Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 05 April 2017

U.S. gov't inaugurates health, education facilities in Leyte

MANILA — US and Philippine officials inaugurated newly constructed health facilities and classrooms in Leyte that are part of the US government initiative to help Typhoon Yolanda survivors build back better. The US Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Health Chief Karen Klimowski led the inauguration of the Dagami Rural Health Unit and Tuberculosis Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course (TB-DOTS) Facility, the Carigara Hospital Ward and TB-DOTS Facility, and six classrooms in Patoc Elementary School in the municipalities of Dagami and Carigara, Leyte. The structures are designed to withstand typhoons with wind speeds of up to 360kph.

“USAID is pleased to work with Leyte Province towards improving access to health care and building healthy and stable communities,” Klimowski said. She emphasized the U.S. government’s dedication to help alleviate public health challenges in the Philippines, particularly tuberculosis (TB), during the turnover of the health facilities: “The inauguration of your TB-DOTS facility is just in time for the observance of World TB Day. The United States is a committed partner of the Philippines in the fight against tuberculosis.” She also applauded the local government’s initiative to engage senior citizens in TB information campaigns that educate the community, identify undiagnosed TB cases, and build awareness that TB is indeed a curable disease.

USAID’s restoration of access to health and education in Leyte is part of the U.S. government’s approximately P7.2 billion assistance to help Typhoon Yolanda survivors recover from the catastrophe. To date, USAID has constructed 310 classrooms, 12 health facilities, 30 agri-fishery support facilities, and 1,029 sari-sari stores. USAID is also restoring livelihood activities by providing equipment and training to 3,215 farmers, 6,920 fisherfolk, and 1,417 micro-, small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs.


Pinoy contender hammers Mexican foe

By Truth Esguerra, Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- Top Filipino boxing contender Mercito "NoMercy" Gesta defeated Gilberto Gonzalez during his comeback fight on April 1 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Gesta, who is coming from a 17 month layoff from boxing, was able to overcome a third round knockdown and pound his way to a victory over the heavy-handed Gonzalez.

The 29 year-old Cebu native pulverized the Mexican boxing contender with multiple punch combinations and slick boxing techniques throughout a majority of the fight.

Gesta was awarded the victory by the ring judges who scored the bout 96-93,99-91,and 98-92.

The rising Filipino boxing star, who is signed with Golden Boy Promotions, said he is looking forward to more fights in the near future.

"I'm back!" he said. "I can't wait to see what this year willunfold."

Gesta's record improves to 30 wins (16 KOs), 1loss, and 2 draws.

  • Published in Sports

Our changing Manila:Trumped before we know it?

By Curtis S. Chin

From what some describe as the world's first "Chinatown" – Binondo, founded in 1594– to the skyscrapers of Makati, the ever-changing, now-you-love-it-now-you-don't Metro Manila may be trumped, so to speak, before we know it.
If all goes on schedule, Trump Tower at Century City will become the third tallest completed building in the Philippines. The skyscraper on Kalayaan Avenue is already architecturally topped out and stands at 822 feet tall.
As the Trump name rises in Manila, former US First Lady Michelle Obama's quote from the 2016 Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia comes to mind. “When they go low, we go high,” she said.
That memorable turn of phrase, however, reminds me today less of the ugliness of past political campaigns, and more of Southeast Asia's changing skylines and the struggle to balance and find space for both skyscrapers and street life. Indeed, those same words from the former First Lady have relevance – in a different, economic context in both the United States and the Philippines – as new administrations focuses on making their respective nations "great again."
US President Donald J. Trump is certainly no stranger to skyscrapers. Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York is arguably one of the most famous addresses in the world. In Chicago – site of the world’s first skyscraper – the Trump International Hotel & Tower, completed in 2009, is the second tallest completed building in that city, and the fourth tallest in the United States.
The United States long ago ceded the title of world’s tallest building to Asia and the Middle East.Seven of the top 10 tallest completed buildings in the world are now in Asia, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. This Chicago-headquartered not-for-profit organization founded in 1969 maintains The Skyscraper Center, a database on the world’s tallest buildings.
As of April 2017, the world’s tallest buildings are the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2717 feet, theShanghai Tower in China at 2073 feet and the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, at 1972 feet, according to the Skyscraper Center. Coming in at number 4 is 1 World Trade Center in New York at 1776 feet. Hong Kong boasts the eighth tallest building – the International Commerce Center. In Southeast Asia, the tallest buildings are Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers; the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, in Vietnam; and Bangkok’s recently completed Maha Nakhon tower –all at more than 1000 feet tall.
The tallest completed building in the Philippines is the Philippine Bank of Communications on Ayala Avenue in Makati. Also known as PBCOM Tower, that building, at 848feet, is also the 145th tallest in Asia and the 265th tallest in the world, according to the Skyscraper Center. Only slightly shorter is the Grand Hyatt Metrocenter building in Taguig City.
Cities across Asia are growing outwards and upwards at breakneck speed, with the World Bank forecasting decades of urban growth to come. The region’s ongoing urbanization is likely only to intensify despite almost 200 million people already having moved to Asia’s cities in the first decade of the 21st century.

More than skyscrapers

Liveable cities,however, need more than skyscrapers. The people, the street life, and the neighborhoods at the bottom of the buildings must not be lost in the shadows of new development and pushed ever further out of town, out of sight ,and out of mind. That remains a particularly critical point as city planners across Asia, unintentionally or not, make it much tougher for street vendors, street-side tailors and cobblers, and owners of push carts and food trucks to make a living.
As cities build taller, they must keep 3 key benchmarks for liveability in mind – community, resilience, and sustainability.
First, communities must be put at the heart of urban development. Urban planners must consider not only the impact of a city’s design and new construction on traffic efficiency or parking spaces, but also on inequality and on human lives.
Amid the rush to maximize real estate returns and perhaps build the next great shopping mall, developers must also incorporate public, open spaces to build a sense of community, cultivate street life and encourage social interaction. And that fostering of community should ideally include people from all walks of life and income levels.
Second, cities must build in resilience.
A society or city that is socially inclusive and with strong community bonds leads to a city that is also resilient. An initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation, 100 ResilientCities, defines urban resilience as the capacity to survive, adapt and grow no matter the stresses or shocks they experience.
Beyond skyscrapers, cities must build in comprehensive security and rule of law, effective public health systems, inclusive housing and labor policies, and diverse transport networks, as well as effective delivery of emergency services. Here, the private sector, including insurance and reinsurance companies, will play a necessary role along with government policies to encourage an enabling environment for resilience.
And third, cities need to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner.
With more and more people moving into cities, tackling environmental challenges is already increasingly an urban issue. Incorporating innovations and technologies in areas such as infrastructure, energy and transport will be essential to building smarter if not “smart cities.” Here again, the contributions andc oming together of public, private, and not-for-profit sectors will be
There are many ways to measure a city’s success. At the Milken Institute, where I serve as that non-partisan economic think tank’s inaugural Asia Fellow, our researchers since1999 have used a comprehensive, fact-based set of criteria to rank 200 large and 201 small metros across the United States as part of an annualBest-Performing Cities index.
The economic outcomes-based index heavily weighs growth in employment, wages and technology.More subjective metrics such as quality-of-life and cost-of-living are not included.

Tech as driver

This past year, tech still drove the top rankings as cities that exceled in innovation again topped the index, with San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley, claiming the No1 spot for the second year in a row. A similar Milken Institute Best PerformingCities China list based on official Chinese economic, jobs, wage growth, foreign direct investment and other data singled out Shanghai, Guiyang, and Zhoushan as top performers.
Certainly, not all cities are blessed with the resources that Silicon Valley’s urban areas orShanghai have as they too face the growing physical, social and economic challenges that are a part of an increasingly urbanized 21st century. Disparate economies and approaches to development in the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila have resulted in vastly different urban experiences.
But today, amid the diversity of the world’s changing urban landscapes, on one point there should be agreement.
Liveable, dynamic, and vibrant cities are greater testament to a country’s prosperity and policy successes than any number of skyscrapers, no matter how big or how tall. Both of my former hometowns – New York and Manila – may soon now have Trump Towers.
Yet, as the United States rebuilds and cities in America and acrossAsia, including Metro Manila, build higher, it is the communities that are sustained below that will matter most. –
Curtis S. Chin, aformer US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, is managing director of advisory firm RiverPeak Group, LLC. Follow him on Twitter at @CurtisSChin.


Palit Bise rally held in Hayward

Palit Bise rally held in Hayward

Supporters of PresidentRodrigo Duterte held their own Palit Bise rally to coincide with the gathering at the Luneta calling for the removal of Vice-President Leni Robredo fromo ffice.

Held at the Hayward, the rally was the San Francisco Bay Area Duterte loyalists’ way not just of reiterating their support for the President but also their condemnation of Robredo’s video statements before the United Nation that dealt on the government’s war on drugs.

Digong Duterte SupportersNorthern California coordinator Kelly Dayag announced that their own rally in response with the Duterte Alliance of Volunteers and Artists Organization(DAVAO) movement in the Philippines members of which are supportive of thePresident for a better Philippines.

“This is to demand that theVice President to step down from her office or be impeached because she is not helping the President and instead she is being belligerent. We don’t want that for we want our country to progress and that the real Vice President be in place,” Dayag continued. “This was undertaken even if the President was against impeachment of the Robredo to avoid disunity, when in fact there already is disunity, we pushed through with this to show the world and to impress upon the ‘fake’ Vice President Robredo to shape up or ship out because s long as she is there, there is always a threat of destabilization.”

BrotherhoodFor Duterte (BFD) and Lex Talionis Fraternitas - North America (Lex NA) leaderReynaldo ‘Bong’ Aralar joined the assembly to eliminate the bad publicity or perception being put out by no less than the Vice President.

“We honor the call of the president not to pursue the impeachment of the Vice President but we also want to pursue this by sending a message to Leni Robredo that we will not keep still and basically let her malign the image of the Philippines and the Filipinos here and abroad. She should not be saying what she said in the video because it is not doing any good for her nor for the country. It is doing the country a lot of harm. We want to make sure that the press reflects the true situation in the Philippines as the eyes of the world is on us,” Aralarpointed out.

Aralar made known his preference for Senator Alan Peter Cayetano in case Robredo is impeached for he thinks Cayetano is the best choice Duterte can make to succeed Robredo.

Ask whether they were supportive on the call by Manila rally participants for a revolutionary government, Aralar voiced out that he believes in the rule of law.

“I don’t believe in the declaration of a revolutionary government. But I espouse the creation of a federal form of government,” Aralar stressed.

For his part, Dayag is supportive of the clamor for revolutionary government if only for destabilization to stop and fro the rule of law to be in place “so we can have this in place to repel lawlessness just like during the time of Cory Aquino and if we have no other choice.”

As far as the media treatment of Duterte is concerned, Dayag considers sensationalism is employed to sell news.

“Media needs a battle cry that is enticing to the people. I believe this all about sensationalism(although) I cannot question the whole mainstream media. I believe that this has always been the problem,” Dayag contends.

Aralar for his part, answered yes and no when asked whether the media an enemy of Duterte administration.

“There are those in media that promotes and seeks to have a balanced reporting as there are always two sides, two opposing views of a story. And we have to respect that. Like it or not, media controls how people behave and how people perceives the Philippines. They can sell or not sell thePhilippines. Fake news really drives what is going on in a particular country or government. Media needs to be reporting only the truth. If media can do that, then we will not also be critical of media. It has been a problem for awhile now dating back to the Marcos era,” Aralar insists.


BrotherhoodFor Duterte (BFD) and Lex Talionis Fraternitas - North America (Lex NA) leaderReynaldo ‘Bong’ Aralar (left) and Digong Duterte Supporters North America coordinator Kelly Dayag (right), together with rally participants, took turns in lambasting Vice President Leni Robredo in a Palit Bise rally in Hayward California.

Scores of Palit Bise rally participants reiterates their support for President Duterte and called for removal of Vice President Leni Robredo either through resignation, impeachment or defeat in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal case.


Earthquake hits Batangas, felt in parts of Metro Manila

MANILA -- No, it was not yet the supposedly overdue Big One.

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Tingloy, Batangas at 8:58 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, with aftershocks felt until the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 5.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology(Phivolcs) reported that the quake was tectonic in origin and had a depth of focus of three kilometers.
The quake was felt at Intensity V in Malvar and Calataganin Batangas.
Intensity IV was felt in Makati City; Obando,Bulacan; Imus and Indang in Cavite; Calamba, Laguna; Sta. Ana, Manila;Valenzuela City and Tagaytay City.
Intensity III was recorded in Mandaluyong City;Quezon City; Gen. Trias, and Dasmariñas in Cavite ; Pasay City and Lucena City while Intensity II was felt in Talisay, Batangas; Abra De Ilog and OccidentalMindoro.
Instrumental Intensities were also reported in TagaytayCity with Intensity IV and Mauban town and Lucena City in Quezon with IntensityIII.
There were no immediate report of damage or injuries, but, Phivolcs warned of possible aftershocks. There were no immediate report of damage or injuries.
In a phone interview with Jessica Soho on SONA, Phivolcs executive director Renato Solidum said Intensity VI was felt in Batangas City.
On Phivolcs' Earthquake Intensity Scale, an Intensity VI tremor is classified as "Very Strong":
Very Strong - Many people are frightened; many run outdoors. Some people lose their balance. Motorists feel like [they're]driving [with] flat tires. Heavy objects or furniture move or may be shifted.Small church bells may ring. Wall plaster may crack. Very old or poorly built houses and man-made structures are slightly damaged though well-built structures are not affected. Limited rockfalls and rolling boulders occur in hilly to mountainous areas and escarpments. Trees are noticeably shaken.
Solidum assured the public that there was no imminent tsunami threat in Batangas.
"Walapong tsunami na maidudulot 'yunglindol kanina," Solidum said.
"Ang protocol po namin kung sa tingin namin walang tsunami, hindi na namin binabanggit 'yun, pero para sigurado na naiintindihan ng ating mga kababayan nawala po no? Kung meron naman po talagang posibilidad na magka-tsunami, babanggitin naman po natin," headded.
Phivolcs also warned the public, especially those in Batangas, that they would feel some aftershocks.
"Normal po'yan, sumusunod po talaga 'yan," Solidum said.
"Ang paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, we must be prepared for a stronger one," headded.
Philvolcs has long warned the public to prepare for a major earthquake to hit Metro Manila, citing the regular occurence of big temblors every few decades. — Betimg Dolor, GMA News

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