Jan 312014

Datu Piang residents evacuate as clashes rage

Datu Piang residents evacuate as clashes rage . Residents of Datu Piang town in Maguindanao evacuate on Thursday, Januarey 30, along with their livestock, as clashes between soldiers and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters rage. At least 52 rebels and one soldier were reported killed. Mark Navales

Malacañang on Saturday condemned the use of an improvised explosive device in an attack that injured at least 12 people in Maguindanao province.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also urged the media to coordinate with officials on the ground especially in areas where fighting is likely to take place.

“Hindi maganda ang balitang ‘yan at hindi tayo natutuwa,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

Initial reports of Saturday’s incident showed at least 12 people were injured in an IED explosion in Maguindanao. Two were from TV5.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the blast occurred in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town.

Hermoso was quoted in the GMA News Online report as saying they suspect the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters to be behind the attack.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and had been linked to recent attacks in Mindanao following the signing between the government and MILF of an annex that would pave the way for a comprehensive peace pact.

In the meantime, Valte appealed to media agencies to abide by a safety protocol and to cooperate with government representatives such as the police and the military, especially in controlled areas.

Chino Gaston in his report on “Balitanghali” said, among the injured were TV5 reporter Jeff Caparas and his cameraman Adrian Bulatao.

The assistant cameraman was also with the two, but was unhurt from the explosion, it added.

It said the media men were at the area to cover an earlier IED explosion when a second one exploded in the area where they were staying.

“Pagpihit ko ng kaunti, mga dalawang hakbang, biglang may sumabog na,” said Caparas.

Both victims are in stable condition, however, Caparas suffered injuries in his hip area, while Bulatao on his leg and feet, it said.

Citing initial information, the report said the suspects may have a line of sight of the scene before triggering the IED – with the use of a cell phone as a triggering device.

However, authorities are still determining if the media men and the civilians were indeed the target of the explosion, it added.

Child warriors

Meanwhile, Valte said the Palace is disturbed by the discovery of the remains of three child soldiers in one of the areas where fighting between the BIFF and government troops took place.

“Kahindik-hindik ang balita na may tatlo sila ginagamit na child soldiers, beyond the fact that it violates so many laws not just ours but of international laws. We condemn the practice of using child soldiers…  Walang lugar ang paggamit ng menor de edad,” she said.

She said the government can help address the situation thorugh child support services, as well as the commitment of its security forces that they will not use child soldiers or warriors.

But she also asked parents to make sure their children are not recruited for such exploitation.

“(S)a magulang, pakiusap natin sana huwag natin payagan ang anak,  huwag natin payagang magamit sa ganitong paraan,” she said. — with a report from Amanda Fernandez /LBG, GMA News

Jan 312014
DepEd Cebu boosts gender sensitivity info drive to combat child cyber porn

Education officials in Cebu province are implementing a strengthened education drive on gender sensitivity to combat the child cybersex problem. This is among the measures the Department of Education in Cebu has adopted to help elementary and high school students do their part to fight the problem. “DepEd Cebu strengthens information and education on gender sensitivity to elementary and high school students to counter the cybersex problem,” state-run Philippine Information Agency reported. Also, the PIA said the DepEd has intensified its moral values formation in public elementary and secondary schools to address the issue. In Cordova town, meanwhile, Councilor Angeles Gairanod said the town has launched the “Save the Child” program to further counter child cybersex. The program aims to educate children on their rights and train children to become child rights advocates. Other measures taken by the town to combat the problem include: An anti-money transfer ordinance requiring money transfer firms to report questionable transactions. Barangay visitation, promoting child rights advocates. Requiring those with computers to register at the local government unit. 47 minors in child cyberporn cases continue schooling despite trauma Meanwhile, the PIA said the Department of Social Welfare and Development said at least 47 minors who are victims of child cyber pornography in Central Visayas are continuing with their schooling. The DSWD in Central Visayas said the 47 are among the victims rescued between 2010 and 2013. “DSWD-7 says all 47 minors in cyber sex case(s) continue schooling despite trauma,” the PIA said. Also, the PIA Read More …

Jan 312014
Nintendo chief stays on, health business planned

Shoppers walk through the sales floor of Nintendo 3DS video game software at an electronics store in Tokyo.(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) TOKYO — Nintendo has been unable to arrest a slide in console sales as more people play games on smartphones and tablets. The company’s apparent solution? A move into health care. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata vowed Thursday to stick to the company’s old ways, refused to resign or cut product prices despite its dismal earnings, but said the video game maker will enter the health care industry. Iwata didn’t give details of what he called his “quality of life” business plans, except that it won’t be a wearable device. Kyoto-based Nintendo already offers fitness games. Iwata promised to disclose details later this year. Iwata displayed his typical stubbornness in brushing off criticism about how the maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games should update itself for the era of smartphone and other mobile devices. The popularity of such devices has been drawing consumers away from consoles devoted to games but Nintendo has resisted changing its business to incorporate tablets and smartphones. “Nintendo has value because it is different from others,” Iwata said at a Tokyo event for analysts and reporters, a day after he and other top executives took a pay cut for the company’s poor performance. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Nintendo reported Wednesday a 10.2 billion yen ($99 million) profit for April through December, down from 14.55 billion yen a year earlier as sales Read More …

Jan 312014
A touch of red helps global art market boom

A Sotheby’s employee poses for photographers with ‘Wand’ by Gerhard Richter, center, ‘Mao’ by Andy Warhol, left, and ‘Rosso Plastica’ by Alberto Burri on display at the auction house in London. (AP Photo/Sang Tan) LONDON — Want to sell that masterpiece for a fortune? It might help if it’s red. That’s just one trend from an art market that has come roaring back from the global financial crisis, with buyers from emerging markets such as China molding tastes and driving top-end prices ever higher. Sales next week at London’s Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses are expected to generate at least 400 million pounds ($658 million) amid an insatiable global appetite for works by Picasso, Matisse and other modern masters. Sotheby’s put its works on public display in London Thursday, and there was a distinct scarlet hue to the star lots — Gerhard Richter’s cadmium-colored abstract “Wall,” expected to sell for at least 15 million pounds; an Andy Warhol portrait of Chairman Mao valued at 5 million pounds to 7 million pounds; a vivid red piece in molten plastic by Alberto Burri that could break the 3-million-pound record for the Italian artist. “When we’re pricing things we’re aware of the power of red,” said Alex Branczik, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department in London. “Red is a color that incites passion. It’s the color of the sunset, it’s the color of blood,” he said. “I think it’s more primal than nationality, but I do think it has a special resonance for Read More …

Jan 312014
Roadmaps, compasses and gps

One unforgettable characteristic of the great exploits of Alexander the Great many centuries ago was that he conquered the world with great speed and ferocity. Alexander marched on with his mapmakers, and then one day this young conqueror looked out at the horizon and cried. He lamented that there was no longer any world to conquer. History would have told a different story had Alexander the Great not relied on his mapmakers but used GPS — if only this technology was available then. Today, in business, roadmaps, compasses and GPS devices are necessary. There was a time when all you needed to do business was a roadmap. Roadmaps come by different names.  Sometimes they were called “Business Strategic Plans.”  These came with different versions.There were annual, two-year, five-year and even 10-year business strategic plans as leaders within the organization prepared the roadmap for the future. But a roadmap is useful only when the terrain is familiar and the geography does not change.The big question now is this: How do you use a roadmap today when the terrain continues to transform and the geography is always changing? Roadmaps are important, but apart from them you need another device. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 You need a compass. A compass will perennially point you towards the direction you need to go as you navigate an uncertain world that keeps on transforming.  While a compass brings you to uncharted territories — which is more symbolic of what we are Read More …

Jan 312014
PSALM to pick administrator for Mt. Apo geothermal plants

MANILA, Philippines – The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the state agency tasked to oversee the privatization of power assets, will start the selection and appointment of the independent power producer administrator (IPPA) for the Mindanao-based Mt. Apo 1 and 2 geothermal power plants. PSALM president Emmanuel Ledesma, Jr. said during the meeting of the board of directors on Jan. 29, “we have been given the authority to commence the sale process for the Mt. Apo IPPA selection, and we plan to conduct the bidding in the third quarter of this year.” He said PSALM would use the same structures used in the selection and appointment of IPPA for the bulk energy of the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant, which was bid out last year. The IPPA for the Mt. Apo plant will manage two government contracts, with contracted energies of 390 gigawatt-hours (gwh) and 398 gwh per year, respectively. The Mt. Apo 1 and Mt. Apo 2 geothermal plants, each with a rated capacity of 54.24 megawatts, are located in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. Owned and operated by Energy Development Corp., the power plants were commissioned in February 1997 (Mt. Apo 1) and June 1999 (Mt. Apo 2) under a build-operate own contract scheme. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The cooperation period for both plants is 25 years, which would expire on Feb. 15, 2022 for Mt. Apo 1 and on June 17, 2024 for Mt. Apo 2.

Jan 312014
LBC ‘Moves Forward’ through rebranding program

LBC’s new rebranding program was unveiled at a recent press conference called “Moving LBC Forward” held at Lem Balagot’s LA Rose Cafe in Los Angeles. Most of their corporate staff based in Northern California headed by Patricia Garcia, who manages all of their North America Region. In her presentation, Ms. Garcia said that the new rebranding program of LBC goes “beyond moving boxes or transmitting money; it focuses on moving lives, warehousing and distribution globally.” Further, she said that “with every balikbayan box, or every shipment of goods are timeless memories of loved ones sending them, along with countless relief packages they have moved during the recent devastating Typhoon Yolanda back home.” On LBC’s “Moving Forward” brochure, President Dino Araneta’s message “defined what LBC stands for as a group of people and as a brand.”  In their “new brand promise to unite a common vision,” Mr. Araneta stressed the “three(3) key values that are fundamental to their customers which become the building blocks in their brand promise.” These are their 3 C’s: Certainty, Clarity and Convenience. Certainty, because LBC gives customer confidence; Clarity, because LBC believes in providing transparent and timely information to their customers; Convenience, because LBC promises to move money, packages and goods globally. Ms. Patricia Garcia, Regional Brand Head, North America during the brand unveiling at LA Rose Cafe. In a timely television interview of Dino Araneta which I have also watched recently, he recalled that LBC Express was started by his Dad 63 years ago and so when LBC celebrated their 60th Anniversary Read More …

Jan 312014
Aquino meets with Head of Pontifical Council in Malacañang

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomes His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, during the Courtesy Call at the Music Room of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (January 29, 2014). Also in photo is Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines His Excellency Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto. (Photo by Rolando Mailo / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO) MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III received Cardinal Robert Sarah, the president of Pontifical Council Cor Unum, in a courtesy call in Malacañang on Wednesday. Accompanying Cardinal Sarah during the event were Rev. Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, undersecretary for the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Rev. Msgr. Chibuike Onyeaghala, Deputy Head of Mission, apostolic nunciature in the Philippines, and Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines Giuseppe Pinto. President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomes His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, during the Courtesy Call at the Music Room of the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (January 29, 2014). (Photo by Lauro Montellano, Jr. / Malacañang Photo Bureau) The Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development is a part of the curia of the Catholic Church established by Pope Paul VI on July 15, 1971. It is based in the Palazzo San Callisto, Piazza San Callisto in Rome, Italy. The name of the pontifical council means “one heart”. Its mission is care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and manifested through the charity of Christ. The council carries out humanitarian relief Read More …

Jan 312014
NO APOLOGIES: PHL stands firm in diplomatic row with Hong Kong

The Aquino administration described as “unfortunate” Hong Kong’s decision to scrap the visa-free arrangements for visiting Philippine diplomats and officials but reiterated that the Philippines will not apologize for the 2010 Manila hostage crisis that resulted in multiple deaths to Chinese tourists. “At the end of the day, we submit that the act of one individual should not be construed as the act of the entire nation,” President Benigno Aquino has said MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines insisted Thursday it would not apologize for a 2010 hostage crisis in which Hong Kong tourists died, saying its response to the tragedy had been generous and compassionate. The statement came after the Hong Kong government announced on Wednesday it would impose diplomatic sanctions against the Philippines because of its “unacceptable” failure to apologize. “The Philippine Government regrets the Hong Kong SAR Government’s implementation of sanctions against the Philippines,” foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement. However he said the Philippines “is not prepared to consider” an apology. Rather, the Philippines would reiterate its “deepest regret and condolences”, while providing more compensation to the survivors and the victims’ relatives. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Wednesday that the current visa-free arrangement for visiting Philippine diplomats and officials would be suspended from February 5. They are currently able to stay 14 days without a visa. Leung described the move as the “first phase of sanctions” and said the government may take more action if it thought it could be “effective” Read More …

Jan 312014
Teens who eat healthy breakfast dodge metabolic illness as adults

Teens who start the day off with a well-balanced breakfast are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome later in life, according to a new study.©manzrussali/shuttertsock.com (Relaxnews) – Here’s another reason to make breakfast the most important meal of the day, and start young: a recent study out of Sweden has found that teens who ate poor breakfasts were more likely to develop symptoms of metabolic syndromes like gut fat, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels in their adult years. In fact, in the 27-year study, researchers found that young people who neglected to eat breakfast or ate a poorly balanced meal to start the day ran a 68 percent higher incidence of developing metabolic syndrome, compared to youth who had consumed substantial breakfasts as teens. Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of risk factors for developing illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. They can include everything from abdominal obesity, high levels of harmful triglycerides and low levels of protective HDL (high density lipoprotein) to high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. For their research, scientists from Umea University documented the breakfast habits of 889 teens at the age of 16 using questionnaires. They then followed up with a health check 27 years later when the participants were 43 years old. Poor breakfast habits were defined as skipping the meal altogether, or tucking into something sweet. “Further studies are required for us to be able to understand the mechanisms involved in the connection between poor breakfast and metabolic Read More …