rides on UN aid to cover up government's criminal negligence” – People
February 14, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY –
Victims of last year's Typhoon Yolanda today assailed Department of
Social Welfare and Development Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman for
bragging over a US$6-million dollar aid from the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and including it in the Aquino government's
“The problem with the DSWD
is that it is claiming credit where it is not due,” said Sr. Edita
Eslopor, a Benedictine nun and Chairperson of People Surge, an
alliance of Yolanda survivors demanding justice. “With or without the
Aquino government, and perhaps even better without the government,
UNICEF would still have rendered humanitarian assistance. Dinky
Soliman is merely riding on the UN aid to cover up the government's
criminal negligence. What's more, such aid may not reach the victims;
the government's conditional cash transfer scheme has for years been
plagued with allegations of corruption.”
Sister Eslopor expressed
outrage that the DSWD should be relying on the goodness of others for
doing the government's responsibility, especially what it should have
done immediately after the typhoon hit last Nov. 8.
“We thank the UNICEF for the
humanitarian assistance. But the Aquino government should have
rendered emergency cash assistance and other kinds of relief three
months ago, not today. That is sheer criminal negligence. Does Dinky
Soliman realize how many of the so-called most vulnerable – including
pregnant women and malnourished children – have suffered for the past
months, and may have died, because the government balked at releasing
funds for the people while it was at the same time embroiled in the
pork barrel scandal? For the past three months, the DSWD has not been
carrying out any significant social amelioration program but has
merely acted as the facilitator for foreign and local donors.
“Does Dinky Soliman realize
how little the US$100 or P4,370 really is, even if good for six
months, when a family of five in Eastern Visayas needs at least P610
every day to live decently, and that was in 2008?”
The People Surge
spokesperson asserted that the Aquino government must render all
possible emergency assistance, while planning for long-term solutions
for the people's losses and grinding poverty. “The conditional cash
transfer scheme or 4Ps to which Dinky Soliman and the DSWD are so
devoted is nothing but a dole-out program. The people cannot survive
for long on mendicancy.
The Yolanda survivors in
People Surge have been petitioning for P40,000 immediate cash aid to
all families affected by the typhoon in Eastern Visayas. Moreover,
People Surge presents the long-term and very basic solutions to the
survivors' plight: food, livelihood, housing and social services. If
the Aquino government cannot give even these very basic demands, it
will surely face the people's wrath.”
Four NPAs surrender
to 34th Infantry Battalion
By DPAO, 8ID PA
February 10, 2014
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar
– One NPA regular member and three NPA Unit Militia members operating
in Northern Samar surrendered to the 34th Infantry (Reliable)
Battalion on February 7 and February 8, 2014 respectively.
Based on the report provided
by 34IB, a certain aka Macky/Baba, a regular NPA member surrendered to
34IB bringing along with him a .22 Caliber pistol. According to aka
Macky/Baba, he surrendered due to the hardship and difficulties he had
experienced inside the rebel movement.
On the other hand, the
Commanding Officer of NPA Unit Militia based at Brgy Malidon and two
of its members voluntarily surrendered to 34IB upon witnessing the
sincerity of the government through the Bayanihan Team Operations of
troops under said Battalion in their barangay.
Under the Local Social
Integration Program of Northern Samar Province, an NPA surrenderee
will receive P10,000.00 as immediate assistance and P30,000.00 as
livelihood assistance. The surrenderees will be receiving their
benefits upon completion of documentation of their surrender.
Lt Col Rodrigo Ilustrisimo,
the Commanding Officer of 34IB said: “The surrender of the NPA
personalities depicts the general sentiment of the people in
communities where NPAs have influence, but given the chance to choose
between the path to peace and violence, NPA rebels will choose peace.
With the program that Northern Samar is implementing, we are looking
at more NPA rebels to return to the mainstream and contribute in the
Nation’s march to peace and progress.”
announces official opening of first restaurant in Vietnam
restaurant in the Asia Pacific region
February 10, 2014
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam
– McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) today announced the opening of
its first restaurant in Vietnam, which also marks the 10,000th
restaurant for the chain in the Asia, Pacific, Middle East, and Africa
The opening of the 24-hour
Drive-Thru McDonald's restaurant – the first drive-thru restaurant
ever in Vietnam -- heralds an entirely new level of dining convenience
for customers in Ho Chi Minh City. Strategically located at the busy
roundabout at intersection of Dien Bien Phu and Nguyen Binh Khiem
Streets in District 1, the two-story standalone restaurant is easily
accessible for commuters to purchase a McDonald's meal on the go using
the Drive-Thru service.
"We're proud to open our
10,000th regional McDonald's restaurant in Vietnam, a country which
offers tremendous opportunity to grow our Brand," said Don Thompson,
McDonald's President and CEO. "I'm thrilled to be here to celebrate
with our local team and welcome our new employees and customers
together. Our commitment in this part of the world and everywhere is
to deliver a modern and exciting restaurant experience with delicious
food and drinks, at the convenience our customers expect from
"Our relationship with our
Vietnamese partner is strong and firmly rooted in McDonald's values.
We look forward to building our brand and our business responsibly, as
part of our growth strategy in Asia, and to making a positive impact
in the local Vietnamese community," added Dave Hoffmann, President of
McDonald's Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
restaurant in the Da Kao ward of District 1 reflects best-in-class
design with a full range of amenities and services unique to
McDonald's restaurants around the world. With a total floor area more
than 1,300 square metres on a property close to 3,000 square metres,
the restaurant is designed as a modern dining destination. In addition
to Drive-Thru service, customers will enjoy a multitude of offerings
around the clock including delicious McDonald's food, free Wifi
internet access, family-friendly amenities like a children's Playplace
and party rooms, and parking facilities for cars and more than 250
On the menu front, in
addition to McDonald's iconic choices such as the Big Mac and
world-famous French fries, the first restaurant in Vietnam will launch
the McPork line of burgers, which was especially created to reflect
local Vietnamese tastes.
"Today is a very special day
for the entire McDonald's Vietnam team. All of us have been highly
inspired by the tremendous support we have received from the global
McDonald's team and the rigorous operational training our team has
experienced over the past year. We are extremely proud to serve our
customers who have long waited for the arrival of McDonald's here,"
said Henry Nguyen, founder of Good Day Hospitality and developmental
licensee of Vietnam.
"We want our restaurants to
be places within the communities they serve where friends and families
can enjoy a special McDonald's experience made memorable by fresh,
great-tasting food, fast and friendly service, and a comfortable and
welcoming environment. The opening of our first restaurant in Vietnam
is just the beginning of a journey with our customers. We will work
hard to continually stay relevant to our customers' needs and exceed
their expectations," added Nguyen.
Does the Philippines have what it takes?
Sky high male
model search - may the fittest men win
February 9, 2014
MANILA – The countdown to the highly anticipated J Spring Fashion Show
on the world’s latest architectural wonder, Gardens by the Bay’s OCBC
SKYWAY, on 5 March 2014 in Singapore has officially started. Known for
her female-only, history making catwalks, Jessica Minh Anh’s latest
VIP-only showcase will feature male models for the very first time. In
this rare opportunity, male models will compete to wear original
designs which will feature alongside female collections of Haute
Couture and Pret-A-Porter dresses from across the globe. The J Male
Model Search is open worldwide from 8 to 17 February 2014. Three lucky
men will win a chance of a lifetime to grace the 128 metre sky high
catwalk in the most iconic fashion show on earth.
“We are very excited to discover new faces for the grand catwalk. Male
models will definitely bring more energy and diversity to the show”
said international model and entrepreneur Jessica Minh Anh. Jessica’s
previous female-only catwalks were hosted at some of the most
extraordinary venues in the world including London’s Tower bridge,
PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Skybridge, Seine River in Paris, Costa Atlantica
in Dubai, and most recently the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the US. The
winners of the search will wear original creations by London-based
designer Mark Marengo, who is known to add a contemporary twist to
In addition, Lebanese celebrity designer Ziad Nakad will return to
Jessica’s phenomenal catwalk to premier his latest Haute Couture
collection. The master of shapes, texture and colours is expected to
dazzle the finale with an almost unattainable balance between elegance
and boldness in his every design.
The winners of the J Male Model Search will be given cutting edge
hairstyles by Singapore's No 1 Action Salon who will also design
exclusive architectural hairpieces for the female models to compliment
Jessica Minh Anh’s extraordinary vision for the show. Japanese
cosmetics brand Shu Uemura will add perfect contouring and colouring
to the flawless catwalk looks.
The models will be walking in front of exclusive guests, which include
country ambassadors, ministers, international designers, company
directors and the national and international press. The guests will
enjoy a complete VIP experience starting with a red carpet entrance
and SoloStep photo booth. Guests will then be seated at the Supertree
Grove to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire catwalk on the OCBC
Skyway before indulging themselves in artistically designed and
freshly made cakes by Singapore’s very own bakery The Patissier at the
networking session. At the same time, the press conference will be
held at Gardens by the Bay’s spectacular Waterview Room with an
expansive view of Marina Bay waterfront.
To ensure seamless installation, Jessica Minh Anh has joined forces
with Singapore’s major production company Electronics & Engineering
for a high tech sound system, and logistics company Nanyang Inc who
will create a highly secure backstage area on the OCBC Skyway as well
as the special seating arrangement for guests. Other local partners of
the show include SGBanner and InsiderTV Asia besides many others.
The exquisite showcase in the morning will be extended till the
evening with the J Spring After Party in the Pan Pacific Orchard
Hotel. VIPs will have a chance to see the most unique pieces from the
catwalk up close via a mini fashion exhibition. The winners of J Male
Model Search will join exclusive VIPs and enjoy networking in style.
Jessica Minh Anh's previous shows have wowed guests with a beautifully
made cake dress to a spectacular dove presentation, with the addition
of male models already announced, one can only expect some pleasant
surprises at J Spring Fashion Show on Gardens by the Bay’s OCBC
Skyway. For the latest updates, visit www.jmodelmanagement.co.uk and
Include all 9,539 Hawaii class suit
delisting of martial law victims anew
February 4, 2014
QUEZON CITY – SELDA (Samahan
ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) reiterated its demand to
reinstate the 2,013 names of delisted Martial Law victims who should
receive reparation in any of the settlement agreements.
The 2,013 delisted names are
part of 9,539 victims recognized by the Hawaii court who filed a class
suit against former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Federal Court of
Honolulu in Hawaii in 1986.
According to Marie-Hilao
Enriquez, the Hawaii court shouldn’t have wantonly delisted members of
the class suit based merely on the reason that they failed to reply to
letters sent by the Hawaii court asking for verification of their
“Delisting the victims who
were part of those who went after the Marcoses is a grave injustice.
They were arbitrarily dropped from the list without notice and without
due process, denying them of their right to reparation. We reiterate
our demand to Judge Real to revert to the old list of Martial Law
victims,” said Enriquez.
In October last year, SELDA
filed an opposition on the delisting of members at the Hawaii court,
stating that there has been an executory judgment by the U.S. Court of
Appeals dated December 17, 1996 that the number of victims who were
qualified reparation remain at 9,539.
“This only means that the
victims shouldn’t be given more burden to write to the Hawaii courts,
or confirm their identities because they have already been recognized
as legitimate class suit members and victims,” said Enriquez.
The filed opposition also
said that class suit members come from different parts of the
archipelago, and many of them are ordinary farmers and workers who may
not have the financial means and resources to immediately respond to
the said reply required by the court. Many more belong to the informal
settlers – the urban poor people who might have been moved from their
original residences due to forced evictions and demolitions of their
“We shouldn’t aggravate
their burden anymore, as justice has been so elusive from them. Until
now, they are still demanding for the actual implementation of the law
recognizing Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.
SELDA hit the continuous
non-implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and
Recognition Act. It has been almost a year since Pres. Aquino signed
the law, but until now, no claims board has been formed. The claims
board is the body responsible for the process of recognition and
reparation of the 9,539 victims and others who were not part of the
Hawaii class suit.
victimizing 'Yolanda' survivors all over again - People Surge
By People Surge
February 1, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – "With
no sense of urgency to respond to 'Yolanda' survivors' demands, this
government is victimizing us ['Yolanda' victims] all over again," said
Dr. Efleda Bautista, a storm survivor herself and current Executive
Vice Chairperson of People Surge.
Exactly last week, not less
than 12,000 strong 'Yolanda' survivors thronged to the regional
capital of Tacloban in a protest march led by People Surge, an
alliance of 'Yolanda' victims and their supporters. This is, so far,
the biggest protest action witnessed in Eastern Visayas for more than
a decade; also one of the biggest protest actions in the country
directed against the Aquino administration.
'Yolanda' survivors under
the banner of People Surge laid out specific demands such as provision
and sustenance of food aid, until necessary, to aid full recovery
while source of livelihood does not stabilize. They presented an
18-point demand that includes immediate provision of P40,000 cash
relief for every family devastated by 'Yolanda' and the scrap of the
'no-build zone' policy which is reportedly being implemented not
actually for safety of residents but to facilitate entry of big
businesses. Other components fall under strategic proposals for full
rehabilitation and reconstruction of devastated communities.
In the same event, survivors
and supporters articulated their call for justice to all victims of
Aquino's criminal negligence as well as for their right to housing and
livelihood amid the context of a "profit-driven" rehabilitation
framework labeled as 'Build Back Better' or the Reconstruction
Assistance on Yolanda (RAY).
Sister Edita Eslopor, a
Benedictine nun and Chairperson of People Surge, insisted that the
Aquino government must have consulted the victims at the onset of any
rehab effort. She said that "at the rate by which government
implements policies like the 'no-build zone', not going through any
real consultation among major stakeholders who are the victims,
Aquino's rehab plan is going somewhere else, certainly not towards
genuine recovery of typhoon victims."
The alliance said in their
unity statement that the victims should be at the core of all rehab
programs, not big business or real estate developers. But Presidential
Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda spoke on Wednesday and belittled the
series of protests as mere "concerted effort of a few to convince the
public that most of our countrymen are dissatisfied." He believes in
the 'very good' rating of the President. He is convinced that
'Yolanda' survivors are happy towards the President's rehab efforts.
However, Bautista of People
Surge lambasted Lacierda's statement saying, "The Aquino
administration is pathetic for being a die-hard defender of a bogus
survey even after survivors from Eastern Visayas - the worst hit
region by the typhoon - have spoken of their real condition."
In the same light, just a
day after the massive mobilization last week, so-called rehab czar
Panfilo Lacson announced an end to the ongoing construction of
bunkhouses for use as temporary shelters of displaced families. The
construction of bunkhouses is tainted with issues of corruption and
overpricing. Lacson denied it but admitted that the bunkhouses are
Earlier, the Tacloban-based
Alliance of Typhoon Yolanda victims (ABBAT) set a deadline on the
Aquino government to grant their petition for P40,000 cash relief and
scrap of 'no-build zone' policy on or before February 14. Conversely,
ABBAT community leader Patrick Escalona rejected Lacson's option to
provide construction materials instead in lieu of the 40,000 cash
relief originally meant for daily subsistence of every family. He said
the amount is too small to replace the rehabilitation program of the
When asked to comment about
Aquino's seeming 'lack sensitivity' to 'Yolanda' survivors' concerns,
Bautista pointed out Aquino's stand on corruption: "if big bureaucrats
ask, Aquino is quick to give hefty amount of cash or bonuses. The
travesty is, when victims protested last week to demand immediate
government aid, suddenly they claim there is no fund. Who are they
fooling? Who forgets the 1.1 trillion-peso pork barrel of the
President? Where is the foreign aid going? This government is
heartless. Its greed and corruption kill people."
Last week, People Surge
warned of a continuing protest or 'people surges' in other cities of
releases P5.8M in calamity loans for 'Agaton'
By OVP Media
February 1, 2014
MANILA – The Home
Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund) has released P5.8
million in calamity loans for members in Mindanao affected by Tropical
Depression Agaton, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said today.
"As of January 28, we have
already processed 598 calamity loan applications out of the 827 we
have received in four Pag-IBIG branches amounting to P5.8 million,"
Binay said Pag-IBIG Fund has
processed the calamity loan applications of 247 members from Butuan,
317 in Iligan, 32 in Zamboanga, and two in Cagayan de Oro.
The Vice President, who
chairs the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees, said Pag-IBIG Fund branches in
affected areas continue to receive and process calamity loan
"We have also issued a
three-month moratorium on housing loan payments for those affected by
Agaton," Binay added.
Pag-IBIG also recently
issued a six-month moratorium for housing and short term loans of
members living in Yolanda-affected areas.
Data from the National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shows the death count
from the first tropical depression at 70 as of Thursday, with another
86 injured and nine people still missing.
As of Thursday, Agaton has
also caused a total of P527,208,104.72 worth of damage, with
P273,623,750.00 from infrastructure and P253,584,354.72 from the
Agaton brought heavy rains
over Mindanao and parts of the Visayas, affecting some 250,000
families in 16 provinces in Regions 10, 11 and 12, Caraga Region and
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
It's time for action
those involved in pork barrel scam
By Office of the Senate
January 30, 2014
PASAY CITY – "Kapag
may kasalanan, ikulong. Walang sasantuhin dito, administrasyon man o
oposisyon, lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno."
Senate Majority Leader Alan
Peter Cayetano urged the government to file charges against all those
implicated in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam during the
Thursday's resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on
the alleged misuse of the now scrapped Priority Development Assistance
"Ang tingin ng tao, simple
lang, may mangyayari ba diyan o wala? Kapag may nakasuhan at nakulong,
we are successful graft busters. Pero kung hindi naman, at walang
nasauli na pera o walang narecover, nag-fail ang gobyerno," he said.
Pointing out that the
committee needs to dig deeper into the controversial issue, Cayetano
cited news reports linking businesswoman and pork barrel scam queen
Janet Lim-Napoles to appointed officials in government.
"I was looking into the
news. They said that NABCOR [National Agribusiness Corporation] former
President Allan Javellana was introduced to Napoles and whistleblower
Benhur Luy by a Department of Agriculture (DA) employee named Manuel
Jarmin... We found out that he is now the acting director of the
Livestock Development council of DA. He has been the acting director
since 2010," Cayetano disclosed.
"We dug a little bit deeper
and found out that there is such a corporation as Jimmy's Bar and
Grill that seems to be incorporated by Jimmy Napoles, the husband of
Ms. Napoles. Apparently, even in Comelec [Commission on Elections],
Manuel Recto Jarmin is listed as a nominee of an admitted Napoles
party-list in 2007," he added, referring to the Samahan ng mga
Mangangalakal sa Ikauunlad ng Ekonomiya (SMILE) party-list founded by
the Napoleses and was allegedly part of the controversial Hello Garci
Cayetano expressed his
concern over Jarmin's relations with the Napoleses and why he remains
to hold a position in government.
"I believe in the sincerity
of the President for the complete cleansing [of government] and going
after all those who committed graft and corruption. It’s time for
action. Tama na ang salita at investigations. Kasuhan na at ipakulong
ang mga may sala," he said.
TUCP favors house
measure increasing pay for night workers
January 28, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is in favor of a bill
in the House of Representatives that seeks to increase the
compensation rate of night shift differential in the country from the
current 10% to 15%.
The bill also tries to
change the night shift differential time window from between 10p.m.
and 6a.m. to between 8p.m. and 4a.m.
“We are in favor of
increasing night shift differentials of workers by 5% because it will
somehow help night shift workers manage with medical expenses out of
sickness arising from their stressful and not so ordinary work
schedule,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the
Associated Labor Unions-TUCP.
He also added saying: “Of
course, the increase will boost workers’ morale resulting to an
increased productivity thereby benefitting the company at the same
time improve employees’ purchasing power stimulating economic
House Bill 656 introduced by
Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado is an act providing for an increase in
rate and changing of the time window of the night shift differential
otherwise known as “Night Workers’ Additional Compensation Act of
The bill seeks to revise the
provision of Article 86 of the Labor Code of the Philippines into
“every employee shall be paid a night shift differential of not less
that fifteen percent (15%) of his regular wage for each hour of work
performed between 8p.m. and 4a.m.”
The code, created in May
1974, stipulates the night shift differential window between 10p.m.
and 6a.m. to be paid with not less than 10% of regular wage.
The proposed measure also
requires the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to draft rules
on giving exemptions to company or employers who might be unable to
afford the increase.