Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny Chat With A Taxi Driver

By Roy Cimagala

I just had an interesting if funny chat with a taxi driver the other day. He was young, clearly from the province, what with the accent and the fresh, simple manners he had, and excited to have a priest as a passenger.

He was not listening to the radio nor did he have an Ipod or MP3 stuck into his ears. So I felt lucky, since we had a chance to talk, something rarely done nowadays between drivers and passengers. You know, gadgets tend both to undermine personal dealings and to harden self-absorption.

Perhaps to make me happy, he told me he was glad that Cardinal Vidal launched a signature campaign against the Reproductive Health Bill. I thought, how nice to have a taxi driver having more sense than many of our congressmen and congresswomen!
I soon discovered that he was still single and that he was planning to get married soon. I asked him how many children he would like to have. He said, just about 2 or 3. He gave the usual reasons.

When I asked him how he was going to do it, he said, "Simple, Father, after 2 or 3, I will have a vasectomy." You could imagine how I reacted at that instant. But I managed to control myself, look at the bigger picture and talk to him calmly without scaring him.
Until we reached my destination, I talked to him about the nature and dynamics of responsible parenthood and conjugal chastity. The nice thing about it was at the end, I really felt that he was sincere when he thanked me and told me he would follow my advice.
 "I actually know already what you've said, Father," he said. "Except that these days I don't hear anything about them, while the wrong view has become the popular position."

I immediately realized how sadly true his observation was, and how enormous the challenge is of conveying the truth about responsible parenthood and the faith, piety and chastity that accompany it.

I always believe that no matter how wounded and dirtied, the human heart can never forget the natural moral law that is written in it by God. It's still capable of recognizing what is true and false, what is good and evil.

All this, in spite of the fact that the media is not helping. It seems to go where the money is. Plus, many civic and political leaders, who are supposed to know better, actually give the wrong doctrine often matched by errant behavior.

In the US, for example, we recently heard of how two national political leaders, Catholics both, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden, committed grave mistakes in public.

The woman said that in her long study of the Church position on abortion, she found out that the Church fathers and doctors (theological not medical) did not know when human life actually started.

She was immediately corrected by American bishops who found her misrepresenting the Church teaching on this matter.
The man, more wily, said that while he admitted what the Church teaches on when life begins, he considers such doctrine as a personal affair and religious in nature, and therefore, not to be imposed on others.

Again, the bishops corrected him saying that the claim that life begins at conception is a scientific truth and not just a religious doctrine, and that it has a universal application and not just a personal affair of some individuals.

I was happy to learn about these immediate corrections and direct interventions of the American bishops, and I hope that the same action can be expected of our bishops here in our country.

The impression of many is that our bishops are slow and remiss in correcting our Catholic politicians who deviate in their public pronouncements from Church teachings on faith and morals. They seem to be trigger-happy instead in purely political issues that are open to different valid opinions.

The question is asked: if a taxi driver can be corrected by a priest, and a politician by a bishop, who can correct priests and bishops when they are wrong or at least remiss in their duties especially of proclaiming and defending Church doctrines relevant to public issues?
Actually, the answer is known. But is it followed, is it applied to concrete cases of clear imprudence and neglect? No one seems to hear anything about any such instance.

State of Emergency

Former defense secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. has called on Filipinos to be "vigilant and fight any attempt" of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to impose emergency rule if hostilities in the Central Mindanao region escalate and ignite terrorist attacks in other parts of the country.

In an interview on the television news channel ANC Thursday night, Cruz said: "There is always temptation... We should be vigilant, we should fight against any attempt to impose any kind of emergency rule because that's the last thing we need... It will exacerbate the situation."

He said that Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano would most likely not allow this to happen.
"Yano, I think, is a very professional soldier who exhibits responsibility and restraint. He knows how to [balance] these operations in order to achieve the correct objectives," Cruz said.

He added that the officers and men of the AFP would not "go along just in case somebody has the insane idea of trying to do that."
"I don't think the AFP will go along with it," he said.

In the same interview, Cruz expressed pity for the military that was tasked to defend the territory nearly given away by the government in the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) with the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
He also said the Filipino people should be vigilant against any attempt to change the Constitution before the May 2010 presidential elections.

"Any amendment to the Constitution should be done after 2010 in an environment devoid of any suspicion or [without] people in government with a hidden agenda of some sort," Cruz said. "If you have a new president in 2010 to shepherd these amendments, it will be a transparent, non-suspicious and more auspicious situation than what we have now."

Cruz is currently a partner in the country's most influential law firm, CVC Law (Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo & Angangco), more popularly known as The Firm, which used to be President Arroyo's private legal counsel.

The Firm is now the legal consultant to opposition Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas, who filed a motion before the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutionality of the MOA-AD as it would supposedly dismember Mindanao from the rest of the country.

7 New Wonders of the World

Of four natural wonders the Philippines is gunning for inclusion in the New 7 Wonders (N7W) of Nature, only one remains in the top seven now.

This prompted the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) to pass a resolution enjoining all governors and all other local government unit (LGU) administrations in the country to support the Tubbataha Reef of Palawan, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol , the underground river of Puerto Princesa City and the Mayon Volcano of Albay in the N7W of Nature global competition.

Govs. Erico Aumentado of Bohol and Mario Joel Reyes of Palawan introduced Resolution No. 2000-018 during the LPP General Assembly on Sept. 12 at the Marco Polo Plaza, a hotel and convention center in this city.

Selection of the 77 semi-finalists – and ultimately the 21 finalists and the New 7 Wonders of Nature – is by internet voting. Voters can log on to, click on N7W and go to the live ranking to view the top 77. As soon as votes are in, the live ranking is updated twice a day, so that the league is seeking support for the country's nominees.

Of the Philippines' nominees – all with Official Supporting Committees (OSC) already – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan is No. 6. Mayon Volcano is at No. 9 while the Chocolate Hills is at No. 11 although it used to be No. 3. The Tubbataha Reef is at No. 18.
The LPP is taking the cudgels for the nominees in securing votes in order that their inclusion among the 21 finalists, and ultimately their selection in the N7W of Nature can be realized, the resolution stated.

The assembly unanimously adopted the resolution that was certified true and correct by Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, secretary general, and attested by Govs. Mario Joel Reyes of Palawan, executive vice president, and Loreto Leo Ocampos of Misamis Occidental, national president.

A check last night of the N7W website however showed changes in the contest mechanics. 
It said voting for nominees will continue through July 7, 2009. Then the New7Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, under the leadership of Prof. Federico Mayor, former Director-General of UNESCO, will review the top 77 nominees and choose the 21 finalists, to be announced on 21 July 2009. The 21 finalists will then be put to popular vote. 

But on Jan. 1, 2009, only one national nominee per country will be allowed to proceed: the highest ranked in the voting on Dec. 31, 2008. Therefore until the end of 2008, countries with more than one national nominee will be racing to choose the national representative that is allowed to continue into 2009.

Nominees shared by more than one country will remain and continue into 2009.
The New 7 Wonders of Nature is a spin-off of the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign that was a resounding success. The latter had more than 100 million votes cast, taking democracy to a new global level. 

Now, the second campaign organized still by the non-profit New7Wonders Foundation, to choose the New7Wonders of Nature, is off to a promising start: Some 200 nominations were submitted by some half a million people within the first few months of the campaign, the website said. - Bohol Chronicle

Salvage Zone for Beach Resorts

By Ric Obedencio

Beach resorts in Panglao are still hard put against the mandated 20-meter public access zone.
For years now, officials are fighting tooth and nail to get rid of the permanent structures that hinder the 20-meter salvage zone along almost all shorelines on this island as sanctioned by national law to provide public access.

But for Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala it's about time to eject those eyesore-structures along the prohibited 20-meter zone no matter who gets hurt. But in so doing he got the ire of the resort owners/operators and now is facing several cases filed against him for his action.

What makes him worry is that it's burdening him due to legal battles that cost him a lot. That's why he called on generous souls to support him in his fight during the forum on Bohol Marine Triangle (BMT) held last week at the top of Bohol Plaza Resort in this town.
The issue (of 20-m zone) worsened when some Panglao officials are they themselves the lawbreakers apparently because they have their own structures within the prescribed zone. 

Stakeholders including resort owners/operators, non-government organizations (NGOs) public officials led by Gov. Erico B. Aumentado and Cong. Edgar M. Chatto and representatives of various national government agencies and law enforcers who attended the two-day forum did not finger-point who to blame in the proliferation of the permanent structures even as this occurred during the reign of Alcala as mayor for more than ten years.

Officer-in-charge Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Nestro Canda confirmed several resorts remained stubborn to give way for the 20-meter zone but some started to realize it is needed.

For his part, Dauis municipal councilor Pedro Honculada told the forum that Dauis still facing the same dilemma. He cited as an example the man-made islet of plush resort allegedly constructed without the benefit of consultation with the local officials, wondering how come it secured an Environmental Clearance Certificate from Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 

He said that despite the fact that the municipal council has resolved to call the attention of the DENR to dismantle the man-made islet of the said resort reportedly where Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently visited. 

Canda said in an interview he will make an update and determine those who still breach with the 20-m salvage zone law for possible publication.

Tagbilaran Headache Over Drainage Issue

City officials led by Mayor Dan Neri Lim is set to persuade Sec. Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to open the outfall of the new city drainage along San Jose street to solve the flooding along CPG north avenue during downpour, said city councilor Atty. Danilo A. Bantugan.

He said Sec. Atienza, who is personal friend of the mayor, is coming to town sometime this week for an important engagement. 
The tug-of-war between government agencies concerned over the newly installed city drainage system with illegal taps of private establishments following the completion of the Bohol circumferential road improvement of national highway here is far from over.  
DENR and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are at odds resulting to buck-passing on what to do with the illegal taps by both residential and commercial establishments for months now.

Residents along CPG avenue north are suffering from overflow during heavy rains, flooding their homes and business establishments.
Prior to the commencement of the project, Mayor Lim took the cudgels in initiating the plan to construct drainage system aside from concreting the Pres. Carlos P. Garcia avenue. 

After the completion of the project, DENR stood firm on its decision not to open the outfall of the drainage system until such time that some 40 illegal taps are cut off from the system. 

This prompted DPWH first district Engr. Celestino Adlaon to refuse the turnover of the highway project from project contractor Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation. The project has not been turned over to DPWH, he said. 

But Vice-Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera put the blame on DPWH for being "remiss" of its supervisory job while the highway and drainage construction was still in progress months back. His comments came after the city council passed a Resolution urging DPWH national office not to accept the project unless the illegal drainage connections are removed. 

Appearing to be washing his hands on the mess, Adlaon retorted that his office has no direct supervision over the project because it was the DPWH national office that called the shots in the actual road construction, including the drainage system.

The DENR also strongly recommended the following measures: not to allow outfalls if no water treatment facilities and the opening of San Jose street outfall unless illegal connections are disconnected. - Ric V Obedencio

Minors Should Not Be Exempted from Criminal Liability?

By Kit Bagaipo

Law enforcers themselves are unhappy of a national law exempting minors who come into conflict with the law of criminal liability.
P/CSupt. Yolanda Tanigue, the country's first female police officer to attain a star rank (general) asserts that RA 9344, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, ushered in criminality committed by youngsters.

The law, authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, needs amendments particularly the provision which prevents the detention and interrogation of minors involved in a crime, according to Tanigue.

Tanigue, who is the PNP's chief of the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), led some 600 women who are in police service from across the country during its 5th National Biennial Summit on Women in Policing at the Bohol Plaza Resort . In Dauis.

WCPC has an all-women personnel and handles all cases of violence committed against women and children including trafficking, exploitation and abuse.

One of the summit's guest speakers, Bulacan Rep. Lorna Silverio, also backed efforts to amend the law on minors.
Bohol Provincial Police Director SSupt. Edgardo Ingking himself conveyed recommendations for amendments of the law saying that relatives of a juvenile offender must also assume legal liabilities.

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2006 was given an exhaustive discussion during the biennial summit of women police officers which was attended by Police Director Deputy Director General Jesus Verzosa, the incoming PNP chief who will soon replace Director General Avelino Razon.

Corruption in Carlos P Garcia Avenue Project?

Written By Bingo P. Dejaresco
Editor In Chief, Bohol Chronicle

Senator Panfilo Lacson will explode a bombshell tomorrow afternoon on the billions of questionable "insertions" and "lump sums" in the P1.2-trillion 2008 National Budget within the halls of Congress. 

This is indeed timely as Congress is on budget deliberation these weeks for the all-time high P1.4 trillion 2009 Budget proposal.

But the greater interest of Boholanos these days is perhaps the "aperitif" bombshell that the maverick senator (Lacson) detonated last week that showed a blatant "double entry" of P200 million on the on-going extension of the Carlos P Garcia Avenue (popularly known as C-5), the longest stretch of highway in the Philippines .

Lacson indicated that in one page of the General Appropriations Acts (2008) of the National Budget (as approved into law) a P200-million budget was allocated for "construction of the C-5 Road Extention from the South Luzon Expressway to the Sucat Road including the Road ROW (right of Way).

Yet on another page was another P200-million allocation for "construction of the Cralos P. Garcia Avenue from the South LUzon Expressway to the Sucal Road including the Road ROW (right of way)."

This is clearly a case of "double entry" which people are viewing with suspicious eyes.
First, the second "insertion" occurred away from the eyes of Congress through the so-called Bi-Cameral Committee who makes a second pass on the original Budget proposal of Congress. Why the other non-BICAM members took this long a time (September of the Budget year of 2008) to notice this discrepancy is itself a story of benign neglect.

Second, why the DBM (through its flamboyant and sometimes arrogant Secretary Rolando Andaya) who claims to scrutinize the GAA line by line had to be told last week by a senator (Lacson is not even with the Appropriations Committee) of the "double entry" represents either incompetence or malice.

Admitting DBM's lack of scrutiny, Secretary Andaya merely charmed his way out that having confirmed the "double entry" by saying that DBM will then not release the funds.

Skeptics have joined the barbershop discussion as to what would have happened if Senator Lacson did not blow the whistle on the P200 million.

Since the approved Budget (GAA) had technically already provided funding for it, would the "extra" P200 million - which would represent a technical "savings" - not have been re-aligned by the DPWH to their favorite congressmen, senators and their favored contractors?
Undersecretary Bonoan of the DPWH declared yesterday that the "extra" P200 million will still be used for the C-5 since the "total" project is still a long way to go.

Beleaguered senate president Manuel Villar and El Shaddai head Mike Velarde's names have been dragged into the controversy, which injected a new political dimension to the discussion. Villar is a self-declared 2010 presidentiable though his survey ratings are still in the mid-range.

It is unfortunate that the venerable name of Boholano president Carlos Garcia had been used by knowing hands or incompetent bureaucrats to make this huge P200-million "double entry." We are not talking P20,000 here. To use our Bohol's Favorite Son's name for ill profit or be subjected to incompetent bureaucracy is a form of a desecration, indeed.


What is a little known is that much of the confirmation and some of the sources of the Lacson exposes come from a non-government entity called the (Philippine) Center for National Budget Legislation, founded by self-made Manila-based Boholano businessman - consultant Joseph Ranola.

The CNBL, as it is called for short with a slogan based on "Bantay Budget" had been regularly doing instructionals, briefings and giving guideposts on the nuances of the Philippine Budget to legislators and their staff (senators and congressmen), media, LGUs and the academe. Among the senators who made use of the Center's presentation was Senator Lacson, days before the C-5 Expose.

The center has produced a first publication of a best-selling book sold at the National Bookstore nationwide entitled "Your Guidebook to Effective and Transparent National Budget Legislation" and several manuals on specific current issues on the Philippine Budget. The book is set for its second revised re-printing.

Ranola will be interviewed by Father Francis Lucas, president of Catholic Network Broadcasters (CNB) over a nation-wide radio hook-up tomorrow morning even before the much-awaited Lacson privilege speech in the afternoon.

Ranola acquired the technology in dissecting the budget preparation, process and implementation in his 16 years hands-on experience working with congressmen and a senator.

The (Philippine) Center for National Budget Legislation is now partnering with the Makati Business Club, the La Salle Institute of Good Governance, the Asia Foundation and the Philippine Futuristic Society.

The Editor of the Bohol Chronicle is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Center.

Sports Tourism Conference at Fort Ilocandia Resort

Sports events organizers and enthusiasts are expected to converge in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, on Oct. 2 and 3 for the Sports Tourism Conference at Fort Ilocandia Resort, a landmark event to promote sports tourism in the country.

The conference will bring together sports and tourism professionals, officials and other experts nationwide to exchange ideas and discuss ways to further enhance and develop sports tourism in the country.

Bullish to promote the city's sports tourism programs, Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Keon will host the conference together with the Department of Tourism Under-secretary for Sports Tourism and Wellness Cynthia Carrion.

The National Sports Tourism Conference consists of discussion regarding sports tourism prodding sports tourism products and inter-relationships between sports and tourism: sports participation tourism, sports event tourism, luxury sports tourism, the role of corporate sponsorship in sports tourism, opportunities for tour operators, maximizing media impact of events, staging of sports as a destination product, event and sponsorship marketing strategies for the successful staging of sports tourism events, among others.
For inquiries, please contact (032) 231-7673, (02) 410-1735 or (02) 332-0893 or email

DYRD All Star Game

By Manny Bautista

The ever-popular dyRD All-Star will showcase anew their wares in another out-of-town pre-fiesta exhibition match against the Catigbian ABC basketeers set on December 6 at the Catigbian hardcourt.  Game time is 6:30 p.m.

The forthcoming match-up widely popularized by Bohol's top-rated radio station's reporters, anchormen and back-up personnel is part of the nightly activities in preparation of the town's annual fiesta celebration.

Catigbian ABC Kag. Teofredo Tongco has been negotiating with dyRD's All Star mainstays Fil Layao and Jun Gutierrez to stage the pre-fiesta game.  The neighboring town of Baclayon has been eyeing the dyRD All-Star as part of its nightly entertainment during the celebration of its annual fiesta this coming December 8.

The All-Star squad mentored by lawyer/kagawad Dandan Bantugan, who is also the playing-coach will again entertain basketball fans to further bolster the team's fund-raising thrust to help our less-fortunate brothers and sisters through the pacesetting Inyong Alagad Foundation.

Recently, the team won over the Corella Selection but what matters most was the P5,000 donation to the Inyong Alagad Foundation personally handed by Mayor Vito Rapal and Vice Mayor Ondong Bolando after the action-packed match as part of the town's Foundation Day activities.  The team has been getting invitations from different LGUs to play in their respective towns and add glitter to the celebration and at the same time, help the poor in this time of crisis. (-mpb)

Manny Paquiao Will Knock Out Oscar Dela Hoya

Anyone who thinks they could handle Manny Pacquiao's speed and power will most of the time end up on seats of their pants. 
Just ask Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales, the Mexican triumvirate who have not tasted a clean and powerful shot as hard as Manny's lighting quick left hands. 

Even his latest knockout victim, David Diaz, admitted that he saw Manny's punches coming, alright, but he could not stay away from them as quickly as the next bomb went flying. 

On December 6, Oscar dela Hoya will try to prove he could handle two of Manny's most potent weapons – speed and power. 
Oscar has fought men with heavier hands in the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker. These veritable Hall of Famers have a combined record of 332 wins as opposed to only eight losses when Oscar fought them – an astonishing 99.4 per cent winning percentage. These big men also had a combined 81.1 per cent knockout records.

Oscar lost four fights against these boxers with the defeat to Hopkins as his only abbreviated loss via a wicked punch to the liver. Without doubt, Dela Hoya could take a punch to the chin. 

But against a smaller and speedier opponent, Dela Hoya had difficulties. 
He barely survived Whitaker who, at 5'6", is about as tall as Manny Pacquiao and is also a southpaw. He narrowly lost a split decision to Mayweather who stands 5'8" and barely eked out a unanimous decision win over Quartey who is 5'7". 

Oscar's bane is fighters who are sleek and fast and able to put up a decent defense.
Pacquiao does not own the best defense there is in boxing but his speed is his number one asset. 
Over the last five years, nobody has put Manny down on the canvass. He was in serious trouble in his first fight with Morales but he never came close to being knocked down. 

Of course, Morales' best punch is a tad different from a Dela Hoya bomb who owns one of the meanest left hooks and left jabs in boxing during his younger days. 

I say younger days because, at 35 years old, Oscar is spring chicken no more.

Former Pacquiao trainer Rick Staheli said Manny should tire out those legs by using his quick lateral movements. 
"Let Oscar earn his dollars. At 35, he can't keep up with Manny," Staheli said. 

Staheli doubts Pacquiao will be able to knock out Dela Hoya but if the golden boy of boxing gets careless, he could end up like Barrera. 
The American, a long time Philippine resident, said Pacquiao should watch Oscar's left hooks. 

"Make Oscar beat you with his right hand," he told Manny at lanai of his spacious mansion Wednesday evening. 
He reminded Pacquiao that Oscar is a natural southpaw who is a converted orthodox fighter. 

"Roach should also know this," Staheli added. 
Oscar does not like being hit with a body punch so all Manny has to do is get under that left jabs and quickly throw a right hook or a left straight to the liver. 

"And quickly get away please," he said. 

Philippine Milo Marathon

Runners from Cebu dominated the Bohol qualifying race of the 32nd National Milo Marathon on Sunday with John Philip Duenas and Christy Sevilleno showing up the defending champions.

Duenas, a physical education student at Southwestern University, topped the men's 21K race in onehour, 16 minutes and 11 seconds even as five-time Cebu leg winner Sevilleno upset defending champion Merlita Arias in the distaff side.

Duenas trailed last year's Bohol men's champion Riez Enriquez in the first half of the race before grabbing the lead for good at the turnaround point.

He built as much as a 150-meter lead, then bucked muscle cramps that slowed him down with still 7 km to go.
Enriquez, a varsity runner from University of Southern Philippines Foundation in Cebu City, settled for second in 1:16:56 while Leyte's Bonifacio Monjas finished thirdin 1:18:09.

In the women's race, Sevilleno overtook Arias 2 km before the finish line to win in 1:43:51.
Arias came in second in 1:46;01 followed by Sharon Vega, also of Cebu City, who timed 1:48:28.
After placing 10th in the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon last month, Arias said will concentrate on flat road racing for the Milo finals and the Arafura Games.

Sevilleno, who won in Cebu from 2002 to 2006, gave birth in February last year and failed to join the Milo races.
The top three runners in both divisions will advance to the national finals on Nov. 30 in Metro Manila.

The top three finishers in the 5K fun run were Dario Dalusa (18:20), Wendel Jamilla (18:24) and Joey Coquilla (18:31) in the men's division and Nora Bentillo (22:27), Josephine Malig-on (23:15) and Merry Jean Berdos (23:45) in the women's side.

The winners in the 3K race for kids were Jodie Cahatian and Lanie Mantabute in the6-9 age category and Kenneth Paul Bentalla and Loverly Magallano in the 10-12 group.

The country's biggest and longest-running foot race held in partnership with Bayview Park Hotel-Manila, Adidas and Department of Tourism will resume in San Fernando City, La Union today.

Eugene Torre vs Wesley So

The much-anticipated chess duel between Asia's first grandmaster Eugene Torre and the world's youngest GM Wesley So, was finally sealed at the Sulo Hotel last Thursday night.

GMs So and Torre are currently ranked the country's top 2 chess players.

Project director lawyer Sammy Estimo announced yesterday that the details of the match had been firmed up in the presence of Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor who agreed to bankroll the P1 million prize, Torre and So's father, William.

The 14-year-old So and the 56-year-old Torre will slug it out over 12 games starting February 10, 2009 at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. Two games each will be played in Quezon City, Davao and Iloilo, and if the match remains undecided, the protagonists will return to Quezon City to finish the series. A knockout game will be played if the duel ends up 6-6.

The winner will take home P600,000 while the loser will earn P400,000. Another P100,000 goes to the winner of each provincial leg while the loser will get P50,000.

The odds are about even in this dream encounter since the two GMs had split their three previous games with Torre nearly winning their recent match-up in Jakarta.

PBA Solar Sports

A fresh audio-visual look is in store for televiewers as Solar Sports embarks on a high-tech coverage of the PBA's 34th season starting Oct. 4 with the goal of taking the telecast to the next level.

Solar chief operating officer Peter Chanliong assured PBA chairman Joaquil Trillo, outgoing chairman Tony Chua, commissioner Sonny Barrios, executive director Rickie Santos, media bureau chief Willie Marcial and finance manager Jimmy Sunglao in a meeting at the network headquarters in Salcedo Village, Makati, the other day that the coverage will be "second to none."

Solar and the PBA formalized their three-year contract in a signing ceremony during the meeting. Solar vice president for sales and marketing Jude Turcuato said the philosophy of "mass follows class" will be adopted in bringing the coverage to a level where market segments converge at the top.

Solar vice president for production Erick Tam said the company invested at least P20 Million for new equipment in a bold attempt to reach the standards of the NBA.