Embassy ordered to evacuate Filipinos in Iraq

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 8, 2020 - 9:59am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos in Iraq are advised to evacuate the Gulf state as the Philippine Embassy has raised Alert Level 4, the highest crisis status.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez confirmed that the alert level in Iraq has been raised as a result of the government's coordination meetings on the situation in the Middle East.

According to the DFA website, Alert Level 4, which calls for evacuation or mandatory repatriation, is issued "when there is large-scale internal conflict or full-blown external attack."

In a live video on the Philippine Embassy in Iraq's Facebook page, Chargé d’Affaires Jomar Sadie announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has directed several government agencies to implement the evacuation of Filipinos in the Gulf nation following tensions between the United States and Iran.  

"The marching order for us is to conduct mandatory repatriation," Sadie said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Sadie reminded Filipino workers in Iraq to secure an exit visa and a ticket through their employers prior to the repatriation procedures.  

For those who do not have employers, Sadie said they should coordinate with the embassy in Baghdad.

"If you do not have an employer or if you are a victim of human trafficking, call us so we can help you or go directly to the embassy," he said.

Filipinos requesting repatriation or any other form of assistance may contact the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad through:

  • Contact numbers: 07816066822 (Jom) / 07516167838 (Jerome) / 07518764665 (Jobbi) / 07508105240 (Richard)

  • E-mail: baghdad.pe@dfa.gov.ph / embaphilbaghdad.secretary1@gmail.com 

  • Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Iraq

Data from the Philippine Embassy lists 450 undocumented and 1,190 documented Filipinos in Iraq, more than half are based in the Kurdistan region while around 847 are based in the Baghdad area.

According to Meñez, many of the Filipinos in the Baghdad area work with United States and other foreign facilities.

Iranian state media on Wednesday reported that Iran launched a missile attack on an Iraqi bases where US forces are based.

State-run PressTV reported that "tens of missiles" hit the Ain al-Assad base and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards promised "more crushing responses" in case of further attacks from the US. 

Philippines to send 2 battalions to Middle East for OFW repatriation

(Philstar.com) - January 8, 2020 - 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines will be sending two battalions of soldiers, along with air and naval assets, to assist in the repatriation of Filipino workers in Iraq and Iran.

Tensions have escalated in the Middle East after the death of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani from a US drone strike at an international airport in Baghdad last week.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that the two battalions — one from the army and one from the marines — will not engage in combat but will facilitate and assist in the repatriation of OFWs in Iraq.

The Philippine Embassy in Iraq has issued Alert Level 4, calling for evacuation or mandatory repatriation in the country.

"All Filipinos who want to go home, we will bring them home, especially those whose safety are in danger," Lorenzana said.

The Defense chief added that the government's priority is to evacuate Filipino workers in Iraq, Iran and Libya. While Libya is not involved in the US-Iran conflict, the country has also been caught between warring factions.

While the Department of National Defense and the AFP are plotting safe positions for the soldiers and assets, the Department of Foreign Affairs is negotiating their clearances.

The navy is ready to deploy two landing docks BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao del Sur, which can accommodate up to 500 people with luggage.

The military will also deploy one C-130 plane and one C-295 plane, according to Lorenzana.

Lorenzana added that the government may also lease cruise ships and commercial plan for repatriation, depending on the number of Filipinos who will be evacuated.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment has come up with alternative plans for OFWs who will be returning to the Philippines.

The DOLE has been talking with other countries such as China, Russia, Canada, Germany and Japan for possible redeployment of OFWs from the Middle East. The agency is also working on livelihood programs for returning OFWs who wish to stay in the Philippines.

The estimated number of documented Filipinos in Iraq is at 1,600 while there are 1,000 in Iran. 

Bello said there are more than 2 million documented Filipinos in the entire Middle East. This number could be doubled if undocumented workers will be included. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

DOLE condemns killing of Pinay in Kuwait

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday expressed outrage over the killing of another Filipina worker in Kuwait.

“The labor department is deeply saddened and outraged over the violent death of Filipino worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende in the hands of her Kuwaiti employer,” DOLE said in a statement.

“The case is a clear violation of the agreement signed by both Kuwait and the Philippines in 2018 that seeks to uphold and promote the protection of the rights and welfare of our workers in the Gulf state,” it added. 

DOLE hoped for the swift resolution of the case and that justice will be served to Villavende and her family, it said. 

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is extending burial and livelihood assistance as well as scholarship to the family members of Villavende. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also condemned Villavende’s killing.

It summoned the Kuwaiti ambassador to protest “the seeming lack of protection of Filipino domestic workers in the hands of their employers.”

The DFA called for “complete transparency” in the investigation of the case and “swift prosecution of the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Philippine embassy in Kuwait is coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities “to ensure that justice will be served.”

Deployment ban urged

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)  is pushing for a ban on deployment of OFWs to the Arab country.

“The government should stop sending Filipino workers and repatriate those already there,” the union said, signifying its protest on the death of Filipino domestic workers. 

“The Philippine government has no other choice but to send a strong reaction like it did last year in the wake of gruesome deaths of Filipino workers there by suspending immediately the deployment of Filipino household service workers,” TUCP said in a statement.

TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said the death of another Filipino worker showed that Kuwait is not providing conducive and safe working environment for OFWs.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is closely coordinating with the employers for the immediate repatriation of the remains of the two Filipinas killed in a freak vehicular accident in Singapore last Sunday.

The POLO also provided assistance to four other Filipinos injured in the accident. 

“OWWA will provide burial assistance to the deceased OFWs as well as livelihood assistance and scholarship grants to their family members,” DOLE said.

Families of the injured OFWs would also receive livelihood and scholarship assistance from OWWA, it added. – Pia Lee-Brago

Fishers appeal for aid after P587 million worth of livelihood destroyed by 'Ursula'

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - December 31, 2019 - 5:30pm

PANGASINAN, Philippines — Fishers group Pamalakaya has urged the government to provide aid to the victims of Typhoon Ursula, primarily fishers and farmers in the Southwestern Tagalog Region and the Visayas whose livelihood were damaged or destroyed over the holidays.

The fishers group said the government “should mobilize its rehabilitation funds to provide assistance to the rural sector in the most affected regions and provinces.”

“We humbly appeal to the national and local government units to immediately disperse aid to the fishers and farmers whose livelihood were ravaged by the last typhoon to hit the country this year,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

Of the total P1.084 billion damages left by "Ursula," agriculture accounted for most of the cost at P782.984 million (about 72% of all damage), according to the latest estimates by the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council.

Fisheries took the largest blow at P587.406 million, or 3/4 of all agricultural cost.

Western Visayas (Region VI), meanwhile, experienced most of the fisheries damaged per the NDRRMC’s situational report on Monday. The region suffered P560.515 million in fisheries cost, almost all the agricultural damage and half of all “Ursula” costs overall.

“Our rural sectors who endured the recent typhoon were not able to have a joyful celebration of the yuletide season due to the natural disaster that struck their communities. The government’s help in a form of livelihood support and economic relief is urgently needed so that the affected rural people could kick off the New Year with a fresh start,” Hicap said.

“The best gift that the typhoon-affected farmers and fishers could receive this holiday is for them to return to their wheels of production.”

Japanese woman is 8 millionth Philippine visitor

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government remains optimistic in reaching its goal of 8.2 million foreign travelers for the year as it welcomed the arrival yesterday of a 71-year-old Japanese woman as the country’s eight millionth visitor.

Yachiyo Imamoto arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on an All Nippon Airways flight from Yokohama along with her husband at past 1:30 p.m., according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOT gifted the Japanese couple with a round trip ticket to Manila and a domestic travel package, which includes lunch and dinner reservations.

“We are grateful to be chosen for this event. This is our eighth visit here and we always visit our close friends in the Philippines,” Imamoto said.

The couple had visited Cebu and Palawan.

“We will visit Baler this time around,” Imamoto said.

“The Filipinos are hospitable. I keep coming back for mangoes, masarap,” Imamoto’s husband, Tamio, said.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado said hitting the eight-million mark in foreign tourist is cause for celebration.

“This is significant because this is the highest number we have achieved in terms of foreign arrivals,” he said.

With a few days left before the year ends, Alabado said the DOT remains confident of hitting the 8.2 million foreign arrivals target under the National Tourism Development Plan.

The DOT surpassed the 7,127,168 foreign visitors to the country last year.

Bureau of Immigration ports division chief Grifton Medina said they recorded around 100,000 tourist arrivals yesterday.

He said up to 700,000 foreigners usually visit the Philippines during the Yuletide season.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the relaunching of the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign, reopening of Boracay, sustainable tourism advocacy efforts, improved air connectivity, hosting of big-ticket tourism events, intensified digital and online marketing, mainstreaming of different tourism product portfolios including culinary tourism and farm tourism, healthy private-public partnerships and international recognitions helped the DOT in breaching the eight-million mark.

Records showed that a total of 6.8 million foreign visitors arrived in the Philippines from January to October this year, an increase of 15 percent from the 5.9 million foreign arrivals in the same period last year.

Korea remained the country’s top source market with 1,609,172 tourist arrivals, up by 21.75 percent from 2018, followed by China with a total of 1.5 million arrivals, an increase of 41.13 increase during the same period last year.

The United States ranked third with 872,335 arrivals. Japan was fourth with 569,625 followed by Taiwan with 282,220 arrivals. – With Ghio Ong

Pagasa sees storm-free New Year

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fair weather will prevail in most parts of the country during the New Year as no tropical cyclone is forecast to enter the country until next week, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday.

However, the northeast monsoon will bring cloudy skies with isolated light rains today.

The Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora province and the rest of Cagayan Valley will experience cloudy skies with scattered light to moderate rains due to the tail-end of a cold front.

Add Event Details here

The easterlies will bring generally fair and warm weather across the country tomorrow and on Monday, Rizal Day, with chances of afternoon or evening rains due to thunderstorms.

On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, PAGASA said it expects a surge of the northeast monsoon, which will bring cloudy skies with light rains over extreme Northern Luzon.

The agency said the tail-end of a cold front will also return during the period, bringing cloudy skies with scattered light to moderate rains over Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience fair and cooler weather, especially in the morning. The rest of the country will have sunny and warm weather apart from isolated rainshowers.

On Jan. 2 and 3, the northeast monsoon will affect the whole of Luzon, bringing cool weather conditions. It will also bring cloudy skies with light rains over Northern Luzon and passing light rains over the rest of the region, including Metro Manila.

The rest of the country will have fair weather with possible occurrence of isolated thunderstorms.

“No tropical cyclone is expected to affect the country throughout the outlook period. Still, in light of the holiday season, the public is advised to continuously monitor for updates,” PAGASA weather division chief Esperanza Cayanan said.

Rare annular solar eclipse visible next Thursday

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos, particularly those in Mindanao, should watch out for the rare annular solar eclipse on Dec. 26.

The astronomical event can be observed in the southernmost part of Davao Occidental, and the best sites to view this are Balut and Batulaki in Sarangani, Davao Occidental, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

The next solar eclipse will be visible in the country on July 24, 2074, said Mario Raymundo, chief of PAGASA’s Astronomical Observation and Time Service Unit.

Meanwhile, Filipinos will also witness the longest night of the year during the winter solstice tomorrow.

“The Sun will reach the winter solstice on Dec. 22 at 12:19 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time), marking the time when the sun lies at its farthest point south of the equator,” PAGASA said.

The event signals the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere, where the Philippines is situated, and summer in the southern hemisphere.

“Philippine nights will be longer than the daytime. Earth has now completed another annual circuit around the Sun,” the weather bureau said.

Hundreds of aftershocks felt after big Davao quake

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 782 aftershocks were recorded from last weekend’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck Mindanao as the death toll from the tremor rose to nine yesterday.

The strongest aftershock occurred at 4:18 a.m. and registered a magnitude of 5.3, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

It was felt at Intensity 5 – classified as strong – in Digos City, Davao del Sur and Intensity 4 – moderately strong – in General Santos City.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. warned aftershocks may last for weeks.

“We can still expect aftershocks for weeks but should show trend of decreasing numbers if no significant earthquakes happen,” Solidum said.

The Davao region, located in southern Mindanao, is one of the seismically active regions in the country because of the presence of several active faults, including the Tangbulan Fault, which triggered the magnitude 6.9 quake last Sunday.

“In terms of a series of strong earthquakes for several months in the same area, it may be considered unusual compared to previous events in other parts of the country. But it can be explained by the presence of several nearby faults in Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat,” Solidum said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll increased to nine with 111 injured and one missing.

NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said eight of the fatalities were in Davao region – three recovered from the collapsed grocery store in the town of Padada, one from Magsaysay town, one from Bansalan, one from Malita, one from Hagonoy and one from M’lang in North Cotabato. 

Timbal said search and recovery operations are still underway for another missing victim in Sarangani province, as search and rescue operations have already shifted to search and recovery.

The NDRRMC said a total of 111 people were injured in the quake-hit areas in Davao and Central Mindanao, which only last October were also rattled by two successive strong quakes.

It added that from the reported 20 damaged schools in Davao and Central Mindanao, the number increased to 128 yesterday with 19 facilities also damaged.

The Department of Education said it would need P250 million to repair or replace the damaged schools in the region.

Timbal said that of 31 private establishments that sustained damage in the two regions, nine were totally destroyed.

Disaster officials in Davao region, meanwhile, have provided 500 pieces of tarpaulins to serve as temporary shelters for the evacuees, two units of generator sets to the local government of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur and delivered 392 sacks of rice to the local social welfare office in the region for repacking and distribution to the quake victims.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Royina Garma said they will provide calamity assistance worth P5 million each to three towns in Davao del Sur that were severely hit by the quake.

Garma said P15 million in cash calamity assistance will be given to the municipalities of Matan-aw, Hagonoy and Padada.

Garma added the PCSO also issued medical assistance to the town of Padada.  – Jaime Laude, Janvic Mateo, Rainier Allan Ronda

Brace for typhoon at year’s end

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — One more tropical cyclone is expected to enter the country before the end of the year.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday it was monitoring a shallow low-pressure area east of Mindanao.

PAGASA weather specialist Ana Clauren said the weather system has a slim chance of intensifying into a cyclone but it is likely to enter the Philippine area of responsibility in the coming days.

A total of 20 cyclones have visited the country so far this year.

Typhoon Tisoy, the 20th and the strongest cyclone to hit the country this year, left at least 13 people dead.

Tisoy will be “decommissioned” or removed from the list of PAGASA’s tropical cyclone names after it left some P3.67 billion worth of damage to agriculture.

PAGASA delists the name of a cyclone which causes at least 300 deaths or P1 billion worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Clauren said the easterlies would bring warmer temperatures in most parts of the country in the next three days.

“The northeast monsoon has weakened. We still expect relatively cooler temperatures in the mornings and nights, but warmer temperatures during midday until the afternoon,” she said.

The easterlies could also bring sudden light rains in some areas, she said.

Since the onset of the northeast monsoon in October, the coldest temperatures recorded  in Metro Manila and in Baguio City were 21.8 degrees Celsius and 11.8 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Colder temperatures are expected next month until February as the northeast monsoon peaks.

Tisoy to be removed from list of cyclone names

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The state weather bureau will retire the name Tisoy from the country’s list of tropical cyclone names after it left massive damage to infrastructure and agriculture early this month.

Raymond Ordinario, senior weather specialist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the agency will come up with a new name by January.

Tisoy’s damage to crops was estimated at P3.67 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture.

PAGASA decommissions or delists the name of a cyclone when it has met at least one of these two requirements: at least 300 deaths and P1 billion worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

PAGASA has four sets of tropical cyclone names that are used alternately.

The agency also prepared an auxiliary list in case the number of tropical cyclones within the year exceeds 25.

Some of the decommissioned names include Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009 and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.

The decommissioning of “extraordinarily destructive storms” has been practiced by PAGASA since February 1979.

Meanwhile, Ordinario said no weather disturbance is expected to affect the country until the weekend.

The northeast monsoon, however, will continue to bring light rains over Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora and Quezon.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains.

The Visayas and Mindanao will also have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to thunderstorms.

Black Eyed Peas to sing praise for SEAG athletes

Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The 10 songs that rap band Black Eyed Peas will be performing at the closing ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City today are in praise of the athletes from 11 competing countries led by host Philippines that has bagged 377 medals (146 gold, 115 silver and 116 bronze) as of 8 p.m. last night.

“We are doing our hits and Tagalog parts in our album,” the band’s Filipino member apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo) told a press conference yesterday at The Peninsula Manila. “It’s going to be a celebration for the athletes that gave their all to have a great SEA Games for the Philippines.”

He is performing with co-members will.i.am (William Adams) and Taboo (Jaime Gomez).

“We see ourselves as citizens of the world,” said will.i.am. “We have played in the Super Bowl in the USA and it was amazing. There are American acts that come from America and brought American culture around the world, like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and others. We are bringing Filipino culture to the four corners of the world. Those who have never met a Filipino, who do not know Filipino culture, are educated through apl.de.ap.”

will.i.am added that playing in the Philippines is very memorable, thanks to apl.de.ap.

“It’s because our brother apl.de.ap is from the province here. He was raised here. He was a rice farmer. He had a humble beginning here. It’s amazing for him to have been given up for adoption, to come to America and start a group like the Black Eyed Peas and come back to his country to help

his people.”

He then added that one time, apl.de.ap told him and Taboo, “‘Hey, I bought a new house.’ We thought he was going to move to Manila and live in a big house. He said, ‘You’ve got to see it.’ So we went. The house was in Pampanga (where he came from).  He told us, ‘I want to make my neighborhood better’.”

apl.de.ap is building classrooms around the country.

“Being here in the SEA Games,” continued will.i.am, “is some kind of celebration. It’s an honor knowing where he comes from, how hard he has worked and meeting all the hurdles.”

Taboo has his own Philippine connection since his wife is a Filipina.

“I wouldn’t have married a Filipina if it were not for apl.de.ap. He showed me the beauty of the culture and also what it is like to love and appreciate family. I am a native American Mexican. We have a lot of similarities. My three children are here in the Philippines for the very first time.”

Incidentally, apl.de.ap admitted that he was nervous when he performed at the SEA Games opening ceremony last Nov. 30 at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“It was the first time that I was so nervous on stage. There were so many moving parts. It was all about timing. I got to see if afterward. The way it came out (on television) was so amazing. I was really proud of how they connected the rap part to Manny Pacquiao (who lighted the cauldron).”

Hero surfer pays courtesy call on Rody

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For saving an Indonesian opponent from drowning during the surfing competition at the just-concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Philippines’ Roger Casugay and the rest of the surfing team met with President Duterte on Tuesday at Malacañang.

Journalist were barred from covering the event, but official Malacañang photos showed Duterte mingling with members of the Philippine surfing team that participated in the SEA Games.

The President took pride in the Filipino surfers, particularly Casugay who also reaped praises from Indonesian President Joko Widodo for saving Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat.

Nurhidayat was swept off his surfboard by high waves in the middle of the men’s longboard surfing competition in La Union last Dec. 6. 

Sensing a problem, Casugay rescued his rival, foregoing his chances of winning the surf competition. The two later surfaced on Casugay’s board, riding the waves which elated the onlookers. Due to the accident, the longboard competition was reset.

Many hailed Casugay for having showed true sportsmanship. He went on to win the gold medal in the men’s longboard last Sunday.  

Accompanied by the members of the Philippine surf team, Casugay was commended by the Senate last Tuesday.

Website lists 2 Philippine airports among best in Asia

Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Airport sleepers’ guide and resource website sleepinginairports.net has listed two Philippine airports as among the best in Asia for 2019.

Making it to the website’s top 20 Best Airports in Asia for 2019 are the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which came in at No. 16, and Iloilo International Airport at No. 18.

Topping the list is Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Completing the best Asian airports list are Seoul Incheon, Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Taipei Taoyuan, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Jakarta, Tokyo Haneda, Mumbai, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat, Hyderabad, Da Nang, Islamabad and Kunming.

Changi Airport also topped the overall Best Airports of 2019 list,
followed by airports in Seoul Incheon, Helsinki, Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Taipei Taoyuan, Vancouver, Munich, Hong Kong and Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, making it to the website’s Worst Airports of 2019 list are Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia; New York City LaGuardia Airport, US; London Stansted Airport, England; Juba International Airport, Sudan; Santorini International Airport, Greece; Cairo International Airport, Egypt; Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia; Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh; Murtala Muhammed (Lagos) International Airport, Nigeria; and London Luton Airport, England.

Sleepinginairports.net, which was founded in 1996, ranks their Best and Worst airports from an annual survey submitted by readers rating their airport experiences based on factors such as comfort, services, facilities and things to do, food options, immigration and security, customer service, navigation and ease of transit, cleanliness and sleepability.

Philippine 8th favorite country among travelers

Christina Mendez, Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign visitors’ interest in the Philippines remains strong after the country was voted by readers of travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler as one of the favorite destinations in the world to visit.

Based on results of Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 20 Countries in the World: Readers Choice Awards 2019, the Philippines ranked eighth with a score of 90.63.

The magazine cited island hopping, surfing and shopping as some of the activities tourists can do in the country.

It also cited Palawan, particularly Coron, El Nido and Linapacan, as among the top destinations.

The Philippines joined the other favorite countries to visit that included Indonesia, Thailand, Portugal and Sri Lanka.

“Gaining yet another prestigious recognition as the 8th Favorite Country in the World speaks well of the concerted effort of the Philippine tourism industry stakeholders in nurturing the many natural wonders the country is blessed with,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Department of Tourism New York attaché Francisco Lardizabal received the award in behalf of the Philippines during ceremonies at the One World Trade Center in New York.

“All these accolades that the country and our other island destinations continue to receive bode well for the country’s sustainable tourism development program as continuity is the very essence of sustainability,” Puyat said.

Malacañang lauded yesterday the DOT for efforts to promote the Philippines after the country placed 8th in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2019 of Conde Nast Traveler.

“The world has spoken: it is truly more fun in the Philippines,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The Palace official is grateful to the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for making the Philippines eighth in their list of favorite countries in the world. 

“We commend the Department of Tourism, their industry partners and other stakeholders for their splendid job. In its most recent report, the DOT counted a total of 5,554,950 visitors between January and August 2019,” Panelo said.

On top of this, Panelo noted that the Philippines registered a 14.08 percent year-on-year increase in the country’s international inbound traffic.

The recognition comes on the heels of two major awards the Philippines won at the recent 2019 World Travel Awards held at Phu Quoc island in Vietnam.

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler also voted three Philippine islands as the best islands in Asia, with Boracay grabbing the number one spot, despite the six-month closure of the island last year due to clean up and rehabilitation efforts.

“This itty-bitty island (just under four square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to a tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and made-for-Instagram sunsets,” according to Conde Nast Traveler.

“Fold in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region,” it added.

The magazine acknowledged the island’s closure and ongoing rehabilitation, noting that it has “become too touristed” in the past.

At present, the Philippine government is implementing a carrying capacity for Boracay, with only 19,215 tourists allowed to be on the island at any one time, and 6,405 tourists allowed to enter the island per day.

“The aptly named White Beach is Boracay’s main draw, with powdery white sand and shallow azure water ideal for swimming and snorkeling,” Conde Nast said.

Following Boracay is Cebu and the Visayas islands landing in second spot.

“Located in the center of the Philippines, Cebu draws nearly two million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast. Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan,” Conde Naste said.

The magazine highlighted Cebu’s Kawasan Falls near Cebu’s southwest coast, noting its popularity among locals and tourists.

Magnitude 6.3 quake rocks parts of Mindanao

(Philstar.com) - October 16, 2019 - 9:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked parts of Mindanao on Wednesday evening, with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology saying damage is expected in areas where it was felt at Intensity VII.

According to a Phivolcs bulletin, the earthquake was recorded 23 kilometers west of Makilala in North Cotabato at 7:37 p.m.

The quake was felt at Intensity VII — "destructive" under the Phivolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS) — in Kidapawan City, Tulunan and M'lang in North Cotabato, where the provincial government has told local government units affected by the earthquake "to cause the suspension of classes tomorrow, October 17, 2019 in order to conduct proper assessment on the extent of damages in their respective areas."

According to the PEIS, "old or poorly-built structures suffer considerably damage" when an earthquake is felt at Intensity VII and "some well-built structures are slightly damaged."

The earthquake was recorded at Intensity IV (Very Strong) in General Santos City, where a fire was reported at a shopping mall after the earthquake.

Classes have been canceled for Thursday, October 17, in Davao City, which was also affected by the earthquake.

PAGASA: 'Perla' not yet a threat to country

(Philstar.com) - October 17, 2019 - 10:14am

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical Depression Perla, which is expected to remain over the Philippine Sea in the next two days, does not have direct effect to any part of the country yet.

“Perla” was last spotted 910 kilometers east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, according to state weather bureau PAGASA. It packs maximum sustained winds of 45 km per hour and gusts of up to 55 kph.

The tropical depression is moving west at 10 kph.

No tropical cyclone wind signal has been raised yet.

“Perla” is not forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm and may even weaken into an LPA while still inside the country’s jurisdiction.

Northeasterly surface windflow is currently affecting Batanes and Cagayan. Residents of these areas may experience cloudy skies with light rains.

Meanwhile, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga will have cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to intertropical convergence zone.

Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

Onyok enters the Philippines, intensifies into storm


Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical depression Onyok intensified into a storm shortly after it entered the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday. 

Onyok entered the country at around 2 a.m. and intensified into a storm before noon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. 

Tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1 was raised over Batanes and Babuyan islands at 5 p.m. yesterday.

PAGASA said the trough or extension of the storm would bring scattered light to moderate rains and thunderstorms over Bicol and Eastern Visayas. 

Residents were advised to brace for flash floods and landslides.

Fishermen were warned not to venture out in the sea in Batanes and Babuyan.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Onyok was estimated 890 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, packing winds of 75 kms per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It was forecast to move west-northwest at 35 kph. 

PAGASA said Onyok might  intensify into a severe tropical storm within the next 24 hours, but is “less likely” to hit landmass. 

Onyok is the 15th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and fifth this month. 

The state weather bureau said up to six tropical cyclones might hit the country before the end of the year. It said two or three cyclones might enter next month, one or two in November and at least one in December.


Global warming accelerates; worst impact feared

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2019 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS – Global warming has continued to accelerate in the past five years, with extreme weather events feared to be more destructive if the world fails to commit to ambitious solutions to stop climate change, scientists warned over the weekend.

The United in Science report, produced by leading climate science organizations across the world, revealed that climate change has continued to accelerate despite global efforts to curb carbon emissions that contribute to temperature increase.

“Climate change causes and impacts are increasing rather than slowing down,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and co-chair of the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

“Sea level rise has accelerated and we are concerned that an abrupt decline in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will exacerbate future rise. As we have seen this year with tragic effect in the Bahamas and Mozambique, sea level rise and intense tropical storms led to humanitarian and economic catastrophes,” he added.

The WMO, along with other leading scientific organizations and climate scientists, released on Sunday a high-level synthesis report providing a unified assessment of the state of Earth system under the increasing influence of climate change, the response of humanity and the projected changes of global climate in the future.

Measuring the average global temperature from 2015 to 2019, the report noted that it has already increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times (1850 to 1900), up 0.2 degrees from the average increase recorded in the 2011 to 2015 period.

It also said the average global temperature for 2015 to 2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record, which is feared to cause more destructive typhoons, floods, droughts, heat waves and fires across the world.

Earlier reports warned that an increase of at least 1.5 degrees could result in irreversible impact of climate change that could affect millions of people worldwide, especially in vulnerable countries such as the Philippines.

The United in Science report noted the continuing decrease of sea ice and ice mass in the past years, with the long-term trend in the Arctic showing an approximated 12 percent decline per decade.

In Antarctica, scientists discovered that the amount of ice lost annually has increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017, while the Greenland ice sheet has witnessed a considerable acceleration in ice loss since the turn of the millennium.

The loss of ice has contributed to the rising sea level, which scientists noted to have amounted to five millimeters per year between 2014 and 2019, up from the four millimeters per year average between 2007 and 2016. The average sea level rise in 1993 was only 3.2 mm per year.

“The contribution of land ice melt from the world glaciers and the ice sheets has increased over time and now dominate the sea level budget, rather than thermal expansion,” added the report.

Scientists have also discovered a rising acidity of the world’s oceans, attributing this to its absorption of carbon emissions to help alleviate warming.

“The ecological cost to the ocean, however, is high, as the changes in acidity are linked to shifts in other carbonate chemistry parameters, such as the saturation state of aragonite,” read the report. “This process, detrimental to marine life and ocean services, needs to be constantly monitored through sustained ocean observations.”

Extreme weather

The changing climate could result in extreme weather events, including storms and flooding that lead to what the report described as the highest economic losses.

“Overall, the largest economic losses were associated with tropical cyclones. The 2018 season was especially active, with the largest number of tropical cyclones of any year in the 21st century,” it added.

“Heatwaves were the deadliest meteorological hazard in the 2015 to 2019 period, affecting all continents and setting many new national temperature records.”

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization pointed out that climate change is a key driver behind the recent rises in global hunger and one of the leading contributors to severe food crises. 

“Climate variability and extremes are negatively affecting all dimensions of food security – food availability, access, utilization and stability,” it said.

Taalas stressed the need for significant efforts to slow down climate change and reach the target of limiting the increase of global temperature to only 1.5 degrees.

“The challenges are immense. Besides mitigation of climate change, there is a growing need to adapt. According to the recent Global Adaptation Commission report, the most powerful way to adapt is to invest in early warning services and pay special attention to impact-based forecasts,” he said.

“It is highly important that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, notably from energy production, industry and transport. This is critical if we are to mitigate climate change and meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement,” added the WMO official, referring to the landmark climate agreement signed in 2016.

To stop a global temperature increase of more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels, Taalas said the level of commitments by world governments needs to be tripled.

“And to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees, it needs to be multiplied by five,” he added.

The report was released ahead of the Climate Action Summit convened here at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.

The summit seeks to highlight concrete plans by leaders from government, civil society and the private sector to cut emissions and strengthen climate resilience.

It will also feature bold actions and multi-stakeholder initiatives that would address high-impact areas such as transition to renewable energy, adaptation and nature-based solutions.

Fair weather seen as ‘habagat’ weakens

(Philstar.com) - September 23, 2019 - 10:21am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos can expect fair weather across the country on Monday after consecutive days of rains brought by tropical cyclones and southwest monsoon.

This is due to the weakened effects of the southwest monsoon or habagat, state weather bureau PAGASA said.

The weakened southwest monsoon is only affecting Northern Luzon. Residents of the area may experience scattered rainshowers.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers caused by localized thunderstorms.

The fair weather in most parts of the country comes after weeks of cloudy and rainy weather due to the southwest monsoon boosted by Severe Tropical Storm Nimfa and Tropical Depression Marilyn.

Thanks to monsoon rains, the water level at Angat Dam—Metro Manila’s main water source—increase to 191.56 meters from 157 meters in July.

The state weather bureau is not monitoring any weather disturbance around the Philippine Area of Responsibility. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

Hero surfer pays courtesy call on Rody

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — “ARAICoBeH is no longer your typical ‘hugot’ line,” the Philippine Biology Conferences said Wednesday.

This after Filipino researchers from the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman and Technische Universität München have developed a tool used to capture underwater images of coral reefs without the need to dive.

Researchers Caryl  Benjamin, Patrick Lawrence  Cadeliña, Aletta  Yñiguez, Cesar  Villanoy called this tool ARAICoBeH or A Rapid Assessment Instrument for Coastal Benthic Habitats.

Cadeliña this week also announced over social media that ARAICoBeH is “now an officially accepted scientific term.”

This sparked interest from netizens as the Facebook post now garnered more than 1,500 shares and over 2,200 reactions. But what is ARAICoBeh?

ARAICoBeH, an alternative to scuba diving method

According to Cadeliña, the system is a low-cost tool used to collect lots of images underwater, primarily coral areas so they can assess their status and eventually visualize by mapping them out.

“ARAICoBeH System set of equipment that we aimed to be a low-cost, high area coverage for a short amount of time; but having almost the same accuracy with data collected using scuba diving method,” Cadeliña told Philstar.com in an online interview.

To determine the tool’s accuracy the researchers conducted a comparative study between ARAICoBeH and the frequently used underwater photo transect method. 

The study showed that “there were no significant differences in estimates of percent coral cover and diversity of benthic functional groups for majority of sites while estimates of community structure were very similar.”

The system was developed by the end of 2014 during the course of the two national reef assessment programs -- Coral Reef Visualization and National Assessment for Coral Reef Environments. These were funded by the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Science and Technology, respectively.

“During the said projects, we were tasked to map out as much as coral areas as possible. However, we're primarily limited by our dive times since we cannot stay underwater for that long (more than an hour) and that deep (covering 5-15 meters deep). We wanted to cut the time for us to collect data, hence we thought of this as an alternative,” Cadeliña said.

The study stated that obtaining information on community structure and spatial distribution of benthic habitats are important in marine conservation and management.

"Coral areas, often monitored by trained scuba divers, are of importance for the ecosystem goods and services they provide," it added.

At present, Cadeliña told Philstar.com that they are the only ones who are using the tool for now since it is only housed at the UP Marine Science Institute. They are, however, looking into producing more of ARAICoBeH in the future.

“We're now developing other means of measuring coral reef health aside from the standard percentage cover. Also as I mentioned before, we're still developing a cleaner, more friendly companion code for data processing, as well as guides in using the system so that we can share this technology to everyone,” Cadeliña said.

The ARAICoBeh study was published at a leading global scientific, technical and medical portfolio, Springer last September 14.

Potential tropical cyclone enters PAR

(Philstar.com) - September 4, 2019 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — A low pressure area—forecast to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next few days—entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility Wednesday afternoon.

In a briefing late Wednesday afternoon, PAGASA said the LPA was last spotted 860 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

Weather forecasters are not ruling out the possibility that it may become a tropical cyclone within 48 hours. If it does, the weather disturbance will be named “Marilyn”—the 13th tropical cyclone to affect the country this year.


Meanwhile, the center of Typhoon Liwayway (Lingling) was last seen 420 km northeast of Basco, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 140 km per hour and gusts of up to 170 kph.

Heading northeast at 10 kph, “Liwayway” is expected to leave PAR on Thursday.

While the typhoon has no direct effect on any part of the country, “Liwayway” is enhancing the southwest monsoon, which affects Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley.

Residents of Batanes and Babuyan Islands will experience light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains due to “Liwayway.”

Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon will also bring scattered light to moderate rains with at times heavy rainshowers during thunderstorms over Ilocos region, CAR and the rest of Cagayan Valley.

PAGASA warned that travel by sea is dangerous over the seaboards of northern Luzon and western seaboard of Central Luzon. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

Duterte not satisfied with Xi response on SCS

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday admitted he was not satisfied with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s response when he raised the landmark arbital ruling on the South China Sea during their meeting in Beijing last week. 

Speaking to reporters, Duterte said he asked Xi how they can talk and solve the maritime dispute peacefully. 

“He (Xi) said, ‘You know, our statement was we will not budge.’ We do not want to talk about that. We own the property. Why should we talk to you? It was like that. But almost in whisper,” the President said. 

“I said it would remain a problem. It will be a, you know, thorn. Just like a sore thumb that sticks out painfully everyday,” he added. 

Duterte said Xi shifted to another topic after hearing his reply. 

“Out of courtesy, I said, ‘I will not maybe insist on your answer now. I am not satisfied with your answer but I will not ask for any other answer. I’ll just remain where I am, where I started, considering that you are under stress by the incidents in Hong Kong,” the President said, referring to the unrest at the Chinese special administrative region. 

“They have a problem. So they may be grumpy. Your timing should be right. The art of diplomacy, you play your cards,” he added. 

‘Assert arbitral court ruling’

Maritime experts said the President should not stop asserting the 2016 arbitral court ruling that favored the Philippines’ position on the South China Sea dispute over China’s.

Renato de Castro, professor of international studies at De La Salle University, described as “superficial” the way Duterte “apologetically” raised the arbitral ruling during his recent meeting with Xi.

“What’s the point of basically raising it, expecting that it will be rejected, then saying it will be the last time that it would be raised? That’s simply going through the motion,” he said in an interview with The Chiefs aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Tuesday night.

“We should continue asserting it… You would continue repeating it whether the other side would object to it or not. What we did was basically say this is the last, so we lost in that game,” he added.

Asserting the arbitral ruling, he said, should be done the same way as the Chinese were asserting the Shanghai Communiqué for the United States to acknowledge the one-China policy.

Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea, said the statement of Malacañang that it would no longer raise the ruling would not be helpful to the Philippine position and to international law in general.

“The statement of the Palace that it essentially has already done its job by raising the arbitration as promised by the President, that really runs counter to the whole idea of the arbitration basically being part of the international law already as they say,” he said in the same program.

“If it is really part of international law, then they should be raising it every time it is relevant,” he added.

Batongbacal stressed that the issue should be asserted whenever relevant issue or activity arises between the two countries. – With Janvic Mateo, Pia Lee-Brago, Edu Punay

‘SOGIE bill to protect LGBT Muslims in Mindanao from discrimination’

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - September 4, 2019 - 4:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — Passing the SOGIE Equality Bill would bring attention to the plight of LGBT Muslims in Mindanao who are experiencing more extreme discrimination and would provide protection for them, a member of the Muslim community told a Senate panel Wednesday.

LGBT Filipinos still face discrimination despite seemingly high tolerance in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, prompting some lawmakers to file a bill that would penalize discrimination based on a person’s SOGIE, or Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.

At a Senate hearing on the SOGIE bill, Rhadem Morados, a member of the Mindanao Pride Core, urged senators to pass the measure to protect gay Muslims in the restive Mindanao region from discrimination.

'Discrimination worse than in Luzon'

Morados said he heard stories about LGBT Muslims in Mindanao undergoing “conversion therapy” through forced marriages and military training, adding that discrimination in Marawi City alone got worse when the principal Islamic City was attacked by terrorists last year.

He said some locals blame the growing number of LGBT Muslims for the five-month siege that flattened Marawi, putting LGBTs there on the receiving end of violence and discrimination.

“We should really put into consideration that the lives and human dignity of LGBT in Mindanao are far worse compared in Luzon,” Morados said.

“And I think the SOGIE Equality Bill will help out that these communities should be protected from violence,” he added.

‘SOGIE bill to address commonality of religions’

Senate President Senator Vicente Sotto III — a religious conservative — had said the SOGIE bill has no chance of passing the upper chamber, arguing that the proposed measure supposedly tramples upon women's rights, academic freedom and religious freedom.

While there are city ordinances that protect the rights of the gay community, activists have expressed concern that the absence of an anti-discrimination legislation for LGBTs and stiff opposition from religious groups and conservative senators could offset any progress made at the local level.

At Wednesday’s Senate hearing, Morados said the SOGIE bill would unite religions to fight discrimination.

“At the end of the day, there are religious policies of Islam that do not agree with the Christian religious policies and Christian policies that do not adhere to Islam policies and also to the indigenous policies,” he said.

“But the SOGIE bill will address the commonality which is to protect everybody regardless of faith, gender and race,” he added.

Duterte won’t abolish POGO: We need it

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Despite warnings – including from Beijing – that it can worsen criminality, Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) will continue because “it is good for the country,” President Duterte said yesterday.

The Chief Executive made his position clear at a press briefing last night at Malacañang when asked about his stand on the controversial POGO, which has been flourishing in the country, employing thousands of foreigners mostly mainland Chinese.

Duterte noted that the livelihood of many people would be affected if he bans online gambling.

“I decide we need it. Many will lose livelihood. It’s government-controlled,” he added.

But he warned operators of POGO hubs to pay the right taxes or be “shuttered. “

“To the concessionaire, if you commit a mistake, you will be shuttered. Then we will talk,” the President said.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo previously said online gambling, which employs about 130,000 Chinese nationals in the Philippines, was one of the topics tackled during Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week in Beijing.

Panelo said Xi expressed appreciation for the Philippines’ move to suspend new POGO applications but said China would appreciate more if online gambling operations were completely halted. Xi had earlier warned Duterte of online gambling’s role in spawning crimes specifically money laundering, as he emphasized that all forms of gambling are illegal in China.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has reported P200 million in taxes from foreigners working for POGOs. The finance department previously said the government forgoes about P24 billion a year for every 100,000 POGO workers who do not pay taxes.

Duterte’s pronouncement came on the heels of assertion by some of his officials that the local economy has been benefiting significantly from online gambling. Based on Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. projections, revenues from POGO – especially from royalties and licensing fees – could reach P8 billion this year from last year’s P6 billion.

Earlier, Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said Beijing has no authority to order the Philippine government to shut down POGO operations employing Chinese nationals.

“They cannot dictate on us. Those are sovereign decisions. That is where we stand,” Sta. Romana said in Beijing during Duterte’s China visit.


Passenger held at NAIA for trying to transport baby in luggage

(Philstar.com) - September 4, 2019 - 11:20am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 1:35 p.m.) — An American passenger has been held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by the Immigration bureau for attempting to transport a six-day-old child in her luggage.

The Immigration bureau said the passenger, a woman, was intercepted at NAIA's Terminal 3 at around 6:20 a.m., Wednesday.

The bureau identified the passenger as Jennifer Talbot, 43 years old.

The infant, BI said, was "hidden in an oversized belt bag." 

Talbot also did not declare nor present the infant to the Immigration inspector during departure formalities.

Filipino children traveling abroad alone, or with a companion other than their parents need to present certification that it is with the consent of their parents.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which issues travel clearances for children, among the requirements for the clearance is "a notarized affidavit of consent of both parents or the solo parent or the legal guardian."

The affidavit should include the name of the authorized travelling companion, their relationship to the child, as well as details of the trip.

DSWD personnel have already been dispatched to the airport.

The case will be referred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Division of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Pinay in Australia cited for helping kids

Lalaine Jimenea (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipina has been cited in Australia for her charity works for children in the Philippines.

Rachel Alamil-Bessant, a native of Ormoc, Leyte, is the first Filipina to be conferred with the Order of Australia Award (OAM).

She received the award during the commemmoration of Australia Day on Jan. 26 this year.

During her 60th birthday celebration on Aug. 2, Bessant showed her gold-plated medal to her relatives and friends who attended the event at the Sabin Resort Hotel in Ormoc.

The OAM is Australia’s way of recognizing the exemplary achievements and services of its citizens.

Bessant founded the Filipino Needy Children’s Fund in 2000.

She was working in a hospital in Tasmania in 2006 when she heard that a village in Southern Leyte was buried in a landslide.

She immediately conducted various activities such as selling raffle tickets and sausages to raise funds for the orphans of Barangay Guinsaugon.

Since then, she managed to attract volunteers and raise funds and donations for the Philippines. 

The Filipino Needy Children’s Fund is a registered foundation in Australia.

Recently, the foundation distributed toys and fed at least 1,000 children in Ormoc. It donated wheelchairs in Kananga town.

Bessant said she loves children and wants to make them happy.


PAL, CEB Hong Kong flights back to normal

Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) announced that their operations to and from Hong Kong returned to normal yesterday after protests within airport premises scaled down and more personnel reported back for work.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna and CEB management said they were closely monitoring the situation and assured travelers of regular updates. 

Villaluna said all affected PAL passengers of cancelled flights last Monday were given three options: reaccommodation on flights to or from Hong Kong yesterday, rebooking within 30 days from the original flight date with rebooking fees waived and refund of tickets within 30 days from the original flight dates with refund fees waived.

Passengers were directed to check the status of their flights in the status page of PAL’s website or by calling their hotline.

Hong Kong visitors were also advised to remain aware of their surroundings and avoid areas where protesters may converge and carry out demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific yesterday cancelled three flights: CX 912 and CX 976 from Manila to Hong Kong and CX 939 from Hong Kong to Manila.

Signal No. 1 still up over Batanes, Babuyan as slow-moving 'Hanna' gains strength

(Philstar.com) - August 8, 2019 - 5:35am

MANILA, Philippines — Typhoon Hanna has intensified as it slowly moves northwest, PAGASA said early Thursday morning as it warned of heavy rain in northern Luzon.

According to PAGASA's early morning weather briefing, "Hanna" was 485 kilometers east northeast of Basco, Batanes and has maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 215 kph as of 4 a.m. 

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 remains raised over Batanes as well as the Babuyan Group of Islands as "Hanna" moves northwest at 15 kph

PAGASA said northern Luzon should prepare for heavy rain because of the storm's outer rainbands.

The weather bureau also said a low pressure area within the Philippine Area of Responsibility and 270 kilometers west of Dagupan, Pangasinan is unlikely to either develop into a storm or make landfall. 

"Hanna" and the LPA will nevertheless enhance the southwest monsoon or habagat, bringing rain to Luzon and the western section of the Philippines.

Typhoon Krosa, which PAGASA has also been monitoring, is 1,940 km east of the northernmost part of Luzon. It has winds of up to 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph. "Krosa" is slowly moving northwest and is not expected to enter the PAR.

Forecast position

Friday morning: 550 km east of Basco, Batanes
Saturday morning: 700 km north of Basco, Batanes (Outside Philippine Area of Responsibility)

Locsin seeks end to visa upon arrival

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is pushing for an end to the issuance of Philippine visas upon arrival as the influx of Chinese tourists is seen as a security risk.

“We need to put an end to visas upon arrival, all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting. We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide,” Locsin tweeted yesterday.

“So we curtail visas on arrival which means: visitors not vetted in our consulates abroad; planes have passengers without visas thereby incurring US Homeland Security wrath. We have to stop stamping visas on slips of paper rather than foreign passports. We need a new visa stamp,” he said.

 For his part, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. admitted he tends to look at the influx of Chinese nationals in the country as a security risk.

Esperon said he would ask the Bureau of Immigration (BI) if immigration rules are strictly implemented on arriving Chinese nationals.

“As the national security adviser, I have the tendency to look at it as a threat,” Esperon said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum yesterday.

Esperon said while he recognizes the value of the tourism industry and real estate to the economy, he was concerned if immigration and labor rules are being followed by Chinese nationals, thus the government must remain wary.

The number of Chinese arriving in the Philippines has nearly tripled since 2016 due to online gaming, according to the BI, and is expected to continue in the long-term amid rekindled relations between the Philippines and China.

In a report last March, real estate services firm Leechiu Property said mainland Chinese have become the top buyers in the residential market. 

It added that residential buildings in Makati, Manila, Ortigas and Quezon City are “experiencing brisk take-ups of 12 units a month” due to the proliferation of Philippine offshore gaming operators or online Chinese gaming firms that have sprouted in Metro Manila.

“We want healthy investment opportunities in terms of housing and all these condominiums. We want more tourists but there is always another side of the coin... We must not let our guard down,” Esperon said.

“You would also start getting worried when a whole building, a condominium tower, is occupied by only one nationality where you might not be able to guard their activities,” he added.  

The Office of the National Security Adviser earlier said the Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Internal Revenue, BI, Department of Finance and Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been holding interagency meetings to look into the matter.

President Duterte earlier this year said he was in favor of allowing Chinese nationals to work in the country, likening their presence in the Philippines to the presence of Filipinos in China.

Esperon, however, downplayed fears that some Chinese working in the Philippines could be part of China’s People’s Liberation Army, the naval force of which is grossly manifested in the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.

“There are some who say ‘maybe they’re part of the Chinese army’. I think that’s some wild imagination,” he said.

For good measure, the nation’s top security adviser said he would ask BI Commissioner Jaime Morente if his agency has been strictly implementing immigration rules on Chinese nationals entering the country.

Most Filipinos believe that the Philippines cannot trust China, according to a recent public opinion survey conducted just weeks after a Chinese vessel rammed a Filipino fishing boat off Recto Bank.

Navy probe

The Philippine Navy, through its Naval Forces West (NavForWest), is conducting an investigation into how two Chinese tourists were allegedly allowed inside and were caught taking photographs of a naval facility in Palawan last week.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the Navy is now coordinating with the local tourism office.

He confirmed that the Chinese visitors reportedly took pictures at the Tide Pole Naval Facility located in Parola on July 23. – With Michael Punongbayan, Neil Servallos

LIST: New prohibited items in airports, airlines

(Philstar.com) - July 31, 2019 - 9:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Office for Transportation Security last week released an updated list of prohibited items or items which are not allowed to be brought or carried to the airport and aircraft after the International Civil Aviation Organization set an expanded items list under the international standards.

The transportation security clarified that the revised list of the ICAO are still subject to special requirements or instructions from the airlines.

The list of items that cannot be brought or carried include chemicals and other toxic substances.

The transportation security released the revised list of prohibited items which amended Memorandum Circular No. 02 series 2015 to MC No. 005 series of 2019 “to make it more relevant to existing threats to civil aviation, and to settle the concerns of departing passengers.”

“Security is non-negotiable,” OTS Administrator Undersecretary Arturo Evangelista said.

Evangelista also urged the public to refrain from bringing the prohibited items in the airport “to avoid delays and inconvenience.”

“If you are unsure whether an item is prohibited or not, you may contact us through email, SMS Hotline, or any of our official social media accounts. Or better yet, if it is not that important, we suggest that you just leave it at home,” Evangelista said.

Guns, firearms and other devices that discharge projectiles

(Allowed in check-in hold baggage)

  • Air Gun

  • Ammunition shells/Bullets and other components

  • Component of Guns and Firearm

  • Compressed Air Gun

  • Firearm (any caliber)

  • Flare Gun

  • Pellet Gun

  • Realistic Replicas and imitation firearms

  • Crew Served Weapons

  • Disguised / Improvised Firearms

  • Projectile-capable devices (Slingshot, Bow and Arrow, Crossbows, Spear Gun)

  • Bolt Gun

  • Toy Gun - Also allowed in carry-on baggage unless prohibited in the country of destination

  • Paintball equipment

Stunning device

(Allowed in checked-in hold baggage)

  • Mace/pepper spray tear gas - Also not allowed in checked-in baggage

  • Sun Gun (all kinds)

Chemicals and other toxic substances

(Not allowed in carry on cabin baggage/Check-in/hold baggage)

  • Corrosive substances (e.g. acid, battery acid, sulfuric acid, vinegar, muriatic acid)

  • Radioactive materials (medical or commercial use)

  • Toxic and infectious material (e.g. insect/animal repellant spray)

  • Hazardous materials

  • Flammable Materials (e.g. paint, thinner, lighter refill, butane)

  • Oxidizing substance and organic peroxide (e.g. fertilizer, bleach, sulfur)

  • Miscellaneous Dangerous good (e.g. dry ice, lithium battery)

Objects with sharp points or edges

(Not allowed in carry on cabin baggage)

  • Ax/Hatchet

  • Arrow and Dart

  • Bayonet

  • Bolos

  • Box Cutter

  • Butterfly knife (Balisong)

  • Canned Product (with easy-open lids)

  • Cleaver

  • Cock Fighting Blade (Tare)

  • Cork Screw

  • Disguised with sharp edge (ex. cane, umbrella sword, comb knife, card knife)

  • Knife - Unless prohibited in the country of destination

  • Letter/Bottle Opener

  • Medical Scalpel

  • Nipper/Pusher/Nail file/Nail cutter with knife

  • Open razor/Razor blade

  • Saber/Sword

  • Scissor

  • Fishing hook

  • Throwing / Ninja Star

  • Umbrella

Workers' tools

(Not allowed in carry on/ cabin baggage)

  • Crowbars

  • Drills/Drill bits (including portable power drills)

  • G.I. wires (alambre)

  • Hammers

  • Nails

  • Pliers

  • Saw (including cordless portable power saws)

  • Screwdrivers

  • Wrenches

  • Handcuffs/thumb cuffs

  • Harpoon gun

  • Nail gun

  • Retractable tape measure (metal)

  • Blunt Instruments

  • (Not allowed in carry on cabin baggage; Allowed checked in /hold baggage)

  • All metal chains

  • Baton sticks/Billy Clubs/Black Jacks/Kubatons

  • Billiard Sticks

  • Bowling/Billiard balls

  • Club/Sticks/Bat/Rods

  • Crutches/Walking sticks or aids

  • Dumbbells/Hand weight

  • Fishing Rods

  • Ice skates

  • Hoverboards and similar items (e.g. balance, wheel, air wheel, solo wheel, mini segway)

  • Paddles (e.g. Boat, cricket, kayak/canoe)

  • Lacrosse sticks

  • Air Tank (as diving equipment) - Tank should be empty

  • Ski poles/hiking poles

  • Tennis/Badminton/Squash rackets

  • Tripod/Monopod

  • Martial Arts Weapons (e.g. Nunchakus, brass/metal knuckles)

Explosives and incendiary substances and devices

(Not allowed in both carry-on/cabin baggage, check-in/hold baggage)

  • Batteries/Power Banks (e.g. lithium battery)

  • Blasting cap

  • Detonator and Fuse

  • Grenade

  • Dynamite

  • Flares (in any form)

  • Plastic Explosives

  • Pyrotechnics including fireworks)

  • Smoke-generating canisters or cartridges

  • Mines and other explosive military store

  • Replica or imitation explosive devices

  • Fuels (including cooking fuel and any flammable liquid fuel)

  • Matches

  • Lighters (Disposable and Non-Disposable)

  • Disguised lighters

  • Lighter fluids refills

  • Gasoline/kerosene/Petrol

  • E-Cigarettes - Allowed in carry-on/cabin baggage

  • E-lighters

  • Torch

— Rosette Adel

Retired Marine general appointed to MWSS board

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has appointed a retired general of the Philippine Marines as board member of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and at the same time transferred the water agency’s former chairman to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Retired lieutenant general Emmanuel Salamat has been named MWSS board member while former chairman Franklin Demonteverde has been designated as ad interim JBC board member representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, according to data released by Malacañang yesterday.

Duterte also reappointed MWSS vice chairman and administrator Reynaldo Velasco as board member of the water agency.

Last June, Duterte offered the post of MWSS administrator to Salamat, who was then chief of the Northern Luzon Command.

Velasco previously said he would become MWSS chairman because Demonteverde would be moved to the JBC.

Last March, Duterte berated MWSS officials and water concessionaires over the service interruptions in some parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province.

He also threatened to terminate the contracts of the private concessionaires if the supply issues are not resolved.

Duterte also appointed Australian businessman Peter Wallace as member of the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Council representing the private sector.

Other new appointees are Gonzalo Duque (member of the Philippine Coconut Authority governing board), Antonio Bautista (defense assistant secretary), Lorna Tobias (Bureau of Internal Revenue Director II), Napoleon Arevalo (health director IV), Juliana Sunga (justice undersecretary), Ferdausi Cerna (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples director IV), Manuel Tuason (National Security Council director III), Milagros Javellana (Career Executive Service Board member), Rodrigo Aguilar (trade director III), Loida Linson (interior and local government director IV), Gezel Garcia (public attorney V), Roy Buenafe (labor director III), Marion Sevilla (labor director III), Septon dela Cruz (Commission on Higher Education director III) and Purisimo Tiam (Cagayan Economic Zone Authority board member). 

Duterte also issued an executive order that made the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) as part of the Cabinet infrastructure cluster to further enhance coordination among the agencies involved in the administration’s Build Build  Build infrastructure program.

Under Executive Order 86 signed on July 25, Duterte amended his prior executive order that reorganized the Cabinet clusters system by integrating good governance and anti-corruption in the policy frameworks of all the clusters and creating the infrastructure cluster and participatory governance cluster.

In including BCDA in the infrastructure cluster, Duterte noted the mandate of the BCDA in the conversion of the Clark and Subic military reservations and their extensions into alternative productive uses.

The EO also noted that BCDA’s vital public infrastructure projects such as tollway, railway, airport, seaport and new economic growth corridor, and its role in the Build Build Build program, warrant its inclusion as a member of the infrastructure cluster. – With Christina Mendez, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edu Punay

Palace hails Pacquiao victory vs Thurman

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - July 21, 2019 - 1:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Sunday hailed Sen. Manny Pacquiao's win against American boxer Keith Thurman, calling it a victory for the entire Filipino nation. 

"We thank Senator Manny for not only bringing honor and glory to our flag, but for once again uniting all Filipinos worldwide with his display of athleticism, power and Filipino pride. Mabuhay ka, Manny! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live, Manny, Long live the Philippines)," presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. 

"Pacquiao’s victory is not only his, buMANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Sunday hailed Sen. Manny Pacquiao's win against American boxer Keith Thurman, calling it a victory for the entire Filipino nation. 

"We thank Senator Manny for not only bringing honor and glory to our flag, but for once again uniting all Filipinos worldwide with his display of athleticism, power and Filipino pride. Mabuhay ka, Manny! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live, Manny, Long live the Philippines)," presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. 

"Pacquiao’s victory is not only his, but of the entire nation. As such, the Palace is one in rejoicing with the Filipino people as the Pambansang Kamao once again puts the flag above the pedestal with his display of tenacity and courage," he added. 

Panelo noted that Pacquiao also made the Philippines proud at the start of the year when he successfully defended his World Boxing Association welterweight belt over another American boxer, Adrien Broner.

"Six months later, he doubled this feat as he defeated Keith Thurman today via split decision, even knocking him down in the 1st round," the presidential spokesman said. 

"Although his opponent, Thurman, is way younger than him, our pound-for-pound King did not show any signs of intimidation as he embodied what a Filipino spirit is all about - a fighter," he added. 

Thurman is 10 years younger than Pacquiao but the latter managed to gain the WBA "super" welterweight belt from the former in a split decision win at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also lauded Pacquiao for being a "model" to Filipinos.  

"You (Pacquiao) have proven time and again that hard work and faith are the one-two punch to winning in life, inside and outside the boxing ring," Nograles said in a statement.  

"May you continue to inspire our countrymen with your achievements, and serve as a model to our people with the humility and grace you display after every hard-fought contest," he added. — with Rosette Adel

​t of the entire nation. As such, the Palace is one in rejoicing with the Filipino people as the Pambansang Kamao once again puts the flag above the pedestal with his display of tenacity and courage," he added. 

Panelo noted that Pacquiao also made the Philippines proud at the start of the year when he successfully defended his World Boxing Association welterweight belt over another American boxer, Adrien Broner.

"Six months later, he doubled this feat as he defeated Keith Thurman today via split decision, even knocking him down in the 1st round," the presidential spokesman said. 

"Although his opponent, Thurman, is way younger than him, our pound-for-pound King did not show any signs of intimidation as he embodied what a Filipino spirit is all about - a fighter," he added. 

Thurman is 10 years younger than Pacquiao but the latter managed to gain the WBA "super" welterweight belt from the former in a split decision win at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also lauded Pacquiao for being a "model" to Filipinos.  

"You (Pacquiao) have proven time and again that hard work and faith are the one-two punch to winning in life, inside and outside the boxing ring," Nograles said in a statement.  

"May you continue to inspire our countrymen with your achievements, and serve as a model to our people with the humility and grace you display after every hard-fought contest," he added. — with Rosette Adel

Revisiting Cebu: An economic gateway and a business hub

NOTES FROM THE EU DELEGATION - Franz Jessen (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Following the recent EU visit to Davao City to attend the Davao Investment Conference last month, it is now time to visit Central Visayas with EU Member States Embassies.

Together with Ambassadors Michel Goffin (Belgium); Saskia de Lang (Netherlands); Mr Maurizio Cellini, First Counsellor and Head of Trade and Economic Affairs  and Mr Marc Fearn, First Counsellor and Head of Finance, Contracts and Audits Section (both from the EU Delegation), I will be in Cebu during the fourth week of July. 

I have already been to Cebu many times and I must say that I have been impressed by its key economic role in the Visayas regions. 

Coming back to Cebu will be an opportunity to strengthen and establish partnerships between European companies and local businesses. While a lot has already been done, there is still always a room to increase business collaboration for a win-win venture.

All of us are looking forward to this trip to engage in fruitful talks with Provincial Governor Gwen Garcia, Cebu Mayor Edgardo Labella, and other national and local government officials regarding the business environment and opportunities for Foreign Direct Investments coming from the EU. An interaction with the “shakers and movers” from the business sector and some journalists at the MATIQ Hub is also in the offing. The MATIQ Hub, as I come to understand, has become a sustainable and multi-disciplinary enabling space for Cebu’s creative community and a platform for start-ups and youth organisations. We shall also meet with Atty August Go, President, University of Cebu. The university is a project partner under the Erasmus+ BEEHIVE Programme. This programme introduces the holistic approach of entrepreneurial ecosystems that sees entrepreneurship not as individual efforts but as a process of networking and creating synergies between different stakeholders.

No wonder that the European expats’ community, particularly the business people, are increasingly convinced that the Central Visayan region provides an attractive business climate and ample room for growth and productive investments. These investments range from manufacturing to services, logistics, food and agriculture.

Furthermore, a significant number of European companies are now in Cebu and I hope to see new ones soon. Cebu is the second largest city and one of the fastest growing economies in the country. It is highly accessible given its domestic air and sea linkages. It leads the country in export items and is the gateway to many Philippine-made products including those that enjoy the EU GSP+ trade preferences.

In 2018 alone, almost €2 billion worth of Philippine products – with a predominance of agri-food items – were exported to the EU at zero tariff.  

There is a lot more to explore between the EU and the Philippines. ARISE Plus, a trade-related project that benefits ASEAN countries including the Philippines could help transform strong industries in Central Visayas to enable its provinces and cities to become more globally competitive.

On several occasions, I have stressed the added value of Geographical Indications in the country’s legal system to increase the value of agricultural products such as the Guimaras mangoes.  

In the latter part of this year, 50 European companies in the construction sector are expected to come to Cebu City as part of the “EU Business Avenues in Southeast Asia”. We hope that this mission will provide opportunities to exchange best practices, explore knowledge and technology transfers and strengthen people-to-people links.

Furthermore, the EU “Responsible Supply Chains in Asia Programme” brings value to the food exporting sector. This is one area that can certainly be maximised to build the capacity of business organisations to implement socially-responsible labour practices that can be beneficial for many food manufacturing companies in the Visayas regions.    

Last year, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the Philippines entered into force and this framework portends to shape the wider bilateral relationship.

The upcoming EU mission to Cebu is definitely one significant way to boost the economic diplomacy between EU and the Philippines and a means to create more awareness and understanding of each other’s business outlook.

Pinoy driver gets Queen's Medal

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Queen Elizabeth II has conferred the British Empire Medal on a Filipino who, for 33 years, chauffeured British ambassadors to the Philippines and members of the royal family during their visits in Manila.

“I am delighted to announce that Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II has honored Mr. Roland Quitevis with the British Empire Medal for his services to UK-Philippine relations. This is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Roland’s long service
at the embassy, mostly spent as the Ambassador’s driver,” said British Ambassador Daniel Pruce.

Quitevis, a native of Ilocos Sur, started as a messenger for the British embassy at age 22 when he first moved to Manila, according to the embassy.

After being regularized, he obtained the necessary skills and was promoted to become the official driver of the ambassador.

Throughout his three-decade service, Quitevis said he was accorded multiple opportunities which helped him develop his skills, including two comprehensive driving courses that he took in the United Kingdom in 1999 and in 2013.

“On both occasions, I was able to attend specialized trainings and boot camps where I was taught how to act in situations that demand urgent response, such as precautionary checks that need to be done to make sure that the car is safe to use and keeping the Ambassador away from harm in critical conditions,” Quitevis said.

“I remember being so grateful for the opportunity, which is why I have always loved every single day of it – come monsoon rains, heavy Manila traffic and day-to-day encounters with British embassy staff in action,” Quitevis added.

During the most recent visit to Manila of Princess Anne, second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, he recalled how she told him how young he was when she first came to the country to visit the indigenous community in Clark in the aftermath of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption.

“I have also been so honored to be able to drive for some members of the royal family. These include three visits by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, two visits by Princess Anne and a visit by Prince Charles. It has been such a memorable experience to me to meet each one in person,” he added.

Every moment with all the ambassadors, according to Quitevis, has been unforgettable as they have treated him like family and – always – with utmost respect.

Former British ambassador Stephen Lillie congratulated Quitevis who said it was “a very well deserved honor.”

“I have so many great memories of the journeys we made with you at the wheel. Mabuhay!” he said in his Twitter account.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Quitevis’ feat was something Filipinos could be proud of.

“Proud of them. In the [United Nations], the most valued drivers are Filipinos for loyalty and competence and discretion,” Locsin said on Twitter.

Quitevis said his experience was “truly one for the books” and that he will be forever grateful to all the British ambassadors for helping him reach this point in his career.

“I felt so grateful when I was awarded the Service Recognition Award for excellent service rendered by Ambassador Stephen Lillie. But the defining moment that I will always treasure was when Ambassador Daniel Pruce presented me the opportunity of receiving the Honorary British Empire Medal (BEM),” Quitevis said.

Last December, Filipino robotic lead nurse at The Royal London Joy Ongcachuy received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) award for her immediate response in caring for the injured following the 2017 London Bridge terrorist attacks.

The British Empire Medal is awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. It was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.

Recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the Order of the British Empire.


Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila P. Garcia accompanied Deputy Cabinet Secretary Peter Tiu

Laviña to Parliament Hill in Ottawa for a series of meetings with senior members of the Senate and the

House of Commons of Canada's Parliament.

They exchanged brief pleasantries with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was attending the

session of the House of Commons of Canada's parliament.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a recent visitor to Manila for the APEC Economic Leaders Summit

hosted by the Philippines late last year.

In a meeting hosted by Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton, MP, Laviña expressed the interest of the

Philippine Government to learn from Canada's experiences in its federal system of government and

parliamentary form of democratic governance.

Stanton conveyed the willingness of Canada to engage Philippine officials and parliamentarians in a

discussion on these issues.

A lively and fruitful discussion on Philippine-Canadian relations subsequently took place with Stanton

who was joined by Filipino-Canadian Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr., Senator Don Meredith; Harold

Albrecht, MP; Kevin Lamoureux, MP; Larry Maguire, MP; Dean Allison, MP; and Robert Sopuck, MP.

Most of the Canadian parliamentarians in attendance had significant numbers of Filipino-Canadians

residing in their respective parliamentary districts.

In a separate meeting with Anthony Housefather, MP, whose parliamentary district in Montreal is home

to many Filipino-Canadians in Quebec, Laviña shared the Philippine government's timetable of adopting

constitutional changes, which would usher the adoption of a federal system of government for the

Philippines before the end of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The parliamentary visit affirmed the shared interest of Philippine and Canadian senior officials to

strengthen the vibrant people-to- people relationship enjoyed by their nationals and a commitment by

the two governments to pursue mutually beneficial endeavors.

Laviña and Garcia were accompanied in their meetings by Philippine diplomats Francisco Noel

Fernandez III and Eric Gerardo Tamayo.

In the Philippines, the Senate is expected in 2017 to take up proposals for a shift to a federal form of


Senators are heeding Duterte’s call for speedier action on proposals to amend the Constitution to pave

the way for a federal form of government, but will oppose any attempt to abolish the Senate.

Duterte has said that he is willing to step down from office as soon as the federal form of government is

in place. He said such a form of government would allow regions to grow faster.

“I give you my word, if the framework is already there, I will resign to give way to the new president,”

Duterte said.

Under a constituent assembly, both the Senate and the House of Representatives convene as one body

to write amendments to the Constitution. This mode is cheaper and is more convenient for proposing


On the other hand, a constitutional convention is composed of elected delegates representing

congressional districts and various sectors who will convene as a separate body to write the


A constitutional convention is expected to cost billions and its life will depend on how long the delegates

will take to finish their work. Supporters, however, believe the con-con is less susceptible to influence by

political parties.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III is also pushing for the federal system but has vowed to defend

the chamber from moves to have it abolished.

Pimentel stressed the Senate would remain a “political firmament” even in a federal Philippines.

“I assure you that although I am very happy to be remembered as the Centennial Senate President, I do

not want to be remembered as the last Senate President,” Pimentel said in a speech at the 100th

anniversary celebration of the Senate in October.

Article fron: philippineasiannewstoday.com

Philippines Recieve Canadian Humanitarian Aid After Typhoon Haima/Lawin

Thanks to the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, residents in the Philippines who were affected by Typhoon Haima, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Lawin, will receive immediate life-saving assistance from Humanitarian Coalition member CARE Canada.

On October 19, 2016, Typhoon Haima lashed the northern tip of the Philippines with winds gusting up to 315 kilometres per hour and and torrential rain, resulting in flooding and landslides.

Haima followed on the heels of Typhoon Sarika, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Karen, leaving thousands of residents vulnerable to volatile and strained conditions. At least 8 people were killed, and more than 380,000 people were affected.

Two weeks later, more than 150,000 people remain displaced, and while many have found refuge in shelters and with family and friends, an estimated 40,000 have no place to stay.

With $350,000 allocated from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, CARE Canada is able to respond immediately to the needs of 10,000 people affected. The organization will increase access to essential shelter and improve living conditions to affected residents by providing cash grants earmarked for buying construction materials like lumber and educating beneficiaries on building back safer principles and techniques.

CARE has been working in the Philippines since 1949, developing strong relationships with local communities and other non-governmental organizations. CARE has 38 staff in country, and is currently implementing recovery programmes for the Haiyan response and other emergency programs.

The Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund is a joint mechanism financed by Global Affairs Canada, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies.

The Philippines and surrounding countries are hit by dozens of tornadoes and typhoons annually during the monsoon season typically between June and December.


In 2013, the deadly super typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, hit the Visayas region of the Philippines, leaving more than 7,300 people dead and thousands missing.


Haima is the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Article from: philippineasiannewstoday.com


1) El Nido, Palawan – Ginganlan nga usa sa pinaka maanindot nga beaches sa kalibutan sa Conde Nast Traveller magazine 2015.

Gawas sa kaputi sa baybayon, nindot sab alang sa swimming,  snorkel,  kayaking ug uban pa.

2) Boracay Island, Aklan – Gisunod nila sa ikaduhang dapit kining lugara, tungod kay bisan ang kasilinganan nga dapit damgo gyud ang pag bisita ning ilado nga lugar bisan sa mga langyaw nga turista.

Hinuon tungod sa kadaghan sa mga nibisita ning lugara, ang paliton medyo mahal siya. Apan matintal ka pagkaligo sa kaputi sa balas, tin-aw ang dagat ug nindot sud-ungon ang kilom-kilom sa kagabhion.

3) Batanes Islands,  Batanes – Kung natures lover ka, siguro mo suroy ka gyud ning lugara.

Ganahan ka ba mo lugsong ug mosaka sa bukid? Kini maoy suroya amigo ug amiga.

4) Camiguin Island,  Camiguin –  Gawas sa hot and cold springs, daghang volcan ug waterfalls aning dapita.

Hilig ka ba sa prutas nga Lanzones? Pwes saksihi ang Lanzones festival matag buwan sa Oktubre. Hapita pagsuroy ang mga karaang balay ug simbahan niining lugara.

5) Malapascua Island, Cebu – Kon Sugbuanon ka, pwes bisitaha kining lugara aron makita mo ang kalainan niini, kompara sa Palawan ug Boracay Island.

Hinuon medyo layo kining lugara gikan sa Harang Dakbayan sa Sugbo. Dili lang duha ka oras, moabot sa upat ka oras kapin kon kulang padulong sa amihanan. Apan ang kaputi sa baybayon ug ka tin-aw sa lapyahan ang problema daw sa ibayaw ka.

6) Kalanggaman Island, Leyte – Nahimutang kini sa Palompon, Leyte. Kon mag barko ka, malingi-an mo kining lugara, makahuna huna ka’g hapit ani dapita.

Pipila na ka mga international cruise ships ang natintal pagsapigad ning dapita. Ang timgas nga puting baybayon maoy maka ganoy sa mga hilig sa swimming.

7) Siargao Island,  Surigao del Norte – Hilig ka ba sa surfing? Pwes imong adtoon kini lugara. Dakung sayop kon di mo kini mabisita nga isla basta mangandam ka lang sa gasto nga higala.

Mangutana mo kon pareha ba sila sa Malapascua ug Kalanggaman Island? Ang tubag lahi ra, basta nagkadaiyang kaligoanan ug mga talagsaong kabatoan nga gidesenyo nila.

8) Coron, Palawan – Adunay Kayangan Lake nga magpangamay kanimo niining dapita. Ang pinaka limpyo nga linaw sa Asia matod pa.

Mahiligon ka ba sa mga pang-pang ug bungtod? Kini maoy imong makita kon mo bisita ka dinhi dapita.

9) Hinatuan Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur – Kung surfing capital ang Surigao Del Norte.
Sa Surigao del Sur ang Suba sab ilang ikapasigarbo kaninyo.

Ang Hinatuan River adunay 80 ka tiil ang giladmon. Nasayod ka ba nga may tilimad-on kining dapita base sa huhungihong nila?

10) Mayon Volcano, Albay – Walay wala nakaila sa Bulkan nga Mayon tungod kay usa ni sa aktibong Bulkan sa Pilipinas.

Article from: philippineasiannewstoday.com

Team Philippines Wins Bronze in Taewondo Championships

Article by: jfortaleza

The Philippine Taekwondo Team are in Vancouver to compete in the World Taekwondo Federation Junior Championships held at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby. The events will run from November 16-21, and the Philippine contingent will compete in the various weight classes and vie for medals and a position in taekwondo championships in the world. It will be an exciting showcase of the next generation of taekwondo superstars, with over 800 athletes between the ages of 14 to 17 competing for top international honours.


The event is held through Taekwondo Canada with the full support of BC Taekwondo Federation.  It is supported through cooperation between the City of Burnaby, Tourism Burnaby and the local, provincial and national taekwondo community.


The delegates are headed by coaches Nap Dagdagan Jr. and Dindo Simpao, and Head of the Team/Chef de Mission

Congressman Monsour del Rosario, himself a Taekwondo champion who competed in the world championships and the Olympics.  He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Taekwondo Association and Philippine Olympic Committee Member.


The team is sponsored by Philippine Taekwondo Association, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports

Commission and SMART Telecoms – PLDT


Taekwondo is considered one of the top 10 sports in the Philippines, that’s why we are getting the support of the

government to train our athletes," Del Rosario shares. "Sports in the Philippines that get the most support are the onesthat qualify for the Olympics." Del Rosario adds that as a congressman, he will introduce bills that will help athletes in their sports training and their  post-career opportunities.


The women’s team is composed of Ezra Balingit, Abigail Valdez, Baby Jessica Canabal, Beatrice Gaerlan, Florence Mae Chavez, Laila Delo all from the National Capital Region, and Veronica Garces from Cebu. The men’s team includes Gabriel Lamarca, Raymundo Alombro III, Darlo Dionisio, Gian Gutierrez, Harley Santos,  and Alvaro Aranton from NCR, and Sal Luigi Estrada from Cebu.


On the first day, Abigail Valdez earned a bronze medal for the Philippines in the Female Fly Division.


Competitions are open to the public, and the team is asking for the community’s support and prayers as they play for the Philippines.

Article from: philippineasiannewstoday.com

Pacquiao Proposed as Poster Boy For Philippine Tourism

Article By: jfortaleza

Boxing hero Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao has been proposed as official endorser of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines.

Pacquiao, who is also now a senator, is seen as a big draw in the DOT campaign to promote the Philippines as a travel destination.

Members of the House of Representatives committee on tourism have approved the proposal by Representative Enrico Pineda to designate the Filipino boxing icon as DOT’s poster boy.

Pineda is with the partylist group 1-PACMAN, which stands for the One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals, a namesake of Pacquiao. The group advocates for the marginalized and displaced sector in the country.

During a House of Representative’s committee on tourism hearing on the DOT’s plans and programs for 2017, Pineda made the proposal, citing the boxing champion’s tremendous popularity in the Philippines and abroad.

“Senator Pacquiao’s international stature is a big boost to the tourism industry of the country. His endorsement would create a lot of impact, especially in the social media,” said Pineda.

Pineda further said the senator from Sarangani province might lend his services to the DOT for free.

Supporting Pineda’s proposal, Representative Aurelio Gonzales (3rd District, Pampanga) moved to make the boxing champ the official DOT endorser.

The committee chaired by Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th District, Leyte) unanimously approved Gonzales’ motion.

Also during the hearing, officials of the DOT and its attached agencies namely, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) briefed House members on the state of the country’s tourism industry and their tourism plans and programs.

Torres-Gomez said the committee takes cognizance of the issues and concerns that are vital to the promotion and development of the country’s tourism industry.


Torres-Gomez cited there are more than 40 House bills filed seeking to declare the various areas in the country as tourism zones and destinations.

“These are very important to House members for the development of local tourism in their respective districts. We will certainly take immediate action on these measures,” said Torres-Gomez.

She said among the measures of national importance are bills seeking better assistance, services, and protection to international tourists visiting the country; granting travel tax discount or exemption to groups such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), official country representatives to international sports events, academic conferences, and beauty pageants; and seeking the imposition of environmental fee or green fee for the preservation, conservation, development, and protection of the country’s nation.

Representative Elisa Kho (2nd District, Masbate) proposed more DOT advertisements showcasing Filipino culture and values.

Kho also expressed concern about the DOT’s plan to change the tourism slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” which has already gained popularity abroad, especially among Southeast Asian countries.

Representative Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A Teacher) said the DOT should just build on the gains of the present advertising campaign instead of shifting to a new slogan.

Cortuna further said the DOT should identify potential tourism areas that can be developed to boost tourism, raise revenues, and contribute to the country’s economy.

Representative Christopher “Toff” de Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan) proposed to the DOT to keep track of the tourism assets and make sure they are profitable.

De Venecia asked the DOT to provide the committee with the list of tourism assets that are available and indicate which ones are making or losing money so that appropriate action can be taken.

Article from: philippineasiannewstoday.com

FIRST Launched

FIRST Launched:

    Ang mga bagong parating na immigrant papunta sa Canada wag nang mag alala dahil may susuporta pag dating sa bagong bansang hindi pa kilala, ang Filipino's in Richmond Support Team or “FIRST ”. Dahil bago ang nasabing organization, ang mga bagong myembro ay matagal ng actibo at nag vovolunteer sa mga non-profit organizations.

    Sabi ng spokesperson Lot Ramirez, kahit na maraming grupo na nag o-ofer ng serbisyo sa mga bagong dating dito sa Canada, makikita parin nila na kailangan nila ang FIRST. Dagdag pa ng spokesperson, nakikita talaga nila ng grupo ang talagang kailangan ng mga bagong dating. Ang maganda sa grupo ay naka pag trabaho na sila sa mga non-profit societies at sila na mismo ang nag bibigay ng serbisyo.

    Ang mga pwedeng itulong ng FIRST na grupo ay mga basic needs. Kagaya ng paghahanap ng pwedeng upahan, kung saan bumili ng mga pagkain, at pag proceso ng mga documento na kailangan para sa mga trabaho at mga eskwelahan. Pwede rin nila turuan kung paano gamitin ang public transportation, saan ang library, kung paano I-improve ang skills atbp. Sana makatulong pa sila sa mga parating na bagong kababayan natin dito sa Canada.

Palawan River-Wonders of Nature Finalists

 Ang Palawan Subterranean River ay napasama sa "New 7 Wonders of Nature" at nagagalak ang mga Filipino sa buong mundo dahil may magandang lugar nanaman tayong pwedeng ipagmayabang sa mga tao sa buong mundo. Ang Palawan Underground River ay nakikipag sabayan sa Grand Canyon, the Matterhorn and the Great Barrier Reef sa bansang Australia. Supurtahan natin River na ito na matatagpuan sa Puerto Princesa National Park. Para makasama sa listahan ang Palawan Subterranean River tawagan lamang  para mag vote ang numerong +4177-3124041 at ang code ng River ay 7723; 24 hours a day open ang butohan. Pwede rin mag vote sa internet, bisitahin lamang ang www.new7wonders.com . GO GO GO!!!!

Celebrity Tributes for a Cause

 Ang event na ginanap sa River Rock Casino noong Sunday Octber 18, 2009 ay pinagamatang "Celebrity Tributes for a Cause". Ito ay nangyari para supurtahan and mga biktima sa bagyong Ondoy and Pepeng na puminsala na karamihang lugar sa Luzon na mga nabaha at nawalan ng bahay. Ang kaganapan na ito ay dinalo ng mga Vancouverites na mga matatalintado na ginaya ang mga sikat na artista para bigyan saya ang mga kababayan nating dumalo sa nasabing kaganapan.

    Ang mga emosyon ay naglabasan nang pinakita ang mga litrato pagkatapos ng resulta ng bagyo sa dalawang screen. Karamihan na dumalo ay para mag bigay pugay sa mga nawalan ng pamilya, magbahagi ng kanilang nararamdaman, at magtanong kung paano nga banangyari itong pinakamasamang bagyo at sa Pilipinas pa tumama. Sold out ang kinalabasan ng event na ito dahil din sa pag bibigay ng punong punong enerhiya ng mga performers sa mga manonood.

    Ilan lamang sa mga nag perform ay impersonator ni Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga atpb. Kahit ang mga kababayan natin dito sa Metro Vancouver, naipakita natin na supurtado parin ang Pilipinas kahit ano mang trahidiya ang mangyari dito.

Phillipine News Paper

 Malapit ng maging distributer ng Phillipine news paper ang Rainbow Travel. Pick up lamang ang newspaper kung mag eenquire or bibili ng ticket. Maraming salamat po.

Concert for a cause

    Inaanyayahan po ang mga Filipino Community sa Metro Vancouver na supurtahan and concert na gaganapin para sa mga nasalanta ni Ondoy at Pepeng. Ngayong sabado October 24, 2009 na gaganapin sa oras na 7-10pm. Ang mga tatangahl ay mga Filipino entertainers at Can-Fil artists sa OLGC Youth Center sa Surrey. Ang makukuhang 100% sa nasabing show ay pupunta sa Philippine National Red Cross at Sagip-Kapamilya Foundation.

    Ang mga ticket ay nag hahalagan $10 per person at pwede rin itong bilhin sa Pinoy Supermarker @ 10330 152 St. (corner of 104 & 152 new Tim Hortons. Tawagan lamang ang numerong 604-329-6698.

Bagyong Ramil tatama sa Pinas?

   Ang bagyong Ramil (international name: Lupit) ay nanganganib na maging malakas ito at papuntang Northern and Central Luzon or papuntang sa ibang bansa Taiwan.

    Ayon kay Mr. Robert Sawi ng Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical  Services Administration (PAGASA) may tsansang dadaan sa Pinas ang bagyo dahil sa hangin galing sa Taiwan. Kung hindi man magbabago ang ihip ng hangin, ang bagyong Ramil ay daraan na hindi mababagyo ang iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas.

    Sinabi rin na mabagal nga ang pag alis ni Ramil at hindi alam kung saan patungo at mag hahagis ng lagim. Sa experience ng PAGASA, pag mabagal ang takbo, may chance na mag bago ang directions.

    20% na papunta si Ramil sa North at 80% chance na papunta sa Northen Luzon. Ngayong Tuesday Oct. 20. 2009. Ang bagyong Ramil ay galing sa hilagang-kanlurang na tumatakbo ng mahigit ng 170 kilometro bawat oras. Ayun sa PAGASA, ito ay mag dudulot ng ulan at kidlat sa mga lugar sa Southern Luzon at Visayas sa mga darating na mga araw.
        Ang nakakagulat lamang ay may posibilidad na si Ramil ay maging super typhoon na aabot sa 215 kilometro kada oras. Mga lugar na dapat maghanda sa darating na bagyo ay Panagasinan, La Union, the Ilocos Province, Batanes, Tuguegarao, Cagayan and Baguio City.

        Ipanalangin sana natin mga kababayan na walang mangyari sa pagdating ni Ramil sa Pilipinas.

Filipino Community in progress

 Mahigit na dalawampung taon na ang pagsisikap ni Mr Rudy Nartea kung maitutuloy ba ang maliit na Filipino Community para bumuo ng center sa Kitsap. Noong nkaraang August 29, and PNIA ay nagbukas na ng makulay na center sa Port Orchard. Nag simula ang grupo bilang isa lamang samahan at tumutulong sa mga mapagkawang  gawa sa mga nangangailangan ng kailangan sa buhay buhay. Ilang years ang nakalipas at naging non-profit ang orginazation para magtrabaho sa mga komunidad.

    Sa taong ito, ang PNIA ay nagbago ng stilo para tumingin na ng mga bagong gusali. Nakatingin sila ng 5000 square foot na dating church sa Port Orchard na matatagpuan sa Sydney Avenue. Sa ngayun abala na ang mga kasamahan sa mga myembro at bulontaryo para simulan na nga ang nasabing proyecto.  Maraming ng ginagawa dahil binabalak na itongt patayuhan ng basketball court sa likod ng gusaling ipapatayo.

        Binabalak din na ang proyecto ay tutulungan ang mga seniors citizen. Mr Nartea ay nag plaplanong tuturuan ang mga ito para matutong gumamit ng computer upang mabatid sa kanilang mga pamilya at bumili ng mga kailangan nila. Ang mga guro naman ay nakapila na para turuan ang mga iba para mag salita ng ating sariling wika na Tagalog. Ang nasabi namang basketball court ay para sa mga batang maglaro at iba pang idad, ito ay para mag kaisa sila at balang araw mabuo ang isang malakas na liga. Inaasahan ang Filipino Community para maging sentro ng mga kababayan natin dito sa Metro Vancouver para magkita kita.

Gobyerno ng Canada tutulong sa bagyong Ondoy!

   Noong nakaraang October 4, may naganap na Filipino Community event sa Richmond, BC. Ms. Aling Wong, the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament ng Ricmond ay hinayag na ang Gobyerno ng Canada ay mag gagawa ng $5 million para sa humanitarian assistance at sa mga unang napinsala ng bagyo. Ang halaga na ito ay idadagdag sa pangako sa Red Cross na $ 50,000.

        Sa annonsyo ng Parliamentary Secretary, ipinahayag nito na pag tutuonan pansin niya ang halaga sa cumminidad, respeto sa mga iba't ibang cultura, relihiyon, at mga etniko.

    Dahil ang bansang Canada ay nakakaranas na ng pag bawi mula sa krisis, nag sisimula na silang tumulong sa mga bansang nangangailangan kagaya sa bagyong Ondoy.

    Inaanyayahan ni Ms. Wong na hihikayatin ang publiko para magdamay damay sa pag tulong sa mga biktima at sa mga pamilya na mag sisimula ng bagong buhay.

Updates: Death Toll from bagyong ONDOY

    246 na ang naitalang namatay sa lupit ng bagyong Ondoy dahil sa baha at malakas na ulan na dulot nito sa mga lugar sa Metro Manila at parte ng Luzon noong Sept 26. 2009. Ayon sa National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), 38 na na katao ang naitalan nawawala.

Pepeng/Parma Typhoon

 Pagkatapos naman umalis na si Ondoy dumating si Pepeng (Parma as International name) papasok sa Isabela and Aurora palabas ng Nothern Luzon patungong Japan. Sinabing mas dalawang beses na mas malakas si Pepeng keysa kay Ondoy. Wala naman masyadong baha ngunit mahangin lamang.

    Ilang araw lang ang nakalipas, pumasok si Qedang sa parehong kalakaran ni Pepeng. Hinila niya si Pepeng at pabalik sa Northern Luzon habang palabas naman si Qedang.
    Dito na nag umpisa ang parang bersyon ni Ondoy. Niyugyug niya ang mga probinsyang Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet, Ilocos atbp. Maraming binaha at nawalan ng bahay kagaya sa Metro Manila. Mga hampas ng hangin, nag tutumbahang mga puno, nag liliparang mga bahay at pagkakawala ng tubig galing sa Dam ay ilan lamang ang ginawa ni Pepeng sa mga nasalanta.

    Walang pag-aalinlangan na mas malakas si Pepeng dahil tumatakbo itong mahigit sa 200 km/h; may dalang malakas na hangin, pero si Ondoy ay mahina peo maraming dalang ulan.

    Sa ginawa ni Pepeng, nag ka ubos ubos ang mga paninda sa palengke at mga tindahan ng mga pagkain. Ito ay dulot ng baha na marami paring tao na stranded at ang iba ay nasa ecavuation center. Panalangin lang po natin na sana ay asa mabuti silang kalusugan na may mabuting gawa at pag uugali.76-4119).


Ang pinaka lubhang bagyo na si Ondoy (Ketsana as international name) ay nang iwan ng markang hindi malilimutan sino man na mga nakatira sa Pilipinas. Baha, pag-guho ng lupa, sira sirang kalsada at bahay ang naidulot nitong pamatay na bagyo nitong si Ondoy. Ito ay mapanirang bagyo na nakawasak ng bahay, pamumuhay, at higit sa lahat pamilya. Ayon sa gobyerno nong martes, National Disaster Coordinating Council (September 29, 2009), kumpirmadong naitala na sa mahigit na 331 katao ang nasawi, at halos 40 parin ang nawawala at maitalang 5 na tao ang nasugatan dahil sa gumuhong lupa sa mga ibang lugar sa Luzon.

     Ang mga ahensiya sa Pilipinas ay sinasabing 319,1547 na mga katao ay nakatira sa 607 na pamantasan ng mga paaralan, campo, at ibang mga lugar kagaya ng Rizal at Metro Manila.  

     Ang gobreyno ay nagpahawag ng state of calamity sa mga naapektuhan na lugar. Mga klase ng mga iba’t ibang eskwelahan ay suspendido ng gobreyno.

     Naitalang mahigit na sa P4.91 bilyon ang napinsala ni Ondoy na ari-arian at pananim. Ayon sa PAGASA (weather bureau), si Ondoy ay papuntang hilagang kanluran na 19 kilometro kada oras.

     Nakakabag damdamin naman ang mga tulong ng mga gobyerno at mga sikat na artista sa mga tulong nila sa mga napinsala ni Ondoy. Mga gamut, pera, pagkain ay ilan lamang ang mga dinonate ng mga nasabing tumulong. Sa ngayun, nakatira parin ang mga napinsala sa evacuation center.

     Noong nakaraang Sep. 28, 2009, nag tagpo-tagpo ang mga kababayan natin dito sa Metro Vancouver sa Kensington MLA Mable Elmore. Ang pagpupulong ay para matulungan pinansyal at pag bibigay ng abuloy sa mga naghihirap ngayon at nakakaranas parin ng baha sa mga ibang lugay. Napag isipan na mas mabuti nalang mag bigay ng pera dahil mas mataas ang halaga nito. Mga kababayan, tulungan po natin ang mga nasalanta ni Ondoy. Tawagan lamang si Ms Estella sa numerong (778-881-1958) at si Mr Bagon sa (604-876-4119).

Tulungan ang mga nasalanta!!!!!'

Kung gusto niyo po ng tulong sa mga nasalanta ni Ondoy at Pepeng, huwag po kayong mahiya at tumawag na sa (604-872-2627). Ito na ang panahon para magbigay pugay at tulong sa mga nasalanta ng nasabing bagyo. Kami ay handang tumulong sa mga ating kababayan dito sa Metro Vancouver para tulungan kayong mag booked ng murang ticket papuntang Pilipinas. Mahigit na 200 na katao ang namatay at lampas na sa 2 millions ang na apektuhan.

Lugar na dapat bisitahin sa Pinas!