La Salle’s class act

The Sports Section is one of my priority pages in reading newspapers even if I don’t play any sports. Nor do I understand the rules of any sports game.

But I love reading stories about triumph against odds of many athletes. I love reading about the values that sports nurture among athletes.

My collection of memorable quotes includes basketball great Michael Jordan’s “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

That’s why I was more enthralled with the photos of La Salle Taft turning blue after it lost the UAAP championship to Ateneo last Sunday than the final score (88-86) which indicated how heart-stopping the game was.

From Twitter account of Leonard Alquisola.


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December 5, 2017 8:58 pm  Tags:   Posted in: Sports  No Comments

No free water in SM Food court gives a lie to ‘SM Cares’

“SM Cares” is supposedly the social conscience of SM, the mall giant.

Its website says SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation Inc., is the group that handles the corporate social responsibility programs of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. It was launched in 2004 to organize the sustainability efforts into a comprehensive program that tackles a wide range of initiatives.

Fine. I have a friend who has a son with autism who participates in SM’s yearly Angels’ Walk. I’ve read about their housing projects for those left homeless by the 2013 super typhoon Yolanda.

SM Cares UNICEF Project Wash


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December 5, 2017 4:10 pm  Tags: , ,   Posted in: General  No Comments

No Chinese withdrawal from Scarborough shoal seen despite improved relations between Manila and Beijing

By Arianne Christian Tapao, VERA Files

Ambassador to China Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana does not see Chinese leader Xi Jinping ordering the withdrawal of Chinese Coast Guard ships from Scarborough shoal and returning to the pre-April 8, 2012 situation, when the area was under the control of the Philippines, despite Beijing’s improved relations with the Rodrigo Duterte government.

At best, it remains an “aspiration” that would take a long time, the Filipino diplomat said in an interview on the sidelines of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies Conference in Mandaluyong City Dec. 2.

China “is still claiming all of Spratlys,” said Sta. Romana, noting that Xi would insist during talks that Scarborough Shoal is China’s territory, and its government would lose face if it were to withdraw its vessels from the shoal.

“Given that, you really have to maneuver slowly, carefully,” he added.

One of the three Chinese Coastguard Maritime Surveillance ships in Scarborough shoal in April 2012

“If we want to go back to pre-2012 situation, the condition is that China will also say drop your Arbitral Tribunal award, which is impossible,” Sta Romana said in Filipino.
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December 5, 2017 3:55 pm  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  No Comments

UN official to governments: ‘Avoid spreading Fake News’

David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, in his video message to participants of the conference on Fake News and Freedom of Expression organized by Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition-Southeast Asia in Makati recently called on government officials to avoid spreading fake news.

That was one of the eight points he highlighted in a series of principles in fighting what he called the “the scourge of disinformation.”

David Kaye on Fake News from VERA Files on Vimeo.

“State actors should avoid disseminating and spreading fake news,” he said and referred to the Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and “Fake News,” issued by him, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe , Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, which states: “State actors should not make, sponsor, encourage or further disseminate statements which they know or reasonably should know to be false (disinformation) or which demonstrate a reckless disregard for verifiable information (propaganda).”
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November 29, 2017 11:42 pm  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Media  No Comments

SEA lawyers groups call on Senate not to pass Villanueva bill on fake news

Southeast Asian lawyers tackle Freedom of Expression and Fake News. Photo from Ade Wahyudin Facebook.


The concern about Fake news has created another concern: in the urgent desire to solve the problem of fake news, we might end up with a cure that is worse than the disease.

Fake News has been blamed for political upsets like the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

In the Philippines, the Duterte government maintains an aggressive presence in social media through its Duterte Diehard Supporters led by a communications undersecretary.

Collins Dictionary, which has chosen Fake News as the word for the year 2017, defines Fake News as “as false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared online for the purpose of generating ad revenue via web traffic or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.”

Last Friday, the Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition- Southeast Asia (AFEC-SEA), Center Law and American Bar Association- Rule of Law Initiative gathered lawyers, journalists and online activists from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines ,Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to discuss the situation as regards the rise of Fake News with the objective of forging a Southeast-Asian Response.
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November 23, 2017 7:49 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Media, Senate, Vera Files  No Comments

ASEAN COC framework affirms Duterte’s policy shift in PH dealing with China

Pres. Duterte and Chinese Li Keqiang witness the signing of agreements between International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying and Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III following the expanded bilateral meeting in Malacañan Palace on November 15, 2017. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante.

The Philippines’ major shift in foreign policy which is to talk with China bilaterally on the territorial dispute over Scarborough shoal has gotten affirmation from ASEAN with the adoption of the Framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea in last’s weeks ASEAN summit.

“We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of the improving relations between ASEAN and China and, in this regard, are encouraged by the adoption of the framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC), which will facilitate the work and negotiation for the conclusion of a substantive and effective COC,” this year’s ASEAN chair, Pres. Duterte, said in a statement released two days after the end of the 31st ASEAN summit and other Related Summits Tuesday last week.
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November 20, 2017 8:08 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  One Comment

Trudeau ‘owned’ the Manila East Asia Summit

A very well attended press conference of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Screengrab from RTVM video.

There was a collective squeal of kilig when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strode into the cavernous main briefing room of the International Media Center of the 31st Asean Summit and related summits where about a thousand journalists, government officials and events staff gathered for the first press conference of a visiting leader attending the EAS summit.

The almost an hour delay in the press conference only heightened the interest for the charismatic 45-year old Canadian premier who had girls swooning over him when he came to Manila two years ago for the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation where he was dubbed one of the APEC hotties (the other was Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto).

Without much ado, Trudeau started his press conference speaking in both English and French, covering a wide range of issues for both the Filipino and Canadian audience.
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November 14, 2017 11:48 pm  Tags: ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  No Comments

Will Duterte and Trump (and other leaders) do the fist pump?

High five instead of fist pump.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does a high five with a young girl at a Jollibee store in Tondo. Photo from Canadian Embassy Facebook.

That’s the most awaited happening in the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings that will take place Nov. 13 and 14 in Metro Manila.

At the press briefing last Friday, Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar was asked if President Duterte and United States President Donald Trump would be doing a fist pump together.

Bolivar, not surprisingly, said, he can’t assume what the two leaders would do during the meeting. Chances are they would because according to Duterte, in their brief meeting in Vietnam last week where they both attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Trump had nice words for him.
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November 12, 2017 9:49 pm  Tags:   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  No Comments

Malacañang podium suits Roque’s senatorial plans

Newly-appointed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. entertains queries from members of the media following his first press briefing in Malacañang on November 2. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante.

It has not been a week since lawyer Harry Roque started speaking for President Duterte and he has effectively taken the heat off the President.

The last meeting of the President with media was upon his arrival from Japan last Oct. 31 where he was asked about his reaction to the statement of imprisoned senator Leila de Lima about not touching his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio, whose names were mentioned in the Senate investigation of the 604 kilos of shabu that slipped through the Bureau of Customs during the watch of former Marines office Nicanor Faeldon.

Duterte was as usual defensive:” Who would believe me if I investigate my son and my son-in-law? Ikaw, can you investigate your mother or father? I leave it to the independent agencies — there’s the Human Rights, which is making all the noise, and they have the NBI.
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November 6, 2017 6:45 am  Tags:   Posted in: Media  2 Comments

Antique’s pride proudly proclaim ‘Antiqueño Ako!’

Photos from Melvin de la Serna’s Facebook page

Visayan short story writer Teodulfo A. Naranjo is turning 80 this year and he has one wish: to read more stories by Antique’s young writers.

“Gusto ko magsulat ang mga bata para may mabasa ako (I want young people to write so there;s something I can read),” he said after he received his “Antiqueño Award” from the Rotary Club of Antique last Saturday in a dignified ceremony at Villa del Carmen in San Jose, Antique.

He said he is concerned about the younger generation “nga ang interes ay puro lang cellphone (who are more preoccupied with cellphones)”

Short story writer Teodulfo A. Naranjo receives his
“Antiqueño Ako” award.


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November 4, 2017 12:22 am  Tags:   Posted in: General  No Comments