Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Stem cell treatment for Rody? Palace dodges questions

By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) 

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar sidestepped yesterday questions on reports that President Rodrigo Duterte underwent stem cell replacement procedure recently. Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo, File

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar sidestepped yesterday questions on reports that President Duterte underwent stem cell replacement procedure recently.

Rather than answering the issue, Andanar noted that Duterte has been a workaholic president.

“You know, when we started last year, (the President) attended 1,355 activities in his first 365 days in Malacañang, the People’s Palace. That’s an average of four activities a day,” Andanar said in an interview over dzRH radio.

Another story now circulating, but which was not asked during the interview, was that Duterte had a hair transplant that caused his scalp and face to bloat, prompting him to stay out of the public eye for a few days.

Out of 115 available rest days, Andanar reported that Duterte used 76 days for resting although he still had private meetings in between.

“We can see how industrious President Duterte is… he just continues to do what he is doing. He is working hard for the country, and he is working hard for the people,” Andanar said.

He then noted that Duterte was mayor for 23 years before becoming president and went on to cite the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that reflected high trust ratings for the President.

“So, we have a President who is not lazy, a working President.” he added.

At one point, Andanar told dzRH anchor Leo Macalma that they might be the ones needing stem cell therapy.

Reports of Duterte’s stem cell therapy circulated a few weeks ago when the Chief Executive slowed down and was seen in public for several days.


Top CA magistrate promoted to SC

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star)

Photo: Reyes

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte has promoted the presiding justice of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court (SC).

Andres Reyes Jr. will replace SC Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, who retired from the judiciary on July 6, the SC public information office announced yesterday.

The 67-year-old Reyes, a graduate of Ateneo law school and a member of the Utopia fraternity like Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has been with the judiciary for 30 years.

He is the 177th associate justice of the high tribunal and has three years to serve before his retirement.

Reyes’ father Andres Sr. had served as CA presiding justice, while his grandfather Alex was SC justice.

He was picked from a shortlist of seven nominees submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council last month.

Reyes topped the list after earning the unanimous votes of all seven members of the council.

He is the third appointee of Duterte in the high court.

Earlier, the President promoted Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam of the Sandiganbayan and CA, respectively, to the high tribunal.

Duterte is set to appoint another SC justice for the post to be vacated by Associate Justice Jose Mendoza, who will retire in August.

The JBC, the seven-man council tasked to screen nominees for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman, is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The JBC’s two ex-officio members are Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for the executive and Sen. Richard Gordon for the legislative.

The regular members of JBC are former SC Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez for retired magistrates, Jose Mejia for academe, Milagros Fernan-Cayosa for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and retired judge Toribio Ilao for the private sector.


200 US tourists in Philippines amid advisories

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)

Despite travel warnings, around 200 mostly balikbayan tourists from the United States arrived in the country this week to visit various attractions, including President Duterte’s bailiwick Davao City, and explore possible investments. File

MANILA, Philippines - Despite travel warnings, around 200 mostly balikbayan tourists from the United States arrived in the country this week to visit various attractions, including President Duterte’s bailiwick Davao City, and explore possible investments.

The tourists are hoping to get a glimpse of Duterte during their stay in his hometown, said Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Henry Bensurto.

Philippine Consul General in New York Ma. Theresa Dizon-de Vega said for the first time the Ambassador’s Tour – a joint promotion project of the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Tourism Promotions Board – brought participants to the southern Philippines.

“I think the fact that despite the situation in Marawi, we were getting delegates, they were still registering a few days before the tour, is a show of confidence that everything is OK in the country… There’s a sense of confidence and assurance and support for the President and the country. They are all just proud to be Filipinos,” De Vega said.

De Vega said the arrival of tourists from the US is “very significant” in light of the negative image of the country as a result of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the travel advisories issued by foreign governments, including the US and Canada.

The tour started with a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Jose Rizal in Rizal Park, Manila last Tuesday and will conclude on Saturday.

Some of the places visited by the group were the National Museum, Metropolitan Museum and Fort Santiago in Manila.

They were also expected to visit the Davao Crocodile Park, Malagos Garden Resort, a 12-hectare nature theme park in Davao; and the Hijo banana plantation in Tagum City.

Bensurto said most of the visitors supported Duterte during last year’s election and would like to express their continued support and confidence in his administration.

“Despite martial law there are more significant matters that should not be overlooked. This is the first time in Philippine history that the president comes from the south, and that’s very significant,” Bensurto said.

“President Duterte won overwhelmingly among Filipinos based in the US, and part of his mandate you can trace to Filipinos based in North America,” he said.

De Vega said the delegation is composed of people from the business, medical and IT sectors; couples and their young children; as well as retirees. They were also joined by mayors of Bellevue, Nebraska and National City in California.

“There are many first-timers. It’s a good mix,” De Vega said.

“This is a perfect place for people in the US to visit… the Philippines has so much to offer,” National City Mayor Ron Morrison said.

He said 40 percent of the population in National City are Filipinos.

Bensurto said the tour also aims to “instill” Filipino culture among the millennials who were born and raised in the US.

“The second, third and fourth generations have already overtaken the migration of the first generation. It’s important that we are able to instill the Filipino spirit in the new generation because there will be no urgency and imperative to give back from these generations if they don’t see any attachment. We have to create a bridge that links them to the origin of their ancestors,” he said.

“We want to immerse them, give them actual experience of the Philippines,” he added.

De Vega noted that tourist arrivals from the US increased from 14 to 19 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelio Angelito Cruz said the visit of Filipino-Americans in the country this year also aims to “reinvigorate” US-Philippines bilateral relations.

“We are meeting with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce. We’re hoping to explore possible business ventures and investment and export opportunities in Davao City,” he said.

The Philippines and US relations turned sour after Duterte hit former US president Barack Obama for criticizing his brutal war against illegal drugs.

Now on its 11th year, the Ambassador’s Tour aims “to further boost the image of the Philippines abroad,” De Vega said.

“After this tour they become ambassadors of the country in their own communities,” she said.


Rehab plan for quake-hit Leyte underway

By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star)

President Duterte meets with Cabinet members, Leyte lawmakers and local government officials yesterday at the airport in Ormoc, one of the areas hit by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake last week.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday assured residents that the government has in place a rehabilitation plan for earthquake-hit Ormoc City and other areas in Leyte province after the magnitude 6.5 tremor last week.

“We are here to help you,” the President in Filipino said after arriving in Ormoc City.

The President said the government has a program to help residents as well as for the rehabilitation of damaged establishments and infrastructure.

He said there is a program on how to manage the aid and all the other help that would arrive.

Duterte said he discussed the plans with Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.

The Ormoc City social welfare and development office has identified 536 totally damaged houses and 62 partially damaged houses in Barangays Cabaon-an, Tongonan, Milagro, Danao, Cabintan, Gaas, Liberty, Bagong, Nueva Vista, Quezon Jr., San Jose and Hugpa.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 8 said two persons were killed when a building collapsed in Kananga, Leyte and another was killed in Ormoc while 220 people were injured during the earthquake.

Most of the victims were hurt when they panicked and scampered in different directions at the height of the tremor.

OCD Region 8 director Edgar Posadas said those injured were brought to different hospitals in Ormoc and other district hospitals in Leyte. – With Lalaine Jimenea


July 4th celebrations usher in another meaning of America's Independence Day!

America: A country of immigrants whose forebears led the waytoward human rights and democracy who were desirous of a better life ahead
Who are considered immigrants? Briefly, the people whoarrived on the shores of the United States who are nationals of othercountries the world over.
Thesole non-immigrant that distinguished herself/himself in America is one who wasborn on these frontiers whose ancestral home is indisputably America, andwho, over time, is recognized as American: the American Indian. Thelatter group was already identified culturally when the thousands who wereEuropean-born arrived on the Mayflower in 1650, in their quest for abetter life.
Overtime, the U.S. has depended greatly on the phenomenon called the"immigrant contribution."
Thisspace's writer lauds the reply of an immigrant who volunteered anidentification of an immigrant.
"Iam an immigrant who, like many of my immigrant colleagues, exudes humble prideto be contributing to my adopted land by working hard and creating newjobs for others."
Decadesago, still fresh in the minds of those who came from afar, theywho aligned themselves with the principal Democratic and Republicanparties were enamored by what they termed "economiccompetitiveness," demonstrated by stapling green cards on college diplomasof immigrant graduates.
Historyrelates how the foregoing took place before the immigration issue got hijacked,by many native-born Americans who were quick to describe the immigrant as"stealing our jobs."
Yet,some from the native-born who have given their personal estimates on theimmigrant population that has proven itself worthy of the manifoldcontributions to their current home, are far from what has been describedas precise. Those from the same ranks still have to vie with the acceptedimmigrants who have meritoriously qualified to practice their professionson these shores.
Intruth and in fact, figures and facts do point to the more vaunted achievementsof the immigrant society who have been known to reach the apex oftheir professional concerns in the tightening field of competition.
Thereis that well-known concept of "First,do no harm," which is culled in the oath that announces the entranceand careers of most new medical doctors admitted to theirrespective professional specializations.
Once,I was invited to attend a session featuring those minds deeply involved in thepractice of medicine.
Again,the main theme: "First, do no harm," embedded in the oath that startsthe careers of most newly-licensed doctors in America, has emerged assomething of a surrogate for the practice of medicine. Yet, it issomething that is likened to a false promise. Numbers of routines havebeen identified
asunmistakable. They might not be intentional. Yet,many native-born physicians have faced lawsuits that were markedlyidentified as "cases that held false promise."
Someonlookers into the fields of medical practitioners have suggested that part ofthe oath they take should be: "Help others with as little harm aspossible."
Whetherthe populace likes it or not, some frontiers have been branded as representing"a world of harm" specifically, resulting from car accidents torecreational drugs, sexually-transmitted diseases, cancer, unhealthydiets, and recent diagnoses of lack of exercise. The list isendless.
In treating the results of the named health hazards, the goal as a physicianshould be no other than to "reduce harm."
Thusfar, until the current administration can offer a substitute for theAffordable Care Act, the latter is still law. But it's notbeen an easy task. Signing up for health insurance is mind boggling forincreasing numbers of the population who are still awaiting solutions to theissue.
Despitethe Republicans' concerted efforts to repeal the law of 2010, theforegoing aforementioned Act, it is a well-known fact that the federal-andstate-based exchanges that created the Act will be realistically inoperation at least through 2019. There are living proofs that many marketplaceshave helped individuals, families and small businesses shop for and enrollin affordable medical insurance.
TheACA and its highly-awaited replacement, the American Health Care Act, both relyon the very same general structure to sell insurance to people who are notcovered by insurance through their employment or other programs.
Whatis anticipated: participants receive income-based subsidies to purchasequalified health plans on either a state or federal marketplace(
Theanticipation of decisions meant to shape the options available in 2019 arenow being done through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Moreconcern for U.S. veterans that arose during the Obama era has been underscored.
Untolddebts of gratitude to the servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives indefense of our country have surfaced notably.
Ithas been accepted that the countless contributions to major advances in thebiological sciences were forged in that deplorable crucible of war.
Emergencymedicine and modern surgery have proven to define what physicians andmedics have encountered on the battlefield as conflicts the world overbreak out.
Technologicalbreakthroughs such as portable ultrasound and penicillin trace theirearly development to war settings.
Certainly,without fear of contradiction, would-be immigrants should comprehend what isanticipated of them as they turn their attention to the professionalfields so sorely needed in the U.S.
More Independence Day celebrations will, ofcourse be on the front burner, as observed through the ages. But what isanticipated is nothing novel. It will depend largely on how today's WhiteHouse will be managed. And as the moving calendar continues to remind theAmerican populace, the three branches of government (executive, legislativeand judicial) will have to perform accordingly with one goal in mind: tosee that democracy will strongly prevail.


Filipina candidate for Seattle Port Commissioner visits BayArea

On July 19, 2017, Frontier Tech Talk is holding its firstpanel discussion of the summer, Driving Innovation and Reach.  This one is about the space race.  The event will take place from 6pm to8:30pm at the Burlingame offices of law firm Carr-McClellan at 216 ParkRoad.  For tickets, please go to do an internet search for “Frontier Tech Talk July 19”.  Philippine-focused STAC, short forScience and Technology Advisory Council, and Carr-McClellan are co-sponsoringthe event.
The guest speakers include Bea Querido-Rico and EmelinePaat-Dahlstrom.  Of course, I haveto mention this detail:  both Beaand Emeline are Filipinas.
Paat-Dahlstrom, flying back to the Bay Area from her currentbase in New Zealand, has been active in the space-focused start up world,consulting and working for startups involved in developing commercial transportto the Moon.  She will speak abouther efforts in engaging emerging countries in space.
Querido-Rico is an engineer by training and served mostrecently as program manager for the Port of Seattle, having worked previously atBoeing and Lockheed Martin, among other places.  She received a Masters from the MIT-Zaragoza InternationalLogistics Program.  Querido-Ricoleft her position at the Port of Seattle in May of 2017 to run for the positionof Port Commissioner.
What does the Port of Seattle do, you may wonder.  On those rare Seattle days when heavyprecipitation is not obscuring your vision (or spirits), you may notice thevast corrugated coastline in and around the city, home to harbors and ports,marinas and fishermens’ terminals.The Port of Seattle runs these as well as the Seattle-TacomaInternational Airport.  There is agap, so goes the argument from parties close to the candidate, between thePort’s current development efforts and the local aerospace industry that is1300 strong in the Seattle area. Querido-Rico proposes to bridge this gapbetween the government’s imagination and the vision of private industry.  She has begun to gain support from spaceventure capitalists as a result.
Work on space-focused businesses has been underway for quitesome time.  Indeed, Elon Musk’sSpaceX, with its ambitions of putting man on Mars, has been busy launchingsatellites into orbit, a more practical pursuit it doesn’t advertise.  However, impediments to prolific space travelstill exist.  Shocking, right?  Not the least issue is radiationpoisoning.  Without the protectiongiven to us by the Earth’s atmosphere, prolonged exposure to the Sun’s rays onthe Moon or Mars may result in radiation exposure that has not yet beenunderstood.  The same is true forrepeated trips to and from these destinations.  Another issue is the long-term effects of zero gravity, whichcan deteriorate muscle mass and bone density.
None of these would be deal killers, though, not forme.  If presented with anopportunity to visit the Moon on a short trip, particularly if I’mallowed to bring my pogo stick, I would sign the waiver.  Hopefully, these matters and more willbe covered on Wednesday.  So pleaseget your tickets and please support Bea Querido-Rico in her politicalambitions.  We don’t have enoughFilipinos in office in the United States.We really don’t.
Querido-Rico’s web page is and she has acrowdfunding website at  I just made a donation and the websitegave me this link to share  To quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, a thing Ido in almost every column, “leave it to the immigrants, they’ll get the jobdone.”

Duterte's EDSA traffic: Data say it's faster, drivers say nothing's changed

MANILA – In the 3 years that he's been driving a bus along EDSA, Sitro Jaime, 34, wakes up at 4 am every day and goes home at 1:00 am, if he's lucky.

Heavy traffic makes it impossible for him to get a snooze longer than 3 hours.

"Hindi kaya [pahabain ang tulog], masyadong malala ang traffic," he told Rappler. (I couldn't sleep longer, the traffic is too bad.)

"Wala naman [na pagbabago], parang lumala [pa] 'yung traffic," he said when asked how his day has changed ever since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. (Nothing has changed, it seems like it even became worse.)

Duterte's campaign was anchored for large part on the metro ills that the Aquino administration wasn't able to address. Jaime, in fact, voted for him and remains a loyal supporter.

Jeyson Morgado, 63, has been driving along EDSA for 31 years. Like Jaime, he says nothing has changed for the past year.

"1986 pa ako sa EDSA, dati wala pa 'yang mga flyover, 'yang overpass. Ngayon meron na, ang sikip pa rin," Morgado said. (I have been driving along EDSA since 1986, before there were flyovers or overpasses. Now that they're here, traffic is still bad.)

Officials and numbers say otherwise, however.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Thomas Orbos says the traffic along EDSA has sped up.

“We have brought down travel distance to at least 14 minutes, even during peak hours, even during Christmas. We did that last year and we're going to improve it more this year,” he told Rappler.

MMDA's data support Orbos’ claim. The average travel time along EDSA in July 2016 was 1 hour, 26 minutes, and 22 seconds. The current average travel time for June 2017 is 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 47 seconds – a 17-minute difference.

MMDA computed the average travel time by recording the time it took to complete EDSA northbound (Roxas Boulevard to Monumento) and EDSA southbound (Monumento to Roxas Boulevard) during peak hours and off-peak hours then computing their average.

This is already an achievement, Orbos said, as the number of motor vehicles in Metro Manila has been increasing every year. In 2016 alone, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) saw an additional 87,918 vehicles to the 2,317,204 registered vehicles in 2015.

Urgency has come

If there’s one thing that made the minutes of difference under the Duterte administration possible, it’s the sense of urgency, Orbos said.

“Because they (other officials) saw the President [is] a man of action. His words are translated into actual action regardless of politics; regardless of any other considerations, he will do it. And I think that one is a clear signal that the same goes for us,” said Orbos, who was assistant general manager for planning at MMDA during the time of President Benigno Aquino III.

The previous administration, while pursuing efforts to fix the traffic mess, did not see the problem as a priority. Former Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya even downplayed the issue, tagging it as “not fatal,” then regretting the statement after.

After he assumed office, Duterte immediately sought Congress for emergency powers that would enable him to override public bidding for a period of two years for faster implementation of transportation projects. It would also allow him to re-organize the different transport agencies to streamline their coordination and install the transportation secretary as the traffic chief.

The bill at the Senate is awaiting the plan and assurance of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) that the President would not abuse these powers. Its counterpart in the House of Representatives is up for second reading after being approved by the transportation committee.

Despite the delay in Congress, Duterte was able to establish the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-Act), which consists of the DOTr, the Philippine National Police's Highway Patrol Group (HPG), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the MMDA.

This cooperation of agencies, according to Orbos, was instrumental in changing the workflow in solving the traffic problem. Back then, Orbos said, transport agencies and local government units of the metro were operating kanya-kanya (on their own).

“Before, it was so difficult for MMDA to secure information from their counterparts in LTO and LTFRB,” Orbos said.

Now, Orbos says, they can easily access information from other agencies and they have formed emergency response teams. These are no longer just peopled with MMDA enforcers, but also volunteers from other transport agencies.

Orbos credits the political will of President Duterte for triggering cooperation from the local government units of the National Capital Region, which were not cooperative before, rendering traffic policies “inutil” (useless) as lawmaker Winnie Castelo described it.

“If you remember, we used to say each city is a kingdom: there’s the kingdom of Makati, to each his own. Now, the agreement to work together is there,” Orbos said.

Volume problem

Under Orbos's chairmanship – he held the post for 8 months before the President appointed Danny Lim – the MMDA targeted the reduction of traffic volume, given that EDSA brims with 7,000 cars at a time while its capacity is only 6,000.

Orbos established two major traffic policies: the closure of “window hours” for the number coding scheme, and the light truck ban.

Closing window hours meant extending the effectivity of the number coding scheme, which bans private vehicles on the basis of the last number of their registration plates. Before, coding was only enforced from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, leaving rush hours (6-10 am, 5-10 pm) open for all.

With the new policy, coding has been enforced from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

The light truck ban, in turn, led to the barring of some 3,000 light trucks from passing through Edsa southbound from 6 am to 10 am and Edsa northbound from 5 pm to 10 pm.

Aside from these two changes, Orbos engaged with public utility vehicle (PUV) operators, making sure that drivers only pick up passengers at designated stops, as drivers have a penchant for stopping wherever riders flock, blocking entire lanes in the process.

Lim, on the other hand, has been bringing change through his “back to basics” approach, which focuses on eradicating corruption of both MMDA personnel and motorists.

To cement the cooperation of the metro LGUs, the MMDA under Lim is backing two House bills that would allow MMDA to pass ordinances that become effective metro-wide, upon the approval of city councils.

Under Lim, the MMDA has announced it is considering expanding the coding scheme to double the number of private vehicles banned per day. The pitch has been met with criticism, and the MMDA later clarified it as an idea floated "to test the waters."

Minutes matter

For Orbos, the minutes of difference that a year made – which motorists supposedly have not felt – is still a standing difference.

“There are many problems, a lot of problems,” Orbos said. “But the thing is, the problem keeps on worsening. What you need to do is really look at each problem in its singularity, you deal with them one by one and try to solve it one step at a time. There’s no shortcut.”

Why is the progress not felt on the ground? According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, it’s because the difference is just not “big enough yet” that people would feel it.

“You will not feel it, I must admit, it would be very hard to claim the success na gumagaan ang daloy ng trapiko (that the traffic has become lighter) because if we will interview the motorists one by one, eh wala silang sasabihin sayo kundi natatrapik sila (they will not say anything aside from they experienced traffic),” Pialago told Rappler.

“Merong hindi sasang-ayon, may hindi papabor, may hindi maniniwala, may tutuligsa ganon naman talaga (There will be those who will not agree, those who will not favor, those who will not believe, those who will say otherwise, but that’s how it is),” Pialago added.

Despite drivers not feeling the change that their data has shown, Pialago said that MMDA will only continue with what they are doing. “Hindi kami mapapagod (We will not give up),” Pialago said.

Before then, drivers like Jaime and Morgado, would have to continue waiting for the change, one minute at a time, until it is felt. –


Pacquiao is the ‘bigger winner’  

There’s been a lot of grumbling, grumping, and complaining after welterweight Jeff Horn was declared the winner over sweet-science icon Manny Pacquiao in their World Boxing Organization championship bout in Brisbane.
The blame game and the sour-graping should stop.
Stop bullying Jeff Horn as well and cease calling his victory a product of “lutong-macao.” Pacquiao lost the boxing decision but in losing, he became the bigger winner than Horn after their fight.
Pacquiao the legendary sports hero brought pride to the Philippines in the past because of his boxing accomplishments. His ring exploits led to fame that allowed him to dabble in politics and professional basketball as a player-coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.
His being in politics makes it obvious why there are many Filipinos who did not feel sorry for him when he lost last week.
The Manny Pacquiao of years ago was a focused professional boxer. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, said the following after his defeat: “I think you cannot spend so much time as a senator and expect to be a world-class fighter.” Freddie Roach, his long-time coach and trainer shared Arum’s sentiments. “I’m gonna have a long talk with him about that. Because I think maybe being a senator, being a fighter, both is maybe too much,” he quipped.
It’s not only “a loss” for boxing and boxing fans. The best interests of Pacquiao’s constituents in the Philippines are also affected because of Pacquiao’s “part-time job” as a boxer (Or is it the other way around?).
Before running for a senate seat, Pacquiao made statements that he would quit boxing once he was elected senator because he was criticized for his numerous absences and no-shows during his stint in the lower house. In the senate, he became a disappointment to many who supported him and who viewed him as a champion of the underdog and the powerless because of his controversial and unpopular positions including his anti-gay, anti-reproductive health, pro-EJK, and pro-death penalty stand, not to mention his support for the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Then he took this last fight against Horn after an earlier announcement that there was an offer to fight in the Middle East.
Boxing is a form of entertainment to those who can stand watching two athletes beat each other up in the name of athletic competition. Despite the fact that the sanctioning World Boxing Organization had Horn as their top contender, ESPN’s boxing ranking does not have Horn on the top seven of the world’s best welterweights. After Horn won over Pacquiao, I checked ESPN’s ranking and again Horn is only listed as a ninth-ranked welterweight. Was this the reason why the match was not on pay-per-view in the U.S.?
To Horn’s credit, he turned out to be a tough boxer who refused to go down despite being outboxed and outpunched by Pacquiao, the aging-veteran. A victory over Horn would not have added a star to Pacquiao’s fabled boxing record and reputation because he was expected to win over Horn anyway. The Australian boxer has not faced any opponent of Pacquiao’s caliber and experience in his 17 fights as a professional.
But the judges saw it differently. For Pacquiao’s diehard fans and followers, why whine and complain? The controversial defeat was actually a blessing for him if he decides not to retire. People want to see an “injustice corrected” and there is a reported rematch clause with Horn.
If Pacquiao does not retire and decides not to fight a top-ranked welterweight like Kell Brook, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., or a heralded light-welterweight like Terence Crawford, Victor Postol, and Julius Indongo, then he has the second meeting with Jeff Horn. Nothing can be sweeter than having your cake and eating it too. Pacquiao and Horn meet again and boxing as a sporting game continues after suffering another black eye.
Until next week.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.


Pinoy filmmaker brings ‘aswang’ to Amazon Prime

By Cristina DC Pastor, The FilAm

NEW YORK CITY -- It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Vincent Veloso is now in his career path because he seemed to have accomplished a lot of things. This artist with labyrinthine talents in music, music education, martial arts, ballroom dancing, filmmaking, and writing said he is currently focused on producing his video series for Amazon Prime.

The horror series “Changelings,” which he wrote, produced and directed, has been released in 2014.

“Changelings” is a series of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories about the dark side of social media. It follows two NYPD special spectral division officers who are on a dangerous search for a deadly secret and confront a unique cast of antiheroes including the Filipino folk vampire, the ‘aswang.’

“We’ve been fortunate in both the making of the series and then with assistance from Amazon’s processes and standards of releasing material through Amazon Prime Direct,” he told The FilAm in an email interview.

Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on Amazon Prime, which is the subscription platform of Amazon, possibly the world’s largest e-commerce site. Prime members pay a yearly fee of $99 or $10.99 a month if one is on a month to month subscription plan.

Vincent described “Changelings” as a “supernatural detective series,” and takes pride in its multi-ethnic cast.

In Season 2, the “Aswang” episode stars Catherine Curtin (“Orange is the New Black”), Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight”), Playboy playmate Stormi Maya, and Vincent himself who had acting parts in “Daredevil” and “Doomsday.”

Originally from New Jersey, Vincent was interested in music and acting at a young age, eventually attending the NYU jazz studies program. He studied music with jazz instrumentalists Ted Nash and Ralph Lalama, among many others. He was a professor at the Academy of Music of Ramapo College from 1999 to 2006 where he taught winds and music theory. He is currently Assistant Director for the New York Crimson Kings Drum, Fife & Bugle Corps, comprising high school students from Chinatown.

He learned acting from stage and film actor Ronald Rand and acting coach Wendy McKenzie. After appearing in several short films in the late ‘90s, Vincent began a more serious acting career in 2009 after a friend invited him to play bass on a commercial audition. Vincent has since made several TV and film appearances, and has directed films like “Watson” (2014) and the new series “Changelings.”

He is also a trained martial artist specializing in Judo and Aikido.

“(Being a) musician opened doors for me to films and TV,” he said. “As an actor, one of the best ways to ensure yourself a good part and make opportunities against being typecast (and against stereotypes) is by writing yourself a part and making your own work, so I got into writing. I like writing parts that allow for multi-cultural opportunities and whose themes are not necessarily dependent on a particular background or culture but deal with all areas of the human condition.”

As a director and producer, his philosophy is “Surround yourself with people from every background who are better than you are and the best at what they do in their respective fields and work together to create.”

In “Changelings,” he is involved in every phase of the film process — from creation all the way to promotion, including obtaining locations and feeding cast and crew in between.

“All have their unique challenges and situations to work through,” said Vincent. “But as long as you keep your vision on the end result that is good for everyone, you’ll figure out ways to surmount challenges in a beneficial manner.”

Subscribe to this RSS feed


Sign up to keep in touch!

Be the first to hear about special offers and exclusive deals from TechNews and our partners.

Check out our Privacy Policy & Terms of use
You can unsubscribe from email list at any time