Items filtered by date: Friday, 24 November 2017

10 streaming services in the PH: Which one is right for you?


All screenshots from respective official apps and websites 

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MANILA, Philippines - The influx of streaming and video on-demand services becoming available locally in the last year or so has provided Filipinos options to choose which appeal to them the most.

Before planning your binge-watch sessions, figure out and decide which service works and best fits your interests.


1) Netflix


Price: Netflix has a steeper price when compared to others on this list – P370 a month for the Basic, P460 a month for the Standard, and P550 a month for the Premium.

Why subscribe: The service continues to provide new and exclusive original content
for their subscribers to binge on like Stranger ThingsNarcosHouse of Cards, and
many others. And most of them now support UHD (4K), HDR, and Dolby Atmos, great forthose with a high-end home entertainment system.

Subscribers also have the chance to personalize their viewing experiences by creating separate profiles for each person using the service, allowing Netflix to make the appropriate movie/show recommendations. Some plans allow accounts to be shared with friends or family for simultaneous viewing.

The downside: Licensed content are continuously being added and removed from the service.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Windows 10, set-top boxes, and game

2) Amazon Prime Video




Price: $2.99 USD/month for the first 6 months and $5.99 USD/month for the following months

Why subscribe: Amazon Prime Video has its own selection of award-winning original
content like Mozart in the JungleAmerican Gods, and Transparent. It even has
licensed content from its direct competitors like HBO’s Game of Thronesand Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In addition, it allows up to 3 devices to be streaming simultaneously and a watch offline feature.

Gamers will also love the Twitch Prime membership that comes free with their subscription, which grant them access to exclusive content and streams on Twitch.

The downsides: The service has a la carte content that do not come with the
subscription and require extra pay. Similar to Netflix, some of the licensed content are
constantly changing.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Windows 10, set-top boxes, and game

3) iwantTV


Price: Free, P10/day, P40/week or P99/month
Why subscribe: iWantTV puts all content produced and aired by ABS-CBN all in one
place. The service lets its subscribers access the network’s sizeable archive of original shows, movies, news features, and more. Subscribers can also livestream all channels under the network from their mobile devices.

Best of all, catching up on currently airing shows is also free. All this makes the service a must-have for any fan of the network and their content.

The downside: The service does not allow simultaneous streaming between multiple

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android



Price: P59 for 7 days, P149 for 30 days, P125 for film rentals

Why subscribe: HOOQ has a large selection of local and international shows and
films. The service will soon offer locally produced original content like the long
delayed On The Job sequel.

It also allows up to 2 devices to be streaming simultaneously and content can be
downloaded for offline viewing.

The downsides: The lack of UHD (4K) support for content make this more appropriate for those who enjoy viewing on their phones or tablets. Rental feature also locks some content behind a paywall.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

5) iFlix


Price: P129 per month

Why subscribe: iFlix has a commendable library of local and international shows and
films. Critically-acclaimed shows like Mr.Robot and Fargo are exclusively streaming
here locally. The service also has a decent amount of foreign language shows. There is a download feature for offline viewing and up to 2 devices can stream simultaneously.

This is bang for your buck value considering all the content included for the budget
friendly price.

The downside: Similar to HOOQ, there is no UHD (4K) support for their content.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

6) Cinetropa


Price: P288 per film (pay-per-view)

Why subscribe: Any fan of independent Philippine cinema will certainly love what
Cinetropa is offering. The service features breakout hits and festival favorites like
Heneral Luna and Patintero. Those who missed these films’ theatrical runs could use
this service to finally see them.

The downside: As of writing, the service is still trying to expand its library of films and
content is still mostly pay-per- view.

Platforms: Web

7) Fox+




Price: P390/month

Why subscribe: Fox+ has a bit of everything, from its selection of movies and shows to live sporting events. It’s the local home of shows like The Walking Dead and Homeland. Subscribers can also livestream their channels including all 3 Fox Sports. Up to two devices can watch at the same time and it supports download for offline viewing.

The downside: In terms of on-demand content, it’s limited when put beside others on this list.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

8) HBO Go


Price: P199/month

Why subscribe: HBO Go has everything on its cable channel counterpart including all original shows, films, sporting events, talk shows, and documentaries. This is definitely the must-have service for those wanting to catch up on shows like Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Westworld, Veep, and many others. The service also lets its subscribers livestream all their channels. Up to 2 devices can use the service simultaneously.

The downside: Similar to Fox+, when compared to others on this list, the selection of
content may seem limited.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

9) Viu


Price: Free, P129/month for premium

Why subscribe: Viu has the largest selection of Korean and Japanese teledramas on
this list. Episodes are even added just hours after its telecast. The service is free for
those who don’t mind watching in SD (480p) and can bare all the video ads.

The downside: The premium subscription does not entirely remove ads from the
viewing experience.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

10) Crunchyroll




Price: Free, $6.95 USD for premium

Why subscribe: Anime fans can’t go wrong with this service. It has a decent number of Japanese animated and live-action shows including simulcast streaming. Premium
subscribers can even access digital versions of manga (Japanese comics).

The downside: Despite having a search bar, the interface is cluttered making it hard to
navigate and find specific content.

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Windows 10, and game



  • Published in Tech

Pinoy on visit visa dies while looking for a job in Dubai

DUBAI, UAE – A Filipino died of a stroke in Dubai on Monday, November 20, barely a month after flying to the city with a visit visa and while looking for a job, the Filipino Times learned.

Forty-five-year-old Jose Arnold Aguilar of Cotabato had worked in Dubai as a chef for five years but left in 2014 over salary disputes with his employer. He returned this year to once again try his luck in the city, according to Reynaldo Angulo, a volunteer social worker at Rashid Hospital who is now also working on the repatriation of Aguilar's remains.


Aguilar, who was staying in Jafilia, suffered from a stroke and was confined at Rashid Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on November 13. He died on November 20, Angulo said.

Aguilar's long-time friend, Beth Fabic, told The Filipino Times that he approached her to inquire about job opportunities. Aguilar was known in their community as “Chef Arns."

Aguilar’s hospital bills have reportedly totaled to Dh28,000 (Php 386,577), while Angulo said the repatriation of the remains is estimated to cost around Dh16,000 (Php 220,901). He said he is working with the insurance company to verify how much is covered for the repatriation. Visit visa holders, he said, are insured. 

Vice Consul Marianne Bringas, who heads the Consulate General’s Assistance to Nationals section handling the case said an Assistance to Nationals (ATN) officer is already looking into the matter but Angulo, who has been assisting in the repatriation of the remains of deceased OFWs for years, said it will save the embassy almost half the cost if they could claim the insurance money.

It was learned that Aguilar’s visit visa was processed by Cozmo Travel. –

*1Dh = Php13.81

This story was republished with permission from The Filipino Times of the United Arab Emirates.


Cop killed, 10 others wounded in suspected NPA ambush in Iloilo

ILOILO, Philippines – A policeman was killed while 10 others were wounded following an encounter with suspected communist rebels in Maasin town here on Friday, November 24.

The incident came two days after suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked the personnel of Sibalom Municipal Police Station who were on board two police cars in the neighboring province Antique. Three police officers were wounded in that ambush.

Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, spokesperson of Police Regional Office in Western Visayas identified the fatality in the Iloilo attack as Police Officer 1 Jofer Odon of the Regional Public Safety Battalion-VI while his 10 other companions, including an inspector, were injured.

Gorero said the police were on board a patrol car and a private vehicle when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of suspected rebels past 6 pm.

He said two policemen were brought to the Cabatuan Hospital while 8 were referred to Iloilo the City Hospital.

Gorero said hot pursuit operations are still ongoing.

On Thursday, November 23, President Rodridgo Duterte formally ended the peace negotiations with the communists, after he threatened to order the arrest of communist "legal fronts," them being terrorists.

Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front, said "Duterte is the Number 1 terrorist in the Philippines." – Rapplercom 


IBP partners with CHR to provide free legal aid to victims of rights violations

FREE LEGAL AID. The Commission on Human Rights and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines sign a memorandum of agreement to provide legal aid to victims. All photos by Jodesz Gavilan/Rappler 

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MANILA, Philippines – To help hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable, members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will now assist victims through the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

On Friday, November 24, CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon and IBP President Abdiel Fajardo signed a memorandum of agreement which will enable IBP to provide free legal aid to underprivileged individuals who have suffered abuses – whether or not in relation to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. (READ: Human Rights Summit: Lawyers go all out vs war on drugs)


“As the national organization for lawyers, we must ensure that the marginalized and the powerless sectors of society have access to justice,” Fajardo explained, adding that it is the basic duty of an organization to “protect basic rights, the right to life.


The free legal aid will include court appearances, draft pleadings, and writing of letters in behalf of the client.

Gascon lauded the new partnership, adding that this will help the CHR which is facing setbacks due to limited resources.

Ito ay isang welcome development sa amin dahil makakabuo kami ng iba’t ibang partnerships with law groups sa pamumuno po ng IBP para tugunan ang iba’t ibang mga human rights violations whether this be in relation to the campaign of the government against drugs or in relation to other contexts,” he said on the sidelines of a Human Rights Summit organized by IBP and other law groups.

(This is a welcome development for us because we will be able to build different partnerships with law groups, led by the IBP, to respond to human rights violations whether this be in relation to the campaign against illegal drugs or in relation to other contexts.)


JUSTICE. iDEFEND calls for collective action to bring justice to victims of human rights violations.

JUSTICE. iDEFEND calls for collective action to bring justice to victims of human rights violations. 

Around 3,967 suspected drug personalities have been killed during police operations as of October 25, while the number of those killed by vigilantes has been hotly contested.

Latest data, however, shows that the CHR is currently handling a little over 1,000 cases of killings in relation to the drug war.

In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), meanwhile, said the involvement of IBP with its current 60,000-membership now “sends forth a ripple of hope in these troubling and violent crimes besetting our country.” (READ: Lawyers do dirty groundwork to fight Duterte’s drug war)

“It gives us optimism that the human rights community is not alone in the fight against impunity and the guarantee of equality before the law,” Rosa Trajano of iDEFEND said. “You are not only needed in the legal front but in all aspects of human rights work.”

“We must swim against whatever tide takes us away from serving our people,” she added. 

The call comes as Duterte said he would bring back the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the drug war.

Human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have warned that the return of the PNP can bring more "bloodshed and deaths". 

Some senators expressed concern over the PNP's return to the drug war and said they hoped they would learn from their past mistakes. (READ: CHR's Gascon reiterates concern over 'sense of impunity' in PH) –


Philippines slams 'cowardly' attack on Sinai mosque

FRIDAY PRAYERS. View of the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, after a gun and bombing attack, on November 24, 2017. Photo by AFP 

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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines condemned the "cowardly" terrorist attack on a mosque in Egypt's North Sinai that killed at least 235 people and wounded 125 others.

Citing officials, the New York Times reported that this was "the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt's modern history."

"The Philippines strongly condemns this cowardly act perpetrated against our Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement emailed past midnight Saturday, November 25.

"Attacks on any place of worship are totally unacceptable," Cayetano said.

He added, "We join the people and government of Egypt and the rest of the world in mourning the loss of many innocent lives in the tragedy."

A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers.

Attacks on mosques 'rare'

The New York Times said: "The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, in an area racked by an Islamist insurgency, sent shock waves across the nation — not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship."

State media reported that Egypt's presidency declared 3 days of mourning following the attack.

The Philippine embassy in Cairo said in the statement that there are no Filipinos among the casualties, based on initial reports.

The embassy is already monitoring the incident. It also reminded the 5,183 registered Filipinos in the country about previous advisories warning them from going to the Northern Sinai Region "because of the high risk of terrorist attacks."

"The incident in the Northern Sinai today must reinforce the resolve not only of the various governments but also the major faiths around the world to work together and fight these forces of terror," Cayetano added.

Trump: 'Horrible, cowardly' attack

Other world leaders denounced this attack on a mosque in North Sinai.

US President Donald Trump condemned on Twitter the "horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshippers." 

A furious Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged to "respond with brutal force" to the attack.

"The army and police will avenge our martyrs and return security and stability with force in the coming short period," he added in a televised speech.

UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson condemned the "barbaric attack" in a post on Twitter, while his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian expressed his condolences to the families of victims of the "despicable" bloodshed.

Ahmed Abul Gheit, head of the Arab League, which is based in Cairo, condemned the "terrifying crime which again shows that Islam is innocent of those who follow extremist terrorist ideology," his spokesman said in a statement. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/


Is it legal to name Sheriff Abas Comelec chair?

DUTERTE'S CHOICE. Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Sheriff Abas is set to become the first Comelec chairman from Mindanao. Photo courtesy of Comelec 


MANILA, Philippines – Legal questions hounded the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to nominate Sheriff Abas, a sitting poll commissioner, as Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair.

Can Duterte appoint Abas to another position in the Comelec? Doesn't the law prohibit reappointments in constitutional bodies like this?


Comelec spokesman James Jimenez on Friday, November 24, pointed reporters to the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that answers these questions. 



This is the case of Dennis Funa against former Commission on Audit (COA) chair Reynaldo Villar, for which the SC issued a ruling on April 24, 2012. 

The ruling applies to constitutional commissions – Comelec, COA, and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

The SC said, "A commissioner who resigns after serving in the Commission for less than 7 years is eligible for an appointment to the position of Chairman for the unexpired portion of the term of the departing chairman."

It is unclear if Abas has already resigned as commissioner.

The High Court added in 2012, "Such appointment is not covered by the ban on reappointment, provided that the aggregate period of the length of service as commissioner and the unexpired period of the term of the predecessor will not exceed 7 years and provided further that the vacancy in the position of Chairman resulted from death, resignation, disability, or removal by impeachment."

Brillantes weighs in

In a phone interview with Rappler, former Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said he sees no problem with the nomination of Abas as elections chief.

Brillantes, a sought-after election lawyer, also cited the case involving Funa and Villar.

"Puwede siyang i-promote from commissioner to chairman," said Brillantes, referring to Abas. (He can be promoted from commissioner to chairman.)

He said that in the case of Abas, being Comelec chairman is not a reappointment but "a new appointment." This means Abas needs to go through the Commission on Appointments (CA) again.

Brillantes said the case of Abas is creating issues only because nothing similar has happened in the past.

"Kaya nagkakaroon ng isyu sa Comelec, kasi hindi pa nangyayari sa Comelec eh. Maski kailan, kapag tiningnan mo ang history ng Comelec, wala pang commissioner na naging chairman," said Brillantes.

(This is creating issues in Comelec only because it has never happened in Comelec. Not once, if you look at the history of Comelec, has a commissioner become a chairman.)

His father, the late Sixto Brillantes Sr, was himself a Comelec commissioner who once wanted to chair the poll body. (READ: Brillantes: Comelec chair in his father's seat

Making history

In a separate text message on Friday, Jimenez confirmed that if Abas passes the CA, he will become the first Comelec commissioner to serve as chairman.

If confirmed, he will get to oversee the 2019 elections but not the scheduled 2022 presidential elections. He will also be in office for 4 years and 3 months, serving the unexpired portion of the term of resigned chairman Andres Bautista.

Abas will also become the first Comelec chair from Mindanao, the first Muslim, and, at the age of 38, the youngest elections chief in Philippine history. (READ: Sheriff Abas to break many firsts as Comelec chair)

At the same time, Abas' appointment means Duterte will get to appointmajority of Comelec members by early next year.

Read the relevant portion of the Funa vs Villar ruling below:

To sum up, the Court restates its ruling on Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) of the Constitution, viz:

1. The appointment of members of any of the 3 constitutional commissions, after the expiration of the uneven terms of office of the first set of commissioners, shall always be for a fixed term of 7 years; an appointment for a lesser period is void and unconstitutional.

The appointing authority cannot validly shorten the full term of 7 years in case of the expiration of the term as this will result in the distortion of the rotational system prescribed by the Constitution.

2. Appointments to vacancies resulting from certain causes (death, resignation, disability, or impeachment) shall only be for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor, but such appointments cannot be less than the unexpired portion as this will likewise disrupt the staggering of terms laid down under Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D).

3. Members of the Commission, e.g. COA, Comelec, or CSC, who were appointed for a full term of 7 years and who served the entire period, are barred from reappointment to any position in the Commission. Corollarily, the first appointees in the Commission under the Constitution are also covered by the prohibition against reappointment.

4. A commissioner who resigns after serving in the Commission for less than 7 years is eligible for an appointment to the position of Chairman for the unexpired portion of the term of the departing chairman. Such appointment is not covered by the ban on reappointment, provided that the aggregate period of the length of service as commissioner and the unexpired period of the term of the predecessor will not exceed 7 years and provided further that the vacancy in the position of Chairman resulted from death, resignation, disability, or removal by impeachment. The Court clarifies that reappointment found in Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) means a movement to one and the same office (Commissioner to Commissioner or Chairman to Chairman). On the other hand, an appointment involving a movement to a different position or office (Commissioner to Chairman) would constitute a new appointment and, hence, not, in the strict legal sense, a reappointment barred under the Constitution.

5. Any member of the Commission cannot be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.


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