News



P10.5B of confiscated drugs still with govt
Manila Times

4 hours ago

THE government has an estimated P10.5 billion worth of illegal drugs still in its possession from various drug operations.

This information surfaced during Sen. Franklin Drilon’s interpellation of the budget of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which Sen. Panfilo Lacson sponsored before the Senate on Thursday night.
Drilon asked Lacson about the current inventory of confiscated drugs in possession of the government.

Lacson said the PDEA has about 2,000 kilos of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride), 53 kilos of cocaine, 53 kilos of marijuana and several other types of illegal substance.

“So, let’s say that conservatively in the possession of PDEA is at least P10.5 billion. So other than PDEA are there other agencies, which are holding custody of contraband and is it significant?” Drilon asked Lacson.

Lacson told Drilon that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has in its inventory a total of 594 kilos or about P2.5 billion while the Philippine National Police (PNP) has 94.6 kilos of shabu in its possession.

The minority leader then asked Lacson as to why the seized drugs were not with the PDEA, to which Lacson said he had no answer but would find out why from PDEA.

Lacson also said that if the flowchart on seized drugs would be followed based on Section 21 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, these illegal substances should have been turned over to PDEA to be destroyed.

Phase 1 of the law involves the inventory, and qualitative examination of drugs within 24 hours after confiscation.

Phase 2 requires ocular inspection by the court within 72 hours after the filing of the case and destruction or burning of drugs 24 hours after the inspection.

“So how can we have all of these (drugs) in possession of PDEA when they’re supposed to be burned. Why is that happening?” Drilon asked.

Lacson said that PDEA could not destroy the seized drugs unless there was a court order, adding that the agency has filed several motions in different courts, but has yet to get a response.

Drilon then asked PDEA to provide the Senate copies of the pending motions for the appropriate committee to ask the Supreme Court why the motions have not been acted upon.

“If indeed the PDEA has submitted to the various courts these motions, we will hold the court responsible for gross neglect of duty,” Drilon added.

Lacson said PDEA has asked the Supreme Court to direct the concerned Regional Trial Courts to act on their motions but the high tribunal has not responded because Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was facing some problems herself.

The senator was referring to the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno at the House of Representatives.
In September, Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, threatened to issue a subpoena against a judge who reportedly failed to order the destruction of 890 kilos of “shabu,” which authorities seized in a drug raid in San Juan on December 2016.

Gordon was surprised to learn that the confiscated illegal substance has not been destroyed 10 months after it was seized by the NBI in a series of raids in San Juan in 2016.

Lacson said the drugs could have been destroyed if only the court complied with the law.

The post P10.5B of confiscated drugs still with govt appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Tropical Depression ‘Tino’ heads to Palawan
Manila Times

4 hours ago

TROPICAL depression “Tino” was expected to make landfall in Palawan on Friday night as it maintained its strength, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Pagasa said that Tino was located at 65 kilometers (kms) east of Puerto Princesa City.
It sustained maximum winds of up to 55 kilometers per hours (kph) and gustiness of up to 90 kph.

Due to the tropical depression, Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal no. 1 was raised over Palawan. It is expected to make landfall in Southern Palawan between 4 and 6 p.m. and move west-northwest at 28 kph.

Moderate to heavy rains were expected within the 200-km diameter of Tino.

Scattered to widespread, light to moderate, to at times heavy rains and isolated thunderstorms were expected in Palawan as well as over Bicol region, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, rest of Mimaropa and Panay island due to the tropical depression.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and the province of Aurora will have light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms due to localized thunderstorms.

Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan make up Mimaropa while Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon make up Calabarzon.

Tino is expected to exit the western boundary of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday morning, Pagasa said.

The post Tropical Depression ‘Tino’ heads to Palawan appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Realign Tokhang budget to PNP housing – Drilon
Manila Times

4 hours ago

SINCE the Philippine National Police (PNP) is no longer involved in the government’s war on drugs, Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon has proposed realigning the P1.4 billion anti-illegal drug campaign budget to the housing fund for policemen.

Drilon made the proposal during the interpellation of the proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government amounting to P170.99 billion which include the PNP’s P131.5 billion for 2018.

“We will propose an amendment to realign approximately P1.4 billion to increase the housing budget for PNP personnel,” Drilon said during the budget interpellation on Thursday night.

The P1.4 billion is sourced from the PNP’s Oplan Double Barrel/Tokhang amounting to P900 million, the DILG’s Masa-Masid program of P500 million, and the Anti-Illegal Drugs Information System of P14 million.

President Rordigo Duterte on October stripped the PNP of its role in the government’s anti illegal-drug campaign which has been a subject of criticism by local and international rights groups.

Since the PNP launched its Tokhang and Double Barrel campaign at least 3,800 suspected drug personalities have been killed by police.

Duterte signed a memorandum ordering the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take over anti-drug operations while the PNP will focus on unresolved cases of street killings committed by motorcycle-riding men.

Drilon’s proposal would mean an additional 2,376 housing units for PNP personnel in 2018 on top of the 450 units being proposed under next year’s budget. The PNP has a housing backlog of 10,300 units.

Apart from the drug campaign budget the Senate minority leader is also looking to realign a portion of the intelligence funds to the housing program.

The intelligence fund under the 2018 budget is at P969 million, three times higher than the 2016 budget of P306 million.

“We will propose that a good part of this intelligence fund be channeled to the housing of the rank and file and uniformed personnel of the PNP instead,” Drilon said.

The government has constructed a total of 66,184 housing units as of 2013 but only 8,240 have been occupied leaving 55,124 units, including those intended for police and military personnel idle.

Some of the units in Bulacan province were forcibly occupied by Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Most of the beneficiaries found the housing units unappealing because of the size and location of the houses.
It was also leader during recent Senate inquiry that the National Housing Authority did not consult the housing boards of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP before it started the housing project.

The post Realign Tokhang budget to PNP housing – Drilon appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Coaches reflect on Season 93 lessons
Manila Times

4 hours ago

San Beda College head coach Boyet Fernandez was grateful to the people who doubted his wards during their title-retention campaign in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

Heading into the league’s 93rd season, expectations are high for the Red Lions after they swept this year’s FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup. Their feat was capped by a thrilling 75-72 victory over reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines titlist De La Salle University.

But comes the NCAA and San Beda bowed down twice to a retooled Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU). The Pirates went on to make history with a sweep of the 18-game eliminations en route to their maiden finals appearance.

But in the end, the Lions with their championship experience, snatched their 10th crown in 12 seasons and league-best 21st overall. San Beda silenced its critics and the skeptics alike with their 92-82 title-clinching victory over the Pirates in Game 2 of the finals on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum.

“To the haters and doubters, I’m thankful to them because they pushed me to work harder and really look to the point why we are losing to LPU,” said Fernandez, who was named Coach of the Year.

The San Beda Red Lions revel after beating the Lyceum of the Philippines Univesity Pirates in Game 2 of the best-of-three finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 93 men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

“They counted us out. But in the end, we came back and win a championship. I share this championship with the haters and doubters of San Beda. We strived to win because of the things they’ve said,” he added.

Fernandez claimed it was solid defense that was the key to their latest triumph.

The Lions were down by much as nine points in the first half but employed crafty defense in the last two quarters to outscore the Pirates, 51-35.

“I told them at halftime we just have to go back to the basics. We have to make stops and convert it to offense. Eventually, you’ll be surprised that at the end of the game, we’re going to win a championship,’” said Fernandez.

“Maybe offense can earn you an 18-0 but defense will win a championship,” he added.

Redemption
Fernandez said he considered everything that has happened a sweet redemption.

Prior to his return to Mendiola last December, the seasoned mentor struggled in his coaching stint with the NLEX Road Warriors in the Philippine Basketball Association.

“It was tough for me with all the situation that I had in the past. What happened to me last year was so bad that I thought I’ll never coach again,” said Fernandez.

The 46-year old hoops tactician is thankful to his players and to San Beda as a whole.

“A door closes but the big gate of San Beda opened for me. Without San Beda, I will never be here right now. And also without my players, who welcomed me with open arms,” he said.

And Fernandez hopes his tenure in the Lions’ den will last long.

“If I would be asked how long I would like to stay with San Beda, my answer would be, could it be for a lifetime?” he concluded.

Lessons of experience
Lyceum coach Topex Robinson, on the other hand, was grateful for the lessons of experience.

Lyceum made history by sweeping the 18-game double round eliminations but stumbled in two straight games against San Beda in the finals.

“We’re so grateful for Season 93. It was really a blessing to LPU,” said Robinson.

Robinson though was not able to hold back his tears after seeing his Pirates surrender the trophy to the Lions.

“I just went back to the sacrifices that we made—being away from our families. I just felt that I let the team and the community down,” lamented Robinson.

But the 37-year old coach believed that all their pain and hardships would pay off in the future.

“The experience that we gained here is just going to make us better. It’s going to make us a better team. Most importantly, it’s going to make us better individuals,” said Robinson.

Robinson and his crew are now setting their sights on new journey.

“Season 94 will start tomorrow for us. When you have a good group of young men that is just so hungry to improve, that’s what you get. I told them, just lick your wounds and tomorrow is a new day for us.”

“I’m excited for what lies ahead of us after this experience. At the end of the day, we will be defined by how we faced this adversity. Our vision won’t stop just because of losing this finals. We just made a bigger platform now of pushing through with our vision,” he added.

For now, Lyceum is bracing for the PBA Developmental League (D-League) action.

“We’re going to join the D-League as a team. It’s something that I’m excited about. We will carry on as we go along on our journey to be one of the respected programs in Philippine collegiate basketball,” said Robinson.

The post Coaches reflect on Season 93 lessons appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Celtics stretch win streak to 14
Manila Times

4 hours ago

NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving ditched his plastic mask and scored 11 of his 16 points in the final five minutes, sparking the Boston Celtics over Golden State 92-88 Thursday (Friday in Manila) in a showdown of the NBA’s top teams.

Rallying from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter, the Celtics stretched their win streak to 14 games, their longest since a 14-game run in November and December of 2010 and five shy of the club record set nine years ago.

Boston improved the NBA’s best record to 14-2, having last lost in their home opener to Milwaukee on October 18, while the defending champion Warriors, who had been atop the Western Conference, fell to 11-4 with their seven-game win streak snapped.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 22 points while Al Horford had 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum each contributed 12 points.

Kyrie Irving No.11 of the Boston Celtics celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden on Friday in Boston, Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 24 points but Stephen Curry was 3-of-14 from the floor for only nine points in his first game back from a bruised right thigh, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player struggling with foul trouble.

Klay Thompson’s 3-pointer with 1:22 to play lifted Golden State ahead 88-86 but the Celtics equalized on two Irving free throws after he was fouled by Thompson.

Draymond Green missed a 3-point shot and then fouled Irving, who sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to put the Celtics ahead to stay.

Durant missed a baseline jumper and Boston grabbed the rebound, setting up Tatum’s two free throws to produce Boston’s biggest lead and final victory margin.

Irving was supposed to wear a protective plastic mask for two weeks after suffering a facial fracture last Friday, but removed it in the third quarter, the same time when the Celtics battled back.

Durant scored six points while Thompson and Green each added five in a 19-7 Warriors run to open the second half that stretched Golden State’s lead to 66-49, matching the visitors’ largest advantage of the game.

The Celtics answered with 19 consecutive points to grab a 68-66 lead, Brown scoring 10 points in the run to set up the dramatic finish.

Golden State closed the first quarter on a 9-3 run to seize a 28-18 edge. Nick Young sank two 3-pointers and a free throw in the run.

Golden State led 44-27 after a 12-0 run in the second quarter. But the Celtics answered with a 15-3 run to close the second quarter, pulling within 47-42 at half-time, Brown scoring seven points to lead the spurt for Boston.

The Celtics kept Golden State without a basket for more than five minutes to end the half, the Warriors missing their last eight shots.

Gordon Hayward, whose season ended when he suffered a broken left leg in Boston’s opener, sat behind the Celtics bench in his first game appearance since the injury.

AFP

The post Celtics stretch win streak to 14 appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Gun owners urged to help fight terrorists
Manila Times

4 hours ago

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Friday called on civilian gun owners to unite in helping to prevent terror threats in the country so that the likes of the war in Marawi City would never occur again.

In a speech during a gun show in SM Megamall, Dela Rosa said that areas vulnerable to possible terror attacks like Cotabato City, Davao, Iligan City, and Cagayan de Oro should create groups of gun owners against impending threats of the Islamic State.

“I hope that when they [create groups]in cities, the terrorists would no longer be able to escape. Civilians would be the ones facing the terrorists. They can get to them even before the police and military do,” Dela Rosa said.

According to Dela Rosa, there is already a group of gun owners in Davao City whose members are now prepared for possible terror attacks. He said terror groups would find it hard to infiltrate the city as a result of this.

“Gun holders should unite for the peace and order of our society,” Dela Rosa said.

The gun show was an event organized by the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers (AFAD) to promote responsible gun ownership, gun safety, and gun proficiency in the country.

Dela Rosa also came to advocate against illegal trading of unlicensed guns in the country.

The post Gun owners urged to help fight terrorists appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

PM sees advance in debate on amending Constitution
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “confident” of progress in amending Japan’s pacifist Constitution, he said on Friday, in his first policy speech since his landslide election victory.

Abe’s conservative coalition held a two-thirds “super majority” in the 465-seat lower house last month, giving him the numbers to realize a long-held dream.

“I’m confident that debate on amending the constitution will be able to advance,” he told the newly formed parliament.

DIVISIVE ISSUE Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his policy speech at the lower house of the parliament in Tokyo on Friday. AFP PHOTO

However, in his policy speech on Friday, he steered clear of giving any timeframe and has previously said he will move cautiously on the divisive issue.

Nationalists like Abe say the Constitution is a humiliating relic imposed by US occupiers after Japan’s defeat in World War II.

Abe wants to change the wording of the document to affirm Japan’s right to have a full-fledged military.

The country’s well-equipped and well-trained armed forces are technically known as the “Self-Defense Forces”, and do not have the right to an aggressive strike.

The premier said he would keep the constitutional clause that prevents Japan from waging an offensive war.

Many Japanese feel a strong attachment to the constitution’s peaceful ideals and changing it sits close to the bottom of their to-do list.

However, North Korea’s recent firing of missiles over the country has focused minds on security.

Any tentative move towards revamping the Constitution could trigger alarm bells in China and the Koreas given Japan’s history of military aggression in the region.

AFP

The post PM sees advance in debate on amending Constitution appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Trump hails Beijing’s plan to send envoy to Pyongyang
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

BEIJING: China is set to dispatch a special envoy to North Korea on Friday, a trip hailed as a “big move” by US President Donald Trump, who has urged Beijing to pile pressure on its nuclear-armed ally.

Song Tao is officially traveling to the North to brief officials on the recent Chinese Communist Party congress and “other issues of mutual concern” on behalf of President Xi Jinping.

But analysts expect Song to address the nuclear standoff, which has roiled relations between the two Cold War-era allies as China has backed United Nations sanctions on North Korea over its missile tests and sixth nuclear blast.

Trump, who warned Xi during his trip to Beijing last week that time was “quickly running out” to solve the nuclear crisis, took to Twitter on Thursday to hail the mission as “a big move, we’ll see what happens.”

The US leader wants China, which accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade, to put more economic pressure on the reclusive regime.

But experts do not believe Song’s visit will yield major breakthroughs.

“We can expect some face-saving, assuring but very general and abstract commitments with no substance changes in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs,” said Yuan Jingdong, a specialist in Asia-Pacific security issues at the University of Sydney.

The visit is “more about warning North Korea against going to extremes than forcing it to give up the nukes” because China’s top priority remains maintaining regional stability, he said.

Song would likely “assure Kim that if he behaves within a reasonable bound he can expect Beijing to continue providing some assistance and resist broadening the sanctions,” Yuan said.

China has imposed its own banking restrictions on North Koreans in addition to enacting a series of UN measures that include bans on imports of coal, iron ore and seafood from the North.

But Beijing fears that squeezing Pyongyang too hard would cause its collapse.

Song will be the first Chinese envoy to make an official trip to North Korea since October 2016, when vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin visited.

China’s relations with North Korea are currently at “the lowest point they’ve been in history,” leaving the North diplomatically at its most isolated, said Lu Chao, director of the North Korea Research Center at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

As a high-level diplomat, Song would likely meet directly with North Korea’s top leaders, he said.

“As far as North Korea is concerned, China’s opinion is still an important one and will certainly arouse their full attention,” Lu said.

As nuclear tensions have soared Xi has pushed for negotiations and a “dual track approach” in which the United States would freeze its military drills in the region while North Korea halts its weapons programs.

Trump claimed this week that Xi had agreed to drop his plan during their talks last week, but Beijing stood by its policy.

“It can not only ease the current tense situation, but also solve the most pressing security concerns for all parties, provide opportunities and create conditions for resuming peace talks and find breakthrough to get out of the stalemate,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday.

AFP

The post Trump hails Beijing’s plan to send envoy to Pyongyang appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

‘Undo’ ban on opposition party, US calls on Cambodia
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The United States on Thursday (Friday in Manila) demanded Cambodia reverse its ban on the country’s main opposition as it warned the dissolution of the party would strip 2018 elections of legitimacy.

Washington hit out after Cambodia’s Supreme Court—effectively controlled by strongman premier Hun Sen—outlawed the Cambodia National Rescue Party and banned more than 100 of its politicians in a ruling blasted by a rights groups as the “death” of the nation’s democracy.

The European Union echoed Washington’s concerns over the move which means Hun Sen’s CPP party can now run in next year’s polls essentially uncontested.

The verdict is the culmination of a methodical strangling of dissent in Cambodia that began after the CNRP nearly unseated Hun Sen—who has ruled for 32 years—in the last national election in 2013.

A government clampdown has ratcheted up in recent months, with CNRP president Kem Sokha thrown into jail and charged with treason in September.

The United States blasted Thursday’s ruling as a setback for democracy in Cambodia, calling for the government to “undo its recent actions against the CNRP, release imprisoned CNRP leader Kem Sokha, and allow opposition parties, civil society and the media to maintain their legitimate activities,” the White House said in a statement on Thursday in Washington.

It added that it would pull support for Cambodia’s National Election Committee ahead of next years’ vote.

“On current course next year’s election will not be legitimate, free, or fair,” the statement said.

‘Not legitimate’
Washington joined the European Union in condemning the decision, which follows a months-long crackdown on dissent the country with media outlets shuttered, journalists jailed and activists harassed.

The EU warned Thursday that next year’s elections are stripped of credibility with the CNRP now pulled from the race.

“An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded is not legitimate,” said a statement from a EU spokesperson.

“A situation in which all parties, including the CNRP, their leaders and their supporters are able to carry out freely their legitimate functions, must be swiftly restored,” it added, saying “respect of fundamental human rights” is a prerequisite Cambodia’s duty free access to the bloc’s markets.

The CNRP said Thursday it “still considers itself to be a legitimate party with a mandate from half of the Cambodian population,” though more than half its 55 lawmakers have fled the country in the midst of the crackdown.

The ruling was widely expected from a court closely aligned with Hun Sen’s CPP party.

The CNRP was accused of a US-backed plot to overthrow the government in allegations which were ridiculed by the US and NGOs.

The former Khmer Rouge defector, who has staked his reputation on bringing stability and growth to Cambodia after decades of civil war, said Thursday next year’s elections would be held as scheduled.

AFP

The post ‘Undo’ ban on opposition party, US calls on Cambodia appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

China’s bid to raise birth rate hits snag
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

Pushing small children to the ground, force-feeding them spicy wasabi as a way of punishment… the physical abuses at a daycare center run by Shanghai-based online-travel company Ctrip for its employees enraged Chinese netizens after secret surveillance video footage of the abuse went viral last week.

The teachers were detained under criminal charges, and the daycare center has been shut down. But the underlying fundamental problem behind the scandal may take years or longer to resolve.

If anything, the video reveals the dire shortage of licensed childcare facilities in China, even in first-tier cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing. In fact, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, mentioned this problem in his report last month to the 19th CPC National Congress.

Xi asks steady progress to be made in ensuring people’s access to childcare so as to ensure and improve people’s living standards.

According to research conducted by Cui Yu, former vice chairman of the All-China Women’s Federation, the enrollment rate of 0 to 3 year-olds in daycare is only 4.1 percent in China, far lower than in developed countries, where the rate averages 50 percent.

In Shanghai, 100,000 two-year-old toddlers with working parents desperately require all-day childcare services, and yet the total capacity of local government-run and private childcare facilities is only 14,000, according to statistics from Shanghai Women’s Federation.

This massive shortage has led some companies such as Ctrip to take matters in their own hands, opening their own private daycare centers for employees as a special benefit to help working mothers find a work-life balance.

However, such well-meaning projects do not necessarily have good results. The difficulty of obtaining licenses, hiring professional teachers and the lack of third-party organizations qualified to run these centers are all serious problems that have led to reprehensible incidents such as the Ctrip scandal.

Severe shortage
Although the number of kindergartens in China reached 240,000 in 2016, and despite the fact that 77.4 percent of all preschool-aged Chinese children attend kindergarten, most of these kindergartens are only allowed to admit children three years of age and older.

Liu, a Beijing resident, was rejected by several public kindergartens just because his child was a few months short of three years at the time the kindergartens were enrolling students. Liu had to send his son to a private nursery in his neighborhood. However, just a few months later, the school folded due to a lack of qualifications.

“We could only ask his grandparents to take care of the child, and hire a nanny for other times. We have to wait until he reaches three years old,” Liu told Xinhua News Agency.

China’s new two-child policy, introduced in 2016, has aggravated this dilemma for many parents. “The old one-child policy lowered China’s need for childcare facilities, and for a long time the shortage didn’t seem to have a big impact,” Yang Juhua, a professor at the population development studies center of Renmin University of China, told Xinhua.

“But with the implementation of a two-child policy and the change of family structure, China’s childcare crisis is increasingly prominent,” she said.

While grandparents remain the most popular, trusted and preferred form of childcare in China, different approaches to early childhood development between traditional elders and their more modern offspring often lead to clashes.

For instance, Chinese grandparents are known to dote on children, which has directly led to China’s soaring obesity rate not to mention the “Little Emperor” (a term referring to spoiled children who gain excessive amounts of attention from their parents and grandparents) phenomenon.

Thus, caught between a lack of professional educational facilities and letting their children become fat and entitled under the watch of grandparents, many Chinese parents are opting out of having a second child, despite government encouragement.

According to research by the All-China Women’s Federation in 2016, which polled parents in 21 cities in 10 provinces, 53.3 percent said they have “no intention” of having a second child, with “no one to care for their child” being the major reason.

This is also forcing some mothers to give up on their jobs and stay at home to take care of their young children.

For Li Jiangning and his wife, both white collar workers in Beijing who originally hail from Henan Province, asking their parents to move from Henan to live in their tiny apartment in Beijing just to take care of their baby wasn’t realistic. The couple spent a month scouring for a proper childcare facility in Beijing, but were either rejected by public kindergartens due to being underage or scared off by the hefty prices of private childcare facilities. His wife had to resign to take care of their baby, according to newspaper Health News.

No department responsible
Apart from the strict age limit set by public kindergartens, the lack of private players in the childcare market is another issue that has caused the childcare shortage.

Lu, a retired principal at a Shanghai kindergarten, was frustrated by the complex and lengthy bureaucratic procedures she had to go through in order to open a certified childcare school with a private education organization.

After her application to local education authorities for a license received no response, she then applied through the Women’s Federation and the family planning commission of Shanghai, both of which told her they “had no right” to approve the application.”No department can issue the license. No department is responsible for the supervision and management. I want to open a childcare school, and yet I don’t know which government organization to go to,” she said after six months of effort landed her right back where she started.

According to China’s education authorities, preschool education officially starts at three years of age. The schooling of 0 to 3 year-olds, therefore, is “beyond the rights” of local authorities, which is why they have stopped issuing childcare licenses.

Childcare facilities that are unable to obtain licenses from local education authorities can only turn to commerce authorities and apply for “education consulting” licenses.

This, however, does not grant them the qualification to provide meals for children or offer daycare services. The complicated progress discourages private organizations from setting foot in the childcare sector.

In the case of Ctrip, the company initially intended to run the daycare center itself, including hiring its own teachers. However, local authorities said they would have to shut it down due to the lack of qualifications. Ctrip then hired a third-party organization, claiming to have qualifications and claiming it was recommended by the government, to run the center. It turned out the organization wasn’t at all qualified.

Zhang Jinhua, the principal of a private nursing school in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, has been working in the childcare industry for over 10 years. Her school now has three classes with children aged from 13 months to 3 years old.

“It isn’t easy to open a childcare facility. You need a big investment in the facilities and for recruiting workers. Compared with kindergartens, it’s more difficult for childcare facilities to survive,” she told Health News. For example, while the government provides subsidies for the land use of kindergartens, childcare centers do not enjoy this benefit. Zhang has to pay 280,000 yuan ($42,162) every year for her 300-square-meter center.

GLOBAL TIMES

The post China’s bid to raise birth rate hits snag appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Mugabe defiant as army threatens 37–year reign
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

HARARE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony Friday, making a defiant first public appearance since the military takeover that appeared to signal the end of his 37-year reign.

Mugabe, 93, had been confined to house arrest after the military took over the country.

But on Friday, he walked into the ceremony venue in Harare dressed in a blue academic gown and tasselled hat, before listening to speeches with his eyes closed and applauding occasionally, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported.

The generals took over late on Tuesday after vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was abruptly sacked and Mugabe’s wife Grace emerged in prime position to succeed her increasingly frail husband.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Many citizens were stunned by the military’s intervention, sparked by the bitter succession battle between Grace and Mnangagwa.

Analysts say the military leadership was strongly opposed to the rise of Mugabe’s ambitious 52-year-old wife, while Mnangagwa has close ties to the defense establishment.

Mugabe and the army chiefs held talks on Thursday, but no official statement has been issued on the status of negotiations that could see him eased out of office.

Government television showed Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, at Thursday’s talks standing smiling alongside army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Mnangagwa, 75, was previously one of Mugabe’s most loyal lieutenants, having worked alongside him for decades.

But he fled to South Africa following his dismissal and published a scathing rebuke of Mugabe’s leadership and Grace’s presidential ambitions.

The military said Friday they had detained some “criminals” in Mugabe’s government in a reference to supporters of Grace’s presidential ambitions.

Grace has not been seen since the takeover of the military, which has not overtly called for President Mugabe’s resignation.

Many Zimbabweans have either welcomed the army’s intervention or were indifferent to it.

“We needed change. Our situation has been pathetic,” said Keresenzia Moyo, a 65-year-old housewife in Harare.

Morgan Tsvangirai, a former prime minister and long-time opponent of Mugabe, told journalists in Harare on Thursday that Mugabe must resign “in the interest of the people.”

He added that “a transitional mechanism” would be needed to ensure stability.

Tendai Biti, who served as finance minister during the coalition government after the 2008 elections, called it “a very delicate time for Zimbabwe.”

“A way has to be worked out to maintain stability,” he said.

Harare’s residents have largely ignored the few soldiers still on the streets with shops, businesses and offices operating as usual.

AFP

The post Mugabe defiant as army threatens 37–year reign appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

EU warns May clock ‘ticking’ for December Brexit deal
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

GOTHENBURG, Sweden: European Union leaders warned British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday that the “clock is ticking” to make Brexit concessions and it is increasingly likely talks will fail to move on to the next phase in December.

Britain’s impending split threatened to overshadow an EU summit in the Swedish port city of Gothenburg that was meant to focus on improving social standards and seeing off the threat of populism in the post-Brexit future.

May expressed hopes the bloc would respond “positively” after she met several leaders on the sidelines, but they all warned that time was running out to settle the key divorce issues, and unlock negotiations next month on a trade deal and transition period.

“The clock is ticking. I hope that we will be able to come to an agreement as far as the divorce is concerned at the December council (summit) but work has still to be done,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said.

PM IN PERIL Britain’s Prime minister Theresa May (R) attends a discussion session during the European Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden on Friday. AFP PHOTO

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned last week that Britain had just two weeks to meet the bloc’s conditions on its divorce bill, citizens’ rights and the Irish border if it wanted an agreement.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar struck a firm line, saying Dublin’s demands that Brexit should create no “hard border” between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland must be “written down” in the conclusions of the first phase.

“If we have to wait until the new year, or if we have to wait for further concessions, so be it,” Varadkar told reporters before having breakfast with May.

“It’s 18 months since the referendum, it’s 10 years since people who wanted a referendum started agitating for one, sometimes it doesn’t seem like they’ve thought all this through,” he added.

‘Time is short’
May said Britain would “honor our commitments” on the exit bill, as she promised in a speech in Florence in September, and urged the bloc to start trade talks now.

“I look forward to the European Union responding positively to that so we can move forward together and ensure that we can get the best possible arrangements for the future,” May said.

British media reports have suggested May could be ready to double the UK’s 20 billion euro offer on the exit bill in a bid to clear what has been the most difficult hurdles in talks so far. The EU says the bill is around 60 billion euros.

She will also meet European Council President Donald Tusk, with Tusk set to warn her that opening the next phase “is not a given, will require more work and that time is short,” an EU source told Agence France-Presse.

Failure to reach a deal in December would push back a decision until February or March, leaving little time for trade talks before Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

May’s government is still pressing for a quick transition to future EU-British ties while shrugging off EU pressure on the divorce terms.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in Dublin on Friday that doing so would help solve the Irish issue, while Barnier’s British negotiating counterpart David Davis called on the EU to compromise across the board.

“Surprise, surprise: nothing comes for nothing in this world,” Davis told the BBC in Gothenburg, adding that various EU countries “can see there are big, big benefits in the future deal that we’re talking about.”

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who also held talks with May, said it was “very difficult to say” whether a deal was possible in December and added that London “needs to clarify what they mean about the financial responsibility.”

But Lofven said he also wanted to keep the focus on the so-called “social summit” in Sweden, which is the first step in a two-year reform drive to show the bloc can survive after Brexit and other setbacks, by tackling the economic inequalities fuelling populism.

AFP

The post EU warns May clock ‘ticking’ for December Brexit deal appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Merkel’s fate in balance, German coalition talks drag
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

BERLIN: Tough talks to form Germany’s next government went into overtime Friday, putting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political future in the balance as failure to produce a deal could force snap elections.

Merkel’s disputed liberal refugee policy that let in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015 came back to haunt her, with a motley crew of potential partners digging in their heels on diametrically opposed demands on immigration.

After weeks of quarrelsome exploratory talks, Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the left-leaning Greens are hoping to find enough common ground to begin formal coalition negotiations.

The awkward bedfellows have been pushed together by September’s inconclusive election, which left Merkel badly weakened as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) lured millions of voters angry over the refugee influx.

Merkel had initially said she wanted to wind up the negotiations by Thursday, but marathon overnight talks failed to produce a breakthrough.

Party leaders will resume their high-stakes haggling at midday Friday, and negotiators have signaled that talks could drag into the weekend.

“We shouldn’t put ourselves under pressure,” said Peter Altmaier, Merkel’s chief of staff.

He also voiced optimism about reaching a deal, saying that “the problem is solvable”.

But the deputy leader of the liberal FDP, Wolfgang Kubicki, sounded more pessimistic, warning that “the positions have hardened.”

‘Merkel’s career at stake’
After suffering a humiliating loss at the polls, the center-left Social Democratic Party has gone into opposition and ruled out returning to a grand coalition with Merkel.

The veteran leader, who has steered Germany through crises including the global financial meltdown and the eurozone’s debt woes, therefore risks returning to the polls if she fails to get the CSU, FDP and Greens on board.

But the potential tie-up, dubbed a “Jamaica coalition” because the parties’ colors match those of the Jamaican flag, is also untested at the national level and questions abound as to how stable such a government would be.

“It’s not just the chancellor’s fourth term that depends on the success of Jamaica, but her entire political career,” the best-selling Bild newspaper said.

A 62-page working document that could form the blueprint for an agreement, seen by Agence France-Presse, showed that the parties remain at odds over several issues, with migration among the most contentious.

Merkel’s Bavarian CSU allies want a cap on migrant numbers, pitting them against the Greens who want restrictions eased on family reunifications for asylum seekers.

The FDP’s Kubicki said his party has “tried to build bridges”, urging the Greens to soften their stance.

But the ecologists appear in little mood to compromise after already watering down key campaign pledges to overcome deadlocks on the environment.

The Greens notably abandoned demands for a 2030 end date for coal-fired plants and the internal combustion engine, and called on the other parties to show the same flexibility.

At the same time, Green proposals to make polluting diesel cars less attractive and close the country’s 20 dirtiest coal plants have also met with resistance from the conservatives and the FDP, who worry about job losses and disrupting the mighty auto and energy sectors.

AFP

The post Merkel’s fate in balance, German coalition talks drag appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

UN climate talks wrap–up: US stands firm on fossil fuels
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

BONN: UN negotiations on implementing the Paris climate change agreement wrap up Friday after two weeks of talks that were slowed down by the United States defending the use of fossil fuels.

Envoys from nearly 200 countries, including delegates from Washington, gathered for the conference in Bonn to negotiate a “rulebook”, to be adopted next year, for enacting the global deal reached to cheers and champagne in 2015.

Delegates reported mixed progress in Germany, with the reemergence of divisions between rich and developing countries.

A key stumbling block was on finance for the world’s poorer nations to help them prepare for, and deal with, the fallout from climate change—including more frequent and severe superstorms, droughts and land- and crop-gobbling sea level rises.

Another obstacle was the insistence of developed nations—led by the US—that all countries share similar obligations under the Paris pact, while developing greenhouse gas polluters want a certain degree of leeway.

The November 6-17 conference is the first of the UN’s climate body since President Donald Trump announced in June that the US will withdraw from the agreement championed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

The rules determine it can only leave in November 2020, and in the meantime, Washington continues to fill its seat at the climate talks.

“The stars are not well aligned since Trump’s exit” from the pact, Seyni Nafo, a negotiator for African nations, told Agence France-Presse of the talks.

“It’s like the heart wasn’t there. The position of the United States influences other developed countries, which in turn has consequences for the positions major developing nations adopt. It’s a game of wait-and-see.”

Not helping the mood, White House officials hosted a sideline event with energy company bosses Monday to defend the continued use of fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas blamed for emitting planet-warming gases into the Earth’s atmosphere.

At its very essence, the Paris Agreement seeks a drawdown of carbon emissions.

The pact commits countries to limiting average global warming to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over Industrial Revolution levels, and 1.5 C if possible, to avert worst-case-scenario climate change.

‘Ridiculous’
Nations submitted voluntary emissions-cutting commitments to bolster the deal, but scientists say the pledges place the world on course for warming of 3 C or more.

How, and when, to update country commitments to bring them in line with the 2 C target, is a central topic in the ongoing negotiations.

“Our task has been made all the more difficult with the disengagement of the world’s largest historic emitter from the Paris Agreement,” Maldives environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim told delegates Thursday on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States at the forefront of climate change-driven sea-level rises.

The Trump administration insisted, however, that it was “committed” to limiting greenhouse gas emissions—as long as this does not threaten energy security or the economy.

Acting assistant secretary of state Judith Garber told the conference that the US would “support the cleanest, most efficient power generation, regardless of the source.”

An Obama-era official who helped deliver the Paris agreement—a feat that took more than two decades of tough negotiations—lashed out at Trump’s “wrongheaded” decision to withdraw from the pact.

“Climate change is a huge challenge, we all know that,” Todd Stern, who was Obama’s special envoy for climate change, told Agence France-Presse on the sidelines of the conference he attended as an observer. He left government in 2016.

“Trying to say it’s a hoax, or it doesn’t mean anything, or it’s a terrible agreement and the rest of the world is laughing at us, is just so… ridiculous,” he said— citing some of Trump’s stated reasons.

The United States is the world’s biggest historical greenhouse gas polluter, and second only to China for current-day emissions.

AFP

The post UN climate talks wrap–up: US stands firm on fossil fuels appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Two South Korean ex-spy chiefs arrested over corruption scandal
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

SEOUL: Two former heads of South Korea’s spy agency were arrested Friday on suspicion of paying millions of dollars in bribes to aides of ousted president Park Geun-Hye, as a widening corruption scandal rocks the country. Nam Jae-Joon and Lee Byung-Kee, ex-heads of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), were arrested for allegedly handing at least 4 billion won ($3.63 million) of their agency’s budget to Park’s aides in monthly payments in exchange for career advancement. The Seoul Central District Court approved the arrest warrants on the two, citing risk of flight and destruction of evidence. Former South Korean leader Park was toppled this year and is in custody while on trial for graft and influence-peddling. Nam and Lee, who respectively served under Park from 2013 to 2015, face charges including embezzlement, bribery and causing losses to state coffers.

AFP

The post Two South Korean ex-spy chiefs arrested over corruption scandal appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Sicilian Mafia ‘Beast’ Toto Riina dies
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

ROME: Former “boss of bosses” Toto Riina, one of the most feared Godfathers in the history of the Sicilian Mafia, died early Friday after battling cancer, the government said. Riina, who had been serving 26 life sentences and is thought to have ordered more than 150 murders, had been in a medically-induced coma after his health deteriorated following two operations. The mobster, who turned 87 on Thursday, died in the prisoners’ wing of a hospital in Parma in northern Italy just before 4 a.m. (0300 GMT), a ministry of justice spokesman told Agence France-presse. Nicknamed “The Beast” because of his cruelty, Salvatore “Toto” Riina led a reign of terror for decades after taking control of the island’s powerful organized crime group Cosa Nostra in the 1970s. The most high-profile murders he ordered were those in 1992 of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who had worked to bring more than 300 mobsters to trial in 1987.

AFP

The post Sicilian Mafia ‘Beast’ Toto Riina dies appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

CNN Philippines:
@dost_pagasa .@dost_pagasa light to moderate rains are expected over MIMIROPA, Bicol Region, and the Visayas

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
@dost_pagasa .@dost_pagasa: Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1 is lifted over Palawan

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
@dost_pagasa .@dost_pagasa: Tino was last spotted 190km west northwest of Puerto Princesa. It has maximum winds of… https://t.co/UyDZ4HJR3a

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
.@dost_pagasa: Tropical Depression Tino maintains strength as it continues to move away from the Philippines towards the West Philippine Sea

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
The military is in hot pursuit of Abu Sayyaf and other rebel groups in a bid to meet the deadline of December 31. https://t.co/PsdAFPvMs5

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

Duterte wants more areas opened up for foreign ownership
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is expected to sign a memorandum circular directing government agencies to fasttrack the determination of other busin
View on Website

Government lays down perks for rural bank mergers
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — The government has released the implementing guidelines granting incentives to merging and consolidating rural banks to further strengt
View on Website

NLEX earns 16% more in 9 months
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — Net earnings of NLEX Corp.
View on Website

First ocean tidal power plant rising in Samar
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — Local firm H&WB Asia Pacific (Pte Ltd.) Corp.
View on Website

Resonance and authenticity
Philstar

5 hours ago
It is a labor of love. Project Ripple has pulled off its first conference entitled: “Live Full.
View on Website

Udenna acquires 177-hectare Clark property
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — Dennis Uy’s Udenna Group is developing a new central business district within the Clark Freeport Zone following its acquisition of a 17
View on Website

IMF backs gradual cut in bank reserves
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is strongly supporting the gradual lowering of the level of deposits banks are required to mainta
View on Website

Metro Pacific water unit gears up for expansion
Philstar

5 hours ago
SYDNEY – Metro Pacific Water, the water unit of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. for operations outside Metro Manila, has identifi
View on Website

Foodies’ break
Philstar

5 hours ago
Food break!!  It’s been all business in this column lately, so it’s time to check out B&L’s latest discoveries in food row.
View on Website

Index recovers amid thin trades
Philstar

5 hours ago
MANILA, Philippines — The local stock market recovered yesterday, rallying 104.64 points to settle at 8,311.08, while the broader All Shares index gained 39.
View on Website

‘Nay’—an ‘aswang’ with a heart
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

RICKY CALDERON

Sylvia Sanchez’s win as Best Drama Actress at the PMPC Star Awards for TV is a big bonus as she has an entry to the ongoing Cinema One Originals Film Festival titled “Nay” where she co-stars with Enchong Dee and Jameson Blake.

The film had a successful celebrity premiere on Monday at Trinoma Cinema 2. As early as 11:30 am that day, all tickets to the 9:30 pm screenings were already sold out.

Besides doing well at the box office, Sylvia is also happy over the PG Rating given by MTRCB. Children can therefore see the TV star as an aswang in Nay. And if we are not mistaken this is the first time she is portraying the legendary character of Filipino folk tales.

“Pamilya kasi ang tema ng Nay, maski na aswang ako, may puso dahil hindi ko pinatay ang alaga kong si Enchong kasi mahal na mahal ko siya. Ibang klaseng pagka-nanay ang role ko rito. Kaya siguro ‘yun ang nakita ng MTRCB, may puso ang kuwento ng Nay,” she said.

Directed by Kip Oebanda, Nay is one of the nine competing entries at the Cinema One Originals Film Festrival, which runs until November 22, with an awards night set on Sunday. November 20.

Is she hoping to win an award, this time for the role of an aswang?

“Sana, pero ayaw kong umasa, kung ibigay maraming salamat, kung hindi, okay lang din, at least napasama ako sa Cinema One Film Festival, first time ko, eh,” she ended.

* * *

Tapped as image model for Metrobank’s Victory Liner Premiere Card is former “Survivor Philippines” castaway and “Born To Be Wild” host Kiko Rustia, who had been working with the bus company in several projects.

Kiko, who is now based in Boracay, is looking forward to reviving his showbiz career if there would be offers. He attended the reunion of the production staff and hosts of Born to Be Wild held recently. He owns a small hotel in Boracay where he stays with his wife and two kids, a boy and a girl. But he misses the adventure of climbing mountains and exploring caves, just like what he used to do in the show.

The post ‘Nay’—an ‘aswang’ with a heart appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Star Awards win validates Sylvia Sanchez’s acting mettle
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

GEORGE VAIL KABRISTANTE

The Best Drama Actress that Sylvia Sanchez won in the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) 31st Star Awards for Television has validated her much-touted award-winning performance in the ABS-CBN daytime drama series, “The Greatest Love.”

Riding on the crest of the teleserye’s consistent high ratings among the afternoon viewers, TGL was shown far beyond it’s slated season, extended for two years in the hearts and minds of its avid followers.

Dwelling on the theme of the unfathomable love of a mother with dark past of her own as she gradually fell into fits of an irreversible Alzheimer’s disease, the plot thickened with exciting twists and turns as Sylvia’s character struggled to relate with the different characters and mindsets of her siblings.

The teleserye which skewed from the usual love story replete with mayhems, deceits, betrayals, murders and the like was considered one of its kind and in fact a risky proposition. It also bagged the Best Daytime Drama Series, adding to the total haul of 28 trophies for ABS-CBN including Best TV Station of the Year.

Prior to winning her most current award from the PMPC, Sylvia was early on bestowed TV Best Actress by Gawad Tanglaw Awards and as Best TV Actress in a Drama Program by the 25th KBP Golden Dove Awards for the same teleserye.

Farther back a couple of years ago, in a tie with Gretchen Barretto, she won the PMPC’s Best Supporting Actress Award for Movies for her moving performance in Chito Rono’s “The Trial” as lesbian mother to John Lloyd Cruz afflicted with developmental delay.

From 1992 up to the present, she has to her credit a total of at least nine honors from several award-giving bodies like the Metro Manila Film Festival, Famas, Golden Screen TV Awards, Gawad Tanglaw Awards, KBP Golden Awards and the PMPC.

Accepting her trophy, Sylvia was almost in tears as she thanked ABS-CBN’s creative people for giving her the prime role when it could have been assigned to the more popular and bankable actresses in the stable of said network.

This brought Caveat back to what ABS-CBN’s Creative Head Ricky Lee of said teleserye shared when asked if Sylvia was an original choice for the role. He disclosed that there were about five of them considered for the role. Sylvia’s name, however, emerged the top choice after a thorough deliberation among members of the casting department.

Sylvia shared the honors to her co-actors who inputted all the necessary authenticity and virtuousity to make the teleserye truly an organic work of an ensemble masterpiece in its own right.

She zeroed in on husband Arturo Atayde with whom she has four children for his unwavering support. Two of their children Arjo and Ria Atayde are now keenly following her footsteps and are making a dint as serious actors in the making.

The post Star Awards win validates Sylvia Sanchez’s acting mettle appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Fresh from the night shift
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

Experts share their beauty and wardrobe tips on how to move from the BPO floor to another platform in life
As with any industry, hard work is the key to success. The experts that have been tapped to mentor and work with the candidates of the first-ever Mr. and Ms. BPO Pageant add that this dedication towards excellence should also come bundled together with another package: how you present yourself to the world.

Apprentice Asia winner Jonathan Yabut says power dressing is an aspect that may often be overlooked if you are working in a casual environment such as in a BPO company.

“It is scientifically proven that likeability is important. It is even more important than your competency at work. People want to work with people they like working with—it can be because of your good looks, your attitude or because you are presentable.”

Makeup looks for daytime at the office (left) and nighttime at the pageant (right). BY PATRICK LASANAS

He explains while it may be wrong to judge people on how they look on the outside, it is human nature to do so, as from an evolutionary perspective we always judge things based on the five senses such as color or smell.

“It is therefore important to look your best and complement it with the right content.”

Power looks
The colors that he recommends are basic: black and blue.

“These are the colors of leadership. Bold colors always signify confidence. BPO, being a fun loving industry, is more liberal where you could wear funky colors such as red, yellow, or orange, and these are the colors of creativity. Of course, if that is the personality that you want to exude, feel free. But if you are eyeing a top position, you have to act and speak the way you want to be treated.”

He advises stocking up on blues and blacks in your wardrobe, in solid colors, as print has a tendency to be too animated.

“I have met people in the BPO industry who wear coats and prints, but they are already known by their colleagues as people who deliver so that is just fine,” he adds.

If you want to make a good impression at a job interview, though, he advises sticking to corporate solids. If you are not comfortable playing around with too much colors, wear something that makes you feel confident.

“The interviewer can feel that,” he shares.

For the boys, he recommends basic items that should be found in any wardrobe. “Long sleeved shirts are important. A man should also have two great pairs of black and brown shoes.”

Your favorite shirt need not be thrown in the trash bin or made into a dishcloth.

“If you have a lucky shirt, that no matter how ugly it is, makes you feel confident, great, and happy about yourself, you can still wear it.”

He confesses he is quite low-maintenance in that he does not spend so much time preparing when he goes out. That is why he keeps his wardrobe choices simple.

“I wear black and blue everyday and people don’t notice if I repeat an outfit. Plus, it exudes formality.”

His shopping advice: stick to the same brand if it fits you nicely.

“You don’t even have to invest in a lot of expensive brands; you just have to find the right items that help give you confidence.”

Palettes to stand out
Pageant-pretty means having your best features accentuated in a way that will be seen all the way to the back of the audience.

Charisma Vergara, President of the United Makeup Artists of the Philippines (UMAP), explains:

“You cannot go for a fresh look. You have to stand out onstage, where the bright lights have a tendency to wash out colors. You have to make your makeup more intense, so the eyes and contour have to be defined.”

The close-up is another challenge. Acie Fores, UMAP Vice President says cameras right now are HD compliant.

“Every pimple, every line is magnified,” she says.

(L-R) Jonathan Yabut, Acie Flores and Charisma Vergara mentored this year’s Mr. and Ms. BPO. BY RUSSELL PALMA

The good news is that the makeup industry is catching up, and offering products that have full coverage without the pancake feel.

“The brands that we are working with right now, such as Inglot, Makeup Forever, and Mac have makeup lines that are HD camera-ready.” These makeup items are lighter, and applied in layers. “You still see the skin, you get the benefit of having full coverage without looking like a mannequin.”

Perfecting makeup consists of three things, the two experts say: The right application, the right skills, and the right product.

“Makeup makes you feel confident, that you are ready to face anything,” Fores says. “People gravitate towards those who look put-together. You may have experienced this on days when you dress up and put on makeup then go to a store. The sales staff is more likely to approach you, ready to assist you with what you need. It is just how human beings interact. If someone looks more confident, people gravitate towards that.”

Vergara says you interact with other people better as well.

“I used to work in the BPO industry, and most of my co-workers had mirrors on their desks, where they would watch themselves as they took calls. If they feel pretty, they smile at the mirror more, and it has an effect on their voices and how they talk.”

A perennial problem of those on the night shift is the eyebags and dark undereye circles that go with working against the natural sleep cycle. Vergara and Fores say there is really nothing that can be done with large eyebags, but camouflage works on undereye circles. Fores offers this tip to avoid looking like a raccoon.

“The common tendency is to use a concealer that is two shades lighter. In effect, you are highlighting the problem instead of concealing it.”

What she does is apply a corrector then a concealer that is in the right shade.

Vergara, on the other hand, uses a concealer that has a peach/pink tone, and tops it up with pressed powder.

“Peach or pink undertones neutralize the darkness. I would also like to warn against using too much creamy foundation under the eye, because this tends to crease when your skin gets oily. I would suggest trying out the new lines of all-in-one products available now, such as CC creams or foundations that double as moisturizers. Less products, less mistakes.”

The Mr. and Ms. BPO Finale is on November 21, 8PM at the Mall of Asia Arena. The pageant is produced by Royale Chimes Concerts and Events, Inc. For more informationon tickets to see the event, visit the Mr. and Mc. BPO official Facebook account.

The post Fresh from the night shift appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

From the archives
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

LEO BALANTE

I think it was Anna Wintour in the “canonical” The September Issue who said, “People are frightened of fashion and that because it scares them or it makes them feel insecure, they put it down.” I was one of those people. I look back and I see fashion as an intimidating world—an otherworldly realm I’ve never wished or even thought of penetrating.

I was a lifestyle journalist for The Manila Standard when I started getting assignments to attend showings of brands and designers for the Philippine Fashion Week. My first few shows were a test of patience. But it was that Michael Cinco show that got me entranced with the whole notion of “fashion as an artistic expression”. The poetry of the Cinco’s creations walking down the lacquered runway, matched with Ariel Lozada’s masterful choice of music and direction that got me hooked.

Not long after, I was hired to write for my favorite magazine as a college student, Garage. I knew I was more than just a writer making profiles on cover celebrities. My interest grew bigger and my desire to get into the world of fashion styling got stronger and I was lucky to have then colleagues Adrian Concepcion and Edlene Cabral to start me off by assisting them in their shoots. Like a kid given keys to the Chocolate Factory, I was happy.

Three years into the world of fashion styling, I still see myself as a newbie. The voices of self-ridicule and doubt still knock once and a while but I am happy to see myself evolving—in terms of my aesthetic and my inspirations. For this issue of Rank, I share with you some of the most memorable shoots I have done in my young career as a fashion stylist.

James Reid and Nadine Lustre photographed by Paolo Pineda for Style

1. James Reid and Nadine Lustre
In 2014, I produced and styled a shoot for the now-defunct Manila Bulletin fashion and lifestyle supplement Style Weekend. Fresh from the success of their first movie, Ang Diary ng Panget, and days after the release of their second bubble gum flick, Talk Back and You’re Dead, the pair, more popularly known as JaDine was well on their way to national superstardom. It was an honor to do one of their very first shoots together for a cover and for a first time shoot producer, I let out a huge sigh of relief after I saw the end-result.

Neil Perez photographed by Johnny Balbalosa for Style Weekend

2. Mister International winner Neil Perez
Social media was awash when Neil Perez, more commonly known as Gwapong Pulis, was hailed as the Philippine representative for the Mister International pageant in 2014. Following his big win, I produced a cover shoot for Style Weekend. For this shoot, I wanted to give Neil a mini-makeover—far from how he was commonly featured either as a guy in uniform or a guy who competed in a male pageant.

PMAP members photographed by Mark Nicdao for OPlus

3. Professional Models Association of the Philippines for OPlus
Dressing 16 models for a single shoot seemed like a tall order but assisting my friend Adrian Concepcion for this shoot was more than a great experience. The theme of the shoot was how fashion and technology meet. The logistical challenges of styling more than a dozen models were overwhelming, but the shoot with Mark Nicdao proved to be a breeze.

Maine Mendoza photographed by Advan Ramirez for Rank magazine

4. Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza
Like its legions of fans, I was, and still am, an avid supporter of Eat Bulaga’s afternoon schtick, Kalyeserye and the characters that made the show a hit, especially the phenomenal love team, of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, commonly known as AlDub. At the height of the loveteam’s popularity, I managed to organize a shoot with the two separately. It was a memorable and fulfilling experience, especially when scoring a shoot schedule with the two was not an easy feat.

Alden Richards photographed by Advan Ramirez for Style Weekend

For Alden Richards’ cover for Style Weekend, I wanted to recreate looks of various iconic leading men in different generations from Marlon Brando, to Warren Beaty. On the other hand, for the premiere issue of Rank magazine, I produced a shoot with Maine Mendoza with the theme modern royalty, wearing a special embroidered dress by master couturier Michael Cinco. Other designers like Mark Bumgarner, Edwin Tan, and Avel Bacudio then joined in to make this shoot and the new publication’s first ever issue a success.

Editorial image photographed by Advan Ramirez for Rank magazine

5. On my styling aesthetic
Three years in the chaotic world of fashion and styling, when I look back, I now see how I have evolved (for the good, I hope) when it comes to styling and looking at fashion, as a whole. I can say now that I somehow have a bigger grasp of my aesthetic as a fashion stylist. I like combining form and function with some surprising tweaks or inclusions, be it in the form of a pop of color in an almost muted look, a cool pattern, or even gender-bending pieces that blur the lines of “who-can-wear-what”. Also, I realized, I am obsessed with layering–light to over-the-top. It may not be a popular choice, especially in our climate. But almost everytime, in shooting a celebrity or a model, they are always surprised that they can layer clothes and still be comfortable in it.That’s always a plus!

Portfolio image photographed by Joshua Ke

The post From the archives appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

BEING AUTHENTIC OVER BEING PRETTY
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

JOPIE SANCHEZ

In the past six years that I’ve been doing hair and makeup, I often get asked what my favorite job experiences are.

I have several memorable moments, and I was thinking of sharing some of the more apparent ones from time to time.

Hair and makeup isn’t exactly the kind of thing personalized in discussions. It’s a visual field and any lasting impact on an audience is based on what is seen. People think of it and take it in as whatever is on the surface, without realizing that there are stories behind the output.

Ergo, most assume that the experiences that have left an impact on me are attached to whoever celebrity or artista I was able to work on. This flusters me because they are all just faces—all beautiful, but just canvases for me to work on. Nothing leaves me dumbfounded more than the question of “Sinong artista na naayusan mo?”

I don’t really remember things based on how famous people are, unless their work has awed me at one point or another. I guess the people I fangirl over aren’t the usual icons. I find this to be an asset working on film because it makes me more productive. Perhaps it is also something I conditioned myself to adopt in the name of efficiency.

Working in film does have its own thrall though. An allure apart from the typical rubbing elbows with celebrities that people think of. Maybe it’s the film buff in me, but nothing quite compares to working on a film set.

Working in film has its own allure. Sometimes it involves doing intensive research that allows you to delve deep into culture.

The first film I ever worked on was back in 2014 for Cinemalaya’s 10th year. It was called K’Na the Dreamweaver by Ida Anita del Mundo.

Apart from being the first film I ever worked on, it was my first time to actually be away from Manila for a prolonged time because of work. We were on location in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato for two weeks. We would shoot almost everyday, with a one day break in between.

I met Ida for a project through another good friend. I was just starting hair and makeup then and we did a small company AVP about health and wellness.

One time she posted about a trip to Lake Sebu, to which I commented about how I have always wanted to go there since high school. So, when she came up with her script for K’Na, which made it to Cinemalaya X, it was a no-brainer that she asked me to be part of the crew.

I would have done the job for free. But of course I didn’t tell them that because two weeks without pay for a freelancer is like prepping the noose from which you hang from. I got paid anyway. (Yay!)

Yet, here we go with the cliché — no amount of money could compensate for the enriching experience. Which, it truly was.

K’Na was a period film based on the T’Boli tribe of Mindanao.

While prepping for it, I had to do actual research in libraries and museums because there wasn’t a lot of material online for reference. I enjoyed researching. I liked knowing that whatever I was going to do would actually matter with how the story would unfold. I liked being liable for how authentic something would feel onscreen.

This matters because one of my pet peeves when watching a film is how true it stays to the story. I get frustrated when people choose to be pretty over looking authentic in films. I’ve long since managed my expectations, but as much as possible, this is what I aim for as a hairstylist and makeup artist.

I had to come up with a tattoo based on textile patterns and existing images from pre-colonial Philippines.

Prior to the actual shoot, I had to learn how hair is traditionally styled for the T’Boli. We also familiarized ourselves with the hairpiece or suwat for women and turban or putong the men would wear; when they are worn, and how. Hair and makeup worked side by side with the wardrobe and costumes department to make sure everything stayed true to the T’Boli culture.

Single women would have hair parted down the middle and framing their face while the rest would have hair tied in a special knot. Once they get married, all of their hair is pulled back into the knot.

I had so much trouble following how the knot is done, that I spent time practicing on our room curtains after we settled in. Everyone else was busy and nobody had hair long enough to practice on.

Makeup was generally no makeup, makeup. Except for the wedding day scene.

Apparently, T’Boli women put on special makeup for celebrations.

They put red dots on their cheeks and color their lips with berry stains and draw a black line out of charcoal down the center of the lower lip.

It was something new to me, to discover these traditional concepts of beauty. It made me wonder about all the other tribes existing in the Philippines and what their idea of beauty is.

The challenge to all of us at the Art Department was how to translate that on screen with whatever was available to us. From sourcing out costumes and materials that would come closest to what was originally used and building structures from scratch. I was so proud to be part of that department and to have worked with people who had the same intent in making sure we stayed true to the culture.

That experience taught me that no matter how jaded I was with how often authenticity is overlooked with local films, there is hope and it really depends on the people you work with. After that I make it a point to choose to work with people who share my same sentiment when it comes to filming.

Substantial work opens us up to new ways of thinking and accomplishing things. You come out of it more knowledgeable and able. It makes you better. Better at what you do. Better as a person.

Those are the kind of job experiences I file under favorites.

The post BEING AUTHENTIC OVER BEING PRETTY appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

CNN Philippines:
Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez said the government is looking at two options to replace the t… https://t.co/YH2TtkHtq6

Twitter - cnnphilippines

5 hours ago

View on Website

Dressing for the tropics
The Manila Times Online

5 hours ago

Because “sweater weather” isn’t even that cold
International, mostly western, brands release their collections seasonally. They take note of the predicted weather patterns, such as the dip and rise of temperatures, when coming up with garments. Spring, summer, fall and winter: these are the seasons that greatly influence the possible length, thickness and even the material of a piece. Sweaters, scarves, coats, sundresses, bikinis, and other clothing pieces are available to the public in consideration of the season in which said pieces will be released.

However, incorporating these seasonal fashion statements into ensembles is not applicable to every part of the world.Not all countries have four seasons that would be conducive to the use of heavy pieces of clothing in an everyday look.

Tropical countries, like the Philippines, only have two seasons: the sunny and the rainy. But climate change has taken its toll. And these two seasons could hardly be told apart as the bouts of rain pour during the warm season and the sweltering heat surrounds the cold season blur the lines between them.

Sweaters provide comfort, warmth and a chic style during the cold season but are impractical to wear in tropical countries where the weather is warm all year long.

In other words, the heat is no longer “seasonal” in the country as it stays all year long.

Addressing this, local designers and brands have taken steps by manufacturing tropic-friendly items. But when international brands release new collections, it’s common to feel that you’re left out if you don’t get your hands on those chic sweaters!

Unfortunately, moments of “sweater weather” in the Philippines are few and far between, and those cute sweaters only add to the sweat-inducing heat that we are all too familiar with.

Which goes to say that, in this country, the trend of layering clothes on top of another is probably not the best idea. (Some of us can do it, but certainly not everyone!)

Let’s be honest, a lot of people have experienced the struggle: donning an outfit that we hope we’ll rock throughout the day, only to be ruined by sweat, sweat and more sweat when we take that first step outside.

Are we just supposed to wear short and skimpy clothing then to make the heat bearable?

The unpredictability of the weather sends us into confusion about how can we both survive and seize the day, fashionably speaking. Thankfully, surviving and staying stylish under the rays of the tropical sun isn’ttotally impossible – if we dress smartly and appropriately.

So how can style and comfort be reconciled under the blazing heat?

In an article that came out in whowhatwear.com, Bobby Schuessler, an editorial director from New York City, incorporates style tips from celebrity stylists Jen Rade and Alex Sweterlitsch.

While black is an essential color to own, fashion-forward denizens in the Philippines opt for light-colored garments because “according to science, they reflect sunlight more effectively than dark-colored garments.”

“Think like the Navy and invest in some ‘summer whites’,” Rade said.

This has been a usual to-do when it comes to dressing in tropical countries, which is anchored on the theory that deals with light and temperature – thermodynamics.

Rade added wearing printed pieces helps in hiding those sweat marks.

In addition, Rade also divulged crucial information that dresses and tops with cutouts are not only amusing to wear and look at, but they also provide built-in ventilation for the body as well.

Aside from braving the heat in light-colored clothes, the material used is also a factor to be considered in going under the sun. The piece should be made from a material that is both breathable and lightweight, like cotton. It is extremely comfortable and allows the body to breathe with ease. The same can be said for other natural fibers like linen and wool.

Keep in mind that the fabric has to be both breathable and lightweight to ensure comfort. Not all materials possess both qualities. For example, a plastic bag is lightweight but absorbs sweat and heat rather than dispels it.

Avoid synthetic fibers as they tend to be water-repellant and also cling to the skin; this along with sweat could result in discomfort or skin irritation. Silk is also a bad idea since the material retains heat and exposing to strong sunlight and perspiration could also ruin its quality.

Furthermore, Sweterlitsch also considers the cut or shape of the donned piece in the contending the weather.

The celebrity designer and editorial fashion stylist suggests sticking to “shapes that fall away from the body.” The less contact between the fabric and skin, the cooler the feeling.

When it comes to jeans, instead of going for tight ones, opt for boyfriend jeans or wide-leg to keep those legs cool.

But an outfit doesn’t merely consist of the clothes we wear. There’s also the case of shoes and accessories to boost the ensemble’s style meter.

Choosing your footwear is also crucial not just for your whole ensemble but also in keeping your body cool while you dominate the runway – which is the world. Sweterlitsch advises going for sandals or open-toed shoes because heat tends to escape from our feet as well as our head. But if you have to don closed-toe shoes, go for the canvas ones.

As for accessories, choose to go light and practical. You can sport sunhats or shades to help shield you from those harmful UV rays. In terms of jewelry, be cautious with what you wear because some can be easily damaged by perspiration and heat. Just like a top or dress, go for something lightweight and durable. Chains are okay especially if they are thin, but make sure it won’t irritate your skin once it starts sweating out.

If you’re running out of inspiration for your style, you can always check out Instagram to see the style profile of some Philippine-based stylists or bloggers to get your imagination and creativity running.

Some of my personal favorites are Camille Co (@itscamilleco) and LaureenUy (@laureenmuy). These lovely ladies know how to mix and match pieces to adhere to their style without sacrificing their comfort as well.

Camille Co, a fashion designer and blogger, is a total head-turner with her bold and colorful style that sports vibrant-colored or billowy pieces that complements her body shape well as well as her bright lilac hair.

Another of my favorite fashion icons is LaureenUy, a blogger and the sister of Filipina fashion stylist, Liz Uy. Laureen leaves an impression on the onlookers with her accessories and style that mixes in unique pieces that she wears creatively.

So, forget the basic flip-flops and shorts outfit when the sun decides to shine. With these tips in your arsenal, and the right pieces in your closet, you’re ready to face the tropical climate and turn the sun’s rays into a spotlight that illuminates your style as you sashay through the streets.

The post Dressing for the tropics appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Tropical Depression Tino begins to move away from PH
Rappler

6 hours ago

What's the weather like in your area? Report the situation through Rappler's  Agos  or tweet us at  @rapplerdotcom .

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Tino began to move away from the Philippines late Friday night, November 17, after making landfall in Palawan late afternoon.

In a bulletin issued 11 pm on Friday, state ...


View on Website

CNN Philippines:
Will #UAAPSeason80 fans witness a Final Four upset or will the top squads rise to the occasion?… https://t.co/j1ixwFuGNC

Twitter - cnnphilippines

6 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
MRT-3 private owner wants to take over maintenance https://t.co/KY0p7Whvwu

Twitter - cnnphilippines

6 hours ago

View on Website

Muhammad Ali's 'fight doctor' Ferdie Pacheco dead at age 89
Rappler

6 hours ago

MIAMI, United States  – Boxing legend Muhammad Ali's physician and cornerman, "Fight Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco, died Thursday, November 16, at his home in Miami, his family announced. He was 89.

Pacheco, who earned a medical degree from the University of Miami, met Ali in the early 1960s at Miami's Fifth ...


View on Website

Former BuCor chief to testify vs de Lima
Manila Times

7 hours ago

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has junked drug charges filed against former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Rafael Ragos in exchange for his testimony against detained Sen. Leila de Lima.

De Lima is accused before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 of taking part in and benefitting from the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.

In an amended charge sheet, the DoJ cleared Ragos of the charges and named the senator and her former lover Ronnie Dayan as the primary accused in the case.

An 11-page resolution was issued by the Justice department led by State Prosecutor Peter Ong after Ragos filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration.

The former BuCor chief said he cannot be indicted for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 because of his admission into the Witness Protection and Security Benefits Program (WPSBP).

He added that he only delivered P10 million in drug payoffs to de Lima, who was then Justice secretary, and Dayan on separate occasions.

”With the foregoing disclosures and his admission into the WPSBP, the undersigned panel of prosecutors recommends that Ragos be excluded from the information in Criminal Case No. 17-165. The other grounds relied upon by respondent Ragos in assailing the joint resolution dated February 14, 2017 are, thus, rendered moot and academic,” the resolution said.

Ragos had disclosed before the House of Representatives that he delivered P5 million to Dayan at the senator’s residence in November 2012, saying he saw Dayan handing a bag containing the money to de Lima.

“I had no choice but to say yes to Mr. Dayan because I know how close he is to Secretary de Lima. I am a frequent visitor to the house of Secretary de Lima in Parañaque [City] and her office on Padre Faura [Street in Ermita, Manila, where the DoJ is located] and even their house in Bicol, so I was able to observe their behavior and intimacy toward each other,” the ex-BuCor chief said in his affidavit.

Ragos, then the director of the Corrections bureau, supposedly was getting orders from de Lima and Dayan.
Bucor is an agency under the Justice department, which supervises the NBP.

De Lima’s bid for the Senate in the 2016 elections was reportedly funded by illegal drugs.

De Lima and Dayan are charged for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, a violation of Section 26 (b) in relation to Section 5, Section 3 (jj) and Section 28 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“The inmates of the [NBP], not being authorized by law and through the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices, willfully and unlawfully traded and trafficked dangerous drugs,” the charge sheet read.

“Thereafter [the inmates]gave and delivered to de Lima and/through Dayan the proceeds of illegal drug trading amounting to P5 million on 24 November 2012 and another P5 million on 15 December 2012,” it said.

De Lima was charged with three separate cases of drug trafficking before the Muntinlupa RTC that were assigned to three different courts.

The cases for sale and trading of illegal drugs and liability of government officials under RA 9165 were assigned to RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero, Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz and Branch 206 Judge Patria Manalastas-de Leon.

In the first case before Guerrero, charged were de Lima, Dayan and Ragos.

In the second case before Corpuz, the senator is joined by her nephew Jose Adrian Dera.

In the third case before de Leon, de Lima was charged along with Dera; Dayan; former BuCor chief Franklin Bucayu and his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli; high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian; and the senator’s s former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez.

The post Former BuCor chief to testify vs de Lima appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Return workers’ P5-B tax refund, BIR urged
Manila Times

7 hours ago

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is yet to refund an estimated P5 billion that it unlawfully deducted from minimum-wage earners despite a ruling issued by the Supreme Court (SC) almost a year ago.

Organized labor on Friday took the cudgels for the more than 30 million ordinary workers nationwide, insisting that a cash refund is long overdue, including the legal interest the collected money earned from 2008 to the present.

“We cannot understand why the BIR and the DoF [Department of Finance] are quick to squeeze money from the workers but it takes forever for them to return those. Mahiya naman kayo [Have shame]! Those are workers’ blood money. Pinaghirapan yan ng mga manggagawa, ibalik na ninyo [They worked hard for it, give it back to them]!” Alan Tanjusay, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesman, said.

In its 56-page decision issued on January 24, 2017, the High Court nullified several provisions of BIR Internal Revenue Regulation 10-2008 that disqualify minimum-wage earners (MWEs) from tax exemptions on their wage, bonus and other compensation benefits such as overtime pay, hazard pay, holiday pay and night-shift differential pay, including fringe benefits in excess of P30,000, including those who received their 13th month pay bonus.

But despite the ruling, the BIR continued to collect taxes on the basic wage, bonuses and other benefits from millions of minimum-wage workers nationwide from June to December 2008 even as the law exempted them from such taxes starting July 6, 2008.

The SC also directed the BIR to grant a refund or allow a refund through withheld tax adjustments or a claim for tax credits by those subjected by IRR 10-2008.

“Some minimum-wage workers who were subjected to tax may have remained a minimum-wage earner up to this day but they cannot claim tax credit because they are exempted from income tax. Some may have been promoted and some may have been unemployed. Some have become OFWs [overseas Filipino workers]. Some are already deceased,” Tanjusay said, adding, “In fairness to the workers subjected by the regulation, the best option here is a cash refund.”

The Supreme Court ruling stemmed from petitions filed by lawmakers, individuals and labor groups.

The post Return workers’ P5-B tax refund, BIR urged appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Ex-CHeD official pleads not guilty to graft charge
Manila Times

7 hours ago

Then-Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Executive Director IV Julito Vitriolo pleaded not guilty to the graft charge he is facing for allegedly allowing the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) to issue transcripts of record to graduates of a supposedly suspended education program in 2010.

Vitriolo, who is out on bail, was arraigned before the Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Friday morning.
In a charge sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan in August, the Office of the Ombudsman accused him of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Ombudsman alleged in the charge sheet that Vitriolo “permitverbally the” PLM “to issue transcripts of record to its graduates, which the PLM and its officials implemented as in fact it issued transcripts of record and diplomas to said graduates even as the accused had prior knowledge… that as early as September 2008 the [then-]President of the PLM had suspended the Memorandum of Agreement between PLM and the National College of Physical Education [NCPE] that offered programs of Bachelor of Science and Masteral degrees in Physical Education…”

Vitriolo also allegedly knew “that, as of 2009, the NCPE, which changed its name to Integrated College of Physical Education and Sports [ICPES], was no longer on the list of the CHED as among the institutions of higher learning in the National Capital Region [Metro Manila]…”

Thereby, according to the charge sheet, he allegedly gave “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to the PLM and the NCPE/ICPES, as well as some graduates of the said programs, and caus[ed]undue injury to the government and damage to the quality of tertiary education.”

Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officers from causing undue injury to any party, or giving a private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

In August, the Ombudsman filed two graft cases before the Sandiganbayan against Vitriolo.

The Ombudsman accused him of violating Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law in Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1568, and accused him of violating Section 3(a) of the same law in Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1569.
In October, the Sandiganbayan’s First Division partly granted a motion earlier filed by Vitriolo who sought the dismissal of the cases.

The court droppeed Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1569 because of the absence of an essential element of the offense charged.

“In this case, there is no proof of any consideration in the use of the influence. It is not alleged in the Information. There is no testimonial or documentary evidence to indicate or even conclude that accused Vitriolo received any renumeration or consideration. There is no showing that his act of allegedly persuading, inducing and/or influencing the PLM and its officials was for or in view of a consideration,” the court said in part.

Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officers are prohibited from persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules an regulations duly promulgated by competent authority.

The post Ex-CHeD official pleads not guilty to graft charge appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Ex-Comelec commissioner sweeps voting for top CA post
Manila Times

7 hours ago

A former commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has topped the voting for the premier post at the Court of Appeals (CA) conducted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Remedios Salazar-Fernando, also the acting presiding justice of the appellate court, got all seven votes from the seven-member JBC.

The CA top post became vacant after Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Supreme Court on July 12.

Coming in second was Justice Romeo Barza with 5 votes and third was Marlene Gonzales-Sison with 4 votes, both of whom are also with the CA.

Barza is a founding member of the now disbanded Carpio Villaraza Cruz law office and Sison is the wife of Manila City Councilor Cassy Sison.

The seven-man council, which is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman, is headed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, with ex-officio members Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Sen. Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali.

The post Ex-Comelec commissioner sweeps voting for top CA post appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

CNN Philippines:
#UAAPSeason80 Final Four action begins tomorrow https://t.co/YefotYGpe3 https://t.co/qLv4yEvt6Z

Twitter - cnnphilippines

7 hours ago

View on Website

CNN Philippines:
Watch @micohalili now on Sports Desk. Live streaming: https://t.co/CaczwF9CtH #CNNPHSportsDesk https://t.co/xPZO4WGD23

Twitter - cnnphilippines

7 hours ago

View on Website

Sereno appearance in hearing of impeach raps not necessary
Manila Times

7 hours ago

AN OPPOSITION lawmaker on Friday said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno does not need to appear at the resumption of hearings by the House Committee on Justice of the impeachment complaint filed against her by lawyer Larry Gadon.

The committee has sent an invitation to Sereno to personally appear before it on November 22, when the panel will determine whether there is probable cause in the complaint.

According to a statement by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the Chief Justice can effectively and legally appear through her counsel on record, who could also cross-examine Gadon and his witnesses on her behalf.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, in reply, said it is really Sereno’s call on whether she will attend the hearing.

“The task of the [committee]is to determine probable cause, thus we need to determine whether the accusations can be substantiated or controverted and she is the best person to rebut any evidence put forward by the complainant,” Umali told The Manila Times in a text message.

Lagman disagreed with the opinion of Umali, also the chairman of the justice committee, that the Chief Justice herself must make the cross-examination.

The post Sereno appearance in hearing of impeach raps not necessary appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Principal may be liable for failure to ensure students’ on-campus safety
Manila Times

7 hours ago

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My daughter was seriously injured when she was hit by a branch that fell from a rotten tree within the school premises. Prior to this incident, another student was already injured in the previous month because of falling branches from the same tree. Other parents brought this matter to the attention of the principal who just kept on promising to remove the tree but no action was actually taken. Can I file any case against the school principal?
Anita

Dear Anita,
Compensation may be claimed from a person whose negligence causes damage to another. This finds support under Article 2176 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines that states, “Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter.”

The school principal is negligent under the circumstances. It is his responsibility to ensure or maintain the safety of the students within the school premises. There was a previous incident that happened to another student prior to the incident involving your daughter but the principal failed to take any precaution or action to remove the rotten tree in order to prevent a similar injury to students within the school premises.

Please be guided by the decision of the court in the case entitled Capili vs. Spouses Cardaṅa (G.R. No. 157906, November 2, 2006), where former Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing explained the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur, which is applicable to your situation:

“The concept of res ipsa loquitur has been explained in this wise:

While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or presumed, and while the mere happening of an accident or injury will not generally give rise to an inference or presumption that it was due to negligence on defendant’s part, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which means, literally, the thing or transaction speaks for itself, or in one jurisdiction, that the thing or instrumentality speaks for itself, the facts or circumstances accompanying an injury may be such as to raise a presumption, or at least permit an inference of negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other person who is charged with negligence.

x x x where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality which caused the injury complained of was under the control or management of the defendant, and that the occurrence resulting in the injury was such as in the ordinary course of things would not happen if those who had its control or management used proper care, there is sufficient evidence, or, as sometimes stated, reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the injury arose from or was caused by the defendant’s want of care.

The procedural effect of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is that petitioner’s negligence is presumed once respondents established the requisites for the doctrine to apply. Once respondents made out a prima facie case of all requisites, the burden shifts to petitioner to explain. The presumption or inference may be rebutted or overcome by other evidence and, under appropriate circumstances a disputable presumption, such as that of due care or innocence, may outweigh the inference.”

Applying this decision in your case, the injury sustained by your daughter could not have happened had the principal removed the rotten tree at the earliest time. He therefore failed to iesure the safety of his students within the school premises; thus, he is liable for damages for the injuries sustained by your daughter.

We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.

The post Principal may be liable for failure to ensure students’ on-campus safety appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


View on Website

Read More