Monday, January 30, 2006

Pastoral statement of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

Beloved People of God:

1. We, your bishops, have collectively discerned in the light of the
Gospel what our mass media, our political leaders and, above all, you
parishioners in our various dioceses have been telling us. What
clearly emerges is the continued and urgent need for renewal in the
public life of our country.

I. Our Pastoral Situation: What Our People Are Saying

2. We have all observed the failure of political processes to make
public servants accountable for wrongdoing. What we have seen instead
are acts of evasion and obstruction of the truth, as in the case of
the wiretapping and Garcillano tapes controversy. While we acknowledge
that patriotic and sincere Filipinos have heeded our call in July 2005
for accountability in public office and sought means for the truth to
emerge, we also witness those who seem to use "the search for truth"
as a means of furthering their political ambitions. Pressure is thus
brought on the ordinary citizen to take sides on the basis of
speculation, whether this be with regard to destabilizing alliances,
armed insurgency, or a brewing coup d'état. Have we become a nation of
rumors and untruths?

3. As a result of all this, there seems to be a paralyzing gridlock in
the political sphere, as partisan interests prevail over the demands
of the common good. Enough of this destructive politics, we hear our
people declare. In this situation of widespread confusion, it is not
surprising that apathy and cynicism with regard to politics have taken
hold of the minds and hearts of many Filipino. Tragically, many
Filipinos have lost trust in political leaders from left, right, and
center, and worse still, in the political institutions themselves
which are perceived by many to be corrupted. Among an increasing
number of our people, there is a sense of hopelessness about our
country and the possibility of genuine reform.

4. While the economy at the macro-level seems to be moving along, the
benefits are not sufficiently shared by the poor. What the people in
our dioceses are experiencing and saying informs us that their most
immediate and urgent priority is their daily struggle to earn a
livelihood. Poverty remains the heaviest burden our people bear. They
wonder if the political priorities that preoccupy our leaders are
merely "Manila-magnified" problems foisted upon those in the
provinces. They are seriously concerned that in 2006 we shall be
repeating the same kind of chaotic politics that we all suffered in

II. The Root of the Crisis: Erosion of Moral Values

5. As bishops, we believe that at the bottom of our political chaos is
a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and
solidarity for the sake of the common good and genuine peace. Truth
has become a victim of political partisanship as well as of
transactional politics. Moral accountability and justice for crimes,
such as the killings of journalist and labor leaders, are yet to be

6. Because of this crisis of values in our public life, the common
good and the plight of the poor are being ignored. We witness the
anguish of poor farmers affected by rising prices of farm inputs and
decreasing prices for their products. Indigenous people, farmers and
fishermen in our diocese are filled with anxiety about the negative
effects of mining, commercial logging, illegal quarrying and fishing,
and the continual threat of displacement from one's ancestral lands.
More regrettable is the common knowledge that many of our politicians
are behind such ventures that disregard the common good.

7. As Bishops, we realize that the root cause of our debilitating
situation is the erosion of moral values. Its external manifestations
are deceit and dishonesty, corruption, manipulation and a deadening
preoccupation with narrow political interests, perceived in
practically all branches and at all levels of government. Pope
Benedict XVI cites St. Augustine's observation that "a State which is
not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves."
(Deus Caritas Est, 28)

8. But we also recognize that our situation is not one of utter
darkness. We are encouraged and inspired to see so many good and
decent Filipinos, of different faith traditions, working selflessly
and sincerely to build up our nation. We see public servants
struggling for integrity and the authentic reform of the corrupted
institutions they are part of. We acknowledge groups of dedicated
laity, religious and clergy, NGOs and various associations, including
police and military personnel, giving of themselves to improve the
governance, education, health, housing, livelihood and environmental
conditions of our people. These people, united by a vision of heroic
citizenship, are reasons for hope, even in the midst of the political
crisis we find ourselves in.

III. What We Need to Do

9. The mission of the Church includes the renewal of the social order
and public life through the teaching and inculcation of the values of
the Gospel. Because of the moral dimensions of our political and
economic life, "The Church has something to say about specific human
situations, individual and communal, national and international."
(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 521) "Any
authentic search for peace", the Holy Father stresses, "must begin
with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the
concern of every man and woman." (In Truth, Peace, No. 5) Let us all
therefore address the urgent issues facing our country from this moral

* We recommend that the search for truth be relentlessly pursued
through structures and processes mandated by law and our Constitution,
such as the Ombudsman, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on
Human Rights, the Sandiganbayan, and Congress itself as well as other
citizens' groups. This requires that such bodies be led and run by
credible people, persons of integrity and probity.

* Confidence and trust in our political processes have to be restored.
As a first step we strongly urge our political leaders to undertake
electoral reforms posthaste. The Commission on Elections has to be
transformed into a competent and reliable body beyond reproach. The
call for resignation or even prosecution of a number of the
Commissioners should not be lightly brushed aside. The electoral
process, including counting of votes, needs to be reformed and
modernized before the next elections.

* Elections in 2007 should not be cancelled. The Church recognizes
that in a democracy power emanates from the people - i.e., that "the
subject of political authority is the people considered in its
entirety.This people transfers the exercise of sovereignty to those
whom it freely elects.but it preserves the prerogative.(of) evaluating
those charged with governing, and in replacing them when they do not
fulfill their functions satisfactorily." (Compendium of the Social
Doctrine of the Church, No. 395).

* While we agree that certain aspects of our Constitution may need
amendments and revisions, we do not support hasty efforts to change
this fundamental law of the land without the widespread discussion and
participation that such changes require. We continue to believe, as we
did in our Statement on Charter Change in 2003, that changing the
Constitution involving major shifts in the form of government requires
widespread participation, total transparency, and relative serenity
that allows for rational discussion and debate. This is best done
through a Constitutional Convention. The reasons for constitutional
change must be based on the common good rather than on self-serving
interests or the interests of political dynasties.

* We reiterate our stand in our July 2005 statement that we do not
condone resort to violence or counter-constitutional means in
resolving our present crisis. These measures would only bring about
new forms of injustice, more hardships, and greater harm in the

10. We are aware that the renewal of Philippine public life will
require the transformation of cultural values and structures, and will
require more intensive efforts on the part of the Church. We therefore
commit ourselves to the following:

* To adopt a more systematic program of promoting the moral values
that are indicated in seven (of the nine) pastoral priorities drawn up
at the 2001 National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal. These
are: integral faith formation; empowerment of the laity towards social
transformation; the active presence and participation of the poor in
the Church and in society; the family as the focal point of
evangelization; the building and strengthening of participatory
communities that make up the parish; integral renewal of the clergy
and religious; and our journeying with the youth.

* To continue the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities and other
faith-communities at the grassroots, towards a deeper spirituality of
heroic Christian citizenship, and towards encouraging the laudable
efforts of these communities at nation-building, such as the
monitoring of the IRA, bidding of public works projects, etc.

* To promote a spirituality of public service, integrity and
stewardship among public servants and citizens' groups alike. These
forms of social spirituality should counteract the persistent evils of
gambling, drug pushing, usury, destruction of our environment, and
corruption in public office.

* To bring together various concerned citizens' groups that are
working for good governance in order to encourage better collaboration
among them in the mobilization of the governed to check graft and
corruption and to work for better public services.

* To declare this year 2006 as a "Social Concerns Year" under the
auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of
Jesus. The Social Teachings of the Church, as summarized in the
recently printed Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, may
be discussed, internalized, and acted upon in all our dioceses,
parishes and Catholic schools.

* To accompany our efforts with prayer and penance and a deep trust in
the transformative power of God's grace in the lives of individuals as
well as of societies. "Restore us to Thee, O Lord, that we may be
restored" (Lam 5:21).


11. In all we have been saying here, we, your Bishops, are seeking to
be faithful to the Lord's command of love, and his call to his
followers to care for all peoples, especially those whom he sees as
the "least of my brothers and sisters" (Mt. 25, 40). It is this Gospel
mandate we wish to see making a qualitative difference in our efforts
at healing and renewing our flawed political culture and corrupted
public life. In doing this, we show our solidarity with the poor who
suffer most from the present state of public life and politics.

12. May the love of God in Christ, poured out upon all of us in the
Holy Spirit, give us the courage and hope to renew our public life and
to build up a truly moral society. And may Mary become our guide and
model in this renewed pilgrimage towards Truth, Justice, Freedom and
Love - the pillars of genuine peace in our land.

For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
29 January 2006

COPYRIGHT 2004 (c) People's Independent Media Inc.

VFA: Who’s to blame?

BABE'S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez
The Philippine Star

When former Vice President, then Senator, Tito Guingona saw the draft of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), he immediately rejected it saying it infringes on our sovereignty. At that time, many people thought Tito Guingona was being too nationalistic and too anti-American. In fact, when he was concurrent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he wanted to confine the American troops inside designated camps and make the rules a little more stringent. His perennial run-ins with GMA over the VFA ultimately caused their parting of ways and cost him his job as Foreign Secretary. Specifically, his main concern was Article 5, Paragraph 6 of the VFA which clearly states: "The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings." As a lawyer, Tito Guingona immediately saw that a criminal case committed within Philippine shores should automatically give custody of suspects to the local courts. But the VFA obviously gave the Americans a lot of leeway, "if they so request." Today, he was proven right. It is now the bone of contention surrounding the VFA.

In 1998, when the VFA was being pushed by then US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, President Joseph Estrada was eager to have it ratified by the Senate. If one could recall, he was one of those who voted against the retention of the bases in 1991. But this time, he felt that we needed the Americans more in our external security and in modernizing our armed forces. Erap used all his political capital with the Senate then and got a majority of the Senators to pass the VFA. One of his point men was Frank Drilon, who pushed hard for the VFA together with the late Senate President Marcelo Fernan. Ironically today, Drilon is very much against the VFA. The others who voted for it were Blas Ople, Rodolfo Biazon, Kit Tatad, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Robert Jaworski, John Osmeña, Juan Flavier, Juan Ponce Enrile, Tito Sotto, Ramon Revilla, Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Robert Barbers, Rene Cayetano, Nikki Coseteng and Gringo Honasan. Another one who is so vocal today in scrapping the VFA is Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who also voted to pass the VFA.

Those who rejected it outright were Tito Guingona, Raul Roco, Serge Osmeña, and Nene Pimentel, together with Loren Legarda who totally refused because she believed the sovereignty of the Philippines was at stake. As a matter of fact, former President Estrada tried to use her husband Tony Leviste to influence Loren Legarda to change her position. But she adamantly refused, allegedly making Tony Leviste cry on the shoulders of one of Erap’s classmates saying, "What will happen to my deal with the President?"

So now, who is to blame for this whole custody issue? Perhaps the real solution would be to follow the interpretation of former VFA Commission executive director Amado Valdez on Article 5, Paragraph 6, that the warrant of arrest would be served, the accused would be arraigned, and then they would be remanded in the custody of American military authorities.

The terms also called for a one-year period by which the case should be finished, otherwise the custody issue becomes even more difficult, giving the US no obligation to produce the accused for trials and investigations. The American soldiers can go back to wherever they’re supposed to be serving. The US refuses to be a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it could pave the way for the filing of frivolous and politically-motivated cases fueled by anti-American sentiment. That’s how protective the US government is of their soldiers. And if the guilty verdict ever comes out in this case, we will have to try and get the US marines under other arrangements like the RP-US Extradition Treaty. But whether the US government will turn them over immediately to the Philippines is a big question.

Comparing this treaty – which by the way was not passed by the US Senate – with its counterpart VFA 2, it would seem that the terms are too one-sided. I’m sure the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC would not be able to take custody of Filipino soldiers, or any Filipino for that matter, accused of committing a crime. Federal or state courts could impose confinement of erring Filipinos in American jails. US police authorities simply have to inform the US government about any arrest or detention and it’s only then that Philippine authorities will be notified.

What Tito Guingona probably wanted to push from day one is that if there is going to be any VFA, the US troops would have to be confined to quarters. They’re not tourists in this country, they’re here to do a specific job. They’re supposed to train our soldiers during the exercises. Other than that, they must be confined to a specific area so that it will limit potential problems like what we have today. If this issue continues to become contentious, then perhaps the Senate is right in reviewing the terms of the VFA and renegotiating the treaty.

When all is said and done, Tito Guingona was right after all in being overly protective of Philippine sovereignty because as the 19th century British politician Lord Palmerston once said, "nations have no permanent friends or allies. They only have permanent interests."

US firm donates computers

BALANGA CITY: Nextream Broadband Philippines donated 10 sets of computers with flat-screen monitors to the Bataan National High School and readies 1,436 units more for staggered distribution to all towns and barangays in Bataan, the US-based firm said over the weekend.

Filipino American businessman Tyrone Javellana, Nex­tream executive officer, said the high-school students will now be wired to the world.

“The students will be more empowered and informed as well as connected to the Internet that is four times faster in speed compared to the present system in the market,” Javellana said.

The Peninsula Electric Cooperative will provide free Internet access to 5,637 students of the BNHS via the broadband-over-power lines technology earlier launched in the province.

“We were surprised and never expected that our school will be provided with high-tech computer system, putting the world in the finger tips of our students at no cost to the school and the parents,” the school principal, Simeona Emata, said.
--Ernie B. Esconde Manila Times

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I C E in your cellphone

I C E in your cellphone

It maybe helpfull someday....

Subject: ICE in Your Cell Phone

The London bombing incident has promoted concerns and I share
with you what one of my European colleagues just sent.
As long as everyone knows what ICE stands for, it is
not a bad idea. A useful thing to add to your mobile
address book!

It was thought up by a paramedic who
found that when they went to the scenes of accidents
there were always mobile phones but they didn't know
which numbers to call and he thought that it would be
a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name
to file "next of kin" under.

Following the disaster in London . . .East Anglian
Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of
Emergency (ICE)" campaign with the support of
Falklands war hero Simon Weston.

The idea is that you store the word " I C E " in your
mobile phone Address book, and against it enter the
number of the person you would wa nt to be contacted
"In Case of Emergency".

In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff
will then be able to quickly find out who your next of
kin are and be able to contact them. It's so simple
that everyone can do it. Please do.

Please will you also email this to everybody in your
address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before
everybody will know about this. It really could save
your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest.

For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Paramedics will turn to a victim's cell phone for
clues to that person's identity. You can make their
job much easier with a simple idea that they are
trying to get everyone to adopt: ICE.

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. If you add an
entry in the contacts list in your cell phone under
ICE, with the name and phone no. of the person that
the emergency services should call on your behalf, you
can save them a lot of time and have your loved ones
contacted quickly. It only takes a few moments of your
time to do. Paramedics know what ICE means and they
look for it immediately. ICE your cell phone NOW!

Michelangelo "Mike" Cayabyab

Open high school program eyed

TITA C. VALDERAMA, People's Journal

OUT-OF-SCHOOL youths and adults who have completed elementary education will have a chance to continue their studies towards earning a college degree through an "open high school" program that Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman is pushing for enactment.

The House committee on basic education has endorsed for plenary discussion the proposed program contained in House Bill No. 12. It was patterned after the "open university" system that was institutionalized a few years ago through legislation.

Lagman described the program as an "innovative, alternative and inexpensive" delivery of the secondary education to the masses.

"In an open high school system, the student most of the time studies independently at his
OPEN. “In an open high school system, the student most of the time studies independently at his own pace without constant or daily student-teacher interaction and at home without need of a classroom.”

own pace without constant or daily student-teacher interaction and at home without need of a classroom," he explained.

"The system utilizes print, radio, television, and computer-based communications, satellite broadcasting, teleconferencing and other multi-media learning and teaching technologies that allow students to study on their own without having to regularly attend classes in conventional classrooms," he said.

Potential beneficiaries of the program include children of high school age who are out of school because they have to stay at home during school hours to take care of their younger siblings and do household chores to allow their parents and elders to earn a living or they themselves are working in order to augment the family income; children who cannot attend classes regularly because their homes are too far from the nearest high school, youthful offenders who cannot attend conventional classes because they are detained in correctional institutions or rehabilitation centers and those whose education is hampered by armed conflicts like some areas in Mindanao and certain portions in Luzon and the Visayas.

Be somebody someday


Three words inspired student
to strive harder to improve

By Allan Bilog

(This series of articles about young college students with the Pathways to Higher Education program is a joint project of the Ateneo de Manila University and The Manila Times.)

“Be somebody someday.”

Michael Bagyan read those words and his life changed forever.

He still remembers that day clearly. Then only a freshman in high school, Michael was caught up in the regular routine of his daily life, burdened by the difficulties his family was going through at that time. Yet, this clichéd slogan made Michael pause and think about his circumstances. That was when he decided that he wouldn’t be limited by mediocrity. Little did he know that his decision would push him to higher things.

Even as a little boy, Michael was always resourceful. In Baguio while other children played in the park or rode horses, Michael sold plastic bags in the market to help his parents earn some money. He still found time to play, as all boys do, but he also made it a point to study hard.

Michael, now 17, is the youngest in a family of six children. During his high-school years, he consistently performed excellently at school. He managed to achieve this despite the meager income earned by his father, a tricycle driver, and 58-year-old mother, who earns additional family income raising pigs behind their house.

Immediately after high school, Michael was told by his mother not to pursue his college education, because they simply could not afford it. It would’ve been easy for Michael to accept his fate. None of his siblings had gone to college. He knew very well how poor he and his parents were. He felt it every time he reached for coins in his empty pockets. But Michael refused to accept what the dismal circumstances seemed to be forcing on him; he battled his self-doubt by holding on to his dreams.

He learned about the Pathways to Higher Education Program of Saint Louis University, Baguio. He felt it was his chance to get a scholarship for college. Then he found out that Pathways did not give scholarships and he was almost discouraged. Later he learned that the Pathways program was more than just a scholarship-giver, that it is a holistic development program aimed at forming bright but underprivileged public high-school students who deserve a good college education into Pathways volunteers and future leaders in their chosen professions.

He soon understood that in order to gain a scholarship, he would have to believe in his abilities, develop them and use them wisely. This is what Pathways did for him through its education development program, which enabled Michael to get a scholarship from the Commission on Higher Education through the Private Educational Student Financial Assistance fund.

“Pathways helped me in my application,” he said. “The program served as one of my pathways in pursuing my college education because it helped me boost my self-confidence, prepared me for college, and made me realize the vast importance of education.”

When his application for the assistance fund was granted there was great jubilation in his family.

Today, Michael is a third-year major in electronic communication engineering, still dreaming of bigger things.

“I dream of being a successful engineer who will someday create an impact for doing many beneficial things for our society,” he said. “Since childhood, I have been fond of studying phenomena, and discovering something out of them.”

Today, Michael is on his way to fulfilling his dreams. His unshakable faith in the possible rather than being deterred by the impossible is what keeps him going.

“I am tossed by the waves,” he declares, “but do not sink.”

Pathways to Higher Education has been helping young students like Michael chart their own courses for the future. With your help, more high-school and college students will have access to new experiences and opportunities that will make them better individuals and leaders. Get to know more about Pathways’ ground­breaking programs by calling 426-6001 local 4044-4049 or 920-0153 or e-mail at You can also visit our website at and text 0920-9508171.

Gov’t told: Speed up closure of 966 dumps

By Katherine Adraneda, The Philippine Star

A group advocating a zero-waste Philippines has asked the government to hasten the closure of 966 dump sites nationwide and put up recycling centers to replace them.

The Ecological Waste Coalition (EcoWaste), an alliance of groups dealing with waste and pollution issues, noted that the deadline for the legally mandated closure of open and "controlled" dumps draws near.

"Noxious gases, poisonous fumes and hazardous leachate, which put at great risk public health and environment, come from these waste dumps. Let us abide by the deadline set by Republic Act 9003," said Romy Hidalgo, coordinator of the EcoWaste task force for the closure of the dumps.

RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001, prohibits the operations of open dumps for solid waste disposal and all controlled facilities five years after the enactment of the law.

The law requires the conversion of open dumps into "controlled" dumps three years after the passage of RA 9003, and the closure of these converted dumps by Feb. 16, 2006.

"Following their closure, the authorities should carry out post-closure cleanup and rehabilitation to alleviate the migration of toxic leachate and the release of greenhouse gases such as methane," said Eileen Sison, EcoWaste chairwoman.

Thus, she said the government should immediately put up a materials recovery facility (MRF) in every barangay or cluster of barangays "to replace these unsightly health-threatening (waste dumps)" and facilitate organized recycling at the community-level.

Citing data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, EcoWaste said there are 734 open dumps and 262 "controlled" dumps across the country.

The Calabarzon area (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) has the most number of open dumps with 91, followed by Central Visayas (Region 7) with 89, and Central Luzon (Region 3) with 82

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Disagreement over interpretation of 4 words in VFA

A MERE four words in the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement spelled a "difference of opinion" between Filipino and American diplomats who deliberated on the Philippine government's request for custody of the four US Marines charged with raping a Filipino woman last Nov. 1.

The disagreement stemmed from whether the VFA provision granting US authorities custody of the accused "if they so request" was fully complied with, according to Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gilberto Asuque.

"We pointed out that there should have been a formal written request first, while their (the Americans') view was that it need not be formal," Asuque disclosed yesterday at a briefing when pressed for details on how the negotiation went.

"There was a difference of opinion," he said.

According to earlier reports quoting the US Embassy's Matthew Lussenhop, American authorities made a "verbal request" to unspecified Philippine officials on the night the four servicemen were accosted at the Subic Bay free port.

Reached yesterday, Lussenhop maintained: "That evening, there were a number of officials from the US Embassy, the Philippine National Police and the SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority). A request was made then."

The VFA provision in question is in Section 6, Article 5: "The custody of any US personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with the US military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings."

Ironic twist

It was the same provision the US Embassy cited on Monday when it turned down the Philippine government's Nov. 16 request to gain custody of the accused on grounds that the alleged rape was an "extraordinary case."

In an ironic twist, the Philippine government ended up being the party making a "request" for custody -- the term the DFA has been using when referring to its diplomatic note to the US mission.

On hindsight, a DFA official said the SBMA authorities should primarily be blamed for the government's loss in the two-month-long custody battle.

"Had they waited for the DFA's or the DoJ's (Department of Justice's) views on the matter, we could have denied the US request right there and then," the official, who asked not to be named, wryly noted. (INQ7)

Cigarette smoke called poison by California agency

Agence France-Presse

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tobacco smoke was officially designated an airborne toxin in the US state of California on Thursday.

The state Air Resources Board (ARB) listed smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes as a potentially deadly "Toxic Air Contaminant."

"The ARB's action rightfully puts second-hand tobacco smoke in the same category as the most toxic automotive and industrial air pollutants," said Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment director Joan Denton.

"Californians, especially parents, would not willingly fill their homes with motor vehicle exhaust, and they should feel the same way about tobacco smoke."

The decision was based on results of a report on the health effects of exposure to second-hand smoke, according to the board.

"This new report reaffirms many of the adverse health effects associated with ETS (environmental tobacco smoke), especially in children who live in homes where smoking occurs," said board chairman Robert Sawyer.

"It also raises new concerns about its effects on women. All this strongly supported the need for the Air Board to identify ETS as a serious health threat."

Tobacco smoke contains toxic air contaminants including benzene and arsenic, according to the board.

In California each year, tobacco smoke is responsible for the release into the environment of 40 tons (36 metric tons) of nicotine, 365 tons (331 metric tons) of respirable particulate matter, and 1,900 tons (1,724 metric tons) of carbon monoxide, the board indicated.

Clear links exist between exposure to tobacco smoke and health problems including cancer, heart disease, premature births, low birth-weight babies, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, according to the board

English is not only for call centers – DepEd

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU, Manila Bulletin

EDUCATION Officer-in-Charge Dr. Fe Hidalgo on Monday said that the English language is not being intensified for call centers but as the language of information technology.

Reacting to an earlier call from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas to restore English as the country’s medium of instruction to attract employment overseas, primarily the booming call center markets, Hidalgo said DepEd has been promoting English as a medium of instruction in public schools, except in the two subject areas — Filipino and Makabayan.

"We’re concerned that there is the need to really improve our proficiency. We’ve started intensifying the use of English. Today, a majority of the subject areas are taught in English except for those two subjects," Hidalgo said in an interview.


She agreed that the Filipino’s skill in English have diminished over the years thus the need to enhance it. But she expressed belief that this is not to set aside nationalism.

"When you speak English, it doesn’t mean you love your country less. We cannot set aside nationalism, we always emphasize nationalism," the Education official said.

Sto. Tomas asked DepEd recently to "set aside nationalism and restore English as the country’s medium of instruction" in the name of employment.

According to her, only five to 10 are accepted out of every 100 call center applicants today because of poor English skills particularly on communication.

She also blamed the use of "Taglish" (Tagalog & English) by young professionals to low hiring rate in call centers.

The DOLE chief said that if Filipinos can improve its English proficiency soon enough it can become the top. Currently, the Philippines is the second leading labor market for the global call center industry, next to India.

Hidalgo said that DepEd will be concentrating (more) on intensifying the training of teachers to improve their proficiency in the English language this year.

"Our objective is to intensify teacher training particularly on communication, and on how to teach. We also have a training program in the regions on how to teach reading effectively."

The DepEd’s School Mentoring Program, which seeks to train to mentor teachers is another project that promotes the English proficiency. In the last few years, over 60, 000 teachers across the country have been trained.

Under its national reading program, DepEd also promotes functional literacy to make every student read and understand what they read.

Hidalgo said that student’s reading comprehension should be enhanced starting at Grade 3.

DepEd is also looking into the possibility of obliging incoming or new teachers to take another examination that will test their proficiency in English on top of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

It is also planning to require old teachers to undergo a seminar on English, math and science for the same purpose

Friday, January 27, 2006

Graft in Pampanga quarrying brazen, shameless

By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer

ANGELES CITY—Lawyer Estelito Mendoza, former solicitor general and Pampanga governor, for the first time spoke out against the alleged scam in the capitol’s collection of taxes from Mt. Pinatubo’s sand, calling this an “example of graft so brazenly and shamelessly committed.”

Mendoza, 75, one of the country’s top legal luminaries who held various posts during the Marcos regime, gave the scathing remarks during the opening of the joint cultural and historical conference of Pampanga and Cavite at the Holy Angel University here on Tuesday.

“Here in Pampanga, it is not artifacts that are being dug (up). It is sand that is quarried. But this is something we should be ashamed of because I have not seen an example of graft so brazenly and shamelessly committed and only a few are crying against it,” he told some 200 teachers, writers and researchers.

This was the first time that he made public his views on a controversy that has hounded the provincial government since 1998 or 12 years after he served his term.

Mendoza delved into the quarry problem after he pointed out that the conference, which ended Wednesday, was a way to “see the value of the past to the present.” Former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, a Caviteño, also attended the conference.

“We should now ignite a feeling of guilt at our indifference and beyond that, our lack of will and courage to confront and stop the erosion of moral values in our society, the corruption in our government and the abdication of our sovereign will to govern as constituted elements of what we claim a democratic republic,” Mendoza said.

“We are unworthy of the legacy,” he said, referring to the contributions of Kapampangans who served the cause of freedom and independence from Spanish and American colonizers.

In his speech, Mendoza did not name the officials involved in the alleged quarry collection irregularities. He, however, talked about the discrepancies he observed in the number of truckloads of sand hauled daily and the actual revenues generated by the capitol.

The current chair of the provincial quarry task force is Gov. Mark Lapid, son of Mendoza’s former political protégé at the Nationalist People’s Coalition, former governor and now Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid. Mendoza and former President Joseph Estrada first fielded the elder Lapid, then an actor, as NPC vice governor in 1992 and as governor in 1995 to trounce Lakas candidates.

The elder Lapid was charged with graft in 1998 in connection with illegal quarry fees. The charge was dismissed before the May 2004 elections after the office of the Ombudsman withdrew the information.

Under President Macapagal-Arroyo, Lapid reclaimed for the capitol the right to collect quarry fees, which Estrada had earlier transferred to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

According to Mendoza, about 3,000 to 4,000 truckloads of sand are extracted from the province and these, at a tax of P300 per truck, should be enough to raise P900,000 to P1.2 million daily.

“Only a small amount is being remitted,” he said, referring to the P10 million collected toward the end of the elder Lapid’s term in 2004 and almost P40 million in 2005.

Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao estimated that the capitol lost a minimum of P176 million last year due to graft.

Mendoza said income from the quarry industry, which enjoyed a boom following the construction frenzy after Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruptions—the same disaster that spewed a huge volume of sand—could help poor people build homes and be provided with basic social services.

“This is a big problem,” Mendoza said.

He also rued the fact that the so-called SOPs, actually a term for standard operating procedures but which now represents the share of grafters in public works projects, had ballooned to 50 percent from 10 percent.

“What we need is a just and clean kind of governance,” he said.

GMA grants duty-free importation of car parts using alternative fuels

By Aurea Calica , The Philippine Star 01/27/2006

President Arroyo has issued Executive Order No. 488 making components, parts and accessories for the assembly of vehicles powered by alternative energy sources such as biodiesel, bioethanol, compressed natural gas and electricity tariff-free to reduce the country’s dependence on imported crude.

EO 488 imposes zero import duty on components, parts and accessories for the assembly of hybrid, electric, flexible fuel and CNG motor vehicles under Section 104 of the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978.

"It is the declared policy of the government to promote the judicious conservation and efficient utilization of energy resources in light of the continuing increase in world prices of imported fuel oil," the President said in her order.

Under EO 472 issued by the President earlier, the government set a target of five percent reduction in fuel consumption by road transport users.

"There is a need to promote the efficient use of fuel in the transport sector, being one of the highest fuel consuming sectors," the President said.

She said the emerging alternative fuel vehicle technology presents opportunities for improving energy efficiency of transportation in support of the government’s energy independence agenda.

Under EO 156, the President had established a "Comprehensive Industrial Policy and Directions for the Motor Vehicle Development Program" that would provide for the development of the Philippines as a manufacturing hub for certain motor vehicles, parts and components.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) endorsed the EO for approval by the President as initiated by the Department of Energy, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Board of Investments in pursuit of the government’s twin thrusts of energy independence and sustainable growth.

The EO dated Jan. 12 provides for the grant of preferential Most Favored Nation (MFN) and Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) rates of zero percent on the importation of items that qualified Motor Vehicle Development Program participants use for the assembly or manufacture of hybrid, electric, flex-fuel (bio-ethanol and bio-diesel) and CNG vehicles.

The current rates of import duty for motor vehicle parts and components are one percent and three percent for MFN and CEPT, respectively.

CEPT rate applies to importations coming from ASEAN countries while the MFN rate applies to importations coming from non-ASEAN countries.

Upon approval, the BOI, pursuant to its Motor Vehicle Development Program, shall issue guidelines to implement the preferential tariff privilege.

The development and promotion of indigenous alternative fuels is one of the key pillars of the Arroyo administration’s energy independence agenda.

Through increased utilization, the government hopes to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuels and thereby lessen its vulnerability to the volatility of world oil prices.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said that aside from energy conservation, the surest way to insulate the economy from the oil factor is through the use of indigenous alternative fuels.

In addition to its contribution to economic growth, he added that the use of alternative energy sources would improve the air and promote investment and employment opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector.

With the issuance of the EO, the government hopes to encourage more active participation from the automotive industry in mainstreaming alternative transportation fuels.

Just recently, Ford announced it will build a $20-million flexible fuel factory in the Philippines, its first in Asia.

The DOE this year intensified the promotion of indigenous alternative fuels, particularly coco-biodiesel and fuel ethanol. As of end November, more than 30 Flying V stations have been offering coco-biodiesel blended diesel at the pump. Seaoil, has also started to offer ethanol-blended gasoline since August.

More oil companies are expected to follow this year. Next year, 200 CNG-fueled vehicles are expected to ply the Batangas-Manila route.

Piñol to GMA: Freeze RP-US military drills in N. Cotabato

Hits refusal to turn over accused American Marines to RP court

KIDAPAWAN CITY — North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol led provincial officials here last Tuesday in asking President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to immediately suspend the US-Philippines joint military exercise in his province if the United States continues to reject a request of Philippine courts to have jurisdiction over American soldiers charged with raping a Filipina in Subic.

Setting aside their traditional pro-American stance, Governor Piñol and members of the provincial board led by Vice Gov. Jesus Sacdalan said: "We cannot sit down and play host to soldiers of a nation which insults and hurts a people who consider America a friend."

"What if, God forbid, a similar case happens during the conduct of the Balance Piston exercises in our province? Would the US government turn over the suspects to our local court? With the Luzon case as a precedent, the answer is most probably No," the provincial officials said.

"We cannot allow this to happen because in this little place we call home, we have always believed that ‘no one is above the law," the officials said in a statement.

North Cotabato is hosting the Balance Piston 06-02 joint military exercise as part of Balikatan at the Philippine Army’s Camp Lucero in Carmen.

Some 30 American and 250 Filipino soldiers are taking part in the month-long exercise that started last week.

Last year, despite protests, Governor Piñol supported the holding of a similar exercise at Camp Lucero. At that time, he dismissed accusations of militant groups who feared that the military exercise would result in human rights abuses and the spread of prostitution. He even welcomed the US contingent by hosting the Governor’s Night at the Provincial Capitol.

This time, the provincial officials reject the Balikatan exercises until "the US government respect our sovereignty as a nation and immediately turn over the American soldiers charged with rape within the jurisdiction of Philippine courts."

"If the US government continues to display arrogance in this case, then we will refuse the conduct of future Balikatan exercises in North Cotabato," Piñol said.

EDITORYAL – Durugin ang smugglers!

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon 01/27/2006

ILANG beses na bang pinagbantaan ni President Arroyo ang mga smugglers? Maraming beses na. Pero walang nangyari sa kanyang pagbabanta. Hanggang ngayon ay patuloy ang smuggling sa bansa at nadadaya ng milyon o bilyong piso ang gobyerno. Ganyan katalamak ang smuggling at aywan kung sa bagong pagbabanta ng Presidente ay mapuputulan na ng sungay ang mga smugglers.

Pasulput-sulpot din naman kasi ang pag-iimbestiga ng mga senador sa nangyayaring smuggling. Noong hindi pa napapalitan ang dating Customs commissioner ay wala silang ginagawa at nang may pumalit ay saka lamang sila umatungal. Bakit hindi nila inupakan nang inupakan noon?

Ngayo’y panibagong pakikipaggiyera na naman sa mga smuggling ang isinigaw ng Malacañang. Hanggang kailan kaya ito? Isang buwan o dalawang buwan? At kapag lumulutang ang isyu sa smuggling, laging sangkot dito si First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. At lumutang din ang mga pangalang matagal nang nasasangkot sa kanya. Sikat na naman ang pangalan ni Vicky Toh. Si Toh ay unang lumutang noong nasa kasagsagan ang Jose Pidal controversy. Bukod kay Vicky Toh, sangkot din ang kanyang mga kapatid. Namatay ang isyu nang umalis ng bansa si FG Arroyo at nag-exile sa US. Ilang buwan ding nawala si First Gentleman.

Nitong Disyembre 2005 muling lumutang si First Gentleman at ngayon ay nasasangkot na naman ang kanyang pangalan sa smuggling. Bukod kay Toh, sangkot din sa smuggling si Lucio Lao Co, owner ng Puregold Duty Free. Ayon sa imbestigasyon ng Senado, ang mga kaibigan ni Vicky Tho ay nag-I-smuggle ng mamahaling sasakyan, cell phones, electronic items, damit na ukay-ukay, chocolates at iba pang mga produkto na may mataas na buwis. Ayon sa report, nagbabayad lamang nang mahigit P200 ang mga smugglers sa Customs.

Masyadong talamak ang smuggling sa bansa at nakapapagod na ang palaging pagbabanta ni Mrs. Arroyo sa mga "economic saboteurs". Pawang pagbabanta na wala namang napapala. Ang kailangan at ninanais ng taumbayan ay mahuli at maparusahan ang mga smugglers. Kailangang maipakita ang tigas para maubos na ang mga smugglers. Ngayon ipakita ni Mrs. Arroyo ang kanyang katapangan. Huwag nang ibando pa ang gagawing pakikipaggiyera sapagkat hindi naman nagkakatotoo. Ang kailangan ay aksiyon para mapatay ang mga saboteurs!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

VFA office abolished

By Philip C. Tubeza, Inquirer

THE EXECUTIVE director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACom) appears headed to losing his office a day after he warned against the proposed junking of the controversial agreement.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to abolish the commission because it "duplicates" the functions of the bicameral Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (LOVFA), Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said yesterday.

Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo also indicated that Zosimo Paredes -- the most often quoted official of the commission since the alleged rape of a Filipino woman by a group of US Marines last Nov. 1 -- could not speak in behalf of the administration on the VFA.

"[Ms Arroyo] is convinced that [the VFACom] is redundant because it duplicates the work of the LOVFA, and it requires an appropriation of P20 million a year," Santiago said, adding:

"And from what law school did he (Paredes) graduate? He does not know his law."

But the commission, which is under the Office of the President, runs on a budget of P2 million a year drawn from that office, Paredes said.

Santiago, who co-chairs the LOVFA along with Cebu Representative Antonio Cuenco and who has recommended the termination and renegotiation of the VFA, also said Paredes was "publicly reprimanded" by Romulo during the Senate hearing on the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"He was told to stop making comments because he has no authority to speak," she said.

On Tuesday, Paredes warned that the Philippines could lose up to $8 million a year in military and humanitarian benefits if the 1998 agreement were abrogated.

Told yesterday of the developments at the Senate, Paredes expressed total surprise.

"I don't know of any reason why [this should happen]," he told the Inquirer when reached at his DFA office. Paredes said he saw Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita last Monday, "and there was no mention of this."

Face and voice

Paredes has practically been the face and voice of the VFACom since the alleged rape began making headlines, providing reporters updates on the rape case as well as airing his legal opinions on the RP-US accord.

He is the only Filipino government official of rank allowed by the US Embassy to see the accused Marines in two visits made to the mission -- one last November and the other early this month.

"I feel disappointed, and I believe we were doing our job," said Paredes, a 1971 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy who joined the right-wing Reform the Armed Forces Movement in the mid-1980s.

Asked if he thought his recent statements could have caught the ire of Malacañang, he said: "If some people somewhere are against me personally, they should just remove me, not the office."

And if the VFACom is being considered a "redundant" government office, "why say that only now?" he said.

Paredes pointed out that the VFACom was a creation of the Senate itself: "Didn't they see [the supposed redundancy] when they passed Senate Resolution No. 18 in 1999?"

He said that he had been "quite zealous" in performing his functions, and that he had just arrived early this week from Mindanao where he oversaw the latest RP-US Balikatan military exercises and community projects under the VFA.

According to Paredes, the VFACom is an organization of only seven persons, himself included, and a staff composed of personnel from the DFA and the Department of National Defense (DND).

Cut budget

Santiago said she was present when Ms Arroyo instructed Ermita to draft the executive order to abolish the VFACom.

"Madame Senator, I understand there is a plan to abolish that office principally by denying it a budget, and I understand also that the President has agreed to this," Romulo said at the hearing.

Asked later by reporters about the President's possible reasons, Romulo said: "Well, that is the decision of the Senate. Senator Defensor said she is recommending that [the VFACom] be abolished, and she said the President agrees. So I say amen.

"Obviously, if you don't have a budget, how can you continue [operating]?"

Without naming Paredes, Santiago assailed the official for making it appear that he was speaking for the administration.

"This executive director has deluded the media into the belief that he has authority to speak for a group of Cabinet members of which he is not a member. In other words, he is a minor functionary of the DFA but he struts around as if he heads the [VFACom]," she said.

Media mileage

Romulo said he had asked the media not to refer to Paredes as a foreign undersecretary "because he is not."

Santiago told Romulo: "In fact, according to Secretary Ermita, they do not meet. So, it is erroneous as well to refer to him as a ... Palace official because his office is in the DFA [but] he does not report to you."

She said Paredes also did not report to Ermita "in the same way that secretaries, clerks or stenographers do not report to a department secretary."

"And yet, it is astonishing how much media mileage he has been able to accrue for himself by identifying himself as executive director of [the VFACom], even receiving an invitation to visit the Marines ahead of the oversight committee of the Congress," Santiago said.

"So apparently, misimpressions must be corrected not only on the part of this official himself but also on the part of the US Embassy, who has begun to believe his own propaganda," she said.

Romulo assured Santiago that he had informed the US Embassy of Paredes' standing in the administration.

"We have advised them accordingly, Madame Senator, and I think that should not continue anymore," he said.


Santiago said Romulo had assured her that the DFA would support "any action that the Congress might take" on the VFA.

She quoted Romulo as saying that he was ready to "carry out" any foreign policy Congress might pass, and that like Congress, he also favored a renegotiation of the agreement.

But Romulo told the Senate during the hearing that the government was still pursuing "back-channel" negotiations with the US government for the custody of the four US Marines charged with rape in Olongapo City.

He said US state department officials had also assured him that the issue would be discussed "at the highest echelons" of Washington.

Romulo also lauded the LOVFA decision on Jan. 19 calling on Congress to issue a notice of termination of the VFA and its renegotiation during the compulsory six-month waiting period.

"Madame Senator, I respect the decision of the (LOVFA) in its recommendation. I think certainly it has been helpful with our talks with our counterparts," Romulo said.

"I agree with the national consensus [for a renegotiation], Madame Senator. In fact, that is the position I adopted from the very beginning, after reading the provisions of the VFA as well as the notes on the proceedings ... And that is, that this is an extraordinary case and custody [of the accused Marines] should belong to us," he said.

Romulo made these statements after Senator Juan Ponce Enrile plied him with questions for not raising the issue with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when he visited Washington recently.

But Romulo told the senator: "As far as I'm concerned, we are handling that with the US Embassy here. So I did not think that there was any necessity to have a scheduled meeting [with Rice]." With a report from Volt Contreras

EDITORIAL – Reversing the decline

The Philippine Star 01/26/2006

Foreign investors have been complaining about it, and yesterday local businessmen agreed with the observation that Filipinos are losing their proficiency in English. This week the Department of Labor and Employment suggested that English be restored as the medium of instruction in the country’s schools, pointing out that Filipinos are losing job opportunities because of deteriorating English proficiency.

Several years ago, in an effort to develop a national language, public schools stopped using English as a medium of instruction. The result has been disastrous, both for English proficiency and the promotion of a national language. In many non-Tagalog-speaking regions, local dialects are being used as the medium of instruction rather than Filipino, the national language that is largely based on Tagalog. Compounding the problem is the widespread use of Taglish in broadcasting and entertainment.

The result is a population with no proficiency in either English or Filipino. And the result is a slide in the nation’s global competitiveness. The development cannot come at a worse time, when English has become the lingua franca of international business and the Information Age.

The consequences can be embarrassing, as when bad English helped lead cyber sleuths to Filipino hacker Onel de Guzman, who unleashed the "I love you" virus that affected computers around the world including those in US security agencies. The consequences also include the loss of job opportunities. Labor officials point out that the country can corner a bigger chunk of the call center market if Filipinos have a better grasp of English. Foreign investors are also increasingly bringing their money to other countries whose workers are rapidly improving their English proficiency.

Even if English is restored as a medium of instruction alongside Filipino, a major problem is the lack of teachers qualified to teach English. Over the years many of the country’s teachers have left for jobs overseas, a number of them teaching English even in the United States. The country will have to develop a new pool of English teachers.

Reversing the decline in English proficiency is going to take time and a lot of effort, but the country has no choice. If we fail to act soon, we may never catch up with the rest of the world. This has nothing to do with colonial mentality or lack of nationalism. This is all about national survival in a highly competitive global environment.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Souvenier Items

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Olongapo Museum OIC Yang Elane gives Councilor Edwin Piano a sample of souvenier being distributed by the city to its visitors

Electrical Posts Upgrade

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PUD personnel replacing old electrical posts in Firetree Street, Gordon Heights to ensure safety of residents and uninterupted power supply caused by falling posts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Smuggling threatens national security

The Philippine Star 01/18/2006

Now that the new Customs chief has warmed his seat, it is time to set his perspective right. Not only must he stop smuggling because it deprives the National Treasury of revenue, he must do it to protect national security as well. Based on what we see around us, it would seem that we might as well declare the country a free port because smuggled items are able to get in with enough impunity to make it seem like we are a free port.

The more dangerous part of this obvious laxity on the part of our Customs operations is that we are vulnerable to terrorists. As it is, there is credible talk that the bargain goods being sold at so-called "tiangges" like 168 in Divisoria are just cover for drug smuggling. How else can the extremely low prices be possible?

A Chinoy entrepreneur related to me how a colleague brought his Mainland China supplier of umbrellas to "168" and told him to match the prices of the umbrellas being sold there. After checking "168" out, the China-based supplier told the Chinoy businessman that the cost of umbrellas at "168" is below his production cost. So, what gives?

Assuming for the sake of argument that the drug smugglers are able to spirit out of Customs all those container-loads of contraband with little problem, wouldn’t it be a piece of cake to substitute those illegal drugs and "168" goodies with something more lethal... like a dirty bomb? I am not being paranoid, even if there is nothing wrong with being one. But the thought of terrorists exploiting this weak underbelly of ours, otherwise known as the Bureau of Customs, is highly possible.

From another perspective, many people question the way US Customs strictly enforces IPR rules on pirated DVDs and premium branded products and justify it as a national security concern. In a way, the Americans are right and not just being paranoid about it. The underground market for pirated goods can be exploited by terrorist groups, and they probably are. We ought to take this perspective as well.

So it is clear that the new Customs chief has pretty awesome responsibilities. The revenue collection aspect is the most visible. It is estimated that missed Customs revenues due to smuggling would have made new tax measures unnecessary. The decline in Customs collections cannot just be a result of globalization and the premature lowering of tariff rates during the Ramos era. Criminal syndicates, with the obvious support of influential people, are simply making a lot of money on smuggling.

Because the new Customs chief came from the ranks, the public generally feels he is part of the old rotten system. That is probably an unfair assumption, but one cannot blame an increasingly skeptical public for refusing to give him or any bureaucrat for that matter, the benefit of the doubt. It is up to the new Customs chief to prove, as quickly as possible, our worse suspicions of him wrong.

Tiger Airlines

Even before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) announced that it is suspending the provisional authority of budget airline Tiger Airways to operate the Clark-Macau route, a PhilStar reader Howard McKay wrote me about the problems the sudden stop of operations caused.

I read the explanation of the CAB several times but could not see any real justification for the sudden order that caused inconveniences to the passengers of the airline, most of all the OFWs. It also seems to me that the CAB is not in tune with recent developments in international aviation that gave rise to budget carriers like Tiger Airways.

Of course, it would be difficult for Internet-based carriers like Tiger to go to the CAB to confirm the fare being charged on every ticket. The way the system works in today’s digital world, what happens out there is really an online auction. The price of a ticket offered changes almost by the minute, depending on demand. That is why if you find a fare being offered that sounds reasonable, you should buy it right away. It will most likely not be offered again, even a minute after.

Even without going into the controversial concept of Open Skies, which I have some reservations too in its purest form, there is a need for CAB to start liberalizing its way of thinking. As it happened, the POEA has reported that thousands of OFWs had their visas cancelled, resulting in missed opportunity of working abroad because there are not enough flights to take them. Instead of being bureaucratically strict, the CAB should encourage cheap budget carriers to help provide those flights that POEA says are not there.

If the CAB is protecting local carriers, that’s misplaced in this case. For one thing, no local carrier flies the Macau-Clark route. Even if that’s close enough to Hong Kong, it isn’t quite the same. More important, Tiger attracts a different class of passengers who are willing to go without the usual amenities. Even trying to buy a Tiger ticket is difficult and requires some computer savvy and a lot of patience. And as our reader points out too, their customer service sucks. The market should be allowed to decide, with no need for help from the bureaucrats, the fate of Tiger Airways.

Anyway, here is the e-mail I received from Clark resident Howard McKay.

A friend of mine went to Macau by Tiger airways on 7th Jan, due to return on 9th. Just after he left for Clark airport on 7th I received a call from Tiger Airways telling me the return flight on 9th had been cancelled and that he would be re-booked on 10th. I told them to ensure that he was told this at check-in..... he was not.

I then e-mailed his hotel in HK but unfortunately he did not get the message in time. He turned up for the flight on the 9th to be told it was cancelled. He then booked a hotel in Macau for one night for the flight on 10th. After checking in, waiting in the airport etc., the Tiger airways plane landed but he was then told the flight for the 10th was also cancelled.

He describes the situation in an email he sent me:

Back to the airport this afternoon, Flight on time, checked in, went > through immigration, sitting at boarding gate, plane lands, people get off, every one stands up ready to go through the gate, then word goes around, flight cancelled, permanently. No apologies, no Tiger Airways staff present to explain, just got given an application form for a refund to fax off to Singapore, payable in six to 10 weeks, and that was it, f**k off.

Quite a few Filipinos with families were distraught, having spent the previous night in the terminal, and they had no money for a whole family of air tickets and another night of hotels. God knows how they will manage in this freezing weather.

My friend returned to HK and booked a Cathay Pacific ticket to Manila.

As he says, goodness knows how the poor Filipino families would manage with no money.

During the saga I tried to contact Tiger Airways to find out what was going on – even ringing numbers in Singapore but all I got was ‘press one, press four, listen to music and so on’. They appear to have no Philippines contact number.

Although the cancellation and the distress are one story, what is the bigger story? I have been told that both PAL and Cebu Pacific have been trying to stop the budget airlines into Clark. I have been told that these recent problems that Tiger Airways have had here are due to the Philippine authorities. Could there be some unseen hand at work?

I first came to the Philippines in 1976 and I am now retired here – with a lovely Filipina wife. I lived in Hong Kong for 27 years and visited the Philippines many many times – up to six times a year. About six or seven years ago, PAL started direct flights from HK to Clark and I spent three weekends in Angeles via that flight.

On the basis that I thought Angeles City was thereby due to ‘take off’ I bought a house and a membership of the Mimosa golf club. PAL then had a strike and never reinstated the Clark flights despite the fact that they were completely full the three times I took them.

Given the undesirable option of flying into Manila I then started taking the direct flights from HK to Laoag for golf weekends. On the four occasions that I took these flights, again they were all full. The demand is obvious.

Anyone who thinks that Clark should be ‘strangled’ to protect vested interests at NAIA does not genuinely have anyone’s interests at heart other than his own.

By the way, my daily paper is The Star and your great column is one reason for this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Amazing! But True!!!

6 glasses of water (1 litre) - Astonishing Performance God has given us plenty and free water. Without spending on medicine, tablets, injections, diagnosis, Doctor fees, etc., just by drinking pure water, the following diseases will be cured. You can never believe before practising. Let us see the list of diseases being cured by this therapy.

Diseases cured by Drinking water
1. Headache
2. Urogenital diseases
3. Blood Pressure/Hyper Tension
4. Hyper acidity
5. Anaemia
6. Gastro-enteritis
7. Rheumatism
8. Dysentry
9. General Paralysis
10. Rectal Piodapse
11. Obesity
12. Constipation
13. Arthritis
14. Hostorthobics
15. Sinusitis
16. Diabetes
17. Tachycardia
18. Eye diseases
19. Giddiness
20. Opthelmic Haemorrhage & Opthalmia (reddish eye)
21. Cough
22. Irregular Menstruation
23. Asthma
24. Leucamia
25. Bronchitis
26. Uterine cancer
27. Pulminory Tuberculosis (T.B.)
28. Breast cancer
29. Meningitis
30. Laryngitis
31. Kidney stones

How does pure water act?
Consuming ordinary drinking water by the right method purifies human body. It renders the colon more effective by forming new fresh blood, known in medical terms as Haematopaises. That the mucousal folds of the colon and intestines are activated by this method, is an undisputed fact, just as the theory that new fresh blood is produced by the mucousal fold.
If the colon is cleaned then the nutrients of the food taken several times a day will be absorbed and by the action of the mucousal folds they are turned into fresh blood. The blood is all important in curing ailments and restoring health, and for this water should be consumed in a regular pattern

How to do this water therapy?
1) Early morning after you get up from bed (without even brushing your teeth) drink 1.50 litres of water i.e., 5 ? to 6 ? glasses.

Better to premeasure 1.50 litres of water. Let us all know that our ancestors termed this therapy as "Usha Paana Chikitsa". You may wash your face thereafter.

2) Here it is very essential to note that nothing else - neither drinks nor solid food of any sort - should be taken within 1? hours before and after drinking this 1.50 litres of water.

3) It is also to be strictly observed that no Alcoholic drinks should be taken the previous night.

4) If required, boiled and filtered water may be used for this purpose. Is it possible to drink 1.50 litres of water at one time?

1) To begin with, one may find it difficult to drink 1.50 litres of water at one time, but one will get used to it gradually.

Initially, while practising you may drink four glasses first and the balance two glasses after a gap of two minutes.

Initially you may find the necessity to urinate 2 to 3 times within an hour, but it will become normal after sometime.

By research and experience, the following diseases are observed to be cured with this therapy within the indicated days as below

Constipation: 1 day
Acidity: 2 days
Diabetes: 7 days
BP & Hypertension: 4 weeks
Cancer: 4 weeks
Pulminory TB: 3 months

It is advised that persons suffering from Arthritis or Rheumatism should practise this therapy thrice a day, i.e., morning, midday and night, 1 hours before meals - for one week; and twice a day subsequently till the disease is cured.

We make an earnest request that the above method should be read and practised carefully. Please spread this message to your friends, relatives and neighbours - it is a great service to the humanity. By God's grace all should lead healthy life.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Charity Bingo

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POC: Susan Dudley
Executive Director
Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce
Building 866 Waterfront Road
Subic Bay Freeport Zone 2222
Phone +63 47 252 3180
FAX +63 47 252 3190


Jovie of CA: di nga lang sya o sila. Marami dyan. Gret/Nya pasensya na kay AC gustong gusto kaseng nachachalenge.
Jovie of CA: Wag ibisto. Tapos na ang debate nyan kase ibinisto mo pa. MAhahanap mo rin sya AC dont worry
gudo: Wala ka ng pag asa kahit ikaw pa ang pinakagwapo sa balat ng lupa may asawa na yan no.
gudo: Alam ko gustong gusto mo ang NACHACHALENGE.
gudo: si AC naiinlove sa babae na nagchalence sa kanya. AMININ..........................Pero may sawa na pala.
AC: Tutuo naman na nababayaran ang katarungan sa pinas.
Jovie of CA: AC Tama na yan pareha pa man din kayong magkababayan. Dapat nagdadamayan.
AC: OK! dont worry di ako nag asawa ng puti dito o negro.
Gret: I hope tapos na ang usaping yan.
Gret: Dahil kadalasan lalo na between a Filipina and a foreigner, Pinay ang sumusunod sa kung saang lupalop ng mundo ang lugar ng lalaki. Sa aming dalawa ako ang pinagbigyan niya.
Gret: Pinoy man o Kano o ano pa mang lahi, bihira ang lalaking mag-travel across the globe at tumalikod sa kinagisnang buhay just to be with the woman he loves.
Gret: Pero wala na akong pakialam dun dahil mahal na mahal ko siya. And the fact na he gave up everything for me ay sapat na para sa akin.
Gret: Tsaka ang mister ko kumikita naman dito as a teacher and administrator ng school namin pero siyempre mas malaki yong sa akin.
Gret: Mahirap bang tanggapin na may mas masaya at successful sa yo sa buhay?
Gret: I know from experience na karamihan sa Pinoy mas gugustuhin pang makarinig na naghihirap ang kababayan kaysa nag-succeed. Alam mo na, crab-mentality.
Gret: Hindi ko kailangang may mag-ahon sa akin sa kahirapan dahil di naman kami naghihirap dati pa. Alam kong di ka maniniwala pero wala na kong pakialam dun.
Gret: Tsaka ako never akong naging dependent kahit kanino. Kung dependent ka sa kano mong spouse hwag mo kong ihalintulad sa yo.
Gret: How much more itong kasong to na sangkot ang mga sundalo ng The World's Only Superpower?
Gret: Siguro bulag ka sa sistema sa atin. Ilang kaso na ba ang na-dismiss dahil nabayaran ang awtoridad? E mga ultimong negosyante lang yon.

Senate is Cha-cha battleground, senator fumes at troika show

By TJ Burgonio, Inquirer

IT IS THE SENATE THAT WILL BE the battleground of the efforts to amend the Constitution and talk among the Lakas "triumvirate" about how the Charter will be changed is pure inanity, Sen. Joker Arroyo said yesterday.

"The 'initiative' to amend or revise the Constitution rests exclusively with Congress, absent an initiative law. The executive branch has no say in it. But the GMA-FVR-JDV troika acts as if it is the Senate," Arroyo said in an interview.

Arroyo was referring to President Macapagal-Arroyo, former President Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia, who had met to try to iron out their differences over the proposed shift to a parliamentary government.

Arroyo said the trio had been regaled the public with "their inanities" on how to amend the 1987 Constitution, "as if they have a say or influence on the Senate, where the Cha-cha battle ground would be."

Jealous lot

Arroyo claimed that the Lakas trio's influence on senators, whether individually or collectively, was "nil."

"In a crunch, GMA perhaps would at most have four senators on her side, FVR at most two, JDV zero. How can they make arrangements, when most of the senators can't be influenced by them on the matter, especially since it centers on how they can remain in power? Senators are a jealous lot," Arroyo added.

Arroyo also noted that most of those favoring Charter change were Lakas stalwarts while Ms Arroyo "is the only outsider."Will outfox them all" Yet, she will outfox and outlast them all," he predicted.

Independent Sen. Richard Gordon also said a mouthful.

"I'm chagrined by what's happening. Just like Marcos, they're trying to dictate their will upon us. How dare they?" Gordon said in a phone interview.

"The President and Ramos are trying to transact with each other to get their interests forward. If FVR wants Gloria out, he should have her impeached. They should not compromise the fundamental law of the land. We still have 2007."

"This is a vaudeville show being presented before us. This is just PR work."

P125 pay hike pressed as Congress reopens

ANAKPAWIS Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rep. Rafael Mariano will push their campaign for a P125 across-the-board wage hike as Congress resumes sessions today.

"The struggle for the long-delayed P125 across-the-board nationwide wage hike will be entering its sixth year, more than half a decade since militant workers under the Kilusang Mayo Uno took to the streets to ask for a much-needed wage increase in August 25, 1999," Beltran, former KMU chairman, said.

"For six years since 1999, millions of workers nationwide have rallied for a legislated across-the-board wage hike of P125. For six long years, no real wage increase has been granted by the government despite the record-breaking prevalence of hunger, soaring oil and food prices, E-VAT, inflation, labor unrest over low wages, unjustifiable power and water rate hikes, and the brutal massacres and suppression of workers asserting their rights to a living wage," he noted.

"For all the controversial and disheartening issues faced by the nation today, we in Anakpawis are also directing our energies to decisively clinching the long-struggle for legislated P125 wage increase," he said.

Beltran scored the Arroyo administration for "its continuing attempts to deny more than 16 million workers and their families the right to life by refusing to support the clamors for an immediate nationwide wage increase of P125, while shamelessly proposing schemes to impose anti-people policies and tinker with the Constitution in order to prolong its illegitimate grip over the Presidency".

"President Arroyo and her allies here in Congress should heed the peoples' calls. The public clamor for the immediate approval of a legislated P125 wage increase and the rejection of the anti-people and anti-nationalist Charter Change have basically remained intact and strong for seven years," he added .

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rent control law now in effect – Recto

Millions of residential tenants are assured of protection against skyrocketing rent nationwide, said Sen. Ralph Recto, major author of the rent control law in the Senate.

“This has been awaited by at least 15 million residential tenants including more than a million students in dormitories in Manila’s university belt. The newly-signed law could greatly help avert disasters awaiting to happen like the recent death of students trapped in a burning dormitory in Sampaloc, Manila.”

“Investors in the housing sector will also find the new law reasonable as the cap on rent increase is still at 10% whereas a lower cap would have favored tenants more. As much as we wanted to give greater relief to tenants, we also did not want to discourage housing builders and lessors who want to improve their properties.”

“The new law covers a higher rent than the previous law that lapsed in December 2004. The higher monthly rent covered by the new law ensures that those covered in the old law would still get coverage even if their rents have increased over time,” said Recto.

The covered monthly rent was increased to R10,000 for urban areas and R5,000 for non-urban areas from R7,000 and R4,000, respectively.

Five million of the beneficiaries are in Manila and 10 million tenants for the rest of the country.

Senator Biazon, chairman of the urban planning, housing and resettlement committee said the new rent control law was harmonized with other laws affecting tenants as well as investors in the housing industry.

Recto said “landlords are advised to collect only two months deposit and one month advance rent. Not one cent more. The current practice is that landlords demand the payment of three-month deposit and two month advance rent on new tenants.”

Recto stressed that the grounds for judicial eviction “are much clearer such as the non-payment of rent for three consecutive months, among others. The old laws generated conflicts as when landlords deceptively evicted tenants saying the units will be used by their family but actually would rent it out to others within the year.”

“The R10,000 monthly rent covered by the new law also is a VAT-exempt transaction, another protection granted to tenants,” Recto added. TEMPO

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tiger Airways' passengers bound for Macau stranded

By Dante M. Fabian, Sun Star

CLARK ECOZONE -- One hundred sixty passengers of Tiger Airways' flights TR502 and TR 503 scheduled to leave for Macau last Monday and Tuesday afternoon were stranded due to the non-arrival of the firm's airplanes at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).

The passengers assailed the delay and the discomfort caused by the absence of the Tiger Airways planes, which were supposed to fly them to Macau.

Sun.Star Pampanga also learned that despite the non-arrival of the planes, the passengers were made to pay their travel taxes in the amount of P1,620 per head.

The passengers decried government officials for allowing Tiger Airways to collect payments for bookings on flights beyond the expiry of its landing rights last December 31.

Anxious to get back to their jobs in Macau, the passengers, mostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), complained that while they wallowed in discomfort and waited for their plane, there were no Tiger Airways officials to explain and inform them of their situation.

The stranded passengers' anxiety were even heightened by Samuel Tubale, DMIA operations manager, who told them that aside from helping Tiger Airways to obtain its landing rights, there was nothing DMIA officials could do to help them.

Tubale said the airline has its office in Manila and is represented in DMIA by the Clark Airport Ground Handling Services Inc. (CAGHSI).

The unpleasant reputation drawn by the Tiger Airways in booking passengers in its Macau-Clark-Macau flights while facing obstructions of its landing rights has rubbed off on the preference for DMIA as a gateway for tourists and overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Two French students expressed dismay over the inconvenience they suffered at the airport, saying that this would make them think seriously before coming back to the country.

A group set to go on a 10-day tour in Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam said the delay would cause the loss of the money they paid in advance for their hotel accommodations in these countries.

Jonnalyn Gunnawa of Mountain Province, a domestic helper in Macau, said the delay of her flight may cause the loss of her job as her employers may have replaced her with Indonesian job-seekers.

Gunnawa also called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to act on anomalies surrounding the damaging delays on passengers flying through the airport named after Arroyo's late father, former President Diosdado Macapagal.

Bunggay said she is going to her children in Macau to help them in attending to her grandchildren.

Cheng Kim, a dentist from Cavite, told reporters that early Tuesday afternoon, a certain Wowie, who introduced himself as a representative of Tiger Airways, informed them that the airline will send in a plane later that night to fly them to Singapore where they can take connecting flights to Macau.

However, as the time of arrival drew near, they noticed that the flight disappeared from the flight schedule monitors at the waiting lounge.

Most of the passengers chose to stay and wait for their flight at the DMIA, saying that they have spent all their money and could no longer afford to return to their provinces, adding that they may even get defaulted if they fail to return whenever Tiger Airways gets a rescue flight.

Danilo Francia, Clark International Airport Corporation (Ciacor) president, arranged accommodations for the stranded passengers at the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) guesthouses and at the Montevista Hotel villas.

Coordinating with the representatives of the passengers, Richie Nacpil, Francia's assistant, supervised the transportation of the passengers to the MonteVista and CDC guesthouses where they stayed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Miriam files bill vs underage drinking

A BILL seeking to aggressively address the growing problem of underage drinking in the country has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 2143 or the "Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee to Prevent Underage Drinking Act of 2006.

Santiago wants to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.

She also wants stiff sanctions to be meted on the owners and proprietors of clubs, bars, and stores selling alcoholic beverages to minors.

"Establishments selling liquor should first require an identification card showing the date of birth or age of the person who wants to buy alcohol to make sure that that person is over 18 years old," the senator said. "The problem with us it that we're too lax or we do not seem to have any scruples about selling alcohol

“We should adopt the practice in other countries of banning the sale of alcohol to young people.”

to young people. There are parents who even ask their children to buy alcohol for them from neighboring stores."

"We should adopt the practice in other countries of banning the sale of alcohol to young people," she said. "In the United States, for example, one has to be 21 years old to buy alcohol."

Studies have shown that young people who began drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than those who began drinking at age 21.

The 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality study reported that out of the 16.5 million young people in the Philippines as of 2002, 11.6 million have drunk alcohol beverages.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2004 Vital Statistics Mortality Data, alcohol-related motor vehicles accidents accounts for 35% of the annual death rate among persons ages 15 to 20 years old in Southeast Asia alone.

Santiago proposed the creation of an inter-agency council that will focus on drafting measures to prevent underage drinking. The council shall be composed of the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Education, the National Youth Commission, and the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The council shall have the following functions:

lGuide policy and program development across the national government and local government units with respect to underage drinking.

lActively consult with all appropriations and interested parties, including public health research and interest groups, non-government organizations, and alcohol beverage industry trade associations and companies.

lCollect data and conduct or support research on underage drinking with respect to: patterns and consequences of underage drinking; date on the exposure of young people to messages regarding alcohol from advertising and the entertainment media; comprehensive community-based programs or strategies to prevent underage drinking; and evidence-based best practices to both prevent underage drinking and provide treatment services to young people who need them. Camille P. Balagtas,

Monday, January 02, 2006

More benefits for barangay execs eyed

AFTER getting a two-year extension of their current term courtesy of Congress, barangay officials stand to get additional package of benefits from proposals at the House of Representatives.

In House Bill No. 4954, Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas is seeking the support of his colleagues for the income tax exemption of whatever honorarium, allowances, or salaries that barangay leaders get.

Gullas, a former provincial governor and city mayor, also seeks GSIS coverage as well as medical and health service programs for barangay chairmen, councilors, secretaries, treasurers, tanods, members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa and all other barangay employees.

Another feature of Gullas' bill was the exemption from the payment of capital gains and other national taxes from the sale, exchange or disposition of real property by barangay officials and employees as long as the proceeds of such transactions would be used to acquire a family dwelling not exceeding 500 square meters. Tita C. Valderama, Peoples Journal

Another day in heaven for you, me and the singing cherubim

By Rome Jorge

LET their voices lift you up. Let their violins serenade your soul.
Enjoy the world's finest young musical geniuses perform together
onstage for a rare moment. And help hundreds of street children
become skilled, employed and value-oriented adults by simply lending
an ear to their finest songs.

Music this good is another day for you and me in paradise.

The world-famous Loboc Children's Choir and the highly acclaimed
Pundaquit Virtuosi will perform in "Light a Million Mornings"
concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Tanghalang Nicanor
Abelardo on January 6 and 7 for the benefit of the Tuloy sa Don
Bosco Street Children Village.

The concert brings together the talents of former child prodigies
Alfonso "Coke" Bolipata, world-renowned violinist; and Julian
Quirit, conductor of the Australian Pops Orchestra. Quirit's 19-year-
old daughter Eliza Quirit also plays solo violin. Directing them
will be veteran stage and television director and actor Leo Rialp
with Danny Favis as musical arranger. But the true stars of the show
are the children.

The concert is about children helping fellow children. The event
brings together grassroots success stories from Bohol, Zambales and

>From the historic riverside town of Loboc in the island of Bohol,
where musical instruments are much a part of every household as any
plow or boat and where casual melodies often waft with the breeze,
two-dozen local children ages 8 through 14 have gone on to reap
awards and accolades from around the world as the famous Loboc
Children's Choir. They proved themselves to be the World's Best at
the Songs of Europe Festival held in Barcelona, Spain, in 2003. They
garnered the first prize for the National Music Competition for
Young Artists (Namcya) three times before being inducted into the
hall of fame. They tour Europe, America and China as the country's
young ambassadors.

Nestled in the mango orchard of a seaside hacienda in San Antonio,
Zambales, is a brick and glass art center-residency-performance
space of Casa San Miguel, dedicated to teaching the sons and
daughters of farmers and fisher folk the art of the violin. No less
than world-renowned violinist Alphonso Bolipata guides their young
hands. More than a steward of the land, Bolipata uplifts his
community by training a new generation to be world-class musicians.
His most gifted students comprise Pundaquit Virtuosi, which has won
in the Namcya and some have appeared as part of the Promil Gifted
Child campaign. Exemplary among his former students is Zamuel
Mariano who is soon to have his one-man show. Bolipata's protégés
won first, second and third places in a music competition in Subic.

South of the metro in Alabang is a refuge for street children noted
not only for providing them shelter and food but also for
effectively providing them with relevant skills and employment when
they reach the age of 18, as well as value formation to steer them
in the right direction in life. The Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street
Children Village provides 650 disadvantaged youths free shelter,
basic education, medical services, counseling and therapy and
vocational skills.

Fr. Rocky Evangelista SDB, steward of Tuloy for the past 12 years,
deserves much of the credit for galvanizing private individuals as
well as government institutions in providing crucial support for
these proven programs. The Department of Social Welfare and
Development donated property on which Tuloy's Village of 16
residential homes, schoolbuilding and offices, livelihood and skills
training workshops, a recreation and sports center, staff houses,
cafeteria, a chapel, a swimming pool and a football field now serve
the children.

Selflessly sustaining the Tuloy Village is a group of Rotary Club
businessmen known as "Fr. Rocky's Angels: " Polie de los Santos,
Edwin Afzelius, Christian Espiritu, John Kerr, Carlos Pedrosa, Ric
Pascua, David Coyiukiat, Jun Manas, Jun Umali, Johnny Chan and his
sons Ryan and Patrick.

But these "angels," as successful as they are, cannot do it alone.
Every little bit helps the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children
Village. And that's where the musical cherubim from the Pundaquit
Virtuosi and Loboc Children's Choir step in and lend their voices
and strings for the former street children of Alabang. All we have
to do is sit, watch and listen. Another day in paradise indeed.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy New Year!
2 US Marines in Subic rape case back in Okinawa
CDC chief bares 2006 goals for Clark ecozone
Representatives of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister
13 hurt in stampede caused by firecrackers
Legal war over custody of 4 US Marines looms
Cash Gift for Olongapo City Gov't Employees
New Year's reminder from Mayor Bong
Olongapo City Fiesta Queen Coronation Night
4 GIs charged with rape Prosecutor demands custody of accused
Reader's Chat
44 people indicted in fix marriage investigation
Number of jobless Filipinos up 7.4%
Filipino Pride
Schwarzenegger endorses Filipino Veterans Equity Act
Lawmaker sees need for multilingual skills for Pinoys
PLDT firm pushes distance learning via satellite
Got a problem? Take a photo
Jamboree all set
Mga kompanya sa SBMA magsasara dahil kay Calimlim?
BSP NCR-CLR Jamborette 2005
Robbers shoot Brit and Pinoy seaman
Favila confirms plan to place BCDA under DTI
Banicain Fishport Inauguration Today
Olongapo DepEd Wins National School Journalists Awards
Linggo ng Kabataan
5 Taiwanese firms infuse P432-M fresh investments in Subic
P3-B buwis nakolekta sa SBMA
10 Taiwanese firms to invest P1b in Subic
NPA attacks SCTEP expressway construction site in Tarlac
No rape: Subic driver contradicts his 1st affidavit
Subic expressway guard gunned down
BCDA ordered to stop roadwork in Luisita
Van driver denies witnessing rape by US servicemen
Third court date for Subic rape case
Gordon to PTA: Dispose of white elephants
Reader's Comments
Fiesta Queen 2005 2nd Canvassing
PR: 72% diskwento sa Mass Land Titling, hanggang Dec na lang
Subic food processing center to rise
Rookie canoe-kayak bets good for silver
Archers pick up two golds
Golds for RP Archery Team and a silver in canoeing
Gold-silver sa Pinay archers
Bronze in SEAG Triathlon in Subic Bay
Gold in Women's Individual Archery
RP paddlers make it to canoe finals round
Filipino bags gold in sailing
BOC-Subic reports P2-B collection in January-October
12 inmates bolt Olongapo jail
RP team sailing for gold
12 inmates bolt Olongapo jail
RP archers advance to medal column
All Foreign Judges fielded in Archery
Philippines get early lead in Women's Archery
5 of 6 US Marines deny raping Filipina in Subic
VFA body airs assurance on case vs 6 US Marines
1 lang ang nang-rape sa akin -- Pinay victim
Volunteers' Final Briefing
Canoe and Kayak Teams ready for the game
The legacy of US military bases
Archers aim for 3 golds in meet
SEAG torch relay reaches Subic
2 gas station workers burned to death
2005 Volunteers' Day photos
Subic rape complainant not backing out--lawyer
More jobs await Pinoys in 2006
BoC seized P500m worth of goods
12 Olongapo jail inmates escape
Customs seizes P30 million in ‘ukay-ukay’ shipment
2005 Volunteers' Day Photos
Court lifts TRO stopping construction of SM Clark
How r u der?
Please Inform all your Female Friends!!!
P175B lost yearly to technical smuggling—Roxas
SEAG torch relay big hit in Cebu
Driver in US Marines’ case fails to submit his affidavit
Reader's Chat
American Hero
A good word for dropouts
CHED told: Close all diploma mills
RP paddlers take home 1 silver, 2 bronzes
NBI storms 3 internet cafés
'Dr. Ecstasy' laments the rave drug's notoriety
Nothing moves at Clark; 'Pinoy Big Brother' revives Centennial Expo
Pinoy wins prestigious international math award
Annual January 2006 tour: WOW Philippines
Prosecutor names driver as respondent in rape case against Marines
Gonzales: Hindi ko pinagbantaan si Magsaysay
Bush appoints Fil-Am to head US advisory body
Protests greet probe into rape allegations against U.S. Marines in Philippines
Rape victim not attending hearing
Olongapo court starts rape charge probe today
Subic execs misled on VFA -- Gonzalez
US Marines to appear before prosecutors over alleged rape
US Embassy silent on custody transfer plea
Volunteers' Day Celebration all-set
'Gapo launches "Ride a bike"
No need to augment Subic security force – Lomibao
State's case vs 6 US soldiers weak - VFA exec
DTI asked to promote investments
Subic rape case up at DoJ budget hearing
New gov't rules on dual citizenship elate Fil-Ams
94th Anniversary of the Young Men’s Christian Association
Retraction will not sink rape case, says DOJ
Bush names new envoy to RP
Militants demand end to US military presence in RP
RP eyes ‘economic corridor’ with Taiwan
Subic rape inaareglo
RP jurisdiction is clear in rape case against GIs
A culture of savings
Homeschooled Fil-Am wins $10,000 in 'Jeopardy!'
US custody for rape suspects violates Charter -- lawyer
4 held for P.5-M marijuana
SEAG Mascot Gilas meets Precious
Uneasy feeling on Subic rape case
FedEx to prioritize RP employees’ relocation
Torch Relay to Signal Start of SEA Games
Sister City relations of Olongapo City and National City proclaimed
Prosecutors deny 6 GIs' bid for more time
Australia opens its doors for Filipino professionals
Zambales furniture makers fight to save industry
Why they are named so ...
Half of RP graduate courses substandard
SUBIC: Where the Show Never Stops
Reconstructed Cubi bar from Subic Bay
ConCon to cost gov’t R2.6 B
Ex-Cebu governor urges return to 2-party system
Smuggling should be taken seriously
50 schools say 'no' to smoke belchers as RP celebrates Clean Air Month
Pinoy's coconet tops BBC World Challenge
Barangay elections may be scrapped
Dagupan fights styrofoam problem
Contractor offers to pay fees required of SM Clark
800,000 workers deployed abroad
'No terror threat to SEA Games'
How r u der?
Please Inform all your Female Friends!!!
Fair offers 1,000 overseas jobs
2 hurt in mock plane crash
RP sailors' English sounds Greek to Norwegian firm
Relearning English in public schools
Child pornography sa RP malala na!
Gov’t eyes 65,000 jobs in new program
Dual citizenship rules liberalized—Fernandez
Please pass this on to our fellow Filipinos.
Candaba's migratory birds are flu-free
GMA biased against poor buyers of second-hand cars
SUBIC RAPE CASEUS marines' plea for deadline extension on affidavits denied
US marines' plea for deadline extension on affidavits denied
DFA asks US for custody of 6 marines in Subic rape case
Subic-clark-Tarlac work delay to result in P250M losses
DOJ: Subic rape case transfer to Manila is last resort
Subic rape: 7 new witnesses surface
Joint congressional panel hears Subic rape case today
US Embassy served summons for 6 GIs
4 tiklo sa kasong rape
RP overseas absentee voter registration starts
Mirant Philippines lights up Subic’s Grande Island
Driver ng 6 Kano ‘di raw sinuhulan
Angeles City court issues TRO vs Clark mall project
Subic rape witness hides
US Senate recognizes RP WWII veterans
Greenpeace urges global offices to denounce attack vs members
VFA 13 beses ‘nilabag’ ng Kano – Villar
Palace will let 6 US marines leave RP
12 Greenpeace members in Iba incident charged with trespass
US to hire more lawyers for GIs
German activist beaten up in Zambales anti-coal protest
DNA tests begin on evidence in Subic rape case
DOJ puts heat on rape van’s driver
Use of US Navy oil tank, pipeline in Subic to store ethanol proposed
Pasugalan inilipat sa Subic Bay
Zambales folk excited over small drugstores
Evidence against 6 US Marines ‘strong’
6 US Marines held for rape
Subic security chief axed over spate of robberies
Brave Gordon
Gordon says a mouthful
SBMA losses P1.7M to thieves
ICDF grants SBMA request for loan grace period extension
Group says pollution in Manila Bay unlikely in Subic
SBMA & 3 locators losses millions to thieves
November 1 images
Bataan town bats for share of SBMA taxes
Korean firm eyes $1-B facility to build ships in Subic Freeport
Holiday Greetings!
Japan bank clears sale of Masinloc plant
Text tax concern
Subic Freeport locators to get P.20/kWh rate cut
Plastic bags, hirit ibawal
Payatas now a tourist destination
What is the secret of this rock?
Pinatubo Funds
Wi-Fi to boost growth of SMEs
Aviation institute up soon at Clark ecozone
CAMPI mulls installation of radio frequency devices on local cars
Ecop bucks Labor Code amendments
VoIP windfall on ofws
S spy case shows e-mail unsafe from prying eyes
Unliquidated cash advances hit P3.3B
Ex-SBMA chief breaks silence, scores Gordon
Barangay,SK polls moved to 2007
Sept 16, 2005 photos of KaleBeach, Halfmoon Beach, Dumlao and Oceanview
Lawmaker, CICT propose e-budgeting project for gov't
50,000 pitch in to save Manila Bay on World Cleanup Day
Palace retrieves postdated checks
P20 milyon ni Antonio Diaz
'Splogging' polluting blogosphere with spam, expert warns
Job Fair held at Rizal Triangle
Subic Volunteers
Tag Board
Arroyo adviser for Central Luzon eyed as new SBMA head
Gordon assails �frailocracy�
DENR takes over emission testing
Duty-free goods illegal
Chat board contents
Battle for SBMA Chairmanship heats on
Importers of used vehicles move from Subic to Cagayan's Port Irene
Gordon: No politics in Subic shake-up
Government vows justice for rape victim
Palace: RP trial for GIs in rape case, DFA to handle case
Raped girl no sex worker
6 sundalo sa rape mapaparusahan — US
ATM Alert!
Photocopy the content of your wallet and save time later!
Honoring the dead
Philippine Culture 101
Survey shows electronic firms fail on toxic responsibility duty
Endless slide
NPA out to kill cop, military execs
DFA warns against illegal recruitment in Australia
More US troops arrive for military exercises in Luzon
P7-M worth of Pentium 4 processors smuggled
Rich, self-employed evade P106B in taxes
Power rates in Clark the nation's lowest
GMA launches today seafood fest in Clark
Subic Air maybe in trouble
ConCom recommends shift to federal form of government