Sunday, February 24, 2013

Republic Act 10366 Approved

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed last week Republic Act 10366, "An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to Establish Precincts Assigned to Accessible Polling Places Exclusively for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens," the Palace announced Saturday.

The law, that addresses the concerns of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizen advocates, was signed by the President February 15, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

"Ang batas na ito will now require the registration, a record of Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens sa Comelec para malaman kung ano ang mga disability, kung may kailangang assistance para sa kanilang pagboto dahil kahit naman PWD at senior citizen sila, kailangang matulungan natin sila especially when it comes to voting," Valte said.

The new law also mandates the establishment of separate polling precints intended only for PWDs and senior citizens, she said. These voting centers must have assistive devices and personnel that will assist PWDs and senior citizens.

"Dapat ang ating balota merong reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and senior citizens," she said. "Siyempre kasama din dito 'yung assistance in the accomplishment of the ballots."

The PWDs and senior citizens will be assisted in filling the ballot by their relatives, either relative by consanguinity or affinity, within the fourth civil degree, or by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).

The law also requires a sensitivity training program by the Comelec for those who will perform electoral duties including field officers, members of the BEI and accredited citizens' arms to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens.

Peace process with the communist

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his strong resolve to move the peace process with the communist rebels following a meeting with Norwegian facilitators in Malacanang Friday.

The President received the members of the Royal Norwegian government as well as the team of facilitators in a courtesy call at the Palace, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday in a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

"The President spoke about his resolve to move the peace process forward. Alam naman natin na medyo naaantala ng kaunti ang peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front)," Valte said.

"Maganda naman ang pagtanggap ng mga facilitators at positive ang kanilang response. The facilitators expressed that they felt that now is a good time to move the peace process forward," she added.

Government peace panel chair Alexander Padilla said in a forum this week that the public must "guard and support" the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Despite the challenges in the peace talks with the communists, Padilla said the government remains optimistic that a final negotiated political settlement will be completed and implemented during the term of President Aquino.

One of the contentious issues is the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as the insurgents insist for the release of political prisoners who they claim work as "consultants."

JASIG allows negotiators or consultants to freely discuss and move without the threat of being arrested.

It remains the biggest challenge in the talks, Padilla said.

The NDF claims that these political prisoners arrested by government security forces are covered by the JASIG.

27th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power

Malacanang is inviting the Filipino public to join the 27th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Monday in EDSA in Quezon City considering its significance to the nation's history.

"Nananawagan tayo at iniimbitahan natin ang ating mga mamamayan na dumalo, lumahok at makiisa sa pagdiriwang natin ng ika-dalawampu't-pitong anibersaryo ng EDSA People Power Revolution na may temang, "Pilipinas Natin, Abot Tanaw Na," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Hermino Coloma Jr. said in an interview Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Monday's event is important because it will raise awareness on the historic event that happened several decades ago when the Filipino people fought and ousted a tyrannical regime, Coloma said.

The celebration will have greater significance especially to young Filipinos who didn't see and experience the people's bloodless fight against the Marcos dictatorship.

Filipinos launched a civil disobedience movement to boycott institutions connected to the Marcoses following a failed snap election in February 1986, Coloma explained. The move culminated to the EDSA People Power revolt in that year.

President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the anniversary celebration at the People Power Monument in EDSA. The President will join the flag-raising ceremony and after that he will sign the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

The landmark legislation is the state's official recognition of the atrocities committed by the Marcos administration against its own people.

Part of Monday's event is opening the Malacanang grounds to young people for story-telling and sports events to impart Filipino values to the country's youth.

"Bubuksan ang pintuan ng Malacanang Palace doon sa area ng Kalayaan Hall, para maranasan naman ng ating mga mamamayan, lalung-lalo na ng mga kabataan kung paano 'yung nasa loob mismo ng Malacanang Palace," Coloma said.

"Ito ay lalahukan ng mga youth leaders at ang karamihan sa mga dadalo doon at pupunta sa open house ay mga kabataan. Kaya rin naman idineklarang walang pasok para himukin natin ang marami sa mga kabataang nag-aaral pa na kunin din 'yung pagkakataon na magpunta sa Malacanang at sa Kalayaan grounds."

Join the World Summit on Information

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said he is leaving for Paris, France to join the World Summit on Information this Sunday.

"Actually, magkatono itong tema ng EDSA at 'yung dadaluhan natin sapagkat 'yung United Nations sa pamamagitan ng UNESCO o United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, ten years ago, naglunsad ng tinatawag na Knowledge Society," Coloma said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan Saturday.

"Kaya ang idaraos sa Paris sa darating na Linggo, kasabay nung ating EDSA celebration ay 'yung World Summit on the Information Society Plus Ten. Ibig sabihin, ten years after," he added.

The concept of UNESCO's Knowledge Society is anchored on a free society having free-flowing knowledge and information, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in addition to other freedoms to raise people's awareness.

The event in Paris is related to the 27th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution because it deals with rights and freedom that Filipinos fought for a few decades ago, Coloma said.

"Ganoon din naman 'yung pinagdiriwang natin sa EDSA, kung maaalala natin, noong panahon ng Martial Law, ay nabalam ang paggamit ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag, 'yung kalayaan ng pagtitipon-tipon, 'yung freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression ay hindi naramdaman at hindi naganap sapagkat tinitigil ito ng batas-militar," Coloma explained.

"At noon namang nagtagumpay ang EDSA People Power Revolution, muling naging laganap ang paggamit ng mga kalayaang ito, kaya nga't sa buong rehiyon ng Asya, masasabi natin at maipagmamalaki natin na sa Pilipinas, pinakamasigla, pinakamalusog, pinakalaganap ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag," he added.

Coloma said he will highlight the country's EDSA revolt anniversary when he joins the World Summit on the Information Society in France this weekend.

He said he will report to the members of the United Nations the progress of the Philippine's push for media and information literacy, which is the country's task in UNESCO.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in Crising

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Saturday that P11.24 million in agriculture was destroyed in the wake of Tropical Depression Crising.

NDRRM said the damage to agriculture was estimated at P11,241,800 including P10,087,300 in rice; P444,500 in corn; and P710,000 in vegetables in Asuncion town in Davao del Norte province.

The death toll remained at four, with two still missing, the NDRRMC added.

The disaster agency said Crising has affected 51,458 families or 261,570 people in 189 villages in Region 4-B (Mimaropa) Region 8 (Eastern Visayas, Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Region 11 (Davao Region), Region 12 (SOCCSKARGEN), Caraga region and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Northeast monsoon continues to affect Luzon

Aside from passing light rains, many parts of the country can expect good weather conditions as the northeast monsoon continues to affect Luzon, the state weather bureua said on Saturday.

In its advisory, the Philippine Armosphetic Geophysical and Astronomical Sevices Administration (PAGASA) said thatthe regions of Caraga, Davao and SOCCSKSARGEN will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms.

The regions of Cordillera, Bicol, Cagayan Valley and the provinces of Aurora and Quezon will have cloudy skies with light rains while Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail throughout the archipelago and the coastal waters will be moderate to rough.

PAGASA also issued a strong to gale force wind associated with the northeast monsoon is expected to affect the seaboards of Luzon.

Deputized by the municipal government

A multi-sectoral team of enforcers deputized by the municipal government here is now guarding all strategic points in this biodiversity-rich far-flung town to ensure that its forests and other ecological properties are sealed from illegal activities.

Town Mayor Alejandro Gamos over the week said here that he tapped the cooperation of various agencies--among them the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Philippine Coconut Authority--in manning the multi-sectoral checkpoints set for the purpose. The Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and Philippine Coast Guard are the law enforcing agencies involved in the measure while all barangay authorities, the local media and volunteers from non-government organizations are also embedded into the undertaking, Gamos said.

All entry and exit points of illegal loggers, timber poachers, wood charcoal makers, coco lumber smugglers and wild animal hunters are now sealed with these checkpoints, making it impossible for them to further destroy the town's upland ecological resources, he added.

Coastal areas have also been placed under tight guarding against illegal fishers, mangrove cutters and any other persons involved in activities that are destructive to the local marine resources, the mayor said.

"We are doing this to protect and preserve the richness of our natural environment for the benefit of the generations next to us. Ours is a locality gifted with ecological beauty and resources that we need to take good care of. The checkpoints and coast watch function 24/7," Gamos stressed.

"Barangay residents have also been made to understand what we are doing and they, too, are staying alert against any form of illegal activities that may transpire under their noses," he added.

All members of the multi-sectoral checkpoints have specific roles in the measure and practically, every citizen of each community is supporting it that is why, Gamos said, "tiyak, wala nang lulusutan itong mga gumagawa ng labag sa batas para sa kapakanan ng kalikasan dito sa amin (surely, those lawbreakers will no longer be able to do their operations, thus, nature's interest will be protected here)."

Gilbert Gonzales, DENR regional executive director, lauded the move of the Sta. Magdalena LGU and asked his men to cooperate closely and assist the town's local officials.

Sta. Magdalena, a fourth class municipality located about 72 kilometers southeast of Sorsogon City--the provincial capital, or roughly 120 kilometers from Legazpi City, Bicol's regional government center, is generally rugged and mountainous with a peak reaching as high as 1,100 feet above sea level.

A big river coming from the hinterlands in the western boundary of the municipality flows out to the Pacific Ocean.

Its wilderness that plays home to exciting flora and fauna also boasts of beautiful waterfalls, the Ubo and Paloktok Falls.

The territorial jurisdiction of the municipality is composed of some 4,706.4 hectares of land mass.

The local government unit is politically subdivided into 14 barangays, dispersed geographically in the lowlands of poblacion composed of four barangays, and upland, with 10 barangays.

It has 13 coastal barangays lined along clean and fine white sand beaches that are considered undiscovered by the tourism world, according to Gamos.

Eastern Metropolitan Bus Corporation Labor Dispute

The union and management of the Eastern Metropolitan Bus Corporation was lauded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for settling their labor dispute under preventive mediation case following two conciliation conferences.

Labor and Employment secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis- Baldoz said the settlement was to the best interest of the workers and the company that now continue operation in peace and harmony.

"I commend the Samahang Manggagawa ng EMBC and the management of the bus company for their mutual effort to resolve their dispute," Baldoz said.

The bus company, represented by Ernesto De Jesus and Francisco De Jesus, Jr., provides tourist and shuttle services to companies and schools in Metro Manila. Located at 182 P. Oliveros St., Antipolo City, EMBC currently employs 50 employees.

On the other hand, Samahang Manggagawa ng EMBC is an affiliate of the Metro East Labor Federation and the Buklurang Manggagawa Pilipino (BMP). It represents 24 union members covering almost half of the 50 worker-employees of the Eastern Metropolitan Bus Corporation.

It can be recalled that the union filed a preventive mediation case for alleged bargaining in bad faith, discrimination, harassment, CBA benefits, uniform, medical check-up, union leave, union dues, and summary of deduction.

Recognizing the dispute, the NCMB immediately scheduled two mediation-conciliation conferences before the parties reached a settlement last Feb. 3.

19th ASEAN Economic Ministers ( AEM) Retreat

The 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers ( AEM) Retreat and related meetings will be held on March 6-9 in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday.

At the AEM Retreat, economic ministers from 10 ASEAN member countries will work together to map out directions for 2013 in order to boost regional economic integration towards building the ASEAN Community by 2015.

The 19th AEM Retreat will be held at the same time with the 3rd ASEAN-EU Business Summit (AEBS) with the participation of high- ranking leaders of Vietnam, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, Minister of Brunei, EU Trade Commissioner and ASEAN Secretary General.

During the AEBS, a protocol on amendment of a number of ASEAN economic agreements on trade will be signed.

In addition, the 3rd AEBS will also discuss the establishment of a public-private dialogue forum and issues related to business activities as well as the regulations and the potential for cooperation between the two economic regions.

History of Philippine News Agency

By Severino C. Samonte

MANILA, Feb. 18 (PNA) -- The Philippines News Agency marks in appropriate ceremonies its 40th anniversary March 1, with old hands nostalgic as they trace the birth of what eventually became among Third World news agencies.

Only a little over five months earlier, then President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law throughout this Southeast Asian archipelago, closing down media outlets in a legendary swoop that transformed the media scenario in the country.

Launched on March 1, 1973 as the national government's official news agency, some media analysts say PNA can be aptly called a "martial law baby" that replaced the country's first and only privately-owned and operated news-gathering agency: the Philippine News Service.

Media veterans say PNS was organized in 1950 by the publishers of the then Manila-based major national newspapers -- the Manila Times, the Manila Chronicle, Manila Bulletin, Philippines Herald, Evening News, Bagong Buhay, and Fookien Times.

Its main function then was to supply daily news and photos from the provinces to these newspapers as well as to those in the countryside.

Radio and television stations also used the PNS stories for a fixed monthly fee.

Foreign news agencies, like the New York-based Associated Press and United Press International, London-headquartered Reuters, and Paris-based Agence France-Presse, and a few private entities were also allowed to subscribe.

When President Marcos declared the emergency under Proclamation No. 1081 on Sept. 21, 1972, the then 22-year-old PNS was forced to cease its 24-hour daily operations.

Its major clients -– newspapers, radio and TV stations -– were padlocked and guarded by government troops.

About four months after the imposition of martial law and shortly after Marcos allowed a handful of newspapers and broadcast outfits to reopen, a group of former newspaper editors asked then Dept. of Public Information Secretary Francisco S. Tatad to explore the possibility of opening a government news agency by acquiring the World War II-vintage teletype machines and other equipment of PNS.

At the same time, look for the feasibility of taking over PNS' newsroom at the second floor of the four-level National Press Club Bldg. on Magallanes Drive in Intramuros, Manila.

The persistence of such group of editors to once again set up an even more dynamic wire news agency bore fruit when the PNS was allowed to reopen but under a new name -– Philippines News Agency as the government's official news outfit.

Negotiations for the acquisition of the PNS equipment were done by a group of former newspapermen from Tatad's office at Malacanang, including then Bureau of National and Foreign Information Director Lorenzo J. Cruz.

The amount paid by the government for the old PNS teletype machines, typewriters, mimeographing machines and a photo dark room plus few cameras was used to pay the salaries of the PNS staff in Manila from September to December 1972.

Jose L. Pavia, former executive editor of the defunct Philippines Herald, was appointed as the first general manager of the infant news agency.

He headed its initial 11-member staff, with Renato B. Tiangco, also formerly of the Herald and a foreign news agency wireman, as managing editor, and this writer, a holdover from the PNS, as national news editor.

AS a government agency, PNA was created under a Special Department Order issued by Tatad.

It was placed under the BNFI, its first mother bureau that provided its fund.

When Tatad turned on the switch to launch the PNA in the afternoon of March 1, 1973 in Malacanang, he said: "The Philippines News Agency will be operated in the best tradition of the world's professional news agencies."

During the martial law years, the PNA, with the so-called "Big Four" news agencies -– Reuters, AFP, AP and UPI -– covered the entire archipelago, bringing news around the Philippines to the outside world as much as possible.

For a while, PNA even entered into a news exchange agreement with some of these foreign news agencies.

A year after its birth, PNA inaugurated its first domestic bureau in Cebu City, opening a new era for the media in the country's second largest, most cosmopolitan city.

Seven tabloid-sized newspapers there began to carry current national and foreign news through the PNA wires, a radical departure from their former purely local coverage.

This placed them in a position to compete for circulation in the Visayas and Mindanao with the major national dailies published in Manila.

The year 1974 also saw the opening of similar PNA bureaus in Iloilo, Baguio, Davao, San Fernando, Pampanga; Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, and Dagupan.

These were followed by Lucena City, Legazpi, Cotabato, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Iligan, Laoag, Tuguegarao, San Fernando, La Union; Jolo, Sulu; and Los Banos, Laguna.

The peak number of domestic bureaus stood at 23 in 1975, with the opening of additional bureaus in Cabanatuan City, General Santos City and Tagbilaran City.

However, this number of bureaus was reduced drastically as a result of cost-cutting measures in later years.

During its so-called "golden period" -– from 1974 to 1985 -– PNA also served as training ground for aspiring young journalists.

After the February 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, with the opening of some new newspapers, PNA-trained reporters tried their hands at newspapering and in the broadcast field.

Many of today's editors in several national newspapers had once cut their journalistic teeth at the PNA newsroom.

Until 1986, the PNA, through the former Office of Media Affairs headed by Minister Gregorio S. Cendana, had overseas bureaus in San Francisco, California; Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Chicago, Toronto (Canada), Sydney (Australia) and Jeddah.

These were closed down after the EDSA Revolution.

During the government reorganization in 1987, the BNFI was abolished and replaced with two bureaus -– the present-day News and Information Bureau and the Bureau of Communications Services.

At present, PNA remains an NIB division under the direct supervision of Assistant Secretary Elizardo de Layola of the Presidential communications Operations Office.

He is assisted by NIB Director III Danilo S, Jamora.

Bomb Explodes in Baguio City

Three people were hurt as a blast of still unknown origin marred Baguio City's "Panabenga" Festival Sunday morning.

Despite this, Cordillera regional police head Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, in a radio interview, reassured tourists that the incident is isolated and will not affect the festivities.

"Three people were slightly injured in the blast, and we are investigating it now," Magalong added.

The explosion rocked the office of the "Anti Crime Volunteer" group.

The three injured were identified as as Jenard Palomique, Joseph Espadz, and security guard Gilbert Salvador.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines

Along with attracting many people in this year's Panagbenga festival, tourists will be pleased to know trips to Baguio will soon be more accessible.

President of Tourism Congress of the Philippines Marceline Clemente announced during a speech Saturday there has been a clamor from both local and foreign tourists for Baguio to have an airport that can make it faster and easier for tourists to reach Baguio.

"We are working on a good airport and adding a franchise of tourist buses and public transport," Clemente said.

Clemente added this was necessary with the continued increase in the number of tourists going to Baguio with an estimated 1.7 million in this year's Panagbenga festival.

"With the assistance of congressmen and other local leaders, we are continually bringing this request to our national government," she added.

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan himself explained the private sector has expressed a persistent demand for the improvement of the inactive Loakan airport in Baguio.

"Even if former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decided to keep it open for emergency purposes, there has not been any registered flight there," Domogan explained.

"The Loakan airport (runway) is only 1.7 km, it cannot accommodate big airplanes," he said, explaining the importance of its upgrade being put to action.

According to Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Incorporated, although Loakan airport does not meet the Federal Aviation Standards at present, it is hopeful there will soon be noticeable development.

"We are happy that PNoy (Pres. Benigno S. Aquino) is continuing it," Domogan said. "This is a big thing for the people of the North."

Aside from improving the airport, Clemente also mentioned an extension of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), estimated to be finished in a year's time, will be added to cut the travel time from Manila to Baguio to three to four hours instead of the usual five to six.

Flying V Oil Price

Another independent oil player, Flying V, will roll back its petroleum prices by 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

In an advisory Saturday evening, Flying V will reduce the prices of its premium and unleaded gasoline by P0.40/L and diesel by P0.50/L, effective 12:01 a.m Sunday.

Earlier, SeaOil, another independent oil player rolled back prices of its petroleum stocks effective 12.01 a.m. Saturday.

The rollback, according to the advisory, aims to "reflect price movements in the international petroleum market."

There was as yet no word of a price movement from other oil companies.

Last Tuesday oil companies implemented price hike by more than a peso higher per liter.

The movement is the third for the month of February.

Light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms

The northeast monsoon continues to bring light rains in Luzon particularly Cagayan Valley and Aurora, the state weather bureau said Sunday.

In its advisory, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) also said Mindanao will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have sunny to partly cloudy skies with possible light rains in the afternoon or evening.

Metro Manila's temperature will range from 23-30 degrees Celsius Sunday.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail throughout the country and its coastal waters will be moderate to rough.

PAGASA also issued a gale warning as strong gale force winds associated with northeast monsoon are expected to affect the seaboards of Luzon.

Annual Panagbenga Festival

An estimated 1.7 million people witnessed the annual street dance parade, part of the annual Panagbenga Festival 2013 Saturday.

The annual colorful Street Mob Flash dance parade showcases different dancing groups in flower-inspired costumes while dancing in the street to different tunes played by their respective drum and lyre bands.

The theme for this year is "A Blooming Odyssey".

The two-hour 6-km parade highlighted by rhythmic dance steps from different ethnic, cultural groups and students started at 8 a.m. from Panagbenga Park and ended up at Athletic Bowl.

Dept. of Tourism officials and organizers, City of Pines Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara, Phil. Chamber of Commerce delegates from Toronto led parade participants.

They were followed by PMA bands and different delegates from the sister cities like Taebaek, Gongju, Vaughan, Vallejo, Kalinga, Apayao, and Bontoc.

Students from different schools in Baguio and nearby communities such as Aguinaldo Elem. School, Mabini Elem. School, Baguio Central School, Lucban Elem. School, Fort del Pilar Elem. School, Southern Luzon University, Elpidio Quirino Elem. School, Dona Aurora Elem. School, Quezon Hill Elem. School, San Vicente Elem. School, Josefa Carino Elem. Sch., Pinsao Nat'l. High Sch., St. Louis University and others.

Most of these students wore costumes made of colorful flower designs while dancing to the beat of songs like 'kendeng-kendeng' and the currently popular 'Pusong Bato' and other popular dance beats.

Other performing artists like Litangfan Cultural Group from Mt. Province, Tanghalang Teatro Pino, The Kabayan Youth Cultural Dance Troupe, Bampkabia Cultural Dance, Cordillera Cultural Performing Group and others also joined the parade that drew massive crowds from different parts of the country and foreigners from other countries to witness the annual event.

People snapped pictures of participating children, students and other ethnic groups in native costumes while carrying some big baskets with big carrots, cabbage and other vegetables.

Another crowd drawer were the 'higantes' wearing flower-embroidered costumes and a big image of 'Anito' borne by students.

The drums and other musical instruments played by the drum and lyre bands dotted by colorful flowers.

The 130 students from Quezon Hill Elem. School wore costumes made from recycled used brooms, plastic bags, plastic bottles as their colorful costumes and head dress decked with flowers.

Meldie Diente, 35, a Technical Assistant staff from a company in Metro Manila said she and nine of her officemates travelled all the way from Manila to Baguio justto witness the event.