Items filtered by date: Thursday, 16 March 2017

UAE Filipinos: You are now exempt from airport terminal fees

Filipinos working and living in the UAE will no longer be chargedterminal fees when they depart from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The move, which marks the Philippines path to making travelling more convenient for its citizens, was met with praise by the Filipino community in the UAE. According to a television broadcast by TFC Middle East, operated by Philippine media conglomerate ABS-CBN, the airport companies signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to remove the additional charge.

Initially, Filipino travellers buying their plane tickets were charged an additional 550 Philippine pesos (Dh40) as terminal fee. This amount would then be refunded to travellers upon departing from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Due to the busy schedules many OFWs adhere to, claiming the refund is almost always forgotten. Add to that the fact that proper documentation must be shown in order to claim the aforementioned refund. It was also seen as an additional expense by many Filipino travellers.

According to local newspaper Manila Bulletin, Department of Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said that it was the President Rodrigo Duterte's "gift to OFWs" and "a manifestation of his concern for their welfare."

Facilities housing the current terminal fee refund offices will be closed down. The policy will take effect starting April 30, 2017 and will apply to OFWs, pilgrims, Philippine Sports Commission delegates and those authorized by law and the Office of the President.

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A new era for Pinoy action films

The prestigious Cinemax HBO Action Film Competition and the Urban Action Showcase & Expo awarded the coveted Best Short Film (2016) trophy to “Blood Hunters,” a film written, produced and directed by Filipino filmmaker and martial arts action star Vincent Soberano.

This sets the stage for a new era of Filipino action films penetrating the international market.

For Soberano, his main motivation is to promote Filipino martial arts in Filipino movies to the international audience. “They’ve used Filipino martial arts in blockbuster action films like ‘John Wick,’ ‘Jason Bourne,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ and a huge list of other films,” he says. “But no one knows its Filipino because it’s always portrayed by Hollywood stars. It’s about time I did.”

This film is a collaboration between two Filipino martial arts stars – Taekwondo Olympic delegate Monsour Del Rosario and Muay Thai world champion Vincent Soberano.

Del Rosario wants to inspire the young men and boys of the country to build a strong character and fighting spirit. Soberano wants to portray Filipinos to the world as powerful and formidable warriors.

Soberano’s personal interest in comic books and stories of the supernatural inspired him to combine martial arts and fantasy into an action-packed screenplay. Melding fantasy, action and martial arts makes a good universal theme for commercial films, judging from box-office hits like “Blade,” “Matrix,” “Frankenstein,” “Warcraft,” “Assassins Creed,” “Man with the Iron Fist” and a slew of other hard-hitting blockbusters.

He points out, “The martial arts action sequences are so unique and have never been seen in action cinema before. This is a big factor in the film’s success. That, and the introduction of ancient Filipino folklore and superstitions, with characters such as the Aswang, Dwende, Kapre, Multo, and Diwata. A cultural, martial arts, fantasy action film is always a great combination if done right. This is the perfect blend that we have achieved.”

For both Del Rosario and Soberano, as well as lead actress Sarah Chang, martial arts is a way of life. Del Rosario and Soberano both started training at the age of eight in their hometown of Bacolod City. They have been friends as young boys.

Chang started training Wushu at age seven in her hometown of Virginia, under the tutelage of Jet Li’s former teammate.


DFA: PHL ‘looking into’ possible Duterte-Trump meeting this year

Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo said they were looking into a possible meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, within the year. 
"Well, it's being looked into... Well, at least, if during the East Asia Summit, or maybe even before. It's being looked at,"  Manalo said when asked in an interview aired on News To Go on Wednesday if "groundwork" for such a meeting was already being prepared.
Manalo added that apart from Trump, they would also invite other world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin to the East Asia Summit in November. The Philippines' is this year's host of the ASEAN summit, after which the EAS is usually held.
"Iimbitahin naming lahat ng mga leaders especially on the EA Summit. So we hope they will attend. That will be in November this year," the acting DFA chief said. 
The East Asia Summit, a regional leaders' forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on key challenges facing the East Asian region, is set to be hosted by the Philippines in November.
The summit is held annually by leaders of 18 countries from the East Asia, Southeast Asian, and South Asian regions, as well as the US and Russia.

Was 'intimate' dinner with Duterte a loyalty check? Sotto, Ejercito say no

Senators Vicente Sotto III and JV Ejercito on Wednesday denied that the “intimate” dinner they had with President Rodrigo Duterte was part of a loyalty check, saying the two-hour conversation was mostly “light” and “nothing serious.”
Sotto and Ejercito were two of the 15 majority senators who attended the dinner held Tuesday night in Malacañang.
“Walang napag-usapan na priority bills,” Sotto said. “Siguro probably because most of them have not broken bread with the President not even once from July.”
Asked whether it was a loyalty check, Sotto replied: “I don’t think so.”

Ejercito, for his part, said: “Wala eh. Baka. Pero wala talagang pinag-usapan na medyo mabigat na issue.”
Ejercito added that topics discussed during the dinner were tax reform proposals of the administration, the war on drugs, and, very briefly, the charges filed against Senator Leila de Lima.
De Lima is currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center over drug-related charges.
“In fairness to the President, wala siyang hiniling, inindorso, wala siyang tinanong tungkol sa investigation. So very light lang,” Ejercito said.
Aside from Ejercito and Sotto, the other senators present were Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Senators Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano, Grace Poe, Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Nancy Binay, Loren Legarda, Ralph Recto, and Sonny Angara.
Absent from the dinner are Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Gringo Honasan.
Also noticeably absent were members of the minority bloc composed of De Lima and Senators Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV. —KBK, GMA News

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