MANILA – Private operators of the newly-launched Cavite-Manila Ferry Service on Sunday agreed to provide free seaborne transportation to the public for its first month of operation.
During the launch of the project dubbed “#OkayKaFerryKo”, ferry operators Seaborne Shipping Company Inc. and Shogun Ships Co. Inc. have initially committed to provide the service for free beginning Monday (December 9) until January 9, 2020.
Vicente Cordero Jr., chairman and CEO of Shogun, later agreed to extend the provision of free ferry service for the Cavite Port-Lawton route until January 31, 2020 following a request from Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.
Shogun’s MV “Island Sabtang,” with a passenger capacity of 57, will ply the route from the Cavite City Port Ferry Terminal (CCPT) to the Quezon Bridge Ferry Terminal in Lawton (along Pasig River), and vice versa.
The MB Seaborne Mercury, with a passenger capacity of 27, meanwhile, will ferry passengers from the CCPT to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Bay Terminal, and vice versa.
In a bulletin, the DOTr said each trip from both routes would take less than hour as compared to the usual three hours or more of land travel between the two cities.
The fare for both routes, PHP160 for the CCPT to Lawton route and PHP200 for the CCPT to CCP route, may lower as the department continues to push for more competitive pricing, it added.
Although the ferry service was initially limited to two vessels, Tugade said talks are ongoing with the existing ferry operators to expand the service further.
“Nag-uusap kami ni Mr. Cordero, by next month, pwede kayong magdagdag ng dalawa hanggang tatlo. Kausap din ho namin yung Seaborne… magdadagdag din sila (Mr. Cordero and I are in talks, by next month, they could add two, up to three vessels in the ferry service. We are also in talks with Seaborne… they will add also),” Tugade said.
He said the ferry service will soon include other routes such as between Sangley Point in Cavite City and the Mall of Asia (MoA) in Pasay City.
“Meron tayong yung Sangley – umpisahan natin (DOTr Asst. Sec. for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni “Banoy” Lopez) by next week siguro (maybe) – Sangley-MoA,” Tugade said.
Routes from Tanza and Naic in Cavite were also being eyed by the DOTr because of availability of existing port facilities.
“Hindi naman ho siguro aabutin ng matagalan yan. Lalo na sa Tanza, kasi na-identify na natin kung saan dadaong, yung vessel na lang (It’s probably not going to take long. Especially in Tanza because we already identified where to drop anchor, it’s just the vessel remaining),” Tugade said.
Other ferry operators, he said, are also welcome to apply until “critical economic mass” is achieved.
“Hindi naman ho pwedeng basta tanggapin mo lahat yan. Lalo na kapag marami na at meron naman nauna (We can’t accept all. Especially when there are too many of them and there’s already someone else operating within the route),” Tugade said.
He added that the ferry service is only a part of the DOTr’s “basket of solutions” to help solve the issue of vehicular congestion in Metro Manila.
To ensure the safety of passengers, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Spokesperson, Capt. Armando Balilo, in an interview following the launch, said PCG Commandant, Vice Adm. Joel Garcia gave a directive for the PCG to establish a security post at the CCPT – especially due to the expected high number of passengers during the free period of the service.
During the operational dry run of the Sangley Airport in Cavite on October, Tugade announced efforts to bring “water jeepneys” to the nation’s capital.
Water jeepneys, or a point-to-point ferry service, was an offshoot of a concept developed in Cebu, Tugade said. (PNA)
MANILA – The miracle of 2005 is within grasp but there’s more than scooping the golds for the Philippines in the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games.
While action continues in various fronts, Philippine Sports Commission chair and chef de mission William ‘’Butch’’ Ramirez said the biennial Games also showed what unity can do to a country, being burdened by negativity and various differences.
Ramirez, also the chef de mission when the Philippines took the overall title in 2005 hosted by the country, said the sense of patriotism among the Filipinos was awakened by the SEA Games.
“Filipinos from all walks of life passionately cheered the nationals win or loss. The cheering, of course, was heard round the archipelago, especially if a Filipino bet wins the coveted gold,” Ramirez said in a statement on Sunday.
“Almost to the final stretch, and I am grateful to God for the steady performance of our team. More than the medal haul, I am thankful for all the sacrifice and hard work that went behind pushing their chances for a shining moment of victory. However, I mean to train the light on the stories beyond these victories. The stories that teach us all lessons, as a sporting community, as a people and as a nation,’’ the official said.
As of posting time, the Philippines is the runaway leader in the overall medal tally with a total of 274 medals – 105 golds, 81 silvers and 88 bronze medals. Indonesia with 65 golds and Vietnam with 60 golds are battling it out for second place.
Under Ramirez, the PSC continues to focus on the grassroots but the agency’s heartfelt support to the athletes has resulted to a robust delegation bursting with pride, talent, and dedication as can be gleaned by the results.
‘‘Having the privilege of being both the PSC Chairman and the Chef de Mission, I am witness to the many beautiful stories behind this event, and given a glimpse into the legacies that the SEAG will leave. The gains from this event does not end when the curtains come down on the 30th SEAG edition. On top of the victories, there are many long-term advantages – legacies – the SEAG gifted us with,’’ Ramirez said.
He added that after the SEAG, the country will have the wide pool of new athletes eyeing to become the next Kiyomi Watanabe, Margielyn Didal, EJ Obiena, Carlos Yulo, Hidilyn Diaz, and other world-class Pinoy athletes.
He also praised the volunteers for their efforts. ‘’ Sports instills values like discipline, dedication and respect for others – values needed for a healthier society – a mandate of the PSC.
“It awakened the bayanihan spirit and volunteerism among us. The very spirit shown by the heroism of Roger Casugay who gave up his chance for a golden finish to save an opponent at risk of losing his life to the very waves they play in. Truly a class act. A solid show of Filipino spirit,” he said.
Casugay, who rescued his Indonesian rival Arip Nurhidayat whose leash was detached from the surfboard during the preliminaries two days ago, eventually won the gold medal and praises both from the Filipino and foreign athletes and officials.
Ramirez, of course, did not mention that in a true display of camaraderie, Filipino sports fans are also united in cheering that Timor Leste will not go home empty-handed in the medal table. (PR)
MANILA – A Filipino surfer who rescued his Indonesian rival during the surfing preliminaries two days ago, captured the gold medal in the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Roger Casugay tallied 14.50 points in the men’s longboard open finals to beat fellow Filipino Rogelio Esquievel Jr. for the gold in the surfing competitions in San Juan, La Union.
Esquievel, the 2018 Rast Asian Tour overall champion, settled for silver medal with the score of 14.20 points while Indonesian Arip Nurhidayat scored 8.65 points and defeated Tanakit Totamara of Thailand (4.95) in the battle for bronze.
The 25-year-old Casugay earned the netizens’ praises after he was filmed rescuing Nurhidayat whose leash was detached from the surfboard during their battle for remaining finals seat. Esquievel secured the first slot.
The Filipino surfer was reportedly heading for a victory already but turned around after noticing that his Indonesian opponent was stuck without his board.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez commended Casugay for his “sportsmanship and sacrifice”, traits that embody the Filipino athletes’ true warrior spirit.
“I will include Roger in our awarding in Malacañang to meet the President (Rodrigo R. Duterte). The PSC will give him a plaque of recognition for his heroic deed and a cash incentive to be approved by the PSC board,” Ramirez, also chef de mission of the Team Philippines, said in a statement posted on SEA Games news portal.
Meanwhile, Nilbie Blancada also awarded the Philippines with another surfing gold after ruling the women’s shortboard open with the score of 7.65. She defeated Annissa Tita Flynn of Thailand (6.35).
Indonesia brought home the day’s two other gold medals with Hairil Anwar winning the men’s shortboard open against compatriot Rio Waida and Dhea Novitasari finishing first in the women’s longboard category to beat Jevy Mae Agudo. (PNA)
MANILA – A “lifeless fetus reported to be a full-term baby girl” was found inside one of the restrooms at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) reported Sunday afternoon.
The baby was found at about 7 a.m. with an underwear wrapped around her neck, it added.
MIAA’s medical team provided the baby with basic life support even when she was seen “with no sign of life”.
MIAA officials have already called the police to conduct an investigation on the incident.
MIAA general manager Ed Monreal also ordered the review of all CCTV footages surrounding the vicinity of comfort room No. 302 of Terminal 3. (PNA)
CAMP DANGWA, LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The heads of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are looking at aligning the skills of the PNP mobile forces in helping soldiers manage the New People’s Army (NPA) front organizations operating in urban areas.
“The problem against our communist terrorist group is a security threat of which all our government security forces dapat magtulung-tulungan (help each other). That is why if you see a while ago there is a joint effort between the PNP and AFP,” Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP officer in charge, said on the sidelines of an area-clearing validation board meeting.
The confab delved on the community support program-white area operation of the 5th Infantry Battalion (5ID) covering Region 2 or Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region held at Camp Dangwa on Friday.
Gamboa led the police in the meeting while the Nolcom was led by Deputy for Administration, Brig. Gen. Ramon Evan Ruiz.
Gamboa said the PNP has the mobile forces – regional and provincial mobile forces – which are trained like the AFP and fights side by side with the military.
He, however, said that the mobile forces have to be trained on handling white areas of the AFP, at the urban areas where the legal fronts operating for the insurgents do their activities.
“Siguro mangilan-ngilan would go to Manila but the general situation is yung fight talaga versus their legal fronts. Ito yung pinag-aaralan ngayon ng PNP na pwede kaming tumulong sa white area (Maybe some go to Manila but the general situation is really the fight against legal fronts. This is what we are really looking into, where we can help in white areas),” Gamboa said.
“We will try to study and hopefully we can study and help the AFP in the fight versus CTGs (communist terrorist groups),” he added.
For his part, Brig. Gen. Ramon Evan Ruiz said the government’s goal is a wholistic approach where government agencies collaborate with each other. Also included is the participation of the private sector.
“Kaya ito ay wholistic, we need all the participation of government, of everyone. Lahat tayo ay working versus insurgency (This is wholistic. We need all the participation of government, of everyone. We are all working versus insurgency,” Ruiz said.
He said, “we are strengthening their community relations service, putting in more force on public, civil and ‘psy-ops’, propaganda operation".
He said the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) is very active in implementing its mandate as dictated by Executive Order 70 that calls for a collaborated action between and among the government agencies.
He also said the ELCAC task forces from the national down to the barangay levels are gearing to convince the NPAs and their supporters to embrace the law and work hand in hand for the country’s development.
Ruiz mentioned the media’s role as a medium to reach out to the NPAs who want to return to the fold of the law.
“We are offering the E-CLIP where we give livelihood, school and all privileges for a new life of the surrenderers,” he said of the government’s commitment to give alternative and better lives to the NPAs and their “militia ng bayan” supporters.
Ruiz said that both forces, AFP and the PNP, are working hand in hand to help implement Executive Order 70 that calls for a whole of nation and whole of community approach to end local communist armed conflicts. (PNA)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will remain “devoted” to his job as the highest official in the land even as workers in the public and private sector look forward to the upcoming Christmas break.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo raised the possibility that the President may still continue to perform his duties during the holidays since he is a “workaholic.”
“Si Presidente naman, nakikita mo naman, walang pahinga. Masyado ngang workaholic. Sabi ganun, magbabakasyon pero wala rin e (You can see the President barely has time to rest. He’s such a workaholic. He says he’ll take a vacation but he doesn’t really follow it),” Panelo said in an interview over radio dzIQ on Sunday.
“Talagang napaka-devoted sa kaniyang trabaho bilang Presidente (He is really devoted to his job as President),” he added.
Recalling how the 74-year-old President still insisted on doing his job despite his doctor’s advice for him to take a rest, Panelo said the Chief Executive would probably do the same during the Christmas break.
Duterte is expected to celebrate Christmas with family and friends in his hometown, Davao City, where he served as mayor for over two decades before becoming the country’s head of state in 2016.
He also visits young cancer patients at the Southern Philippine Medical Center in Davao City every year.
In 2017, the President visited families of individuals killed in a Davao City mall fire.
Duterte earlier wished fellow Filipinos to be “be happy” and find joy in sharing a simple noche buena with their families despite the challenges they face.
He has also joked about wanting to receive a new motorbike for Christmas but went on to say his only wish is for the Philippines and the Filipinos.
“Wala na akong hinihingi para sa akin (I no longer ask for anything for myself),” Duterte said.
Last year, thousands of people queued up for the “Pahalipay sa Pasko”, a yearly Christmas treat of the Duterte family held at their ancestral residence in Barangay Bangkal, Davao City.
Under Proclamation 555, Duterte declared Christmas Day, December 25 as among the regular holidays for the year.
Meanwhile, Christmas Eve, December 24 is considered an additional, special, non-working day. (PNA)
MANILA – The Department of Trade Industry (DTI) expects exports of goods and services to increase by 2 to 4 percent up to about USD99 billion this year, with services leading the growth.
“I think it’s now between 0 to 1 (percent growth); the way it appears, this is for goods only. Because services will still show about single-digit growth,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters over the weekend.
Lopez said they were hoping to hit 2-percent rise in exports of goods this year, but the United States-China trade war has impacted supply chain activities.
While the country’s exports to China and the US continue to grow, he said demand for products which are exported to other countries and wherein the Philippines is part of the supply chain, is affected.
“So kahit naggo-grow tayo ng export (even we grow our exports) to US and China, on the overall, other products are affected. So this is tempered because some elements are affected by the trade war,” he added.
Lopez said services exports, meanwhile, are mainly driven by information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), as well as creative industries such as graphic design, game development, and software development, which have been identified as service winners.
Earnings from exports of goods and services reached USD95 billion last year, he said.
In 2020, Lopez sees the country’s exports of goods and services growing at higher 4 to 6 percent.
“There is hope that there is settlement to this China-US (trade war) and there is base effect considering 2018 and 2019 somewhat slowed down. Hopefully, we can go back on track in terms of growth rate,” he said.
Lopez said the electronics sector is expected to bounce back as some elements of its supply chain are affected by the trade war.
Affected are exports of sectors related to manufacturing, such as furniture, fixture and petroleum, he said.
“And we can credit also in domestic demand that instead of export, these (products) are sold here because of that strong demand locally so somehow, there is that trade diversion effect. Since the question is the outlook for next year, then I think we can say positively that it can only be better. Of course, that hinges on the better negotiation between the two major economies,” he added.
Lopez said the country’s total exports are on track to hit the USD122-billion goal by 2022.
The exports revenue goal was set under the Philippine Export Development Plan. (PNA)
DAVAO CITY – The municipality of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte has conducted psychosocial interventions to parents, teachers and students of the Magwawa Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte who were caught in a cross fire between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels last Thursday.
Lawyer Elisa Lapiña, municipal administrator of Sto. Tomas, led the psychosocial activities held on Friday.
“In an armed conflict situation, the teachers and students are greatly affected in various ways and consequently require different kinds of support. That’s why we are here in the community to give the necessary intervention they needed,” Lapiña said in a statement.
Mart Sambalud, Sto. Tomas Municipal Information Officer, said the exchange of gunfire in nearby Barangay Colosas here was heard by residents of Barangay Magwawa, especially those at the Magwawa Integrated School.
“The firefight lasted about 10 minutes and it has caused disruption of classes in a nearby public elementary school,” Sambalud told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Saturday.
The distance between the villages of Colosas and Magwawa is about three kilometers.
“Magwawa Integrated School and the outskirts of Barangay Colosas where the clash happened were only divided by a river,” Sambalud said.
A number of traumatized school children and teachers were given respite through the psychosocial activities conducted by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) at Magwawa Integrated School, said Lapiña.
She said the purpose of the stress debriefing is “to help them process their traumatic experience.”
“This is something that is really needed since they are the frontliners and they were affected by the incident,” she said.
Personnel from MSWDO headed by Leilani Mae Rafol conducted critical incidence stress debriefing, play therapy and physical exercises to school children.
Rafol said the play therapy was to help the victims release their fears. (PNA)
NEW CLARK CITY – The Blu Girls hit another one out of the ballpark, but the Blu Boys got stranded with a silver medal Sunday in the 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s and women’s softball competitions at The Villages here on Sunday.
The Blu Girls picked their 10th SEA Games gold via a sweep to continue their unbeaten run in the biennial meet. They routed Indonesia, 8-0 in the final.
“Of all the softball titles by the Blu Girls this is the easiest and the sweetest,” said team manager Randy Dizer. “It’s because we played in our home court, that’s the biggest thing.”
The Blu Girls were powered by Cheska Altomonte, Garie Blando, Mary Ann Antoleh Hao, Ezra Jalandoni, Lyka Basa and Kikay Palma, among others.
They have won SEA Games golds in 1979, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2015.
But the Blu Boys suffered a shocking 6-1 loss to Singapore in the men’s final match.
It was the first time the Philippines lost the men’s title since the 1997 edition when the country bowed to Indonesia. (PR)
MANILA – Despite being harassed by his critics and detractors, President Rodrigo Duterte has never done the same to them, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this reaction as he dismissed a Latvia-based study which indicated that one of the four emerging models of disinformation was “state-sponsored.”
“Si Presidente hindi nagkakaroon ng ganung intensiyon. Si Presidente, isa lamang ang panuntunan niya, bigyan ng proteksiyon at pagsilbihan ang taong-bayan (The President never had that intention. The President only has one criterion, which is to protect and serve the Filipino people),” Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ.
“Yun ang kaniyang batayan sa lahat ng kaniyang galaw bilang Presidente ng bansa. Siya ang hina-harass ng mga kritiko, hindi siya huma-harass, pinapatupad niya lang kung ano ang batas (That is the basis for every move the President makes. He is being harassed by his critics and he does not harass them. He is only implementing the law),” he added.
The study, published by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), defined the state-sponsored model as one that uses “formal intimidation” and “digital bullying” techniques that leads to “silencing, self-censorship, and chilling effects among dissenters and the public at large.”
It also noted that a “state-sponsored propaganda model assumes intentionality from the President himself to intimidate and harass his critics” by tapping a “keyboard army” of his “diehard supporters.”
Aside from the state-sponsored model, the other models of disinformation in the NATO study include the in-house staff model, the advertising and public relations model, and the clickbait model.
The study is authored by Jonathan Corpus Ong, Associate Professor of Global Digital Media in the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Jason Cabañes, Associate Professor of Communication in De La Salle University-Manila.
Panelo denied that the government engaged in any form of spreading disinformation or fake news.
“Ang fake news ay iisama lamang, fake. Ang gobyerno, kailanman, ay hindi pumapasok sa fake news (Fake news are all the same, they’re fake. Our government never engaged in spreading fake news),” Panelo said.
“Doon nga nagagalit si Presidente e – yung binabago yung mga facts and figures at hindi nagiging matapat. Di ba yun ang laging pinapakiusap ng Presidente sa lahat, ang gusto niya lang iyong truth and fairness (That’s what makes the President angry – changing facts and figures and not being honest. That’s the only request of the President, he wants truth and fairness),” he added.
The Palace official, meanwhile, maintained that the Duterte administration respects press freedom in the Philippines.
“Malaya ang pamamahayag dito sa ating bansa (Journalists are free to report what they want in our country),” Panelo said.
“Walang naide-demanda dahil sila ay nagsalita laban as gobyerno. Pakinggan mo lang yung mga salita ng komentarista, iba’t-ibang estasyon sa radyo, basahin mo mga kolumnista. Makikita mo na dito sa ating bansa ang pinakamalaya (There are no journalists who are sent to jail for speaking against the government. Just listen to the commentators, different radio stations, read the columns. You’ll see that press freedom in our country is most free),” he added.
Panelo’s statement came after the President, on Tuesday, announced that he is not bent on granting the renewal of the 25-year congressional franchise to local broadcast network ABS-CBN.
Panelo, however, explained that the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise would still be up to Congress.
Last month, Panelo also shrugged off Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s remark in a TV program characterizing the press landscape in the Philippines under the Duterte administration as “worse than any war zone” that she has been in.
For Panelo, media workers in the country remained “safe” and remained free to cover events in the country.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also disputed Ressa’s claims that her arrests and charges are meant to “pound her into silence” for reporting about alleged extrajudicial killings tied to the drug war.
Andanar said cases filed against Ressa and Rappler were for the violation of the anti-dummy law, tax evasion charges, and a cyber libel case filed by a private individual that has “nothing to do with the administration.”
He said Ressa’s case is not an issue involving press freedom but an issue in violation of the Philippine laws acted upon by respective government agencies. (PNA)
MANILA – When you meet him at the break of dawn, you’d surely mistake him as some ranking executive off to close a business deal in Makati, donning a two-suit ensemble and a matching tie. His first agenda for the day: vend hot pandesal (bread of salt) on a bicycle.
Alven Balasabas or Mayor Alven as the morning risers call him has been an icon in every nook and cranny of Barangay Greater Lagro where he sells hundreds of pandesal daily calling their attention with a horn, a trademark that gave Filipino ambulant bread vendors the onomatopoeic name “potpot” because of the recognizable tooting sound as their bicycles passed by.
In an interview, Alven told the Philippine News Agency that this only started as a temporary gimmick to attract more customers until he grew used to it and his collection expanded.
“Para sa akin iba talaga ang naka-postura kasi malinis tingnan. Nakakatuwa minsan kasi nakakabenta talaga nang mas marami tapos kapag lumalabas ako natatawag pa ako na attorney, minsan naman seaman (For me, it really makes a difference when you’re dressed up because you look neat. It’s rewarding for me because I actually sell fast and sometimes someone would call me attorney or a seaman),” he said.
“Kapag Pasko naman minsan nagdi-disensyo pa ako. Para sa akin maganda kasi nakakapag-bigay ka ng saya sa mga customers mo, ‘pag matuwa sila, matuwa rin ako (When it’s Christmastime, I sometimes design my own clothes. I feel good about it because it gives reason for customers to smile, when they’re happy, I’m elated too).”
Cyril Christian Salas, one of his suki or patron, has been buying bread from Alven for at least a year now and even if his pandesal is sized the same with other stores he prefers the suit and tie guy’s rolls more. For him, he finds Alven’s strategy unique and at the same time “inspiring”.
“Malambot 'yong pandesal niya tapos nakakatuwa pa siyang tingnan dahil nakangiti parati at naka-complete uniform. Ang bansag nga sa kanya mayor kasi naka-suit and tie siya lagi lalo na pag-Christmas (The bread he sells is always soft and he also wears his best smile while in his uniform. We even call him here mayor because he’s always in suit and tie),” he said.
Salas said he appreciates Alven more when the Ber months are in since his garb gets more colorful and in tune with the holiday season.
“Naka-Santa hat po siya lagi tapos makulay ang suot niyang coat and tie. Sana ipagpatuloy niya dahil marami siyang nabibigyan ng inspirasyon (When Christmas season comes, he always pulls off a Santa hat in formal attire. I hope that he continues this because there are really some who are inspired by him),” he added.
The same goes for Dave Dulay, whose house is along Alven’s route every morning in Greater Lagro.
“Natutuwa kami kasi mukhang gusto niyang magpasaya. Parang wala siyang problema sa buhay. Kahit sa simpleng pananamit niya napapasaya niya kami (Him being there is good because he seemed sincere in wanting to make someone smile. He’s like someone who doesn’t have a problem in life. His simple way of dressing up really brings joy to some),” he said.
'Brushing off negativities’
Alven first came to Manila in 2008 to help his family in Masbate by working as a bakery assistant at the store of couple Iris and Florenio Bajande.
“Napakabait na bata, masunurin kasi kung anong sasabihin mo sumusunod siya. Pag natuto na siya ng isang bagay tinatandaan niya, kadalasan ini-improve pa niya (He’s obedient and a good kid. When he learns something he really applies it well and even improves it),” Florenio said.
“Sa taon na pagsu-suot niya niyan, napakita niya na kahit nagtitinda ng pandesal puwedeng naka-barong o naka-amerikana rin, na hindi lang siya para sa mga empleyado na magaganda ang trabaho (In the years he’s wearing those formal clothes when he goes out, he’s proven that dressing up formally is not only meant for employees in the office),” he added.
The first time Alven pedaled his way out of the bakery in formal attire, Bajande said he himself was surprised and found it unconventional. It was also during those first few years that Alven received negative remarks for selling bread in barong or americana, the bakery owner narrated on his behalf.
“Ako nagulat ako noon, siyempre magugulat ka first time mo, may naglalako ng pandesal naka-amerikana. May mga negative at positive comment ang mamimili pero sa katagalan dumami na ang positibo. Sila na mismo ang nagbibigay sa kanya ng damit. Kami naman sinusuportahan namin siya dahil marangal naman ang ginagawa niya (Personally, I was surprised back then, of course, you’ll be shocked because it’s your first time seeing a pandesal vendor in americana suit. There were negative comments but as time passed by he got more positive ones. For us we just support him),” he shared.
While he’s gotten some toxic comments throughout the years for dressing uncommonly selling bread on the streets, Alven said he just brushed them off and continued his routine with head held high.
“Nasasabihan ako noon, 'O saan ka ibuburol’ mga ganoon. Mayroon talagang mga ganon, hindi maganda pero ako ayos lang, hindi ko na pinapansin, basta marangal ang trabaho ko (One time I was asked 'Where’s the funeral wake?’ There are persons like them, it’s not nice to hear but I just let it pass, so long as my job is not harming anyone),” Alven shared.
At 33, Alven dreams to be a future lawyer and someday put on his dozens of suits and ties defending someone inside a court.
“Gusto kong maging abugado, kaso wala na po akong plano mag-aral kasi tumutulong na po ako sa mga magulang ko pero kung magkaroon ng oras at pera iyon ang iniisip ko (I want to be a lawyer. I don’t have the plan to pursue study anymore because I’m helping my parents but if I got time and money that’s what I’ve been wanting),” he said. (PNA)
MANILA – To further intensify the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs, the Special Action Force (SAF) should be included in the anti-drug campaign, especially against high-value targets or big-time drug lords, a ranking official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP’s chief of Directorial Staff, cited the police commando’s unquestionable integrity in his speech during the graduation of six classes from SAF courses on Friday.
“I firmly believe that you (SAF commandos) are the most qualified unit to run after big-time drug lords. The discipline, the bravery and the integrity you have make you the most qualified warriors that President Duterte has been looking for to finally finish off the illegal drugs problems in the country,” he said.
Eleazar admitted the government’s aggressive campaign against drugs has always been marred by the involvement of some policemen as protectors of drug syndicates or in drug-recycling activities.
This is the part where the SAF would fit in, he said.
“As members of the police elite force, you are PNP’s last bastion of integrity. The kind of discipline that you have been molded into, the warrior that was brought out from each and every one of you, and the tried-and-tested integrity that your senior has shown make you the worst nightmare of drug lords,” Eleazar said.
He said the involvement of SAF that he envisions is more on operations since the intelligence aspect will still be at the hands of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and police anti-narcotics operatives who are trained on it.
SAF commandos are highly-trained in combat and the most equipped in terms of firepower.
Eleazar said that if SAF commandos are deployed to run after drug lords, this would make the illegal drugs campaign more aggressive against high-value targets.
Eleazar, however, said the decision still remains with the President as their commander-in-chief.
He said the illegal drugs business is indeed a multi-billion peso industry in the country, which makes drug cartels and drug lords continue to operate despite the aggressive government campaign.
“Illegal drugs are threat to national security and drug lords are the worst enemies of the State. So the President is right, this is already a war,” Eleazar said.
“Having seen the success of the President’s war against illegal drugs, I, in my personal and current official capacity, shall intensify my efforts to win as many battles in this war (against illegal drugs),“ he said.
Earlier, Duterte said he wanted the government’s anti-narcotics units or the next PNP chief to focus more on big-time drug offenders.
He said it was not enough to be presented with a list of contenders for the next PNP chief because he was expecting a “better deal.”
Duterte said the three police generals on the list of contenders for the next PNP chief are “all good”.
“They are all good. I want a better deal. It is not enough that you recommend to me,” Duterte said in a televised interview.
The three contenders for the top police post are PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan and Eleazar, who is former Metro Manila police director. (PNA)
MANILA – Starting Monday, violators of laws and ordinances will be apprehended in five discipline zones in Quezon City, a police official said.
Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, QCPD acting director, said they will have a dry-run on Monday to bolster enforcement of laws and ordinances in the five initial areas: Cubao, West Avenue, Katipunan Avenue, Timog Avenue-Tomas Morato area, and Novaliches proper, which will be made as discipline zones.
Montejo, in a press conference on Friday, said the establishment of a zone where people are obliged to observe order, will serve as a good deterrent for crimes and a good way of enforcing discipline in homes and the community.
“All city ordinances, special laws, criminal laws will be implemented there without fear or favor. Those who will be caught violating the law will be charged and imprisoned, while minors will be turned over to the (City Social Welfare Department),” Montejo said.
According to Montejo, the discipline zone project of QCPD is supported by the city government led by Mayor Joy Belmonte who vowed to provide manpower from different departments to help in manning traffic and apprehending violators of city ordinances. (PNA)
MANILA – A ranking official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said communist groups and their supporters appeal for pity whenever they get themselves into a tight corner.
Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, said this is clearly being demonstrated by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) when it announced that it wants Sister Elenita Belardo, its former national coordinator, excluded from the perjury case filed by the NTF ELCAC due to her old age.
“That’s ’argumentum ad misericordiam’ or appeal to pity. The RMP’s argument is actually full of fallacies and that’s the result of years of exploitation by the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines),” he said in a statement to the PNA Saturday.
The perjury complaint had been filed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who claimed RMP officials and others perjured themselves in the petition for writs of Amparo and habeas corpus filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) against the former and other government officials.
Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor, in the petition filed before the CA by CPP-NPA front groups, said Belardo “knowingly made untruthful statements under oath” when she said the RMP is a “duly registered non-stock, non-profit organization.”
“In fact the accused very well knew that said allegations were false and untruthful as the certificate of registration of RMP was already revoked effective September 29,2003,” Peñaflor added.
Parlade said using old age as means to forestall legal liability is a weak argument as CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria “Joma” Sison is as old as Sister Elenita but the former is still capable of ordering communist rebels to attack government troops and assassinate key NTF ELCAC officials.
“Shall we pity Sister? Shall we go soft on ‘Joma’ who has been ordering his allies in Bayan to continue recruiting very young children to join Anakbayan, LFS (League of Filipino Students) and Kàbataan, and eventually become full-time NPAs (New People’s Army) members)? Shall we continue to allow 'Joma’ to prosecute all these violence to all of us because he is old?” he added.
He said attempts to justify Sister Elenita’s act by claiming that the nun spent most of her adult life by working to uplift the lives of the rural poor as her testament of her love and commitment to Christ is not justifiable.
“RMP national coordinator Sister Elsa Compuesto is also justifying Sister Elenita’s act by citing that the latter 'spent most of her life working with the rural poor as a testament of her love and commitment to Christ’. Don’t you think you are using the name of Christ in vain? Isn’t it what Father Fausto 'Pops’ Tentorio, an Italian communist priest did in Arakan, North Cotabato?” he said.
Fr. Tentorio, he added, worked in very poor and isolated areas, sent 800 young indigenous children on scholarship but produced more than 700 NPA cadres out of them.
“Now he is acclaimed in Ibon Foundation manuals for Salugpungan schools, as a National Hero (Basic Education Curriculum Guide, Kindergarten to Grade 6, Salugpungan Ta 'Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc) or PAGKAKAUGNAY Araling Panlipunan 3, Edisyong 2015, Ibon Foundation). An Italian rebel as our national hero?” he said.
He went on to ask the group on whether recruiting innocent minors to beef up the ranks of the communist rebels can be considered a testament of love even if allegations about government abuse, militarization, and pillage of ancestral domain is true.
“Is it Holy and Christian-like to allow our children to be pushed to danger by radicalizing them? Another 16-year-old NPA was killed last November 30 in an encounter in Butuan City. Litboy Talja Binongcasan was only 14 when he went missing in Gingoog City to join the NPA,” he added.
Since militant groups do not know the answer to his questions, Parlade surmised this is among the reasons why the sisters and priests booted him out when he arrived at the National Union of Peoples Lawyers forum “Weaponizing the Law: Criminalizing Dissent” held on Nov. 27.
“Maybe the sisters and priests at the QC Sports Club booted me out because they did not have answers either. Sister Liza Ruedas of the Daughters of Charity, Father Enriquez, and Father Bert Alejo knew they are being exploited by the Christians for National Liberation (CNL), the underground CPP organization embedded among the religious. How can you not stand up against the radicalization of our children by the CPP if you have compassion to the young?” he added.
He added that RMP claims that it is not involved in aiding the CPP-NPA does not hold water due to the testimony of their own finance staff who surrendered and admitted to disbursing your funds for the communist rebels.
“Gliceria Balangiao, your finance officer in CDO (Cagayan de Oro) has narrated how she collects funds sent to Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc (MISFI) by European NGOs like 11.11.11 and Solidagro of Belgium, from a dollar to a peso account, then disbursed to CPP-NPA personalities, their families in the form of SUPAMlL (Suporta sa Pamilya), and other CPP front organizations. She also admitted to supporting the GenSan 12, top CPP personalities captured in GenSan (General Santos City) last year,” he said.
The CPP-NPA has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“So, Sisters Elenita and Elsa, we admit to being sinners but are you telling this Catholic nation that you are too holy to lie, and so people should believe you about your works? Are you saying that Sister Coni Ledesma, now wife of Father Jalandoni, all stooges of 'Joma’ Sison in Utrecht are saints too, and should not be vilified by the government because they are simply dissenters? That’s not what we see in the walls of Manila,” he said. (PNA)
MANILA – To build a more progressive nation, President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged the Filipino Catholic community to “work in solidarity” on the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary.
“I join the entire Filipino Catholic Community in celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary,” Duterte said in his message, wishing for a “joyous” and “meaningful” occasion.
He said Blessed Virgin Mary’s “exemplary life of piety and virtue” helped influence the faithful in becoming “agents of compassion and justice” in the society.
The President also cited her “selfless service and devotion to her family and absolute faith in the Almighty” as a guide for all Filipinos in overcoming trying times.
“May you be inspired by the Immaculate Conception to continue fostering peace and understanding among every citizen regardless of their faith of creed. It is my hope that you will remain committed in realizing genuine and lasting change so that everyone may attain their hopes and dreams,” Duterte said.
“As you embody her holy example in your daily lives, I encourage you to work in solidarity to build a progressive, prosperous and inclusive nation,” he added.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, for his part, asked the faithful to embody Mary’s “faithfulness, humility, simplicity, and thoughtfulness” in the modern world.
“May we remember Mary’s selfless acceptance of her sinless conception of our Lord Jesus Christ which led to the realization of God’s planned and promised salvation,” Andanar said.
“Let this realization serve as a reminder for everyone to be kind-hearted, humble, and kind to each other as we continue to live by God’s teachings and to fulfill His commandments,” he added.
Duterte, through the signing of Republic Act 10966, declared December 8 of every year as a special non-working holiday in celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of the three holy days of obligation for Catholics every year. The other two are Christmas, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1, New Year’s Day.
According to the Holy Bible, Immaculate Conception marks how the Virgin Mary was born free from original sin by virtue of the graces as Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It also notes that God granted Mary exemption from the original sin at the first moment of her conception, keeping her “immaculate.”
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Genero “Genie” Diwa, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP-ECL) urged the faithful to attend the Eucharistic Celebration on Monday (Dec. 13).
“But the faithful are encouraged to attend the Mass on December 9 as a manifestation of their deep filial devotion to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the Philippines,” he said.
The Manila Cathedral also invited the faithful to celebrate with them the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“Celebrate our Lady’s feast day here with us at the Manila Cathedral, the first Cathedral of the nation dedicated to the Immaculate Conception,” it said in its Facebook account.
The Fiesta Mass will be celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at 12:10 p.m. on Monday.
Concelebrating with him are Cologne Archbishop Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki and Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. (PNA with reports from Ferdinand Patinio)
SUBIC – Thailand set sail for the 30th Southeast Asian Games and found gold at the Yacht Club here.
The Thai skippers were the biggest winners in sailing in the regional meet as they took home five of the seven gold medals awarded Saturday.
And the Philippines prevented the Thais from getting another gold as the duo of Emerson Villena and Troy Tayong bested Thailand’s Navee Thamsoontorn and Nut Butmarasri and Malaysia’s Mohamad Faizal Norizan and Ahmad Syukri Abdul Aziz to snatch the gold in the international 420 sailing.
Thailand swept the women’s side with Chonakchon Wangsuk and Piyaporn Khemkaew ruling the international 420, Kamolwan Chanym topping the laser radial, and Noppassorn Khunboonjan winning the optimist events.
Wangsuk and Khemkaew had 14.0 points at the end of 10 rounds and came out on top of silver medalists Rhegielyn Boyano and Coleen Jem Ferrer of the Philippines who had 20.0 points as well as Nor Nabila Natasha Mohd Nazri and Gabrielle Yong Poquita of Malaysia who had 25.0 points.
Kamolwan’s win was just as decisive as her 12.0 points after Round 8 were far better than silver medalist Victoria Chan of Singapore’s 14.0 and bronze medalist Nur Shazrin Mohammad Latif of Malaysia’s 21.0.
Noppassorn, meanwhile, scored 20.0 points when 10 rounds came to a close as compared to Radiance Koh of Singapore’s 25.0 points for the silver and May Myat Noe Khin of Myanmar’s 34.0 points for the bronze.
Things weren’t much different over at the men’s side as the Thais also won the international 420 and optimist events.
The pair of Jedtavee Yongyuennarn and Chakkaphat Wiriyakitti finished first with 16.0 points at the end of 10 rounds in the international 420.
The silver went to Malaysians Muhammad Fauzi Kaman Shah and Umar Al Farouk Mohd Zahawi while the bronze went to Filipinos Jericko Marbella and Brandhon Kyrielle Aquino.
In the men’s optimist, Panwa Boonnak was the undisputed gold medalist as his 12.0 points accumulated through 11 rounds were way better than those of silver medalist Kenan Tan of Singapore with 33.0 points as well as bronze medalist Putera Adrine Mohn Puad of Malaysia with 35.0 points.
The last gold of the day was claimed by Singapore for men’s laser sailing as Ryan Lo scored 11.0 points in eight rounds.
Thai Keerati Bualong had 17.0 points to seize silver as Malaysian Khairulnizam Mohd Affendy had 27.0 points for the bronze. (PR)