Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cebu to Cotabato, Dumaguete, Legaspi and Siargao

Cebu Pacific starts the year 2009 with new destinations from Cebu to Cotabato, Dumaguete, Legaspi and Siargao and additional frequencies from Cebu to Iloilo, Ozamiz and Tacloban with a PhP500 Go Lite All-in fare.

The seat sale STARTS NOW until December 19, 2008 and is good for travel from January 1 to March 18, 2009.

Starting January 10, 2009, CEB will fly three times weekly between Cebu and Cotabato, and four times weekly between Cebu and Legaspi.

On January 12, our thrice-weekly flights between Cebu and Dumaguete starts; while Cebu to Siargao thrice weekly service begins January 30, 2009.

Hurry, book now at CebuPacific, the fastest and most convenient way to book and pay for your flights. You can even block your preferred seats and pre-pay excess baggage through our website. Log on for other services like the fun tours and travel insurance or call 70-20-888 for more information.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Philippines Selling Government Assets

Here's an interesting insight on the Philippine Government selling its assets. Are all governments in nations bent on privatizing public enterprises/utilities?

Opening debate.
Why do the gov't always want to sell their assets or shares of some profitable assets such as Malampaya just only to decrease deficits. I read long time ago that they were bullish on Malampaya and it will provide us profits (billions?) in a period of time. And now, they are planning to sell their shares instead of buying, irony isn't it? Why they just focus on efficiency of our gov't agencies and standardization on their salaries, if they are really patriotic to our country and really really really want to serve the public. I think they just want to impress, and serve their own agenda so they can have pogi-points.

Rebuttal from an observer.

I think having a share in some corporation can help a lot to the goverment to gain extra income to add to a deficit budget of our goverment... yes selling them can also help but let us think what happen for tomorrow if we dont have any investment... having a share in some corporation are already a investment for the government, and investment that can help for the future... to our dear leader let not only think or look what are the possible solution to our present problem but let also look or investigate what are the effect of that solution to the future and i really know that selling a goverment assist can not help the future....

Monday, December 15, 2008

US-Philippines Military Exercise

Someone commented on the Philippine-US Military Exercise in Mindanao. It is worth looking back the Balikatan military game. 

The Balikatan exercise is indeed a great help for the Filipinos particularly in Mindanao. We are much secure with the presence of American troops and our confidence in the government has been restored. The peace and order situation in the area has improved and it boosts our economy.

Those who are opposing the Balikatan should go to Mindanao so as to experience what we are going through. The Balikatan must be continued and we are giving our all out support to it. 

Do you think the Balikatan Military Exercise has done good to the Philippines? 

Balangiga Bells Controversy

There is a new initiative to return at least one of the bells of Balangiga, looted from the town during the Phil-Am War. The initiative is being sponsored by the Balangiga Research Group.

Any recent update on the issue of Balangiga Bells?

South African Commenting on Philippine Foreign Policy

Below is a comment of a South African on the foreign policy of the Philippines. Read and please share your reaction to the article in the comment link found at the bottom of this blog article. Thank you.

I think the Phillipines should promote all aspects of the country.Ecconomic aspects and especially tourism.Before I left for the Phillipines on a vacation people here said I was crazy going to a country where rebels were abducting tourists and holding them for ransom(two South Africans were abducted 4 months previously)and I should change my destination to a safer country.

This is the biggest obstacle facing the Phillipines....people have preconceived ideas of the negative side...therefore more marketing of the country should be done by government.People the world over think the whole of the Phillipines are racked by bombs and abductions.They do not realise that it is the southern part where there are problems.

Take South Africa...crime is rampant here in Gauteng province but tourists are streaming to the Cape Province 1,500 from Gauteng,there is also a fairly high crime rate there but yet it has not affected tourism which brings in a large amount of foreign currency.This is because the country is marketed abroad.

The Phillipines should export more to South Africa and other countries and invite high level trade delegations to the cities throughout the Phillipines.More information about all aspects of the country should be sent to the rest of the world.Unless buisnessmen personally see what the country is like they will not invest there.

Irrespective of all the trouble in the Southern Phillipines and reports of disunity in the Senate etc they would definitely still consider buisness opportunities there.

Pinay Wants to Marry a Spanish Citizen

Here's a dilemma of a Pinay who wishes to marry a Spanish citizen. If you know of any solution to her confusion, please post it in the comment section of this article. This post was taken from one of the government forums of the Republic of the Philippines.

This is an unedited version.

"I am a 32-yr old singlemother and I have a 13 yr-old son from my ex-boyfriend who is a Spanish Citizen. I have separated with my son's father since he was 3 yrs old. I was told by a relative that it is possible for me to apply a for a Spanish passport for my son even if he was born out of wedlock. I tried checking in the Spanish embassy website but I couldn't find any information on this. If there's anyone out there who can help me get information about my son's case I would really appreciate it. I am a Filipino citizen and my son's father is a Spanish citizen. I only have an affidavit of acknowledgement signed by the father, which was required for my son's registration."

Abra Buys Power Plant from Ilocos Sur


In a move aimed at reducing its monthly obligation to the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) for the use of its sixty-nine kilovolts (69kv) sub-transmission line from San Esteban, Ilocos Sur to this town, this province's electric cooperative decided to acquire the facility.

Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) General Manager Loreto P. Seares Jr and board president David Guzman signed recently the agreement at the Transco offices in Quezon City.

Transco President and CEO Arthur N. Aguilar signed the contract in behalf of the corporation.

After the signing, Abreco and Transco need to wait for the approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the purchase contract.

"Our acquisition of the 40-kilometer 69-kv sub-transmission line will ultimately lower the monthly bills of Abreco member-consumers. We will also reduce system loss, lessen power interruption, and will have an improved service reliability," Seares said in an interview.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jeepney Fare in the Philippines

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Thompson Lantion announced on Sunday the P7.50 minimum fare for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) starting tomorrow, Monday.

Speaking at the Balitaan sa Tinapayan forum held in Sampaloc, Manila, Lantion disclosed the rollback and the minimum fare for PUJs is now P7.50 for the first four kilometers.

"Effective Monday, the minimum fare for PUJs is P7.50 for the first four kilometers and additional 10 centavos for every next kilometer," said Lantion.

Prior to Monday's rollback, the minimum fare was P8.50 for PUJs.

During the forum, Lantion also disclosed the roll back of minimum fare for public utility buses (PUBs). "The minimum fare for PUBs is now P9 from P9.50," he told reporters.

Lantion also said the LTFRB will also remove the P10 add on for the taxi fare starting Monday.

However, the LTFRB chief said the rollback is only temporary and the provisional reduction will be implemented until March 15, 2009.

He said the LTFRB will hold hearing on February 18, 2009 for the petition on rollback to determine if the roll back will be permanent or not.

"By Feb. 18, 2009, we will conduct hearing on the petition. And we will decide if the reduction will be permanent or temporary or if there will be decrease or increase in fare depending on the oil price in the world market," said Lantion, adding that the fare rollback does not cover FX taxis in the meantime. - PNA

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Manny Pacquiao Is A National Treasure

It's the big day Filipinos have been waiting for – the day Manny Pacquiao makes his big, bold move against boxing's Golden Boy himself, Oscar de la Hoya.  

Pacquiao intends to cement his hold on greatness with a victory in the dream fight billed as the biggest fight of the year. He will not only earn the biggest purse of his career. He will also attempt to claim the biggest scalp of all.  

Today, Pacquiao attempts to extend not only his winning streak. He also hopes to live up to the expectations of his countrymen. On his shoulders Pacquiao will carry the burden of a people hungry for an ego-boosting triumph.  

The task is easier said than done. De la Hoya is no gullible trial-horse set up for the slaughter. He may not be getting any younger, but the golden boy is definitely no pushover.  

In fact, the wise money pick would be de la Hoya. He is not only bigger and heavier, de la Hoya has also packed his corner with some of the best minds the sport has seen in the last few decades.  

The point here is not so much to enlist our people to rally behind Manny because he is a safe bet. It is not only also because Pacquiao might yet mock the experts once again and pull off a major upset.  

This is something about taking a stand and making a commitment. This is something about ourselves and our character as a nation and as a people.  

Manny has become the single, most credible point of unity for the country today. From Malacañang to the street that has become the refuge of the homeless, Pacquiao has elicited excitement like none other.  

Indeed, if this country has to rise above the din, if it has to climb out of the pit, Manny would have to play a vital role in that. For one caught who is in such a situation and who has willingly lived up to the role, the least that we Filipinos could do is rally behind Pacquiao.  

It is time to circle the wagons behind a man who has become a national treasure.  
One trait that Filipinos are often faulted for is our failure to unite for a common cause. The main reason why so few Filipinos make it in elections abroad is their penchant for putting up opposing candidates when one should suffice.  

Perhaps it is time we come to our senses and put a stop to all these unflattering reputations. For once, let us rally behind Pacquiao with a single-mindedness that leaves no doubt about our loyalties.  

Indeed, a national treasure deserves nothing less.  - Sunday Post Editorial, December 6, 2008

Say a prayer for Manny Pacquiao

Say a prayer for Manny Pacquiao.  

This request was made by Tagbilaran Mayor Dan Lim yesterday as the nation braces for the biggest fight of its most favorite son.  

"Tomorrow, he will fight the biggest fight of his career against Oscar "Golden Boy" de la Hoya," the mayor said.  

Lim, who knows de la Hoya personally and even has a photo in his office to show it, admits that the Golden Boy is "a worthy opponent, a dangerous one if I may add".  

"Indeed, a 'golden boy' who is more than a match to Manny as far as many experts are concerned," the mayor added.  

Lim said that while money comes to many people's mind when talking of this fight, there is more than money to it.  

"First of all, Manny has become a symbol not just of our nation but more importantly a symbol of hope in a country where there is little hope left," he noted.  

Lim pointed out that Manny was born to impoverished parents and naturally was deprived of education which could have been his way out of his poverty.  

"And yet, Manny refused to take no for an answer and set out in search of his destiny the only way he knew how. He let his fists do the talking," he said.  

Lim said Manny's victory is not only his personal victory.  

"It is not only a triumph of a nation. It will also be a triumph for persistence in the face of adversity, of hope in the face of insurmountable odds, of faith even when there is little reason to do so," he added.  

The mayor believes Manny knows how to make it.  

"He had faced far more daunting challenges in the past. He has been there. He knows how to do it. He will come out of it in the manner that we expect him to be: triumphant and great".  

Lim noted that many experts say Manny has met his match in de la Hoya. He said that the latter's size and weight advantage makes it easier to believe that.  

"De la Hoya's experience in fighting in heavier divisions makes it even easier to believe that," the mayor added.  

And yet, Lim said fights are not always won on size and weight. He said they are not always won on experience.  

"In boxing as in life, there are intangibles, factors that cannot be measured by human instruments," the mayor added.  

Lim said this is one of those fights.  

"As a Filipino, as a close friend, as a fan, and as a believer in hope, I know Manny will make it. There is no doubt in my mind that Manny's hands will be raised after they have done their part in the ring," he added.  

"Whatever happens, Manny's place in Philippine history is secure. He will always be remembered for raising the hopes of our people in a time such as this," the mayor said. - Sunday Post Newspaper

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Foreign Policy of the Philippines

This is posted by Maria Claria (display name in a government forum site). This is her independent opinion on Philippine Foreign Policy. Is there a need to redirect the Philippine Foreign Policy?

I think in the past years our foreign policy has been focused to Asia, U.S.A, and the Middle East. I have nothing against this, however, since most of these regions have gone quite shaky this days our interests if not our dependence might be taken with low regard by their respective governments.

What I'm trying to say is that why dont we find other potential allied countries to have more friendly and subsequently more trade relationhips. The Baltic states and the rest of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and the Latin Americas. The Baltic states are known to be stable countries, politically or economically. 

There is also as of the moment a burgeoning population of OFW's in Australia and New Zealand. Latin American Countries too are players in the Oil industries we could invite oil companies to invest in the Philippines, the more competition here the more healthy our economy might become. Our foreign policy is yet moderately open we have to maximize our full potential, after all our economy is quite dependent on foreign investors. 

Applying US Visa from the Philippines

Someone needs your opinion on this matter. She's planning to apply for a tourist visa to the US. If you know of any answer to the inquiry below, please post it in our comment section so that others may benefit from it.

My mother is a TNT in the USA for 3yrs is there a possible that my application be denied? Please help me. I'm planning to apply for a tourist-visa and this is my first time. I'm 32yrs old single mother and I have 3 children. 

My supporting documents are Land Title, COE for 10yrs working in a private company and well compensated, bank account amounting Php50k plus only and dollar accounts one is a time deposit with insurance (known as bancassurance) $9000 2nd is the dollar savings $2000 plus only, and credit cards. 

I've been to bangkok 2007 and hongkong 2008 to have record (tatak) in my passport. Anyone knows my chances if I present these documents to the consul?

Annulment Against Filipino Husband in the Philippines

Here's a question that needs your answer. If you know anything related to this inquiry, please post it at our comment section.

Hello, I just wanna seek advise or opinions from anybody outthere who had encountered this kind of situation.
"the question is; Is there any problem that will arise sa pag petition ng mga anak if the kids are using the family name of the 1st filipino husband in the Philippines? Kids age are 18 & 14

"Both filipinos were married in the Philippines, then got separated for years, then the filipina went to USA, later filed a divorce in the USA against her husband in the Philippines and finally married to a citizen after almost 10 years of being separated from the filipino husband. Marriage is not yet annulled in the Philippines."

Another question is: Pwede bang mag File ng annulment ang filipino na currently nasa USA against filipino husband in the Philippines? Since there's no whereabouts of the hsband for almost 9 yrs but for sure his still alive.

Filipina Spouse Visa: CFO Seminar Needed?

Here's a question from a Filipino who is ready to go abroad but stuck with CFO seminar. If you have the right answer, please leave it at the comment section of this website.

hello everybody, i just want to ask if i need cfo seminars because i have already passport with my name . i get spousal visa, my interveiw is this coming july 25.
what's that cfo for? they said so that we can get passport but i have my passport already, do i need to get the certificate? please i need your advise.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Iloilo Dinagyang Festival Update

The Dinagyang fever is on with the official launching of Iloilo's prime festival on Monday.

Sounds of drums filled the air as the caravan participated in by drummers of 18 tribes that signed up for the Ati-Ati competition passed along the major thoroughfares of Iloilo City.

The caravan was also participated in by organizers, sponsors and other stakeholders passing through J.M. Basa, Ledesma Streets, Timawa Tanza, Infante Ave., Lopez Jaena, Molo M.H. Del Pilar, Gen. Luna, Bonifacio Drive to Lapaz, passing through Huervana, Rizal and Luna Streets, to Jaro, passing through E. Lopez Street, Plaza Jaro, EL 98 Street to Sen. Aquino Avenue and ended at the SM City Activity Center, launching program venue.

The Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2009 executive committee reiterated its commitment of a fun-filled celebration despite a little delay in the implementation of lined up activities in its table of operation.

"Facing constraints of time, manpower and funds, the IDFI Board of Directors and Officers, together with its principal partners, the Iloilo City Government and the religious sector are working double time to lay the groundwork to enable the working committee groups implement their activities according to the festival's trademark of excellence," Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Incorporated (IDFI) vice president Ricardo Andrada said.

The festival's national launching will be held in Manila from Dec. 12-14 at the Mall of Asia, Tiendisitas and Greenhills Shopping Complex. 

Visit OK Bicol Showroom

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office in Bicol is set to launch the "Orgulyo Kan Bikol" (OK Bikol) on December 5, which will showcase all available possible products in the region.

Regional director Jocelyn Blanco said the idea of establishing a permanent showroom will serve as venue for possible buyers for new introduced local products.

"We will refer prospective buyers to our local producers," Blanco said.

The launching of OK Bikol showroom will coincide with the Exporter's Week celebration.

Blanco also said that new innovative indigenous products will also be introduced in the market. "The introduction of new products will help promote the Orgulyo Kan Bikol not only in terms of trade and industry but tourism as well."

Director Blanco added that association of exporters in the region have agreed to make their local products more attractive and competitive. "Our goal is to strengthen our business industry in the region to cope up with the economic crisis." - PNA

Ilocos Sur Road Accident Deadly

Two persons were killed and two others were injured critically in a vehicular accident along the national highway in Barangay San Vicente, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur Sunday night.

Police said the incident happened when an XRM motorcycle and a Honda Big Bike motorcycle traveling from the opposite directions collided.

Senior Inspector William Nerona, chief of police of Magsingal, identified the fatalities as Jay Pleto, 28, driver of the XRM motorcycle and native of Barangay Sacuyya, Santa, Ilocos Sur; and Reximelle Tabil, a backrider of the Honda motorcycle, of San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur.

Nerona identified the injured as Diana Martinez, an occupant of the XRM motorcycle and resident of Barangay Nansuagao, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur; and Viron Purisima Tabisula, driver of the Honda Big Bike motorcycle, and resident of Barangay Puerta Real, Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.

Investigation disclosed that the accident occurred at about 10:20 p.m. Sunday. Due to the strong impact, all of the victims sustained head and body injuries.

Responding policemen rushed the victims to the hospital but Pleto was declared dead on arrival at Magsingal District Hospital, while Tabil died on arrival at the Metro-Vigan Cooperative Hospital. - PNA

Aklan Weavers Ready for Global Demand

Local weavers in this province are bracing for possible global demand that might arise as the environmentalists' campaign for the mitigation of the impact of climate change.

India Dela Cruz-Legaspi of the Heritage Arts and Crafts said that Aklan province has been identified as one of the areas that produce the best natural fibers, abaca (Manila hemp) and pina, which are being supplied to malls as woven textiles and even to other companies.

"The year 2009 has been declared by the United Nations as the year of the natural fibers to also address the growing concern on climate change or global warming. Being one of the organizers of the annual fiber festival in Aklan, we hope to showcase our natural fibers that are abundant in the province," said Legaspi.

She admitted then that the province natural fiber resources could not cope with the global demand.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is one of the organizers of the fiber festival, representatives of big companies such as Rustan's and Shoe Mart came to the province last year for the festival. The Aklan products are also now being exported to countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Germany, among others.

Currently, other multi-national companies are turning from the use of synthetics and plastics to natural fibers. Among the products that needed to be converted from plastic material to natural fiber are surgical masks, vehicle parts, currency, among others. 

Olangapo's Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Newborn Care

Officials of Olongapo City inaugurated Tuesday the fifth Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Newborn Care (BEMONC) center here that will provide high-risk pregnant mothers with adequate and affordable emergency delivery service.

"This project aims to help further reduce maternal mortality, one of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), by providing emergency birth delivery services even for cases in areas far from Olongapo City's center," said City Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo who was guest of honor during the inauguration.

Olongapo City's latest PhP2.5-million BEMONC center is located in Barangay Barretto, a village where some 30,000 people reside.

Among the facilities the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) donated to this center are a suction machine, delivery table, infant weighing scale and minor surgical kit.

"These facilities can help bring about safer deliveries," said UNFPA City Project Coordinator Bel Dado.

She noted UNFPA also donated similar facilities to the city's other BEMONC centers in Kalaklan, Kababae, New Cabalan and Gordon Heights villages.

City health chief Dr. Arnildo Tamayo lauded Barangay Barretto's officials for establishing the center as he said this village is about 20 minutes' drive from the city center where the 350-bed James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) is.

"In ensuring safe motherhood, time is of the essence," he said.

According to Tamayo, a 24-hour patrol group of doctors will be on hand at Barretto BEMONC to assess if emergency deliveries can be done there or if these must be referred to more advanced health facilities like the JLGMH. - PNA

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tagbilaran City Hall Scandal

There is nothing new in the so-called expose of Tagbilaran City Councilor Zenaido Rama against alleged questionable items in the financial transactions of the city government.            

"It is just like the others before it," remarked Tagbilaran Mayor Dan Lim in reaction to the latest tirades launched by his erstwhile political ally turned bitter critic.            

Lim said that just as he suspected when Rama defected to the camp of Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso on his first day as councilor last year, Rama's role is to spread lies to destroy the city government.            

The mayor said that for those who doubted whether the move to isolate Rama, his subsequent acts removed all that.            

Lim recalled that the first bomb that Rama and his fellow destabilizers did was to sabotage the Blue Card program. He added that the accusers did not mince words in hurling accusations against people in the mayor's office who were allegedly involved in the anomaly.            

"As we expected, the accusations were proven to be a big lie. No less than the management of the ( Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative) admitted that the irregularities were committed from their end and apologized to the city government for the inconvenience that it caused," Lim said.            

The mayor said that nothing was heard from Rama and his cohorts, not even an acknowledgment that their accusations were irresponsible and unfounded.            

"They were not bothered about the shame and humiliation they caused to those whom they unfairly accused in pursuit of their political ambitions," he added.            

The mayor said the second attempt to destroy his administration was the concerted attack against the Botika sa Katawhan.            

"It did not matter to them that the only contribution of the city government was the office where it is located and the people who assisted Deputy Mayor Mario Uy in dispensing services," he added.            

Just like his first try, Lim said Rama did not hesitate to humiliate and cast aspersions on people who are serving the city and its people through a project that is the object of envy of other cities.            

"Rama and his ilk did not care that the city was put in an embarrassing position out of their fear that the project would be a threat to the political ambitions of his patrons," the mayor added.            

Like the first, Lim said no anomaly was found because there was none.            

"There were no cash donations but all come in the form of actual medicines," he pointed out.            

Again, the mayor said Rama and his backers did not bother to admit the mistake much more apologize for all the hurt feelings they have caused.            

Lim said there is nothing more to explain about the latest allegations made by Rama because these are the findings of no less than the Commission on Audit (COA).            

"The COA as a watchdog has not seen any impropriety. It exists only in the malicious minds like Councilor Rama and his fellow destabilizers," the mayor added.            

Lim said that Rama himself cannot make up his mind about his allegations.            

"First he said there are idle funds. Next, he is questioning the expenditures. If the funds are idle, it means that they have not been spent. If they are spent, they cannot be idle. This only proves that he does not know what he is talking about," the mayor added.            

Lim said that he does not need to explain anything because the COA itself does not find anything questionable.            

"The people who understand what we are doing are not asking for explanations. The ones who are demanding for it are those who refuse to accept any explanations," he added.            

The mayor said that if it is difficult to rouse a person who is already awake, it is much more difficult to explain anything to those who already understand.  - Sunday Post Newspaper  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Manila to Osaka Japan

Effective today, Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines' leading airline to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), launches its Manila-Osaka service at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

CEB president and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei leads the inaugural flight send-off, together with Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Kansuro and Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano.

"We are confident that the launch of our Japan operations will increase the accessibility between Japan and the Philippines. Osaka is our first destination in Japan and we believe that our trademark low fares can stimulate tourism to both countries," Gokongwei said.

The inclusion of Osaka in our international route network makes us the only low cost carrier in the ASEAN region to serve the major North Asia markets of Japan, China, and South Korea, Gokongwei added.

He said, "Our new service can also help open avenues for more business collaborations as well as trade and investment opportunities."

The thrice weekly service, using the 179-seater Airbus A320 aircraft, departs from Manila every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 1:40 pm and arrives in Kansai International Airport at 6:35 pm.

The return flight takes off from Osaka at 7:20 pm and arrives in Manila at 10:15 pm.

"There are many Filipino communities in Japan and our new service will definitely allow them to come home more frequently, or, perhaps, their families can visit them instead," Gokongwei explained.

CEB's lowest year-round fare for the Manila-Osaka service starts from P3,999 one-way, 40 percent lower than the current fares offered by other airlines for this route. 

Road Accidents Increasing

In response to the growing number of accident related injuries happening throughout the country, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and Red Cross Societies worldwide are increasingly working with their governments and other partners to reduce the number of road accidents as well as their physical, social and economic consequences.

PNRC chairman Sen. Richard J. Gordon said as National Societies play an important auxiliary role to governments in humanitarian matters, they can have influence in matters such as road safety.

"And as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has unparalleled access to communities worldwide through its 97 million volunteers, it can run effective public awareness campaigns and teach first aid at a local level," he said.

Gordon said that in 2005, more than half of all National Societies organized road safety first aid courses for members of the public, professional drivers, emergency medical personnel and police officers.

He said the International Federation and the Global Road Safety Partnership published a joint practical guide on road safety for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Gordon said drivers must wear seat belt as it saves lives. "Make sure that everyone in the car wears their seat belts before you start the engine."

Gordon said there are four major risk factors in road safety – not wearing a seat belt, not wearing a crash helmet while on board motorcycles, over speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Wearing seat belts can reduce the risk of death or serious injury by 50 percent in the event of a crash. This is the most effective priority measure for injury reduction and the easiest to implement to protect vehicle occupants in a road crash," he said. 

Money Changer Shops in Manila

Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim created a task force to strictly monitor all foreign exchange or money changer shops in the city with the expected surge people who will be exchanging foreign currency this Yuletide season.

Bureau of Permits and Development Office chief Nelson Alivio heads the task force.

Along with the creation of the task force, the mayor also warned the public to be extra cautious in dealing with money changers and make sure that they transact only with those whose operations are covered by the required permits.

Lim's warning came as it is during the Christmas season when Filipinos usually receive huge amount of money from their relatives working abroad.

The mayor also called on those who may have fallen victim or who know of any fly-by-night money changer shops to immediately report the matter to Alivio's office for swift and appropriate action.

Lim also said that the task force will conduct inspections on forex shops and, if necessary, coordinate with the police in case apprehensions are needed to be made. 

Fuel Price in the Philippines

As the world oil prices continue to drop, oil companies again reduced the pump prices of their petroleum products.

Four oil companies, namely, Eastern Petroleum, Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and PTT Philippines, said they will reduce the price of their gasoline, kerosene and diesel by P1 per liter on Thursday.

Both Petron and Shell said their rollback will take effect 12:01 a.m. of Nov. 20 while PTT said it will impose the rollback 6 a.m. of Thursday.

Fernando Martinez, president of Eastern Petroleum and head of the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA) said the decline in the prices of crude in the international market is seen to reflect in "an across the board P1 per liter rollback."

"If no one will rollback, I will definitely implement the rollback," Martinez added.

He also noted that had it not been for the peso depreciation, the rollback could have even be higher at P5 per liter.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said the continued drop in the world oil prices should also result in the decline in the domestic prices and this should also cover the month of December.

Monitoring conducted by the Department of Energy indicated that as of Nov. 17, 2008, the average Dubai crude dropped to US$ 54 per barrel from an October average of US$ 67. 

Euro Generals in Moscow

By Lilybeth G. Ison (PNA)

The House ommittee on public order and safety started Wednesday its inquiry into the so-called "euro generals" controversy.

In his opening statement, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Versoza told the House panel that all police officers who attended the Interpol conference in Moscow have returned the cash advances they made for the trip.

"I have directed the return of the funds that were disbursed to the Interpol participants. The status now is that it is already completed," he said.

He said although these PNP officials who attended the Interpol conference in Moscow are entitled to an allowance as required by law, he still directed them to return the money for the time being "as a sign of good faith" until the Commission on Audit (CoA) determines what amount they are entitled to.

Police Director for Plans Romeo Ricardo, on the other hand, said returning the money does not exempt the officers from presenting a liquidation of their expenses.

"The process of returning the money does not extinguish the process of clearing the cash advances made," he said.

PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome earlier said most of the eight officers who attended the Moscow event have returned the cash advances as of November 3.

The officers who submitted the full amount of P274,070 were Ricardo; former Director Eliseo dela Paz; Deputy Director-General Emmanuel Carta, deputy chief for administration; Director Jaime Caringal, Zamboanga regional director; and Director Silverio Alarcio Jr., chief for operations.

PNP Deputy Director-General Ismael Rafanan, chief of the directorial staff, on the other hand, returned a partial amount of P74,000, while Superintendent Elmer Pelobello, deputy chief for operations, returned P150,000. Both officials promised to return the balance within the month. 

Organic Farming in the Philippines

By Aurelio A. Pena

MAGSAYSAY, Davao del Sur - Cover your nose when you come to one of the compost pits at the edge of the ricefield -- it could stink to high heavens.

"Better get used to it," says Martin Amarillo, 47, grinning as he shovels some decomposing rice stalks into the stinking pit under the early morning sun.

Earlier, he had dumped in a pailful of carabao dung, chicken dung and entrails from fish. He learned doing this technique from visiting agriculturists from the nearby town of Magsaysay teaching farmers like him make organic fertilizer in this little rice village called Bala.

Slowly, but surely, many farmers in the Davao region are going into organic farming -- planting vegetables like cucumber, pechay, ampalaya, okra, patola, eggplant, string beans, etc., using nothing else but pure organic fertilizer they produced all by themselves.

"Chemical fertilizers are too expensive for us these days, we can't afford them anymore," says Amarillo who has his own two-hectare ricefield as well as a half-hectare devoted only to planting vegetables which are grown for local supermarkets in Davao City, 70 kilometers north of this village.

"Most of our earnings before go to buying chemical fertilizers, leaving us with almost nothing. Now, with our own organic fertilizer, we're beginning to see some profits," Amarillo added.

Over at Sibulan village in the same province, about 50 kilometers south, lawyer Koronado Apuzen, 58, president of Organic Producers and Exporters Corp. (OPEC), is even doing it in a big way--all his banana growers are using only organic fertilizer produced right at the plantation in the Davao highlands.

They all grow "organic bananas" for the Japanese organic export market which buys them at a high premium price per carton box--the only Filipino banana export firm going organic in a big way.

"It's beginning to pay off...We started doing this four years ago, producing only organic vegetables and organic bananas for export, back when they laugh at you. Now, many foreign buyers are looking for it," says Apuzen, who also heads Farmcoop, the country's biggest group of banana growers' cooperatives.

Apuzen uses a mixture of chicken manure, banana peelings, charcoal and coir dust to produce organic fertilizers at all his 80-hectare OPEC farms run by Bagobo-Tagabawa tribesmen at the rugged Sibulan mountain ranges here.

To fight sigatoka and other banana diseases, Apuzen uses a natural concoction of herbs which his tribal farmers spray on each banana plant.

"We've stopped buying pesticides and chemicals a long time ago and our profit margins are getting better," Apuzen said.

Most Davao farmers however are still dependent on chemicals which are draining away all their income from farming. Even before they start harvesting, typical farmers here are already deep in debt from using chemicals to kill pests and weeds provided by local traders.

"Farmers always find themselves deep in debt everytime they start planting and harvesting -- it's a vicious cycle over here. All the earnings from their farms go to the pockets of traders," says Anita Morales, executive director of METSA Foundation, which promotes organic farming among local farmers here.

But METSA's efforts during the last 15 years have won over hundreds of farmers to organic farming in the villages of Marilog, Tugbok and Calinan in the city's outskirts.

"Things have changed, but farmers before were forced to look for cash to buy pesticides and fertilizers in every stage of planting just to make sure their rice or vegetables grow well -- and this pushed them deeper into debt," Morales said.

To boost this growing organic movement, some 600 organic farmers banded together recently during the 5th National Organic Agriculture Conference here and vowed to put up a fight against "monoculture" farming by multinational farms that use excessive amounts of synthetic chemicals.

"All these multinationals producing cavendish bananas, pineapple and palm oil are the number one threat to the growing organic industry in Mindanao, endangering our food security," says Tom Villarin, head of Go Organic Mindanao movement.

Worldwide demand for organic products grew from 20 billion US dollars in 2001 to 33 billion US dollars in 2005. Some 30.6 million hectares of land -- a measly 2 percent -- are now into organic farming worldwide. In the Philippines, organic farming has hardly touched the country's agriculture farming, as only 0.01 percent of farmlands can be classified as organic, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA). 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why Travel To Dumaguete City, Negros, Philippines

Dumaguete is the capital city of the Province of Negros Oriental. It is located within the Negros Island in the Central Visayas Region. Dumaguete is also known as "The City of Gentle People" because of the friendliness of the people and the warm welcome you will get every time you visit the place.

Dumaguete has a land area of about 3,551 hectares. On November 24, 1948, Dumaguete became a chartered city of the Philippines .

Dumaguete is rich with historical sites as well as tourist attractions, both man-made and natural. Dumaguete is the home of the Cathedral Bell Tower that was built in 1811. The Silliman University and its Luce Auditorium and Anthropological Museum as well as the Rizal Boulevard are among the man-made tourist attractions of Dumaguete. Structures like centuries-old churches and historical shrines are abundant in the city.

Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete is named after the Philippine national hero Jose P. Rizal who made a visit to the city on the way to Dapitan to be exiled. Today, Rizal Boulevard is Dumaguete City's place for nightlife because it has a beachfront promenade and many landmark manors.

Natural tourist attractions are abundant in Dumaguete. There are beaches, forests, caves, mountains, lakes, underground rivers, hot springs, dive sites, and other attractions.

Dumaguete is predominantly an agricultural city. The coconut and sugar cane products are the city's top earners. Products like vegetables, rice, fruits, root crops, corn, poultry, and livestock are produced in Dumaguete and shipped out to other parts of the Philippines.

The construction industry is now growing in Dumaguete with the increase of the cement consumption within the city. The small-scale industries in Dumaguete are mainly focused on the cottage-based products.

The climate in Dumaguete City is great. The seasons are wet and dry seasons. June to November are the rainy months and December to May are the sunny months of the city. Dumaguete is seldom affected by strong typhoons.

Dumaguete has a seaport located on the eastern coast of Barangay Looc. The seaport has about 13,231 sq. meters of land area for operations. The seaport of Dumaguete has two lighthouses. The lighthouse that is operational is located at the top of the building of the Philippine Coast Guard . The other lighthouse is non-operational and is located at the Pier 1 entrance.

Dumaguete may be a small city but the city has many interesting sites that the people are proud of. To visit Dumaguete City is to be around people who are warm and friendly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gloria Impeachment Complaint Recycled?

Malacañang dismissed last night as just another "recycled event" the fourth impeachment exercise initiated against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the House of Representatives.

Speaking to reporters at the departure area of the Ninoy Aquino International Terminal (NAIA) 2 last night (Nov. 10, Monday), Press Secretary Jesus Dureaza said the "yearly" complaint is best left to the "competent group" at the House of Representatives to handle.

"You know, it (impeachment complaint) has already become a recycled event every year so we'll just leave this to the House of Representatives to handle," Dureza said.

Dureza -- who is part of the President's "lean contingent" to the United States to address a special session on Interfaith Conference on Dialogue of Civilizations of the United Nations General Assembly – said the congressmen would "determine what action to take" on the impeachment complaint.

"The Palace will not at all intervene or one way or the other interfere in these proceedings in an independent co-equal branch of government which is Congress," the Press Secretary added.

When asked how the President feels that another impeachment complaint has been filed against her, Dureza said the President remains focused on what she has to do for the betterment of the people, the country and the government.

"She is focused on governance, taking care of what we should do in the face of all the problems that we face in the world today, especially on the financial crisis," Dureza said. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

People of the Philippines vs Policeman

By Joe Espiritu
Sunday Post

The other day we attended a court hearing.  It was perhaps a simple case but what makes it interesting is the circumstances. We will not discuss the merits of the case since it is still going on. What is puzzling is the circumstances. It runs like this:

 An upland barangay of a nearby town held a benefit dance. The affair was allegedly disrupted by a policeman. The policeman was charged in court of violation of the law in a Municipal Circuit Trial Court by three barangay officials. Because of a full calendar or lack of judges or both the case dragged. A barangay election came and the barangay officials either lost or choose not to run. At any rate they are no longer barangay officials.

 The case is People of the Philippines vs the policeman. The accusers were barangay officials. That was originally. Now it is the People of the Philippines who are the accuser. If we interpret it right. The original accusers are now witnesses. Perhaps those people may choose not to pursue the case, they are no longer barangay officials. It takes time and money to come down from the upland barangay of the nearby town to attend hearings in Jagna. However, those people decide to see the case to the end out of civic spirit.

 We wonder if the present barangay administration of that place is supporting those three. We also wonder if the present barangay administration is also interested in pursuing the case. We hope that those present officials are aware that it was the barangay whose rights were allegedly violated, not the rights of the previous officials.

 We also hope that there is at least a barangay ordinance, which provides assistance to officials encountering difficulties in the performance of their duty or ex officials who will continue to pursue the case. This way, wrongdoers would not be thumbing their noses on those who have lost the election. It is not fair to let the poor slobs continue without support.

 To be a barangay official, a barangay captain specifically is not an easy task. No one is trained for that office from the very start. We elect him and expect him to perform and we a free with brickbats if he falls flat on his face. Well there are compensations, to be called Cap is quite a boost on one's ego but the Cap can be haled to the Ombudsman, or for not allowing one to get sand or strangled by an irate kagawad during a session or called a moron by an idiot elected by oxymorons.

 To stay as a Cap, one has to attend seminars until he can no longer understand seminars. He functions, as the king of the coop but has no veto powers. During elections he is a dispenser of largesse though his is suspected of pocketing a lion's share. Then, barangay elections are always an afterthought. Barangay elections are often postponed because of lack of funds. Those who are impatient to replace are waiting in the sideliners and doing some sniping to make his waiting worthwhile. Someday there will be examinations for candidacy. Someday we can be able to elect a Cap who will be able to locate the barangay hall without asking around.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Freeing Bohol From Poverty? How About The Talibon Dam Irrigation Scam?

  The Asian Development Bank (ABD) country director, the Nigerian charge d' affaires and two Cabinet secretaries committed to help free more Boholanos from the shackles of poverty during the recent poverty reduction and development initiatives fair at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City.

  Representatives of other government departments, the World Bank, foundations, funders and other development partners however also trooped to the cultural center to listen to the speakers and to view and study project proposals prepared by the different towns and city, as well as groups of towns called the Bohol Integrated Area Development (BIAD) clusters.

  Gov. Erico Aumentado welcomed the participants to the activity the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) calls "a marketplace of development initiatives for poverty reduction and economic growth." PPDO organized the fair.

  Aumentado said while Bohol is already safely out of Club 20 – the country's 20 poorest provinces as listed before his watch as governor, there is still much to be done.

  Bohol was 41st among 79 provinces according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2005 Human Development Report. Last year, Bohol rose 11 notches higher, being listed by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) at 52nd place, he said. Licking insurgency, he explained, definitely pulled Bohol out of the infamous club, he said.

  He called on the participants to help Bohol sustain the momentum in the province's fight against poverty.

  For her part, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral congratulated Aumentado and the local leaders for their efforts in lifting the province up and away from poverty – a point that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo always tells her Cabinet even when the governor is not around.

  Aumentado used to sit in the Cabinet when he headed both the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and the umbrella organization Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

  Cabral said with Bohol's efforts to march away from poverty, she looked forward to the day when the future DSWD secretary will visit the province not as a social worker anymore but as a tourist. That would mean Bohol has finally licked not only insurgency but poverty as well, although "this may not happen yet in our lifetime."

  "It gladdens the heart to see local government officials help empower the citizens. This is the key to overcome poverty – improve the people's capacity to earn and provide for themselves. Bohol is in the right track in economic growth," she sa9id.

  Meanwhile, Charge d' Affaires Ndubuisi Amaku of Nigeria congratulated Bohol for its efforts in the face of the looming global crisis – and lauded the provincial leaders for being on the right development track.

  The global financial, food and oil crises, he said, have given the world the opportunity to review economic theories and practices easily taken for granted before, he said.

  It used to be that in poverty reduction, the government had a minimal role to play. There has been a paradigm shift from this theory: now, there is no economic development if the government does not play an active role towards attaining it, he said.

  For his part, lawyer John Vistal, provincial planning officer, said he was eager to already make the big jump from poverty reduction to wealth creation through the development of the towns and where possible, through the five BIAD clusters

  He presented the rationale and expected outcomes of the fair, and the project highlights of the BIADs.

  By developing the Provincial Development Monitoring System (PDMS) where 12 indicators determine the level of deprivation of basic, social and other services that a local government unit, down to the household level, is suffering from, the government can prioritize the most deprived ones and match their projects with the "expertise" and forte of funders.

  This way, the approach to poverty reduction is more strategic, guided further by Bohol's new focus towards economic growth through Aumentado's Ten-Point Agenda: agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, managing population growth, improving health and social well-being, attaining environmental sustainability, expanding economic opportunities, fostering creativity, peace and development in the communities and better governance.

  On the other hand, ADB Country Director for the Philippines Neeraj Jain said the fair, an innovative event, was timely as the development community is vigorously searching for opportunities to promote inclusive growth.

  He observed that the Philippines is one of the most decentralized countries in the region. Decentralization, he said, gives communities the power to take decisions for utilization of development funds.

  .Jain said he sees the fair as an important step to inclusive growth.

  "It is home-grown initiatives like these that have assisted Bohol achieve phenomenal results and become a case study of successful poverty reduction and inclusive growth in the Philippines," he said.

  The development community talks of programmatic approaches to development. With its multidimensional approach to poverty reduction, Bohol has in fact created a few lessons for the development community to learn from, he said.

  ADB assists LGUs by providing loans and grants for investments provided that these meet basic criteria. - June Blanco, Sunday Post

Impeachment of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) has expressed full support to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration and strongly condemned the impeachment complaint filed against her before the House of Representatives.

  In a recent meeting at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, the LPP National Executive Board (NEB) passed Resolution No. 2008-03 that declared the impeachment complaint as untimely, divisive, destructive and against national interest especially in this time of economic crisis.

  The NEB unanimously approved the resolution introduced by Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado that also urged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other civil society groups not to support the impeachment move.

  The resolution said there is a global financial crisis generated by the economic meltdown in the United States of America and major economies in the world which is threatening the world economy.

  This critical juncture of the world economy among governments demand for the people's unity and cooperation especially among the Filipinos, the resolution added.

  It also proposed a solution to overcome the financial crisis – instead of dividing the Filipino nation, the people must be united and work together to overcome the crisis and turn the economic challenges of economy to opportunities of growth, development and progress.

  The resolution likewise stated that impeachment is usually politically motivated, divisive and destructive, thereby hampering the attainment of the common weal of the people.

  The governors furnished Speaker Prospero Nograles and the chair of the House Committee on Justice, CBCP head Bishop Angel Lagdameo for his information and consideration and President Arroyo with copies of the resolution.

  Eastern Samar Gov. and LPP Secretary General Ben Evardone certified the resolution as true and correct, attested by Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. and Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, LPP national chair and president, respectively. - June Blanco, Provincial Government of Bohol Reporter

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bulacan Police Chiefs Reassigned

In line with the transformation program being implemented by Top "Mamang Pulis" PNP Chief Director General Jesus A. Versoza, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) has effected the reassignment of eight police Superintendents and four Chief Inspectors to nine key municipalities in the province and at the provincial police headquarters here.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Allen Bantolo said six police Superintendents were assigned in the towns of Calumpit, Pulilan, Bulakan, Norzagaray, Sta. Maria and Bocaue while three police Chief Inspectors were reassigned to the towns of Bustos, Obando and San Ildefonso.

Two police Superintendents and one Chief Inspector were also reassigned at the Police provincial headquarters, Bantolo added.

Reaasigned to their new positions as Chief of Police are Supt. Ronald "DJ" de Jesus, Bocaue Police Station; Supt. Efren Ramos, Calumpit PS; Supt. Alfredo Modestano, Pulilan PS; Supt. Miguel Atienza, Bulakan PS; Supt. Feliza Manaig, Norzagaray PS and Supt. Marcos Rivero, Sta. Maria PS.

Chief Inspector Rizalino Andaya was reassigned as police of San Ildefonso police station while Chief Inspectors Gerardo Andaya and Dale Soliba were reassigned as police chiefs of the Bustos police station and Obando police station, respectively.

Also reassigned at the police provincial headquarters are Supt. Rommel Salac, Police Community Relations Branch; Supt. Jesus Reyes, Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Bureau and Chief Inspector Camilo Lintao, PHQ.

Bantolo said that based on Special Orders number 185 and 186 signed by Supt. Liberato DJ Elemos, deputy director for administration, the present assignments of the reassigned police superintendents and chief inspectors took effect last October 15.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Philippine Women Skin

By Pepper Teehankee

How well do women really know their skin? L'Oreal Paris dedicated seven years of research to give women the product to achieve younger and more radiant looking skin.

With the aim to promote youthful looking skin, Glowie Ramiro-Robillo, L'Oreal Paris marketing manager, gave a talk at The Spa at Bonifacio High Street about how L'Oreal Paris continuously brings out the beauty every woman deserves.

Junior product manager for L'Oreal Paris Dermo and Body Expertise Sep Cimafranca revealed Derma Genesis, explaining the two key complementary ingredients of this anti-ageing skincare range — namely Pro-Xylane, a patented anti-aging molecule which is biodegradable, non-bioaccumable and non-ecotoxic and naturally derived to create the optimal cellular environment for the creation of new cells; and Hyaluronic Acid, a powerful natural moisturizer and replumper known by dermatologists.

Together, these two ingredients help create new cells (upper layers of the epidermis) for visibly young skin. Guest speaker and dermatologist Flordeliz Abad-Casintahan enlightened the guests about the skin and how aging takes place as early as in the 20s due to stress, sun exposure and other factors. She furthered on the importance of Pro-Xylane and Hyaluronic Acid as vital components of the skin.

The Penelope Award was given to Alyanna Martinez who exuded confidence with her youthful, smooth and radiant skin. Guests also enjoyed cocktails prepared by Cav and got pampered with spa treatments from The Spa. Everyone got to bring home a L'Oreal Paris shoulder bag filled with Derma Genesis products as well.

Mandarin Oriental, Manila: Makati's Capital for Chinese New Year

Mandarin Oriental, Manila has become Makati's capital for the Chinese New Year festivities and was again at the forefront with a celebration "to welcome the moon" on the eve of the Autumn Moon Festival.

The event was held at the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, where revelers dressed in elegant Chinoiserie were treated to a celebration hosted by Max Tiu, who also serenaded the diners with Chinese love songs. A traditional paai shan and lantern ceremony was led by geomancer Joseph Chau as he blessed the audience and their lucky objects with good "chi" to drive away bad luck or misfortune.

The luck of the raffle prize winners had begun that night, as they took home various hotel gift certificates presented by Mandarin Oriental executive assistant manager Florian Kittler and Chau. Grand prize winner Jose Marcelo Lim walked home with a trip for two to Macau courtesy of Philippine Airlines plus a two-night stay at a Club Resort View room at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau.

Guests were treated to a buffet prepared by the restaurant's resident Chinese chef Hann Furn Chen. Others who welcomed the Autumn moon were Philippine Airlines' passenger sales executives Cesar Enciso and Orty Liscano, Star columnist Wilson Lee Flores, Yvette Tan, Anson Yu, Sharlene Tan, Linda and Vincent Chau, Pauline Lim, Lolita Ching, Elizabeth Yap, Virgina Cheng and Louie Cruz.

Young Designers Guild (YDG)

By Luis Espiritu Jr.

"The future is with the Youth" is a saying so often said of every generation of tomorrow. It maybe quite tiring to hear it at times but it speaks of greater truths that mold the future. All flourishing industries are brimming with young creative and artistic minds ready to take their first step into the real world. In the local fashion industry, one of the pioneering design groups that cultivate and develop emerging talents is the Young Designers Guild (YDG). The guild, which has been in existence for more than a decade, boasts of impressive alumni and has produced some of the countries most brilliant designers namely Jojie Lloren (former president of the Fashion and Design Council Of the Philippines), Dennis Lustico, Dong Omaga Diaz (current FDCP president), Avel Bacudio, the late Mel Vergel de Dios, Robbie Lolin, Ivarluski Aseron and Joey Samson. Its current members are Patty Eustaquio (president), Mitzi Quilendrino, Louis Claparols, Reian Mata, Brian Leyva, Ciara Marasigan-Serumgard, Jon Herrera and Ferdie Abuel.

 This year, YDG welcomes a new breed of promising design talents who will hopefully make their mark in the local landscape. Their distinct aesthetics and individualistic approach to fashion is definitely worthy of style attention. Adding color to the design community are designers Eric de los Santos, Veejay Floresca, Jerome Lorico, Regine Dulay and Aris Lagat. Inventive, creative, experimental, irreverent and adventurous, these aspiring artists to watch out for are definitely the best of the young and the restless. - The Philippine Star

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Change the Philippine Constitution? Again?

Bohol Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera Friday said he admires Rep. Adam Relson Jala of Bohol 's third congressional district for his move to ask the Supreme Court to decide on one of the most controversial issues in the country today.

Jala on Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court to allow both Houses of Congress to vote as one in a constituent assembly to change the Philippine Constitution.

In a 35-page petition for certiorari, Jala asked the High Court to declare as unconstitutional Rule 20, Section 40 of the rules of the House of Representatives, which states that congressional chambers in a constituent assembly must vote separately to amend the Constitution.

"He made the right move to put the issue in the proper perspective," declared Herrera in a phone interview.

The vice-governor said that with his petition, Jala made sure that the issue is decided on its merit in the proper forum.

More importantly however, the vice-governor said the petition made sure the issue will be debated openly and people will know where they will stand.

"There are useless debates and there are debates which will accomplish something concrete. This one belongs to the second group," he added.

The vice-governor said the issue has long been talked about but Jala made sure it will go someplace definite.

"With the petition, the Supreme Court will decide either in favor of it or against it," he pointed out.

Herrera, a lawyer, said that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the petition, it will set the stage for the next move of those who want Congress to vote as a constituent assembly. - Bohol Sunday Post

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Real Estate Opportunity in Cebu City

Two more major developers have informed Cebu City officials of their plan to present an offer to buy lots at the South Road Properties (SRP), but they will have to wait until the first sale to Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) is finalized.

But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena said the city has to close a deal with the FLI first or any other developer that will match its offer, before they entertain other buyers.

FLI has submitted to Osmena an unsolicited proposal to buy 10 hectares of SRP worth P2 billion and to develop in a joint venture with the city government another 40 hectares of SRP.

Osmena on Wednesday filed a one-month leave of absence to travel to the United States to seek a second opinion on the reportedly cancerous mass the size of a small chicken egg found in his urinary bladder.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama, the City Council and the Joint Venture Selection Committee (JVSC) for the SRP will go ahead with the sale to FLI even without Osmena.

Cebu City Administrator Francisco Fernandez, chairman of the JV-SC, said that no one has expressed interest to challenge the unsolicited proposal of FLI yet, which intends to buy 10 hectares of land and develop 40 hectares under a joint venture with the city.

"There are no interested challengers for the Filinvest offer so far, but there are two other developers who have already sent feelers and want to know if they send their proposals, will these be acceptable to the city," he said.

The interested parties want to buy other portions of the 302-hectare SRP but have not specified the areas and the lot sizes. - PNA

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Imprisonment for Drug Manufacturers in Davao City

By Ben Arche, Manila Bulletin

Two men and a woman were each sentenced to life imprisonment for manufacturing prohibited drugs and delivery of various drug apparatus and other paraphernalia.

RTC Branch 9 Presiding Judge Romeo C. Albarracin convicted Jed Pilapil Sy, Jong Pilapil and Carlos Sy after the prosecution proved their guilt on the charges filed against them.

The convicted shabu producers were among those arrested following the death of several Oriental-looking men inside a drug laboratory in Barangay Dumoy, this city, on Dec. 26, 2004.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 11 arrested the shabu makers during the raid of a clandestine laboratory for dangerous drugs in the city.

The court also ordered the accused to pay P500,000 each for the delivery of apparatus and another P5 million each for manufacturing of illegal drugs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Out-of-School-Youth (OSY) at Youth with Disabilities (YWD)

Pinasalamatan ng labinlimang (15) out-of-school-youth (OSY) at Youth with Disabilities (YWD) mula sa siyam na bayan ng lalawigan ng South Cotabato at Koronadal City ang Information Technology Literacy Program ng pamahalaan na ipinatutupad ng South Cotabato Provincial Government, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), Engineers without Borders (EWB) of Canada at iba pang ahensiya ng pamahalaan at NGOs.

Ang proyekto na pinanganlang Sharing Computer Access Locally and Abroad (SCALA) ay naglalayong matulungan ang mga 15-24 taong-gulang na kabataang mahihirap at interesado na magkaroon ng kaalaman sa Computer at information technology. Ang pagsasanay ay isinasagawa sa SCALA Office sa provincial Capitol Compound sa loob ng anim na buwan sa pamamagitan ng tulong pinansiyal mula sa South Cotabato provincial government at PSWDO.

Inihayag ni SCALA center in-charge Ma. Corazon M. Obenieta sa Philippine Information Agency na ang proyekto na sinimulan noong July 2007 ay nakapagpatapos na ng tatlong batch ng grupo ng 15 recipients. Ayon kay Obenieta malaking tulong ang proyektong SCALA sa mga OSY at YWD ng lalawigan upang sila ay maging produktibo at mabuting mamamayan ng lipunan.

Ang SCALA ay tumutulong din sa pagbibigay sa mga kabataan ng access para sa mga scholarship grants, TESDA examination, Job Searching at counseling, Medical, Financial at Food Assistance at Livelihood opportunities. - PIA

Group of Friends on Myanmar: ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations

Pinapurihan ng UN Secretary General at ng "Group of Friends on Myanmar" ang ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations na matagumpay na nanguna sa pag-abot ng tulong sa mga biktima ng Cyclone Nargis sa Myanmar.

Sa pagpupulong ng "Group of Friends on Myanmar" na pinangunahan ni UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, taos puso nitong pinasalamatan si ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan sa maayos na pangangasiwa at pagbibigay suporta nito sa Tripartite Core Group sa Yangon na nakikipagtulungan sa isinasagawang humanitarian operations.

Pinapurihan din ni Mr. Javier Solan, High Representative ng European Union (EU) ang ASEAN-led Humanitarian Operations kung saan sa pamamagitan nito nagkaroon ng pagkakataon ang international community na makipagtulungan sa ASEAN at Myanmar.

Malugod namang pinasalamatan ni Dr. Surin ang UN Secretary General sa suporta nito sa isinagawang humanitarian operations sa Myanmar kasabay ng pag-asang patuloy na susuportahan ng UN ang isasagawang humanitarian operations sa hinaharap. - PIA

Bacolor Rehabilitation Council (BRC)

Nilagdaan ni Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ang isang batas na nagtatatag ng Bacolor Rehabilitation Council (BRC) na may layuning tapusin at kompletuhin ang rehabilitasyon ng bayan ng Bacolor, Pampanga na natabunan ng lahar, volcanic ash at debris sa pagputok ng Mt. Pinatubo noong 1991.

Kabilang sa mga isasagawa ng BRC ay ang pagbuo ng comprehensibong plano para sa pagsasaayos ng nabanggit na bayan na isusumite kay Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo para sa approval at ang masusing pagmomonitor para sa pag-unlad at implementasyon ng ginawang rehabilitation plan.

Ang Senate version ng nabanggit na batas ay inaprubahan sa ikatlo at final reading nito noong ika-8 ng Setyembre taong kasalukuyan na orihinal na isinumite ni Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, chairman ng Senate committee on local government.

Sa ilalim ng batas, mahigit P1.5 bilyon na special funds nito ay kukunin sa 2009 General Appropriations Act (GAA) para sa rehabilitasyon at pagsasaayos ng mga lugar na naapektuhan ng lahar. - PIA

BBC News Insults the Filipino Nation

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez voiced willingness Tuesday to join groups protesting a "racist" portrayal of a Filipino domestic worker by British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC).

Gonzalez told a radio interview that he is willing to sign a petition protesting the supposedly racist and humiliating portrayal of a Filipino helper in the show "Harry and Paul."

"If I am going to be asked, I will join that. I don't like our fellow Filipinos to be insulted," he said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

But Gonzalez also said some groups in the country may be partly to blame for the slur, saying their criticisms of each other in public "encouraged" foreigners to make fun of Filipinos.

"Kaya lang kung minsan tayo rin ang nagpapahiya sa atin. Araw-araw binabanatan natin ang sarili natin. Wala tayong hinahanap kundi ang masama sa Pilipinas kaya lumalabas sa ibang bansa, ganoon (We are the ones shaming ourselves. We criticize each other in public so frequently that foreigners take it as an encouragement to insult us too)," he said.

"Siguro sabihin nila, sila mismo nagbabanatan eh (Foreigners may be thinking, what's wrong with insulting Filipinos if they insult each other all the time)," he added.

Earlier reports said the Philippine Embassy has sent letters of complaint to various United Kingdom government offices, including the UK regulatory industry, the Mayor of London, and the BBC itself.

The controversial skit aired in the September 26 episode of "Harry and Paul" showed comedian Harry Enfield telling a postman that he is ordering his Filipino maid to mate with his friend Paul Whitehouse.

Akbayan Representative Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel said the supposed young Filipina, who was wearing a gray uniform and an apron, was shown "gyrating and dancing lasciviously."

"He (Enfield) kept ordering the girl to gyrate and dance in front of Paul and even instructed her to hump him," Hontiveros said in a statement.

She said the humiliating portrayal of Filipina workers "promotes negative stereotypes that cultivate impunity among those who abuse Filipina workers abroad." - GMANews.TV

Monday, October 6, 2008

ABS-CBN and the Philippine Media

An Editorial of Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper

One of the positive developments to come out of the recent Court of Appeals (CA) scandal was the reporting trend which ABS-CBN brought into motion. Definitely, it was a learning experience for the giant broadcast company as it is for the rest of the Philippine media .

 In case people missed it, ABS-CBN always indicated in its news reports on the controversy that the broadcast firm was a sister company of Meralco. In doing so, viewers are sufficiently informed about the relationship between the newsmaker and the news reporter.

 That was a laudable act in the sense that people will not miss the connection. In the event that ABS-CBN's report reflected bias, the reason for it would be obvious. ABS-CBN would not be guilty of hypocrisy and the viewers would not be taken for a ride.

 This experience should prod people in the media industry to do the same whenever there is an issue where their objectivity is put in question. Try as they might to insist that they are being objective, it is not for them to say so.

 For instance, if a media organization goes hammer and thong against a public servant over a controversy involving his business interest, he should be decent enough to follow the lead of ABS-CBN.

 In the CA controversy, ABS-CBN's reporting was admirable, so admirable in fact that even Meralco's staunchest critics did not raise a howl. In showing unusual objectivity and fairness, ABS-CBN came out the winner in that episode.

 That brings to mind issues close to home in cases when people in media are suspected of using the organization at their disposal to advance and protect their business interest. To prevent such suspicions, they can learn a thing or two from ABS-CBN on how to handle the reportage.

 The days of simply distorting news to suit one's whim is over. These days, people have lots of alternative ways to know the real score so biased reporting is a dangerous proposition.

 At the same time, one cannot be too comfortable in the thought that one is the market leader because there are other mediums to even up matters. That's what makes today's media environment both challenging and dangerous.

 This is not to say people in the media should not go into business. Although that would be the ideal, it is no longer a practical idea. Media and business can mix.

 The important thing is transparency. As the slogan goes, be honest – even if others are not.  

Bohol Tourism

     The Provincial Cooperative Development Council (PCDC) has lined up several activities for the entire October to lead the celebration of Cooperative Month anchored on the theme, "Bohol Tourism Enterprise Development Through Cooperatives: Breaking Through Barriers and Beyond."

      Through the leadership of former Inabanga mayor, now Provincial Board (PB) Member Josephine Socorro Jumamoy, chairperson of PCDC, and the PB Committee on Cooperatives, the month-long celebration kicked off on October 2 with a parade through the main thoroughfares of Tagbilaran City.

      About 30 Tagbilaran-based cooperatives participated in the parade, together with one coop from Dauis and one from Anda.

      The participants assembled at Plaza Rizal and snaked through CPG Ave., Maria Clara St., Gallares St. and gathered at Lourdes Parish Church for the mass officiated by Fr. Kiking Magdoza and Fr. Boboy de la Paz.

      Then, in the program that followed, Jose Pamaong, the as emcee, delivered the opening remarks. City Councilor Edgar Kapirig gave the welcome address, while Jumamoy delivered the inspirational message. City Councilor Viviano Inting took charge of the closing remarks.

      City Councilor Djingo Rama also attended the program.

      During the program, the following were given awards and citations: Sr. Sto. Niño de Tubod Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) as the "well-attended" group; the Bol-anon MPC (formerly TACECCO) as the most colorful group; Totolan MPC as the most lively group, and the BAWIGS MPC for best slogan.

      Gerry Oranbo of BDMPC, Engr. Trinidad Castolo of BSAT CC and Nenit Gulle of BAWIGS MPC won in the quiz portion.

      The Cooperative Visitation and Assessment started the next day in Jagna.

      The 21 PCDC officers and members, including CDA, went to Jagna to meet the Board of Directors and officers of all the operating cooperatives in the municipality.

      A short program was held at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall where Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren welcomed them.

      Also present were some SB members and Lawyer Bonifacio Virtudez, MCDC chair of Jagna.

      The assessment started on the annual reports and audited financial statements of the different cooperatives present.

      A dialogue and forum were conducted later wherein the representatives of the different cooperatives raised and ventilate issues, concerns and problems of their respective cooperatives.

      After the forum/dialogue, the PCDC delegation visited the Laka MPC in barangay Laka which is into salabat production out of ginger which is abundant in the locality.

      The group, then, went to Guindulman town with Councilor Elino Laga as their guide. They visited Kabuntagon, a potential tourist attraction in Canhaway.

      Next stop of the Cooperative Visitation and Assessment is Balilihan town on October 6.

      Balilihan Mayor Victoria Chatto promised to give her full support and cooperation for the success of the activity.

      Next in the schedule are Calape on October 8, Pilar on October 10, Trinidad on October 15, Batuan on October 16, Bilar on October 20, and Ubay on October 27.

      Assessment on cooperatives in other towns has been scheduled after October.

      The Grand Cooperative Gathering and Taxation Forum has been scheduled on October 29 at the Bohol Cultural Center as the culminating activity of the Cooperative Month celebration.

      It is expected to gather active local Cooperative Development Councils and the different cooperatives provincewide.

      The event will also serve as venue to launch and present to Governor Erico Aumentado, the Bohol Cooperative Tourism Enterprise Development project that will complement the governor's eco-Tourism Development Program for Bohol.

      Meanwhile, the following are the other officers of PCDC: Virtudez and Carlito Fernandez of Sevilla, vice-chairpersons; Gina Repunte of CDA BFO, secretary; Jose Pamaong of TCCDC and BMPC, treasurer; Jose Hibaya of DTI, auditor; Talibon Municipal Councilor Virginia Item and ATI-Bohol Director, Dr. Caroline May Daquio as press relations officers; and former PCDC chair, Lawyer Felix Uy as adviser. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Discover Nokia N82 Cellphone

Ten teams, one night, one phone - all to discover Manila

What or where exactly is the soul of the city? Armed with Nokia's latest imaging wonder, the Nokia N82, ten thrill-seeking and adventure loving teams recently raced against each other and attempted to discover what Manila has to offer after the sun has gone down at the Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2! 

The concept for Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2: Discover the Soul of the Night was similar to the inaugural wireless adventure in 2007 in which participants were tasked to discover new locations and activities in their cities. The twist to this year's race was that it was conducted at night with participants being encouraged to use the advanced features of the Nokia N82 to identify and reveal the 'Soul of the Night' in their city.

The Nokia N82 is equipped with a 5 MP Carl-Zeiss lens, built-in GPS capability and a powerful Xenon Flash that enables users to take excellent photographs wherever they are, even at night.  Beyond that, the Nokia N82 has the latest multimedia functionality that lets consumers capture and share images and stories, and interact online.

Discover the Soul of the Night taps into this unique all-in-oneness of the Nokia N82 to expand the photography experience, encouraging users to not only post great photographs online, but also discover and share their experiences instantaneously through the use of the built-in GPS and advanced wireless connectivity features of the Nokia N82.

The ten teams who joined the Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2 were composed of fun and fearless consumer, celebrity, and media participants all after the Grand Prize of P100,000 and a trip to Macau.  Participants included - Advertising colleagues Ramon Rodriguez and Vina Cruz, Business folk Bea Corpus and Aris Ladaw, Call center friends Sharo Domingo and Karen Pimentel, Cute Couple Niki Santiago and Justin Rivera, Programming partners Jane de Claro Chua and Christian Wong, Philippine Star 's Kathy Moran and musician Paolo Valenciano, Philippine Daily Inquirer 's Pam Pastor and VJ Geoff Eigenman, Gadgets Magazine's Michelle Callanta and Actor Alfred Vargas, and Sunstar Cebu columnist and Radio DJ Charlene Go and Radio DJ / MTV VJ Andi Manzano.

Discovering the soul of the night

Each team member had a Nokia N82 device and were required to complete several tasks from dusk till dawn.  "Before the race, Geoff said we should try to complete every task in twenty minutes or less. I think we managed to do that almost the entire race.  We finished early and even were the first ones at the last stop.  Our other strategy was really to just have fun.  We were intense about the game but we were relaxed too - no temper, no panic. We had a blast!" shares Team Music Fanatics and Super Editor Pam Pastor.  Some of these mind exercising and exciting tasks included decoding a set of clues to get the Help Line Number and styling and taking photos of a fruit platter at Jumbo Floating Restaurant.  "Aris and I found the first task the most difficult which, at the end of the race was disgustingly hilarious!  Math being both our waterloo, it took us a good few minutes to solve the equation!" said Team Culinary Quests' Bea Corpus.  Teams also had to get behind the wheel to play Asphalt 3: Street Rules by Gameloft using the N-Gage application in the phone at the Extreme Gaming Grounds in Mall of Asia, which Team Music Fanatics' Geoff Eigenmann enjoyed. "The easiest task was the video game because I'm a gaming god!"

Teams were asked to shoot a video of their team singing "I Love the Nightlife" at Red Box Karaoke. "The videoke task at Red Box was the easiest," shares Team Voltage Up's and Gadgets Magazine's Michelle Callanta. "Thanks to my mom for making me listen to her disco-loving music!  I think I sang pretty darned well," she added.  Sunstar Cebu columnist and radio DJ Charlene Go also enjoyed the videoke task.  "It was easy to be silly and I love to sing!"

After, teams had to rush to The T-Shirt Project in Tiendesitas and had to put together a unique shirt design.  Then they had to pose for creative shots. "Finding the location on the picture that was given and just capturing photos at those places were easy," said Team Aftershift's Sharo Domingo & Karen Pimentel. Teams were also tasked to shoot a video of their partner's energetic zip performance, take photos of the fiery poi dancers, and take panoramic shots in Eastwood.  "I used to do arnis back in college and when I picked up the zip lines I was thinking maybe I can use some of my old stick drills for this task," said Team Free Spirit's Ramon Rodriguez.  After finishing the last task, teams had to rush to Piedra Bar in The Fort to pose with the models in baroque costumes.  "I thought this task was easy," said Team Free Spirit's Vina Cruz.  "Find 5 masked people in Piedra?? We spent nearly 20 minutes looking for them."  The last task had the teams running to Café Xocolat in Serendra to weave a slideshow story with music and graphics using the photos taken of the team throughout the race.  "I enjoyed the editing part the most," says Team Voltage Up's Alfred Vargas.  "I saw the meaning of the whole night of challenges and pressure through the slideshow that we did."

At the end, it was Team Voltage Up's Michelle Callanta and Alfred Vargas who were declared Souls of the Night.  They went home with the grand prize of P100,000 and a trip to Macau.  Other awards were also given to the other teams such as the Love Team Award, Breakthrough Performance in Fruit Eating Award, I Will Survive Award, Best I Love the Nightlife Comedic Performance Award, Best Soul of the Night Statement Awards, Best Panoman Photo Award, Best Poi Dancer Award, Photographers of the Night Award, and Best Nokia Story Tellers of the Race Award. 

The Nokia Nseries Wireless Adventure 2 was an exhilarating and exciting experience for all the teams.  "It was tiring but super fun!" exclaims Team Femme Fatale and Manila Bulletin writer Therese Camet.  The race also made them realize the immense capabilities of the Nokia N82 - from its camera functionalities, multimedia applications, to its internet ready possibilities.