintech to boost growth,” said Wei Zhu, founder and CEO of Axinan. “ With our par tnership with Mercantile who understands the local non-life insurance segment deeply, we believe that there will be more of such solutions from igloo by Axinan and this is just a start to our goal in providing a variety of digital solutions in the insurance space,” he said. As a prelude to the foray of products from Axinan and Mercantile, the first product that will be rolled out under igloo will be Mobile 360. Under Mobile 360, consumers can enjoy comprehensive mobile phone protection for its screen, camera, battery, accidental and liquid damage protection. The product will be first available in Metro Manila and will be available nationwide in the near future.

IPR PROTECTION SEEN TO ENHANCE ECONOMIC GROWTH By Othel V. Campos GOVERNMENT efforts to educate people on the virtue of having a healthy intellectual property rights environment is slowly but steadily gaining support from stakeholders and companies in the Philippines. A report crafted by the Geneva Network including the local group Minimal Government Thinkers and partner think tanks in the ASEAN—Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia), Paramadina Public Policy Institute (Indonesia), Siam Intelligence Unit (Thailand) and Viet Nam Economic Policy Research Institute—sought to inform the different economies in the region of the issues in IPR frameworks. The report titled “The importance of

Intellectual Property Rights for progress: A reform agenda for ASEAN countries” suggests that the move from basic manufacturing and export of commodities to innovation and higher-value, knowledgebased goods and services will allow the Philippines and its neighbors in the ASEAN to grow faster and sustain such growth, attract more investments and create more jobs. However, these countries must further strengthen the protection and enforcement of IPR that include patents, copyright, trademark, trade secrets, and regulatory data protection. Geneva Network executive director Philip Stevens, who was formerly affiliated with the World Intellectual Property Organization, said that “foreign investors

bring in valuable capital, knowledge, technology and technical capacity that may be missing locally, but need stability and predictability in government policy.” Local investors also want the same stability and strong IPR to help them develop new goods and services and enter into cross-border alliances and partnerships. The report noted that ASEAN countries are well-placed to move up the value-chain and become more innovative, thanks to their strong human resources and existing capabilities. But more needs to be done to reform their IPR systems to the highest global standards, it said. In order to build upon these considerable strengths and accelerate transition towards more innovative, knowledge-based

economies, ASEAN governments will have to reforms will have to reform their IPR systems to the highest global standards. According to international comparative indices the strength, scope and efficiency of IP framework in the Philippines including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are still way below the highest global standards. The report suggested reforms that may help ASEAN countries improve their IPR platforms in the areas of patents, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and regulatory data protection. Patents are central to the business models of the highest-value industrial sectors like the life sciences, semiconductors, manufacturing of electronic equipment and appliances, and natural gas extraction.

Geneva Network executive director Philip Stevens







AIRASIA Philippines vice chairman Shiela Romero expressed her elation over the launch of the airline’s newest office at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in line with its goal to provide better quality services to passengers. Romero, in a statement, noted that guests of AirAsia’s office—called RedPoint—described the area as bold, fun, refreshing, millennial and vibrant and stood in awe at the elegance and efficiency of the office. Located at the mezzanine floor between the arrival and departure areas of Terminal 3, the place is where the Allstars—the collective name for crew and other personnel of the Philippines AirAsia—will hub. The Philippine headquarters of AirAsia –the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline by Skytrax for the 11th consecutive year—is designed to foster open communication, creativity and innovation as the company embarks on a transformation journey to become more than just an airline. “Amidst the vibrance and the great energy that we feel today here at our new office, the Redpoint headquarters, it is with great pleasure that I share with you these positive developments. Today, Air Asia Philippines celebrates 2019 as its banner year,” said Romero. “Through our competitive advantage over other low-cost carriers and our clear focus on sustainable growth, we have consistently grown our revenues by 39 percent at year-end compared to 2018,” she said.


ARANETA City Bus Port became the first integrated bus terminal in the Philippines to implement a QR- and card-based ticketing payment system powered by digital financial services leader PayMaya. Commuters going to the province can rest easy and conveniently book their tickets online ahead of time from the comforts of their homes by visiting www., where they can pay using any Visa, Mastercard or JCB credit, debit or prepaid cards through the PayMaya Checkout payment gateway. Aside from visiting the website, they can also download the newly launched Araneta City mobile app available for iOS and Android phones, where they can also book their trips and pay for their bus tickets anytime, anywhere. Those who want to avail of their tickets at the bus port, meanwhile, can pay using any payment card at the cashier through the PayMaya Touch mobile POS terminal, as well as using their PayMaya accounts by scanning to pay with PayMaya QR. Since launching in mid-2018, more Filipinos have enjoyed the safety and convenience of booking their bus tickets at the Araneta City Bus Port through cashless means, with transaction volumes across the different digital payment channels growing close to 200 percent in June 2019 compared with the same period last year.


OYO Hotels & Homes, the world’s fastest-growing chain of hotels, homes and living spaces, announced its plan to raise $1.5 billion, as part of its Series F funding round. RA Hospitality Holdings’ will infuse approximately $700 million as primary capital in the company, with the balance of $800 million being supplemented by other existing investors. A significant part of the funds will be diverted towards continued growth in OYO’s fastest-growing market the United States, and in strengthening the company’s position in the vacation rentals business in Europe.RA Hospitality Holdings earlier received CCI approval to invest $2 billion in OYO. In order to facilitate this transaction, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia are selling part of their shareholding in OYO to help the founder increase his stake while remaining invested and committed to the company’s long-term mission. Prior to this, OYO had raised over $1 billion in its last financing round, announced in September 2018, led by SoftBank through SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia and Greenoaks Capital and supported by new strategic partners like Airbnb. OYO Hotels & Homes has emerged as the world’s second-largest hotel, and fastest-growing chain of hotels, homes, living and workspaces, leaving behind several traditional and long-standing hospitality brands. “The continued support of our investors like Softbank Vision Fund, Lightspeed, Sequoia Capital is a testament to the love, trust and relentless support of our asset owners and customers, hard work of all OYOpreneurs, and our commitment to making #LivingTheGoodLife a reality for over 3.2 billion middleincome people around the world. With the CCI approval now in place, the company will get a capital infusion of approximately $1.5 billion to support this mission, supported by me and other shareholders,” said OYO Hotels & Homes founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal.


IN A country where the median age is only 24 years old, financial literacy may still well be at its infancy stage in the Philippines. Traditional institutions still continuously educate their consumers on how to utilize and maximize financial products such as investing in time deposits, paying credit card bills on time, taking care of their credit history and so on. At the other end of this spectrum is more active engagement on using financial products: online trading. There is only a minority of the population who are versed in the stock markets and currency trading, and many of those who dabble into it, give up because of the lack of knowledge and skills in navigating what seems to be a very complex financial activity. This is something we do not learn in kindergarten, after all. This is a challenge SmarTrade is driven to overcome as it puts majority of its efforts in helping people understand how they can be successful in online trading. “Our goal is to build a fair and transparent trading community and at the same time, to uplift and innovate financial education in the country by giving free learning sessions for everyone,” said SmarTrade president Joyce Mayo. SmarTrade recently organized “Strategy or Tragedy: The Truth and Myths about Trading and Investment”, a one-day seminar at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City. The event was joined by more than 300 participants who were interested to improve their trading skills through the lecture series given by experts from different financial institutions.

Pure Projects Pty. Ltd. project manager Lloyd Wallace

By Darwin G. Amojelar


EHIND the success of any real estate project is not solely the developer, but also the project manager who is responsible for bringing each project to life. This is according to Lloyd Wallace, a project management specialist and head of Pure Projects International in the Philippines and Asia. The broad responsibilities of a project manager are to initiate, plan, execute, control and complete the work of a wider team aiming to achieve the specific objectives of a project, all within a specified time frame. “In a nut shell, project management is helping clients realize the goals of their vision,” Wallace said, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Wallace has been fortunate to travel the world as a project and construction manager and has lived and worked in various regions and countries including the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines where his family is currently based. “The project manager is the driving force that brings the project stakeholders together, ensuring that the set obligations and commitments of the team are delivered effectively and efficiently,” he said. While project management as a discipline and its entire suite of adaptations are commonly practiced and widely accepted in many countries, this is not always the case in the Philippines. Wallace said most of the local real estate industry players are a bit apprehensive to employ these skills for the entire life cycle of their developments. When they do, it is very often tied to a construction start date or a limited scope when the urgency of solving problems overwhelms the current staff. He said what hinders Filipino firms from tapping a seasoned project management team is primarily and initially, the cost.

For developers, especially the major developers, the decision makers are very conscious of keeping all costs to a minimum and often these departments haven’t planned or budgeted for such expenses. They see hiring a project management firm as an added expense that could be avoided and an easy way to save money. “Very successful developers have their own practices and cultures which promote a cost-driven approach and at the same time propagate secrecy in the visibility of project information such as time targets or budgets which are key metrics the project managers need to deliver. This scale of transparency and sharing of information also varies across countries but is a challenge in the Philippines,” the South African native said. What traditional real estate firms are not aware of, however, is that the focus on the line-item cost reduction through managing scope and skills application, obstructs and impairs project efficiency in later stages. A developer may spend on consultants initially but the positive enhancements in design coordination, timely deliverables of the stakeholders and supervision of the contractors will save money in magnitudes of the initial spending, while aiding in avoiding unnecessary delays and poor quality of work. “In the Philippines, consultancy fees can be lower than the regional averages, especially for those servicing the established developers who have had the power to define fees and services,” he said. “With lower wages and high levels of competition, you have cheaper alternatives for services but finding the right team is critical. An initial outlay of service fees may seem expensive until the unforeseen, yet largely predictable problems start to pile up,” Wallace said. “A developer must then face extra costs and negative project impacts such as delays and compromise in quality. As such, trying to save on a small percentage upfront, may lead to a project costing more, directly in financial outlay and indirect delays or simply bringing inferior quality products to the market on time,” he said.

The intricacies of the development c ycle and the economics of project management are impossible to ignore. The services project management firms provide are available end-to-end, beginning with the sourcing of land, definition and assessment of chosen products, procurement strategies and the setting of targets for the team, to the better known tasks of qualifying and appointing design teams and contractors, supervision through the construction phases and the smooth handover of finished projects and all that is entailed therein. Finding true partners for such a large endeavor requires more than just local presence or a name, but an element of trust and reliability on the people within the team. These concepts hold true to Lloyd’s leading the operations of his consultancy team in the country. “We work with clients at all stages of a project cycle. We’ve got the people, experience, systems and knowledge to deliver a client’s vision with focus on a transparent roadmap, reviewed and refined at every stage of the process,” he said. “As a project manager, my job is to be the charismatic leader in between all stakeholders of any project. It is my job to ensure that the team is in a position to succeed and that we deliver our obligations and services to meet the client’s expected outcomes and align all efforts with success so that clients get what they pay for,” Wallace said. Over the years, Wallace and his various teams have managed to deliver projects of all sizes in various segments of the property sector. These include public and private projects, big and small, and at all extremes and degrees of luxury— from high end properties to more affordable, large scale products. He believes that quality has its place in all project types and that such endeavors will continue given the upbeat industry performance and current prospects at the onset of massive infrastructure projects being stimulated by the national government. “Construction is a big contributor to the local economy. With the current growth forecasts in the Philippines, I believe there are significant opportunities for both individuals and companies to assist the developers to build their vision,” Wallace said. “With the ongoing ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, once the big names realize their goals of developing townships and secondary cities, smaller developers and even new entrepreneurs will follow,” he said. “This robust growth, underpinned by suitably planned infrastructure spending is indeed a reflection of the current economy and is good news for the country as a whole,” Wallace said.

GRAB ANNOUNCES 2025 GOALS TO USE TECH FOR GOOD GRAB, Southeast Asia’s leading everyday super app, announced its ‘Grab for Good’ social impact program to empower people in Southeast Asia to gain critical access—some for the first time—to technology, upskilling and digital services. This will allow them to be part of the fast-growing digital economy and have more choices and opportunities to improve their livelihoods. By leveraging its technology, platform, and partnerships, Grab has set ambitious goals for its “Grab for Good” program to be achieved by 2025. To ensure that everyone, regardless of background or ability, is able to benefit from the rise of the digital economy, Grab aims to bring digital literacy and greater inclusion to 3 million Southeast Asians by 2025 through partnerships with governments, private companies and non-profit organisations. To enable micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses to tap the cost-savings and increased productivity brought on by technology, Grab aims to help over 5 million more traditional businesses, and small merchants digitize their workflows and processes.

From left: Neneng Goenadi, managing director of Grab Indonesia; Anthony Tan, CEO and co-founder of Grab; Sri Mulyani, Minister of Finance of Indonesia; and Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder of Grab

Grab also aims to train 20,000 students through its tech talent initiatives in partnership with educational institutions, non-profits and leading technology companies. To achieve these goals, Grab announced two flagship initiatives under its “Grab for Good”

program—a skills training and digital literacy partnership between Microsoft and Grab, and regional “Break the Silence” initiative, that enables the deaf and hearing-impaired to better participate in the digital economy through the Grab ecosystem. These two initiatives are the start of a multi-year plan to equip individuals and small businesses with the necessary technology skills and tools to thrive in the new digital economy. “Southeast Asia is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030, yet the hard truth is that not everyone has equal access to opportunity—and the equal chance to succeed with the region’s growth. If the private sector actively creates programs for local communities, technology can be within reach for many, and the learning of new skills can immediately improve the livelihoods for many more people in Southeast Asia,” said Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab. “‘Grab for Good’ is about building an inclusive platform, and is our commitment to deliver positive, sustainable impact in every country that Grab operates in,” Tan said.

9TH JFVA FAMILIES TELL TALES OF LOVE AND COMPASSION AMID the festive atmosphere and powerful performances, what really took centerstage at the recent 9th Jollibee Family Values Awards Gabi ng Parangal were the exemplary Filipino families and their inspiring stories and noteworthy advocacies. As the JFVA turns the page to the next chapter and approaches its 10th year, it continues to spotlight even more inspiring and touching stories, always chronicling stories of goodwill and kindness from Filipino family heroes. The transformative power of reading and learning is the centerpiece of the Bacudio family’s advocacy. In 2006, they started their Dagdag Dunong Learning Center, turning their garage in Malate, Manila into a full library facility with over 2,000 books. They have also started building a second learning facility in Baco, Mindoro, for the benefit of the Mangyan communities there. Knowing that education is not confined within the four walls of a classroom, the family also spearheaded the Matuto sa Lakwatsa program, an

initiative that provides 50 to 100 students the opportunity to go on free educational trips to museums, zoos, and parks. “As long as there are kids who cannot read and poverty-induced hunger persists, we will be relentless in our advocacy, all for God and for our country,” said Ana Maria, the Bacudio matriarch. For Rey and Grace Bufi, storytelling can spark hope and inspiration amid challenging times. They are the husbandand-wife team behind The Storytelling Project (TSP), an initiative focused on teaching literacy and bringing the joy of reading to far-flung communities faced with scarce resources. Established in 2012, the program’s vision is to encourage kids to make reading a habit and give them enjoyable experiences through books. Throughout the years, TSP has grown into a community of passionate volunteers willing to lend their time and talents for one common goal—to provide storybooks for every Filipino child, to build a library in every Filipino community, and to raise a nation of

learners. To date, TSP has trained 5,000 teachers and has catered to over 10,000 children. Its Little Helpers program also trains Grades 4 to 6 students to become their own storytellers and writers. In 2014, TSP was able to launch their first book “Super Labandera”, written by TSP participant Jim Carolino. RISING UP TO INSPIRE The Mansing family is proof that challenges can be one’s motivation to do good. Two of the family members have disabilities, but this did not step them from lending a helping hand to others in need. They promote disability awareness and anti-bullying, and are actively engaged in school outreach programs, the flagship of which is the Book for Kids Project. Founded in June 2017 as a response to DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela and in their belief in the long-term and widespread impact of education, this project is focused on donating children’s books to public schools, especially those located in remote areas across the country: Dumaguete City, with

four public schools in the municipalities of Sta. Calina, Pamplona, and Mabinay, and has expanded its presence to over 17 municipalities and cities in the province of Negros Oriental.

Now, Book for Kids has already reached over 200 public schools and benefitted 45,000 students from across the country. It has also donated almost 20,000 books since it started.

Tech & Gadgets


IVO has unveiled the new V17 Pro smartphone in Taguig, Metro Manila. V17 Pro houses a total of 6 cameras on the front and back that allow users to shoot beyond their limits, including the industry’s first 32MP Dual Elevating Front Camera, a powerful upgrade to Vivo’s iconic Elevating Front Camera. V17 Pro also houses cutting-edge features such as the Super AMOLED Ultra FullView™ Display, professional grade 48MP AI Quad Camera, plus stunning makeover features created to compliment the lifestyle of today’s young and stylish consumers. “The creation of V17 Pro once again showcases our strong consumer-centric innovation approach. The new V series member brings brilliant camera systems on both the front and back of the smartphone to empower consumers to shoot beyond their imagination,” said Charisma Buan, Vivo Philippines Public Relations Lead. “V17 Pro is a masterpiece that we are extremely proud of, as it reinforces our position as a pioneer in bringing best-in-class mobile experiences to the Philippines.” 32MP Dual Elevating Front Camera to Capture Flawless Selfies at All Times The signature Vivo Front Camera raises the bar to another level. Now, two premium front cameras, an earpiece and the Selfie Softlight are housed in the entire elevating top module. Adopting a unibody alloy design, the new elevating system is built to last, while blending mechanical action with artistic elegance.

Smoothly at All Times V17 Pro is also designed for gamers. It comes with an optimized Game Mode that brings out a smooth new gaming experience. The Multi-Turbo acceleration technology actively tunes the operating system to ensure users can enjoy a more exhilarating game performance.

V17 Pro’s 32MP Front Camera and 8MP Super Wide-Angle Selfie ensure every detail in any selfie is captured clearly. The 8MP Super Wide-Angle Selfie is able to capture wide angles up to 105-degrees, bringing more fun and possibilities to group shots. To solve consumer pain-points on taking the perfect night-time selfies effortlessly, V17 Pro is complimented with the Selfie Softlight that lights up the dark, and the Vivo exclusive Super Night Selfie feature that captures multiple frames which are combined into a final image to make user’s face stand out from the background in just one click. 48MP AI Quad Camera Delivers Sophisticated Photography Quality that Tells Shoot beyond current limits with the 48MP 6P Main Camera. With AI algorithms embedded, it brings a new photography experience by capturing even better photo clarity. The smartphone also features a Super Wide-Angle Camera that expands landscape shots even further. To complete the professional shot options, the V17 Pro smartphone also features 2 impressive beautifying features, namely the “Pose Master” feature that offers cool and natural poses to match a variety of photo scenes, and the “Super Night Mode” feature that enhances clarity even at night shots. An Uninterrupted Visual Experience by Brilliantly Concealing the Camera, Earpiece and Sensors Consumers can now enjoy the ultimate expansive view with the exclusive custom-made 6.44-inch Super AMOLED Ultra FullView™ Display with a ratio of 20:9, and a screen-to-

The Vivo V17 Pro Captures perfect shots with the first 32MP Dual Elevating Front Camera and professional grade 48MP AI Quad Camera on the back

body ratio of 91.65% view. The uninterrupted display is cleverly designed to hide the Dual Elevating Front Camera, earpiece, light and proximity sensors all inside the phone body. It is truly a brilliant creation that creates a supremely satisfying ‘visual indulgence’ that elevates the mobile experience to a new level. The smartphone also comes with Vivo’s industryleading In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology. With higher fingerprint pixel density and more sophisticated algorithms, it allows consumers to unlock the smartphone safely and easily. Strong Hardware PerMaine Mendoza with the all-new formance to Ensure V17 Pro Runs V17 Pro in Crystal White

XLOG’S BLOCKCHAIN LOGISTICS PLATFORM OPENS GLOBAL TRADE ROUTE LIKE MAGELLAN MALAYSIAN Prince Tunku Naquiyuddin described XLOG’s fully-integrated blockchain-based end-to-end shipping and logistics platform as an effective enabler that has opened new opportunities for businesses by providing new dynamism to global trade routes similar to what European explorer Ferdinand Magellan did 600 years ago. “In history books about Magellan, who came to the Philippines 600 years ago… the trade routes have developed tremendously,” Prince Tunku said during the signing of partnership deals with Future Greens Commercial Broker, a primary digital platforms solutions provider in the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region, and Quadd Solutions (Pvt) Ltd., a Sri-Lanka-based pioneer in self-service solutions for sophisticated modern lifestyle. Antah HealthCare Group, where the prince is an executive chairman, also signed an agency with XLOG developer Shiptek Solutions during the event. Magellan’s discovery of the Philippines in 1521 is credited in history as the first expedition to prove that the world is round and that the east could

making their first global footprint.” He explained the XLOG platform has opened doors to many businesses and people and pointed out the partnership with Antah would also allow access to their network to open up more markets while establishing end-to-end solutions for shippers, freight forwarders and service providers. XLOG is an end-to-end shipping and logistics platform on the blockchain which leverages the latest technologies for a seamless experience. It creates complete documentation of doorto-door shipment from the country of origin to the country of destination. The platform also provides instant access to both historical and current shipments. Prince Tunku went on, “For such a platform, it will enable customers to be Malaysian Prince Tunku Naquiyuddin more selective, more discerning, and also be able to track the delivery at any be reached by traveling west. “It’s great that 600 years later, in the time. This product, which is delivering same country that he visited, we are to the world from the ASEAN—and of today launching a platform that will course, ASEAN has a population of over transform logistics to a new dynamism,” six hundred million people—bodes Tunku added while congratulating the well for the region, which is already atXLOG team for achieving a significant tracting a huge inflow and outflow of milestone by “opening in the region and container traffic and general cargo.”

At the same time, the Malaysian prince noted that Shiptek’s partnership with UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), one of the most digitized banks in the region, is a significant step as the lender’s backing provides the group with the necessary funding expansion with the financial support coming at the right time when the ASEAN industry is exploding and as world trade continues to expand. For his part, UBP Chairman of the Board Justo A. Ortiz, expressed excitement over the quadripartite deals saying that as an institution, UBP seeks to know the different verticals in the hope that the industry develops its own platforms. The use of the blockchain platform in the shipping and logistics industries fits UBP’s thrust to make “banking invisible,” Ortiz said. “Nobody is excited about doing banking in real life. As individuals, we know we wake up in the morning; we are not excited to go to the bank and conduct transactions. As businesses, it’s also a pain in the neck—trying to get credit, trying to get guarantees, trying to get insurance.”




From C4

2720 Flip comes with essential apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook preloaded. Watch videos on YouTube, get directions on Google Maps or play the classic game Snake, and still find more apps and games available for download from the App store. The Nokia 2720 Flip comes with Google Assistant, allowing fans to do more using just their voice and without having to type everything out. The Google Assistant is activated with a push of a button for effortless daily tasks completion. In case the unexpected happens, the Nokia 2720 Flip’s emergency button sends a message to five contacts of choice and gives details of the user’s location, after which it rings the selected contacts until they answer. The ICE (In Case of Emergency) information menu holds all vital information of the Nokia 2720 Flip owner--from date of birth to emergency contacts, medical conditions, blood type and allergy information, giving first responders access to everything they need to know, faster. NOKIA 110—ENTERTAINMENT IN YOUR POCKET Just like a jukebox in the pocket, the Nokia 110 allows fans to listen to their tunes on the move with its built-in MP3 player with up to 32GB memory, expandable via card. The phone’s integrated FM radio lets users tune in to news and the latest from stations they love. Bringing back the nostalgic endless hours of fun, the Nokia 110 comes with the fan favourite Snake game plus four try and buy games – Ninja Up, Air Strike, Football Cup and Doodle Jump. Fans can capture any moment with the Nokia 110 and turn it into a memory with the built-in rear camera. They can light up the way with the ever-popular LED torchlight by simply pressing the up key twice to quickly turn the torch on and off. Like every Nokia phone, the Nokia 110 is built to last. Thanks to its robust, high-quality design, the inherently coloured body will take the knocks of everyday life like nothing. Plus, the contoured body is a superb fit in the hand allowing for seamless use. The Nokia 110 is powered by an 800mAh removable battery with a music MP3 playback time of up to 27 hours, talk time of 14 hours and standby time of up to 18 days, giving endless entertainment and connectivity at the fingertips.


From C4

"We are carefully but progressively rolling out 5G as we try to learn more about the technology and ensure its stability to ensure quality customer experience,” Sazon shared. Reiterating the vision of Globe At Home providing 2 million homes with Internet access by 2020, she stressed the need for more efficient deployment of fixed wireless technologies. “We continue to voice our cause of providing 1st world Internet technologies to all our stakeholders - customers, the government, technology partners, vendors and many others, to better serve Filipinos and guide them towards a digitally transformed society.” 5G technology enables the use of Internet of Things (IoT) for today’s intelligent homes. Internet connection that is faster, more secure and with lower latency brought by 5G significantly enhances entertainment and security systems at home, promising a digital experience that is more seamless, reliable and intuitive for the modern Filipino household. Learn more about Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G by visiting https://

NOW CORP BAGS UNIONBANK AS 1ST CLIENT FOR NOW FIBER AIR NOW Corporation, a listed firm in the Philippine Stock Exchange, has entered into a multi-year agreement with UnionBank of the Philippines for the provision of guaranteed broadband internet access in support of the bank’s digital transformation roadmap. The first activated site with a 1Gbps broadband connectivity via fixed wireless is UnionBank’s corporate headquarters in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The agreement with Unionbank strengthens NOW’s position to provide guaranteed broadband connectivity for enterprises via its fixed wireless network infrastructure that it has established in Metro Manila. NOW has pioneered “Fiber Air” and has since then became the largest fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband provider in the country. Both parties also agreed to explore utilizing NOW Fiber Air for its branches and for other sites owned and operated by the Aboitiz-led bank. NOW also announced today its entry in the gigabit era by providing gigabit broadband plans to its subscribers. The roll-out of its gigabit broadband plans will be available in Metro Manila, mainly for its enterprise clients. This is made possible thru NOW’s fixed wireless access (FWA) network infrastructure that it has established by using high-capacity and proprietary radio anten-

nas exclusive to NOW’s access to frequencies. “NOW is proud to announce: We are now offering gigabit plans of guaranteed broadband internet to our subscribers. Our technology allows for it. And we will push the envelope with our high capacity fixed wireless solution” said Kristian Pura, Head of Strategy for NOW Corporation. “This applies to prospective enterprise and retail subscribers. To our existing enterprise subscribers, please inquire if you desire a gigabit upgrade,” he further added. NOW Corp’s partnership with telecommunications affiliate NOW Telecom, allows for its Philippine pioneering FWA infrastructure, allowing for efficient delivery of high capacity, gigabit bandwidth internet access, both scalable and easily repeatable nationwide. NOW’s service positioning is its guaranteed broadband internet where advertised speeds are committed speeds to subscribers. The Company upgraded and quadrupled its capacity to 2.40Gbps in 2018, with technological costs lowering, and bandwidth capacity solutions increasing. It has connected more than 400 buildings with service coverage of up to 2km per building. “This inverse relationship between technological costs and high marginal value is the core element that keeps NOW’s business model thriv-

Shown here are (from left) Henry R. Aguda, SEVP, CTOO and Chief Technology Officer, Unionbank of the Philippines, Maria Francesca R Montes, AVP-Data Privacy Office, Unionbank of the Philippines, Paulo Martin G. Santos,VP, Enterprise Communications and Collaborations, Unionbank of the Philippines, Rodolfo Pantoja, Deputy CEO,Now Corp., Mel V. Velarde, CEO, Now Corp.,Kristian A. Pura, Head of Business Development, Now Corp., Raymond del Rosario, Media Group, Now Corp.

ing,” said NOW Telecom President Rodolfo Panto- increasing, we at NOW have the right footing ja. “Especially in the Fixed Wireless space, where to maneuver this competitive space,” he further bandwidth capacity solutions are exponentially added.


TECH & Gadgets SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2019 Riera U. Mallari, Editor



MD Global, the home of Nokia phones, on Thursday introduced the Nokia 2720 Flip and Nokia 110. The Nokia 2720 is a classic flip reimagined for today’s connected user: compact and tactile but transformed in usability, thanks to the integrated Al technology. The Nokia 110 is a feature phone that comes with everything that one will need for entertainment on the go—an MP3 player for music collection, an FM radio for streaming, favourite games such as the classic Snake and a battery that lets users talk from sunrise to sunset on a single charge. “As leaders of the feature phone segment, we continue to bring innovations in design, form factor and functionality to ensure we meet the diverse needs HMD Global unveils Nokia 110 and Nokia 2720 Flip in the Philippines. of our fans. Our Shown here are (from left) HMD Global Philippines Trade Marketing Manager Ding Son new Nokia feature Fernandez, HMD Global General Manager for Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand Sancho phones expand our Chak and HMD Global Philippines Senior Business Manager Charlotte Koa. portfolio to reach a completely new set Sancho Chak, 2720, the Nokia 2720 Flip brings back messaging, the Nokia 2720 Flip comes of audiences, delivGeneral Manag- the familiar tactile flip-phone design with a tactile keypad with big butering access to the er, HMD Global, Nokia phone fans know and love. tons so fans can navigate with ease latest features and P h i l i p p i n e s , With the Nokia 2720 Flip’s external and stay in control of what key they networks in a reliable added: “We at 1.3-inch screen, fans can see notifica- are pressing. The phone also comes and familiar Nokia HMD Global tions and messages even before flip- with enhanced usability features, inphone package. The continue pro- ping the phone open to its 2.8-inch cluding increased standard alert volNokia 2720 Flip is the vide fans with main screen to answer the call or re- ume and text size to make sure users newest model that we e x c e p t i o n a l ply. When finished, users can simply don’t miss calls and leave messages revived from our OrigiNokia 2720 Flip e x p e r i e n c e s flip the phone closed to hang up. unread in any conditions. Alerts can nals family that perfectly through our feature-packed Fans can enjoy clear HD VoLTE calls be made 50 percent louder and text balances the digital detox and accessibility needs of our fans. phones at irresistible price points. and fast connectivity with the Nokia 100 percent larger than standard. The The Nokia 110 brings our fans a fun The Nokia 2720 and Nokia 110 are 2720 Flip over 4G. They can browse classic flip also comes with a battery handset that packs in music, games, sure to keep our Filipino fans con- the web on their phone or turn the that lasts up to 27 days on standby, Nokia 2720 Flip into a Wi-Fi hotspot, meaning users can stay in touch with and the everyday essentials you ex- nected and entertained.” allowing them to connect a laptop or friends and family for longer. pect from a Nokia feature phone in NOKIA 2720 FLIP tablet to the internet when a bigger To ensure fans stay connected a modern, durable design,” said Juho —REIMAGINED WITH 4G screen is needed. with friends and family, the Nokia Sarvikas, Chief Production Officer, Inspired by the legendary Nokia Designed for effortless dialing and Turn to C3 HMD Global.


Globe at Home Senior Vice President and Head of Broadband Business Martha Sazon

MANILA, October 2019 — 5G is one of the levers that will allow us to uplift the lives of more Filipino families and help local businesses flourish by providing lifeenablement opportunities similar to those in more developed markets, according to Globe at Home Senior Vice President and Head of Broadband Business Martha Sazon at the recently concluded 5G Asia Conference at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Speaking in front of some of the region’s top tech thought leaders and operators, Sazon discussed the reality of deploying commercially available 5G technology in developing countries such as the Philippines from challenges with infrastructure limitations, to opportunities of uplifting families and enterprises through rapid digitalization. Further, she divulged on Globe’s unique strategy for faster deployment of fixed wireless access (FWA) to more Filipino households amid a myriad of topographical and logistical challenges. “Given geographical limitations and permitting issues for rolling out fiber optic cables, 5G has the promise of providing fiber-like speeds and experi-

ence, bringing such proposition to the market at a faster rate vs. Fiber as we leverage our existing wireless sites to rollout 5G,” Sazon added. Globe launched its first commercially available 5G technology for home Internet called Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G last quarter, cementing the Philippines’ place as the first country to experience commercial fixed wireless connectivity in Southeast Asia and second in the entire continent after South Korea. Air Fiber 5G comes with fiber-fast speeds of up to 100Mbps and generous data allocations of up to 2 terabytes (TB) starting at around P1899 (USD 36) a month. The technology promises to transform more Filipino homes into digitally empowered households, specifically among starting families and growing middle class families who deem Internet connectivity as a necessity for growth and learning. Air Fiber 5G currently covers communities with 120250 homes in selected areas in Metropolitan and Greater Manila with plans of rolling out in more areas soon. Turn to C3

EPSON’S ROBOTS AIM TO AID IN MANUFACTURING By Paul David Gelario EPSON'S SCARA robots, which aimto deliver high speed and accuracy to boost the country's manufacturing industry, was launched at the SMX Convention Center, in Pasay, last Wednesday. "Our core technology feature is high speed and high accuracy," Senior Regional Manager Visual Products and Robotics Solutions Division, Epson Singapore, Hayashi Seiji said. The lineup is powered by Sensing Technology, which combines Image Processing and Force Sensor that enable the robots to possess human-like sight and sense of touch. "Image processing is like human eyes, the robot can see," Hayashi said. "Force sensor is like human hand. It can sense touch." The lineup includes the N2 Robot, the LS3 industrial robot, the T3, and the T6 robots, with each having varying degrees of

specialties depending on industry needs. The L-series is the best seller in China, its latest model, the LS3 is engineered to deliver high speed and high performance in more sophisticated tasks such as electronic and mechanical assembly. It can handle a maximum payload of 3kg and has an arm length of 400mm. "The L-series is the best selling in China for eight years. As we all know, China is the leading market in robotics," Hayashi added. The N2 Robot is a 6-axis robot and the world's first to possess a folded arm structure for further improved maneuverability, efficiency, and precision. With a maximum reach of 450mm and a 2.5 kg payload, the N2 Robot is designed for assembly of electronic parts, medical components, and consumer products. T3 and T6 robots are designed to save space with their controller-less structure. They are designed for simple material

Regional Account Manager, Melissa Soong (first from left), Regional Product Manager Robotics Solutions Epson Singapore, Ellina Yeo (fourth from left), and Senior Regional Manager, Visual Products & Robotics Solutions Division, Epson Singapore, Hayashi Seiji (rightmost) with Epson's robotics experts. Paul Gelario

handling tasks such as test loading and unloading. Epson is the leading provider of SCARA

robots from 2011 to 2018 based on shipping history and unit according to a Japanbased company called Fuji Keizai Co., Ltd.

PH INDICATORS DEFY GLOBAL WEALTH DECLINE THE Philippine economy will remain one of the most dynamic in the region amid a marked decline in household wealth across Asia, according to the recent Allianz Global Wealth Report. Allianz released the Allianz Global Wealth Report, which assessed the global wealth and debt situation. The report showed a simultaneous decline in financial assets held by private households in 2018, the first time since the financial crisis more than a decade ago. Gross financial assets declined by 0.4% in emerging-market economies, but the drop was more pronounced in Asia (excluding Japan) at 0.9%, the report showed. This was triggered by a sharp 14% fall in securities such as equity and investment funds, although bank deposits and insurance and pensions grew healthily by 8.7% and 8.2%, respectively, in Asia. Savers worldwide found themselves in a bind, due to the escalating trade conflict between the United States and China, Brexit and increasing geopolitical tensions, the tightening of monetary conditions and the (announced) normalization of monetary policy, the Allianz Global Wealth Report said. “Despite these external factors, the Philippine economy grew by a healthy 6.2% in 2018. A slowdown is expected in 2019 but fundamentals remain very strong. Country’s expected GDP growth will be above that of many developed and developing economies.” said Efren Caringal, Chief Financial Officer of Allianz Philippines. Wealth and debt indicators also remained positive, even with domestic inflation rising markedly to 5.2% in June 2018 from 2.9% in 2017. Caringal added that headline inflation has since cooled down, falling to a near 3-year low of 1.7% last month. Philippine deposit and loan growth moderated in 2018: Consumer loans increased by 11.5%, against 17.2% in 2017, and deposits advanced by 8.9% (versus 11.6% in 2017). “This resilience is remarkable considering the hostile global economic context, and bodes well for short- to medium-term growth,” Caringal said. The 2018 Allianz Global Wealth Report found that global gross financial assets of private households fell by 0.1% and remained more or less flat at EUR 172.5 trillion. Global equity prices fell by around 12% in 2018, which had a direct impact on asset growth. “The increasing uncertainty takes its toll,” said Michael Heise, chief economist of Allianz Group. “The dismantling of the rule-based global economic order is poisonous for wealth accumulation. The numbers for asset growth also make it evident: Trade is a no zerosum game. Either all are on the winning side—as in the past—or all are on the losing side—as happened last year. Aggressive protectionism knows no winners.” Worldwide household liabilities rose by 5.7% in 2018, a tad below the previous year's level of 6.0%, but also well above the long-term average annual growth rate of 3.6%. The global debt ratio (liabilities as a percentage of gross domestic product or GDP), however, remained stable at 65.1%, thanks to still robust economic growth. The ranking of the richest countries/regions (financial assets per capita) is again topped by the USA, replacing Switzerland, not least thanks to the strong dollar. Singapore climbed to third place in 2018 capturing, for the first time, the crown as the richest country/ region in Asia. Looking at how the list has changed since the turn of the century, the rise of Asia becomes evident: The big winners include Singapore (+13 places) and Taiwan (+10 places) as well as—last year’s setback notwithstanding—China (+6 places) and South Korea (+5 places).

Destinations D1




HEF Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, fondly called Chef Nobu, is a very popular Japanese chef and restaurateur, well-known for his fusion cuisine, mixing traditional Japanese dishes with ingredients from other parts of the world.

Bernadette Lunas, Issue Editor




I learned that one of my favorite Hollywood actors, Robert de Niro, is a loyal fan of his cuisine and has partnered with the chef in opening some restaurants in different parts of the globe. I figure that, with a stellar name backing up such business ventures, it’s no surprise that all their restaurants have attained huge success. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I heard several years ago that a Nobu Hotel was going to open here in our city, and that both Chef Nobu and my favorite Robert de Niro were coming to town for its formal opening. Alas and alack, the day came, but I had to be out of town for a business engagement. I felt terrible having missed such golden opportunity. But I must have done something good in my early life, God has a way of eventually giving me what I want. Not too long ago, my friends at City of Dreams, the ultimate PR guru Charisse Chuidian and the hardworking PR director Romina Gervacio, asked me if I would be available for lunch with Chef Nobu.



BEER-HOPPING AROUND ASIA WHERE do beer lovers go to get their hops fix? Several places, actually. But lucky for us living in the Pearl of the Orient, we don’t have to travel all the way to US or Europe to chug a pint of exceptional beer. In celebration of Oktoberfest, here are four places in Asia that offer distinct brews.

Sapporo Beer Garden (

Kanpai in Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun may be better known for its sake, but people who know and appreciate a good pint know that Japanese beers hit the spot. From lagers to drafts and pilsners, Japan has more than its fair share of brews. Some of its popular brands are also available worldwide.


Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa poses outside Nobu Hotel Manila before his exclusive lunch with a group of Filipino journalists. (Photo from @therealnobu/ Instagram)

Maximize your stay: Check out JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo where guests can enjoy the wonderful views the city has to offer. Bonus is that it’s only less than a couple of kilometers away from two of the country’s popular beer gardens—the Kirin Beer Garden and Sapporo Beer Garden.

China’s craft brews (By Eric Prouzet)

Craft choices in China

Chef Nobu and his business partner, Hollywood actor Robert de Niro.

Chef Nobu showing us how to make great sushi in 6 easy steps.

My wildly ecstatic affirmative response said it all! So, there I was, with a motley group of Press friends who all came together, eager to know more about the chef and to sample his culinary masterpieces. From our tables, we could see him busy, giving instructions to the kitchen staff, probably making sure that the dishes served to us later would be of his excellent standards. When he finally positioned him-

self in front of the demo table, he was met with thunderous applause. He began explaining to us the importance of having the right ingredients, putting emphasis on how the right quality and mix of ingredients can transform an ordinary dish into a culinary masterpiece. He then demonstrated the six easy steps in making great sushi. These six steps involve the fingers and the palm of the hand, pressing the small Turn to D2

Craft beer enthusiasts will rejoice with the many brewpubs sprouting in the hutongs of Chinese cities like Beijing. Travelers can have a taste of Chinese culture while enjoying their beer, as homegrown brewers have taken to incorporating traditional Chinese ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorn and oolong tea in local craft flavors. Maximize your stay: To sample a range of Beijing’s hottest craft beers, book a tour on and visit up and coming breweries in the Chaoyang District.

Hanoi Beer Corner (

Hanoi’s Beer Corner

Soon-to-open luxury resort Adama in Siquijor features expertly designed rooms.

The resort boasts its own private white sand beach.


THE mystical, almost unspoiled island of Siquijor will soon be the home of a super luxury resort. Built within a 20-hectare property, the 250-room Adama Resort Siquijor, opening in 2020, boasts its own private white sand cove and top-notch

amenities that highlight the beauty of the province. The master plan includes a central foyer that highlights the island’s natural scenery; rooms that are expertly designed to take advantage of natural light enhanced by the use of

relaxing earth tone colors; and luxury cabanas beside Siquijor beach’s crystal clear waters. These masterfully designed amenities will be complemented by an exclusive butler service. The new development marks

8990 (HOUSE) subsidiary 8990 Leisure and Resorts’ first venture in the luxury resort category. According to 8990 Leisure and Resorts president Lowell Yu, the pioneering development will tap the Turn to D2

Immerse in a very local cultural experience at Beer Corner, where travelers and residents sit on little stools along the bustling streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter drinking affordable Vietnamese draft beer Bia Hoi. The refreshing lager is served ice cold, and is brewed fresh daily. Maximize your stay: Craft beer craze has also hit the capital of Vietnam with the likes of award-winning Pasteur Street Brewing Company taking the local beer scene by storm. Stay close to the brewpub and restaurant at the swanky The Chi Boutique Hotel, just a few minutes' walk away. Turn to D2






From D1

piece of fish on the rice using several fingers, cupping them in the hand, and shaping them with two fingers, and after the sixth step, they’re ready to eat. We were all given beautiful kitchen aprons, in case we wanted to try our hand in making sushi. Some did, but I didn’t want to expose my zero knowledge in the kitchen, so I just waited to try out the food the chef prepared for us. First, we were served Kinmedai, a wasabi soy cream and oyster mushroom, followed by the chef’s Sushi Cup Selection (Koi Fish, Hirame XO Salsa, Tuna, Tachiuo Sakura Petal, and Tamago). This was followed by a Green Salad, then by his favorite recipe, Black Cod with Calamansi Den Miso. Miso Soup was then served, and the hearty meal was capped with a delicious dessert made of coconut and pandan.

Belmont bags World Luxury Hotel award Four-star Belmont Hotel Manila reaps another international recognition as one of the winners in this year’s World Luxury Hotel Awards. The awarding ceremony was held in Rovaniemi, Finland on Oct. 12. The World Luxury Hotel Awards gather votes from over 300,000 international hotel guests in a four-week span to determine the top brands. Belmont Manila was nominated in three of the award-giving body’s over 100 categories, including Luxury Airport Hotel category for its convenient location across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 and accessibility via the upscale footbridge Runway Manila. It was also nominated for the Luxury Business Hotel category as voted by travelers who mix work, play, and pleasure; and Luxury City Hotel category, highlighting its proximity to Resorts World. Located at Newport City in Pasay, the 10-story business hotel has 470 well-appointed rooms, all-day restaurant Café Belmont, fitness center, business center, meeting rooms and function rooms, and an outdoor swimming pool Jacuzzi, kiddie pool, and rooftop bar overlooking the Terminal 3 runway.

Belmont Hotel Manila is a 10-story business hotel conveniently located across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Mövenpick Boracay one of Asia’s finest wedding destinations

With my idol in the kitchen

I could not believe I finally partook of a trademark Chef Nobu meal which he himself prepared! Having enjoyed Chef Nobu’s signature dishes, I made sure I had the chance to chat with him for a while. He was born and raised in Saitama, Japan and first worked as an apprentice in a sushi bar in Tokyo. He also worked for three years in Los Angeles, in Peru, then in Argentina, then back to Japan, then Alaska, before he settled down again in Los Angeles. It was in 1987 when he opened his first restaurant in Beverly Hills. The success of this business venture led him to meet Robert de Niro and Meir Teper, as both became loyal disciples of his cuisine leading the trio to open their first business venture in 1994. Now there are 41 restaurants and six Nobu Hotels all over the world.

YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE Q: Why does the giraffe have such a long neck? A: Because its feet smell really bad. Chef Nobu’s signature dishes are served at Nobu Manila which can accommodate 260 and has two private dining rooms, a sushi bar, floating water cabanas, two teppanyaki tables, and a Chef’s Table. I’m going back there again to try out some more of Chef Nobu’s signature dishes, this time, relishing the thought that I have come face-to-face with the worldfamous “Grand Master” of the kitchen. For feedback, I’m at


From D1

Mövenpick Boracay has a professional team that provides a full range of wedding services, from the ceremony down to the accommodations.

Sign up and stay at Discovery Subscribers who signed up to receive newsletters from Discovery hotels and resorts stand a chance to win a getaway for two. Four lucky winners will be drawn via electronic raffle on Oct. 30. Prizes include a three-day/two-night stay at Discovery Shores Boracay, Club Paradise Palawan, and Discovery Suites Ortigas; and one overnight stay at Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay. Winners get to relax at Discovery Shores Boracay’s spacious one-bedroom suite, enjoy a delicious daily buffet breakfast for two, complimentary welcome amenities, butler service at the beachfront, and roundtrip land and boat transfers to and from Caticlan Airport. A stay in Club Paradise Palawan’s cozy Sunset Villa Deluxe comes with daily buffet breakfast for two, use of resort facilities such as kayaks, and roundtrip airport transfers to and from Francisco B. Reyes airport in Busuanga. The one-bedroom suite at Discovery Suites Ortigas features a spacious bedroom with a separate living room, dining area, and a fully furnished kitchen. Guests get complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two and access to swimming pool and Fitness Center. The winner of an overnight stay at Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay enjoys a bottle of wine with cheese platter for two at sundown before tucking themselves in one of the cozy deluxe suites. A complimentary breakfast for two at Restaurant Verbena will be served come morning. Go to for more information.

Craft beers of Polilya (@polilya.mnl/IG)

Fill up with Filipino brews

To say that the Philippines is a beerdrinking country would be an understatement. Without going far, you can find a beer for everyone in the Philippines— from crisp pilsners to dark, sweeter ones, fruity, flavored kinds, light and bubbly variants, and the extra strong sort. A cold bottle is available almost anywhere: pubs, restaurants, groceries, convenience stores, and even at your neighborhood sari-sari store. Try something new: A weekend staycation in Poblacion, Makati will open up your world to an exciting new world of hoppy flavors, from your usual by-thebottle brews to on-tap craft selections. Check-in at Z Hostel which is within walking distance from a number of pubs with great beer menu.

Mövenpick Resort and Spa Boracay has been named as one of Asia’s best beach wedding destinations in the prestigious Hitchbird Wedding Awards 2019. It received a “Highly Commendable” rating in the Best Destination Wedding Venue in the Philippines category. As a wedding destination, the resort boasts a professional team that provides a full range of wedding settings and services. Couples can exchange their vows on the private beach at Punta Bunga Cove, which can accommodate 200 people and is blessed with stunning sunsets, or in the resort’s lush landscaped gardens, next to the cascading multi-level swimming pool. The resort’s chefs can create mouth-watering meals to suit every post-ceremony reception, presented in a choice of buffet and à la carte formats, including live cooking stations. Meanwhile, the highly-skilled pastry chefs craft amazing wedding cakes. Entertainment ranges from live bands to top DJs. With a total of 312 rooms, suites, and villas, the resort can host every guest under one roof. The indulgent 370-squaremeter Sol Marina Villa, which features a private pool, is ideal for wedding nights and honeymoons. Sagay Spa takes care of brides’ wellness and beauty needs.

Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay offers all the trappings that make for a relaxing staycation.


From D1

relatively undiscovered tourism potential of Siquijor island whose natural landscape can rival some of the most popular tourism destinations in the country. He adds that Siquijor’s pristine reefs, white sand beaches, and its reputation as a mystical island has captured the imagination of tourists who have visited the province. Located in the Central Visayas region, Siquijor boasts virgin white sand coastline, clear turquoise waters, pristine reefs, and enchanting waterfalls and caves which offer a more exclusive and exciting version of a getaway. During the Spanish colonial period, Spaniards called it Isla de Fuego (Island of Fire) due to the warm glow from the fireflies in the molave trees. Adama Resort Siquijor is the first of the 10 new hotels and resorts of 8990 (HOUSE), which are expected to be completed before 2023. Adama Resort Siquijor’s pavilion highlights the island’s natural scenery.



SWEET MOMENT. Jeric and Klea share photos on social media that make their followers finally ship their love team.


By Nickie Wang


N A sea of cutesy love teams, here comes an onscreen pair that offers a different kind of team-up exciting not just the television fans but the online denizens as well. Netizens have noticed the closeness between  Jeric Gonzales  and  Klea Pineda  especially with the recent photos and stories that they posted on each other’s Instagram.  And no one’s complaining because these two are making people want to fall in love over and over again. “We share a lot of things in common. And it surprises me how someone as beautiful as Klea would enjoy manly stuff like motorbikes. That makes her so

special she’s easy to get along with,” Jeric told Manila Standard in a pocket interview. Apart from the “good working relationship” they have, Jeric believes his tandem with Klea is well received because of the chemistry they have onscreen.  Viewers first noticed the chemistry between talented GMA Artist Center stars Jeric and Klea  in the suspense-drama series  Ika5 Utos, and have since looked forward to seeing them together in more soaps. “We appreciate that people start to notice our team up and the reception is really warm. We’ve done a few projects in the past but it’s only now that we are given this opportunity. I think people like our combination. We’re both tall, and our skin color, she’s  morena  and I’m fair skinned. I think they like that,” he said.  A homegrown talent of the network and winner of the all-original talent search Protégé, Jeric has consistently proven his

caliber in portraying different roles. Since then, he has become one of GMA’s sought-after leading men. He is also known for being musicallyinclined in singing and playing the guitar. Meanwhile,  Klea  was hailed as the‘Ultimate Female Survivor’in the sixth season of the original realitybased  artista  search  StarStruck. Soon after, she starred in the toprating seriesEncantadia  as Muyak, and in  Sirkus  as Sefira. With her tall, statuesque figure and striking features,  many have called her a future beauty queen.   This year, Jeric and  Klea  take their tandem to the next level as they headline GMA Afternoon Prime’s upcoming series Magkaagaw, a controversial drama that follows the story of a daughter who suffers from the consequences of the sins of her mother.  While mirroring the current setup of most modern couples today, their characters will introduce a story like no other as they get entangled in the secrets and controversies of their own families, harped on revenge and filial sentiments. “We’re playing mature roles. And


Nickie Wang, Issue Editor

I think our being so comfortable with each other helps a lot in executing the scenes that need us to look like a couple,” said Klea. “Working with Jeric is such a breeze, he’s a gentleman and a boyfriend material. I guess that’s what makes me so comfortable whenever I’m with his company.” Joining Jeric and Klea in the series are two of the industry’s versatile actresses: former on-screen rivals  Sheryl Cruz  and  Sunshine Dizon. Also joining them is actorpolitician Alfred Vargas. Catch the much-awaited return of Jeric and  Klea  in  Magkaagaw soon on GMA Afternoon Prime.

BINGE-WATCH VIU’S HOTTEST K-DRAMAS IN AS fast as eight hours after broadcast, latest dramas, variety programs, reality shows, and entertainment news are already available on VIU, complete with English subtitles. With features to download and stream content offline via the app, it’s definitely a must-have for Asian drama enthusiasts.  Hotel del Luna K-drama fans can binge-watch some of today’s hottest titles, including  Hotel del Luna, featuring 2019 BaekSang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress  IU, who stars as Jang Man Wol.  Yeo Jin Goo, last seen on  Absolute Boyfriend, costars in this spooky romantic comedy, where the duo works to service the hotel’s exclusively all-ghosts guests, and preparing them for the afterlife.

Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency Another title recommended for hopeless romantics is the latest historical drama, Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, starring  Seo Ji Hoon  as the newly crowned King of Joseon. He hires a matchmaking agency to transform his first love, Gae Ddong (played by  Gong Seung Yeon), from a commoner into a noble lady he can marry.

Strangers from Hell If you’re into more riveting, darker stories, then you’ll want to check out Strangers from Hell.  In this thrilling horror webtoon adaptation, award-winning actor and ZE:A member Im Si Wantakes the role of a young man who moves to a cheap apartment in Seoul for his new job. He finds, however, that his housemates, including Seo Moon Jo played be top actor Lee Dong Wook, aren’t exactly the cleanest of people, and hide much more sinister secrets than meets the eye.

SKY subscribers can now get their K-drama fix for only P99 a month on Viu Premium, with SKY. Viu is available for streaming on major desktop browsers, Android, and iOS. As a legit source of Asian content, subscribers need not worry about security when browsing or streaming content on Viu.   SKY’s partnership with VIU offer its subscribers the ability to charge their Viu subscription to their SKY bill. Residential SKYcable, SKY Fiber, and SKYdirect postpaid subscribers can choose between a one month, or a monthly recurring allaccess pass to premium Asian content that are not available on HD cable. To subscribe, visit www.mysky. now.

AN AUTHOR WHO’S CONFIDENTLY BEAUTIFUL WITH A HEART MISS Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach  adds another fabulous venture to her already dazzling list of accomplishments as she officially joins ABS-CBN Books’ roster of celebrity authors.  ABS-CBN’s publishing arm is thrilled to work with the host-actress who is also a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia & the Pacific.  “As former Miss Universe and a celebrity, Pia has been an inspiration to millions. As an author, fans will discover a new and surprising side of Pia,” said Mark Yambot, head of ABSCBN print publishing and Ide8.  Jonas Gaffud, CEO of Empire Studios and Mercator Artist and Model Management, also

shared his elation on the soon-to-be launched read. “We are very excited about this project since we believe it has the potential to appeal to readers outside of the Philippines.”   Queen P began writing her yet to be titled book in August this year, allowing her to discover and perk up her gift in writing. This undertaking has so far been therapeutic for the newest Kapamilya author, in such a way that it reminded her of her journey to becoming a beauty queen and her enduring pursuit of her dreams.  “I want to share a story of a girl who joins a beauty pageant. It’s not my life story but it’s

based on my experiences and the stories that I’ve heard and seen from other girls who have also joined. Different paths, different stories. I made this story really juicy, so these are all very real things that could happen to a girl when she joins. It’s really her dreams,” Pia explained. Pia is another top addition to the diverse roster of authors under ABS-CBN Books, which continues to bring the Kapamilya experience in print with its extensive fiction, nonfiction, movie-based, self-help, and inspirational reads.   Reign supreme with Queen P in her upcoming book, soon to be available online, in leading bookstores and newsstands. 

In a new book, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach has created a character who will be everyone's eyes in the world of pageantry—from what it takes to be a winner to life lessons that the beauty queen wanted to share with readers.



Desiree Carlos, Editor


THIS corner features pets of animal lovers every week. We hope new owners and those thinking of getting a pet will be encouraged to be responsible “furparents” through these features. We also hope more people will be moved to be kind to animals when they read about the great relationship that can be created between humans and animals.


For contributions, please email to and put My Furry Bestie as subject.

Seb, a three-year-old cat who was rescued by Save ALL from a trash bin when he was around two months old, enjoys a meal of boiled ground chicken or beef with grated pumpkin (kalabasa) and chopped malunggay leaves. He has a good appetite. He will also eat canned or dry food.


HAT does grain-free mean? What is Guaranteed Analysis?

Let’s admit it, cat owners. We do not really know what these words on a cat food label are all about. In “Choosing the Best Cat Food” by Vanessa Voltolina in PetMD, it was noted that cat owners do not really know what they should look for while reading cat food labels to ensure their pets will stay healthy and feel satisfied. “Questions abound when it comes to pet food label analysis, “ Voltolina noted. Voltolina shared what expert Ashley Hughes, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at American Animal Hospital Association-accredited Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, DC, said owners should look for on cat food labels. 1. Check the first 3 Ingredients. The best sources of protein for cats are chicken, beef, fish and lamb. To check if your cat will get enough protein from the food, check the first three ingredients on the label. “Pet food labels list ingredients in order of the weight of the ingredient, starting with the heaviest,” Voltolina said. “If chicken meal tops the list, it usually means more protein, says Hughes. Regular chicken is 80% water, which can move up the ingredients list even based on water weight — water that is then removed to make dry cat food. Products like chicken meal (and other protein meals) are dehydrated, meaning that if it’s at the top, it will provide an appropriate level of protein,” Voltolina said. 2. Check for food allergies. This may sound ironic or even weird but the common cat food allergy is fish, said Voltolina. “If a package claims zero fish products, or touts terms like ‘gluten-free,’ they can usually be trusted, says Hughes. But if your pet suffers from a severe allergy,

dry food use different standards. “For instance, 8% protein in a canned cat food isn’t the same as 8% in dry food (wet will be a lower percentage), since canned scan the ingredient list anyway to food contains 75-78% moisture and dry only has 10-12% confirm,” Voltolina said. 3. Grain-Free does not mean the water,”Voltolina said. Wet food contains less protein food is Carb-Free. Cat owners are worried about ex- because it has more water concess pounds and thus look for “grain- tent, Voltolina said. You can convert canned food free” food packed with protein. to dry matBut Voltoliter and comna noted that pare protein some grainamounts. free cat food Here is one may still be conversion loaded with method from carbs like Voltolina: potatoes and Divide the veggies. amount of “Rememprotein (e.g ber that 8%) by the properly prototal amount cessed carbs of dry matter can be uti(25%). Then, lized by cats multiply this as an excelby 100. Dry lent energy Matter Prosource and tein = (8/25) x are not necessarily bad,” Feb is such a sweet kitten who is so easy to 100 = 32% 6. Go for Voltolina said. take care of. Like Seb, he will eat anything. 4. Look for But his fave is fish with mashed pumpkin. natural food. “Natural” the Guaranmeans that teed Analysis. The cat food label should con- none of the ingredients were tain the “mandatory guarantee chemically altered, according to that the food contains the nutri- FDA guidelines. What about food labeled as tion levels, or labeled percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and “holistic?” “Leave it at the store, says moisture, “ Voltolina said. “Crude” here means the meth- Hughes. Since there is no legal od of testing the product, not the definition for this term, it likely quality of the nutrient, Voltolina won’t have much impact on your cat’s diet, “ Voltolina said. explained. “For organic options, check the “Also, although the guaranteed analysis provides a measure of package for an official USDA lathe various nutrient categories, bel, “ Voltolina said. "Organic" means it contains it does not provide any information relating to the quality of the at least 95% organic ingredients, ingredients in the food, its digest- not counting added water or salt. If it says "Made With Organic ibility or the overall quality of the Ingredients," it must have at least food,” Voltolina said. 5. Compare canned and dry 70% organic ingredients, exclusive of water or salt. food correctly. If the organic ingredients are Voltolina stressed that wet and

less than 70% of the total, “it can denote those ingredients as “organic” in the ingredient list, but no seal is used,” Voltolina said. 7. Figure out the ingredients used for flavor. Again, it is best to look for proteins in the first three ingredients to give your cat the flavor it wants. “If you opt for a food with a certain flavor, choose specifics over generics, such as ‘beef’ instead of ‘meat.’ This provides a better idea of where the protein originated,” Voltolina said. 8. Find out the kitty’s nutrient profile. There are two AAFCO labels: “All Life Stages” or “Adult Maintenance.” All Life Stages cat food meet requirements for a growing kitten (or lactating cat). The food will likely be higher in calories, calcium and phosphorus. For healthy cats, choose the “Adult Maintenance” label. 9. Check out the label for nutritional adequacy statement. “Check the label to ensure that the manufacturer has formulated its pet food to meet minimum nutritional requirements (aka it’s a ‘formulated food’). Do this by looking for a statement on the packaging, which will read: ‘[Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for [life stage(s)]’,” Voltolina said. 10. Look for Feeding-Trial food. The better cat food is one “that meets the minimum nutritional requirements ‘as fed’ to real pets in an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defined feeding trial,” said Voltolina. This will tell you that the food indeed delivers the nutrients that the food was formulated to provide. “AAFCO feeding trials are considered the gold standard. While not all pet food companies conduct these costly tests, those that do will tout labels that say so, “ Voltolina said. DC

SAFE AND CALM AMIDST THE STORM By the Pet Food Institute THE monsoon season is officially here and as the Filipino community gear up for the cold and damp weather, pet owners must also make the necessary preparations to ensure that their four-legged pals are safe and ready for the rainy season. Here are tips on how owners can keep their pets healthy during the rainy season.


A common problem among pet owners during the rainy season is how to keep their pets healthy despite having their physical activities restricted by the weather. There are several indoor activities such as playing fetch and learning tricks that pet owners can do to ensure their furry companions stay active and healthy despite the weather. Aside from these activities, pet owners are encouraged to give their four-legged pals a well-balanced diet in order to ensure that their

Small dogs need to be kept warn when it is raining. Put on clothes on them and please keep them inside the house. In photo are rescued dogs Sassy (dachshund) and Mags (mixed poodle and terrier).

dogs and cats get the right amount of nutrition to stay healthy. Understanding a pet’s metabolism system is the first step in helping them improve it. There are several factors such as age and weight that

LULAY will celebrate her birthday on October 16. “Lulay is the youngest among her siblings. She is one of the kids of our oldest dog Leeng, her mom na grabe sa ingay at tapang, “ says owner Leleng Jose. “Despite being a baby, Lulay reaches for me when I tell her to look up and does the pity look when I say ‘kawawa’ to her,“ Leleng adds. Leleng shares that Lulay “drinks milk and takes vitamins.” “I am sure we will never get tired of taking care of our furbabies kasi they are so loyal and lovable,” Leleng says.

CHURRI, one year old, is a very playful baby. “She loves chasing plastic balls and scratching the base of our couch,” owner Novic Santo says. “Churri mingles well with people and loves being touched,” Novic adds. “She sleeps all day and stays up way late at night, waiting for me to arrive from work,” Novic says. Novic shares: “We would share dinner before hitting the sack. Churri loves travelling with me and she makes sure no one gets left behind.” “She means a lot to me and I wouldn't leave her no matter what happens,” says Novic. Editor's note: These stories were compiled by admin Miks Lim of Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL), a SEC-registered animal welfare group that helps animals in need, and encourages and promotes responsible pet ownership, adoption of rescued dogs and cats from fosters, shelters and pounds, and spaying and neutering of pets to control animal population in the country, among others.

affect their pet’s metabolism. Consulting a vetCLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS erinarian is the best step to ensure that their pets During the rainy season, grooming is often are getting the right type of diet. overlooked however it is also an important part of a pet’s wellbeing to avoid them from acquiring A SAFE HAVEN AMIDST THE STORM bad infections brought by the humidity that will Finding the perfect shelter for one’s pets dur- compromise their health. ing the rainy season is easier said than done. Pet’s food bowls must also be regularly cleaned Pets, much like humans, require a dry and com- in order to protect their pets from bacteria that fortable bed to sleep in during the rainy sea- could lead to gastrointestinal problems such as son. Several breeds of dogs such as Bulldogs diarrhea and vomiting. and Chihuahuas, most especially cats like the (Source: Siamese cat are more sensitive to cold temperatures. Therefore, owners must constantly About the Pet Food Institute check their pet’s beddings to ensure that their Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the furry pals sleep on a clean and dry space to pre- voice of the U.S. pet food and treat makers. PFI is the vent them from getting sick. industry's representative before Congress and state Aside from providing pets a clean and dry en- legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; vironment from the rain, these shelters must also public education and media relations resource; orserve as a safe haven for pets when they seek ref- ganizer of seminars and educational programs; and uge from thunder. Several pets tend to seek com- liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the fort in the arms of their owners; owners may want companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat to consider letting their pet join them in their food and treat products, an industry with more than room in case he or she is spooked by the thunder. $30 billion in U.S. retail sales and nearly $1.5

Profile for Manila Standard

Manila Standard - 2019 October 13 - Sunday  

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

Manila Standard - 2019 October 13 - Sunday  

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