Jan 312015
The poor need to be taught livelihood more than being given a taste of luxury.

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines stressed this following reports 400 people were spirited off to a Batangas resort during Pope Francis’ visit.

CBCP Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano also noted these poor families are now back in the streets after their outing.

“Can’t the government show enough sincerity by giving them permanent dwelling places and livelihood projects? They are not even supposed to be trained to live like they have because in truth what they need to know is simply how to have,” he said in an article posted on the CBCP news site.

Last week, Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Corazon Soliman admitted before a Senate hearing the during the pope’s visit.

Secillano said that while the government can hide street-dwellers from the Pope, it cannot hide the reality of poverty.

The Pope was in the Philippines last Jan. 15 to 19. During this time, the DSWD spirited off several poor families to a Batangas resort.

Even if those gathered underwent a “family camping workshop,” the priest asked if they really need to do it in a posh resort.

“(I)f the intention is for these poor families to be trained on how to live like those who are not deprived of basic necessities and of simple pleasures in life, is the government giving them enough opportunities to reach that status? And for how long are they going to train the poor for that purpose?” he said.

Also, he said it would be more believable if the government simply said the poor families risked being crushed by the millions who would occupy the streets where they lived.

“The poor have cooperated but the government hasn’t paid them yet. In the end, the poor are again exploited. Sadly, it’s the government that did them in,” he said. Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Jan 312015
Militant group: P300M presidential intel fund used in Mamasapano operation?

Kin grieve for fallen cops at necrological service. Relatives of the 44 slain PNP-SAF commandos killed in the January 25 Mamasapano clash attend the wake and necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig on Friday, January 30. President Benigno Aquino III offered his condolences to those left behind by the heroes. Danny Pata Was some P300 million in discretionary presidential intelligence funds used for last week’s operation that killed 44 Special Action Force policemen in Mamasapano, Maguindanao? Militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Sunday said President Benigno Aquino III has some explaining to do on the matter. The group said the Mamasapano operation involving 392 SAF troopers would require funding and logistics, and that transporting SAF elements from different parts of the country alone would already require a considerable amount of money. “If the operation was not run via the (Interior department) and the PNP, then someone else must have authorized the funding. The approval can only come from one other source, Malacañang. The funding could have come from the unaudited P300 million intelligence and confidential funds of the President. It would then be easy for Aquino to deny involvement,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said. “When the President has control of such unaudited funds, it is very easy for him to bypass other government agencies and embark on covert operations that can have disastrous consequences,” he added. Reyes also said suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima and the United States government should Read More …

Jan 312015
LOOK:  Police sympathy walk, sign on wall for Fallen 44

Tributes to the 44 Special Action Force policemen killed in last week’s clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao continued to pour in over the weekend from the victims’ colleagues. In Cordillera, police held a sympathy walk on Saturday afternoon for their fallen. Photos tweeted by the Cordillera regional police showed Chief Superintendent Isagani Nerez leading the way. In Navotas City in Metro Manila, radio dzBB’s Manny Vargas tweeted a photo of a sign by the city police to honor the fallen 44. “A salute to our fallen comrades,” read the message with the image of a black ribbon. On Friday, President Benigno Aquino III led a national day of mourning for the 44, whose families are crying out for justice. The remains of 42 of the 44 fallen cops have been moved out of Camp Bagong Diwa and were brought to their families. Remains of the other two fatalities were earlier laid to rest in Mindanao according to the Muslim tradition. — Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Jan 312015
Last 2 fallen SAF men on way home to Zamboanga Sur

Kin grieve for fallen cops at necrological service. Relatives of the 44 slain PNP-SAF commandos killed in the January 25 Mamasapano clash attend the wake and necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig on Friday, January 30. President Benigno Aquino III offered his condolences to those left behind by the heroes. Danny Pata The remains of the last two Special Action Force policemen killed in a clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 were brought out of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City before dawn Sunday. Departure honors were rendered for the remains of Inspector Rennie Tyrus and PO3 Virgil Villanueva, radio dzBB’s Luisito Santos reported. The remains were brought out of the police facility at 1:50 a.m. and were to be brought to Zamboanga del Sur province, the report said. It added, a Cebu Pacific flight will carryTyrus’ remains, while a Philippine Airlines flight will take Villanueva’s. In the past days, the nation mourned the deaths of the 44 SAF men in Maguindanao. President Benigno Aquino III declared last January 30 a day of national mourning. — Joel Locsin/LBG, GMA News

Jan 312015
Mongolia convicts 2 Filipino mining execs of tax evasion

ULAN BATOR—A Mongolian court on Friday found three former executives of a foreign-owned mining company—who included two Filipinos—guilty of tax evasion and sentenced them to more than five years each in prison, prosecutors said. The court in this Mongolian capital delivered the guilty verdicts and prison terms on Philippine nationals Hilarion Cajucom and Cristobal David and Justin Kapla, a US citizen, according to a statement from the Capital City’s Attorney’s Office. Kapla and David received sentences of five years and 10 months each, while Cajucom got five years and six months, it said. There was no immediate word of an appeal. The verdict is likely to send a chilling message to foreign investors in Mongolia, where the once high-flying economy has been badly hit by a collapse in foreign investment and in commodity prices. Mongolia, for decades a tightly-controlled Soviet satellite, shook off communism a quarter century ago but has struggled to cash in on its rich natural bounty amid political disputes and resource nationalism. The three were all former executives of mining company SouthGobi Sands, a Mongolia-registered but foreign-controlled business that operates the Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine, which extracts and sells the resource to customers in China. SouthGobi Sands is 100-percent owned by Toronto- and Hong Kong-listed SouthGobi Resources, according to the SouthGobi Resources website. Canada’s Turquoise Hill Resources, majority owned by British-Australian multinational Rio Tinto, owns a major stake in SouthGobi Resources, the website said. SouthGobi Sands was fined 35.3 billion tugriks ($18.2 million, P800 million) “to compensate Read More …

Jan 312015
Int’l monitors to conduct own probe of Mamasapano clash

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The International Monitoring Team (IMT) that oversees the implementation of the cease-fire agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it would start its own investigation of the Jan. 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which claimed the lives of 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) and 14 MILF rebels. Malaysian Gen. Yaakub Samad, IMT head, said the IMT board of inquiry would start its investigation on Feb. 7 “to determine the real circumstances that led to the SAF-MILF encounter.” The IMT is made up of representatives from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Indonesia, Japan, Norway and the European Union. It has been in existence since 2003. Asked why the IMT would start its investigation 13 days after the incident, Samad said they had to coordinate with potential witnesses first. The IMT’s inquiry into the incident would be done in partnership with the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities of the government and the MILF, according to Samad. The IMT was instrumental in the disengagement that led to the retrieval of those who were killed and the evacuation of those wounded in the Mamasapano clash. IMT’s Norwegian member, William Hovland, said it took them hours to establish contacts “due to lack of telecommunications signal in the area.” Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., government ceasefire panel chair, said the entry of IMT representatives in Barangay Tukanalipao during the firefight helped “deescalate” the situation and allowed other government troops to evacuate wounded policemen from the Read More …

Jan 312015
FBI says it had no prior knowledge of Philippine raid that killed 44 police

WASHINGTON – The FBI had no prior knowledge of a police raid in the Philippines last Sunday to arrest wanted militants that went awry and left more than 44 police dead, an FBI spokesman told Reuters on Saturday. Philippine media had reported that the FBI helped orchestrate the raid, which targeted Zulkifli bin Hir, an Islamic militant on the U.S. law enforcement agency’s list of “most-wanted terrorists.” — Reuters

Jan 312015
Jealous madame doubled as bodyguard

Rene Amancio of Bohol sought the assistance of Bantay OCW. According to him, it was in August 2014 when his wife Grace went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to work as a domestic helper. Grace was always the center of her Arabian female employer’s jealousy. Her madame is a full-time housewife who keeps her eye on her. She would follow Grace wherever she goes, monitored her every move, making sure that she’s always under her watch. If her female employer is not satisfied with her work she hits Grace. Aside from that, Rene also said that Grace didn’t get her salary. Rene pleaded for his wife to be sent home and made an appeal to our government agencies to help Grace the soonest. He even mentioned that he would never allow Grace to return to Saudi Arabia anymore. Bantay OCW awaits positive result of this case from our Philippine Consulate in Jeddah and hoping Grace will be reunited with her family soon. Maltreated OFW returned home Honorato Madla of Nueva Ecija came to Bantay OCW regarding his daughter who was being maltreated in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Our overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Verna Madla Jacinto, complained that her employer poured hot water on her. Her employer always shouts at her and makes her work long hours. The most inhumane thing was they fed her only with bread for the whole day. She finishes work until midnight. In correspondence with our different government agencies, our Philippine Embassy in Riyadh immediately took action, and Read More …

Jan 312015
May-December romance for Fil-Am couples

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER Maria Divina and Robert Warmington with daughter Lexie and son Ollie Maria Divina Domingo, 40, married Robert Warmington, 80, a retired American surgeon and a philanthropist, because she felt that compatibility and maturity are needed to have a perfect relationship and age has nothing to do with it. For Jinky Maat, 40, and Jerry Littlefield, 65, also an American, exchanging “I do’s” nine years ago meant they have to keep their promise to live for richer and for poorer; in sickness and in health. Maria Divina met her husband in Manila in September 2007 through a common friend. He was looking for a Filipino wife while she was already a successful entrepreneur. She says the only thing missing was to share it with someone. “It was love at first sight. He is a debonair, with a whiff of fresh air. Most of all he is a devout Christian,” she recalls. For Jinky, it was not love at first sight, but a relationship that developed overtime. The two met in a dating website in February 2004. She was 30 and working at Intel in the Philippines. “There’s a big difference between online and traditional dating. I have to be more cautious. If everything will work out just fine, then I’d go for it. He showed (albeit) on the Web, that he deserved me and I deserved him,” Jinky says. Both Robert and Jerry are divorced and have older children. In November of the same year, Jerry Read More …

Jan 312015
Write about importance of  OFWs and win P25,000

For the education and increased awareness of Filipino students regarding the roles and importance of overseas Filipinos in the future of the Philippines, Dr. Celia Lamkin, chair of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) Marianas chapter (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam), has launched an essay contest for high school and college students in December 2014. In 2012, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), a government agency under the Office of the President of the Philippines, headed by Secretary Imelda Nicolas, estimated that approximately 10.5 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad. The contest is open to all Filipino students or of Filipino descent in the Philippines or overseas, from 10 to 25 years old who are enrolled in high school and college. The deadline for submission of the essay entries has been extended to Feb. 8, 2015. Entries should be submitted by e-mail only at overseasfilipinosessay@yahoo.com. The theme of the essay is “The Overseas Filipinos and their impact on the Philippines.” The essay should focus on: The contributions of overseas Filipinos to the economy of the Philippines. The importance of the participation of overseas Filipinos in the Philippine elections. What are the social risks that the children and families of overseas Filipinos face due to long years of separation or long distance relationships? Why are the overseas Filipinos called the “new heroes” of the Philippines? Please describe the traits of overseas Filipinos which make them unique as global immigrants and overseas Filipino workers. The essay must be Read More …