Rebuilding for the Better Philippines updates

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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

Cebu to Kick-out Philippine Air force for ₱0.8 Billion bidding project 330 days

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 15:14

MCIAA starts bidding to relocate PAF building

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) is soliciting bids for the relocation of Philippine Air Force (PAF) building in preparation for the construction of a new passenger terminal facility at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

In a brief project description, the MCIAA said it will auction the "relocation/replication of PAF building facilities affected by PPP [public-private partnership] project of MCIAA."


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 The approved budget for the contract (ABC) is ₱801,409,325.60.

 The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to award soon the contract to operate, construct and manage a new passenger terminal facility in the MCIA.

 The agency's spokesman, Michael Arthur Sagcal, said, "the PAF has some facilities, such as hangars, etc…in the MCIA complex which will be moved to give way to the new terminal."              

The MCIAA has set on January 15 a pre-bid conference, while the deadline for submission and opening of bids is on February 17. Bidding documents can be obtained up to February 17 at the airport for ₱75,000.

 "All bids must be accompanied by a bid security…. Late bids shall not be accepted," MCIAA said.

Bidding will be conducted through open competitive bidding procedures using nondiscretionary pass/fail criteria.

The MCIAA also said prospective bidders should possess a valid license with at least Category "AAA" in General Engineering and Registration and have completed within 10 years from the date of submission and receipt of bids a similar project with a value of at least 50 percent of the ABC.

The winning bidder should complete the project in 330 days. – Business Mirror


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WORK - NO PAY: Pinoy rebuilders of New Zealand's Christchurch stricken by 2011 earthquake are exploited; working No PAY

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:09

Some Filipinos working on the Christchurch earthquake rebuild are being exploited by unscrupulous employers, a union says. (MSN File)

Christchurch Filipino workers exploited

A rogue employer in Christchurch has been forcing Filipino workers to labor for free on Saturdays amid exploitation claims, a union says.

The First Union says a subcontractor made 40 employees work for free on Saturdays before the main contractor found out.


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"It's one of the terrible situations where someone takes advantage," union southern secretary Paul Watson told NZ Newswire.

The 40 were employed by a reasonably big company, but were managed by another agency. That agency had since been sacked, he said.

The union says another case involves 15 employees who say they have not been paid for six to 11 weeks' work.

Filipinos make up the biggest single group of migrant workers helping with Christchurch rebuild following the 2011 earthquake.

The unions were hearing about exploitation cases through the Filipino community who were already living in Christchurch.

Mr Watson said some are not aware of their rights under New Zealand employment and health and safety laws. They were also scared of losing their work visa if they complained and were sacked.

"It's not good for the Canterbury workforce, and it's not good for New Zealand itself."

Mr Watson said government officials were moving quickly when they became aware of exploitation but migrant workers needed to be made more aware of their rights.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says the numbers involved are small, but there is a risk they could grow.

The government was distributing information about workers' rights both here and in the Philippines and also working on a law change to make exploitation of migrant workers a criminal offence, he told Radio New Zealand. – MSN news


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Philippines, Iran and South Korea to represent Asia for FIBA World Cup in Spain; MVP ordered GILAS to play & win not Touring

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 08:20

Gilas five no tourists in Spain


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They're not going to Spain in August to watch a bull fight, try its famous cuisine, troop to its crowded beaches or visit its ancient basilicas.

The Gilas players will be there to vie in the FIBA World Cup and if possible win a game or two.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan has given members of Gilas Pilipinas, from the coaches down to the players, their marching orders.

"MVP (Pangilinan) told the whole team he does not want them to be tourists in Spain," said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios yesterday.

"The target is to win at least two games and move to the next round," added Barrios during the PSA Forum at Shakey's Malate.

The former PBA commissioner did now say how they intend to do it. But he sounded confident that it can be done.

"He (Pangilinan) like all of us will be disappointed if we lose all five games (in the elims)," he said.

"The pessimists are saying it's a waste because nothing will happen but that's not the right attitude. We will not go there thinking that way," added Barrios.

Only the best, the top 24 players in the world, will see action in Spain. Only three teams in Asia will be there – Iran, the Philippines and South Korea.

Barrios said the country's chances will all depend on the draw on Feb. 3 in Spain.

"It's a high target but depends on the grouping that we're landing. You can only imagine if we are bracketed with the United States," Barrios added.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes, team manager Aboy Castro and logistics officer Andrew Teh will fly to Spain to witness the draw.

Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the FIBA World Cup by finishing second to Iran in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men's Championship held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The last time the Philippines saw action in the World Cup was in 1978 when it hosted the event. In 1986, the Philippines also qualified but wasn't able to compete because of the Edsa Revolution.

The United States won the 2010 crown by beating Turkey in Istanbul. In 2006, Spain defeated Greece for the title as the Americans finished third.

Reyes, according to Barrios, is "burning the candles" making sure Gilas Pilipinas fields the best team possible for the World Cup.

The SBP is keeping its fingers crossed that the PBA and its teams can find a way to "pro-actively" support the campaign by loaning its best players.

"There are many ways to skin a cat. I hope the PBA can find a solution that will not hurt the league as much. If the PBA can only give us two months (with their players) it may be sufficient," said Barrios.

"We will play the cards dealt to us.  But we want to send the best team we can."

Barrios said the Philippines already received an invitation from the Jones Cup organizers but the SBP "politely declined" because Reyes has already lined up a training sting in Europe in August.

By the time the Gilas players return from Spain, they will only have a couple of weeks to prepare for the Incheon Asian Games set Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

"They only have a week to train and say 'hello and goodbye' to their families," said Barrios. - By Abac Cordero /philSTAR


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Philippine Population to breach 100 Million by September 2014; Foreign Analyst call to curve fastest growth

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 16:25

Philippines unfazed by rising population

The Philippines said the prospect of breaching the 100 million population mark is both a challenge and an opportunity.

"It is both a challenge and an opportunity because people are the most important resource. That is our balanced view of the situation," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on the state-run DZRB Radyo ng Bayan yesterday.

Coloma was reacting to a statement given by Philippine Populations Commission (Popcom) executive director Dr Juan Antonio Perez that the country was expected to breach the 100 million mark by the third or fourth quarter of the year.

Perez, in an interview published in the Philippine Star, noted that a rising population would require investment in social health, education and infrastructure — expenditures that the government can hardly afford right now.

Perez said that with the country's population growth rate pegged at an annual two per cent, the Philippines needs to "maintain a gross domestic product of more than four per cent to keep pace with employment".

But Coloma said these issues were factored in when the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) came up with the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

Coloma said the PDP is geared for inclusive growth, to make sure all Filipinos benefit from any improvements in the country's economy. Coloma, likewise, stressed a large part of the budget for 2014 was geared towards social protection and social welfare and development.

"The majority of Filipinos should not be left out of any growth," he said.

The country's population growth had always been a subject of debate among economists. During the administration of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this matter had been brought up and the standard response was that population growth would be good for a country like the Philippines. This, given that the country had no qualms about exporting its surplus manpower and benefiting from this arrangement in terms of foreign currency remittances.

International observers have said that the Philippines has to rein in its population growth so that its citizens would be able to share the benefits. – Gulf News

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PCGG Good Government welcomes Singapore court decision on Marcos' Swiss funds

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 15:19


PNB WINS. The Philippine National Bank gets the legal title to former President Ferdinand Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. File photo by AFP.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Saturday, January 4, welcomed the move of Singapore's top court to grant Philippine National Bank (PNB) legal title to former President Ferdinand Marcos' Swiss funds.

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"The PCGG views the Singapore decision in a positive light. While the Court ruled that PNB has legal title to the account, PNB holds the monies in its capacity as a trustee for the republic pursuant to an escrow agreement with the government," PCGG chairman Andres Bautista said.

The decision comes 10 years after a German bank in Singapore sought the country's Court of Appeals to decide on the rightful owner of the funds – a total of US$30.1 million.

PNB is one of 4 claimants to Marcos' Swiss funds, along with the Philippine government, 5 foundations allegedly set up by the dictator to hold the money in Swiss bank accounts, and 9,539 human rights victims during the Marcos era, reported in The Straits Times.

"The [Philippine] Republic, Human Rights Victims and the Foundations have not satisfied us that they are legally or beneficially entitled to the Funds," the judgment dated Dec 30, 2013 and released Thursday, January 2, said.

"We also hold that PNB has legal title to the Funds as the original named account holder with WestLB prior to the commencement of the Interpleader Proceedings. As all three contesting parties have failed in their claims for the Funds, none of them is entitled to any costs."

The deposits, held in the Singapore branch of German bank WestLB, comprise US$16.8 million (S$21.3 million) and £4.2 million (S$8.8 million).

At the onset of the Corazon Aquino administration in 1986, the government recovered the wealth of Marcos from Swiss accounts. In 1997, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court issued a decision to return $680 million from the accounts to the Philippines after complying with two conditions:

A final and executory decision of a credible Philippine court declaring Marcos' Swiss funds as ill-gotten.

Giving a rightful share of the funds to Martial Law victims – those who won a class suit in a Honolulu court against the Marcos estate.

Both conditions have already been met: the first one in July 2003, when the Philippine Supreme Court declared Marcos' Swiss funds ill-gotten, and the second one, when President Benigno Aquino III signed last year the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

Under the law, some P10 billion funds recovered from the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' Swiss bank accounts will be appropriated for victims' reparation. 80% of the amount will be spent for existing claims and 20% for future ones. (READ: Aquino: We recognize Martial Law victims)

PCGG could also technically use the $23 million for the Marcos regime's human rights victims, Bautista told Malacañang.

Court rejects other parties' claims

In 2002, Swiss authorities also transferred US$658 million to PNB for safekeeping, which PNB itself placed in other banks in Singapore and Britain, including WestLB. In 2003, the human rights victims "staked" their claims.

"They had won a US$1.9 billion judgment in the United States against the Marcos estate for human rights abuses and sought to recover the sum by staking a claim on the $30.1 million with WestLB," The Straits Times report said.

The Court of Appeals was "compelled" to reject the human rights victims' claim to the funds because relevant documents "did not have the legal effect of transferring a proprietary interest in the Funds to the Human Rights Victims at any point in time."

Despite the rejection, the court emphasized they "would not in any way wish to deny the moral claims of the human rights victims," acknowledging they "deserve redress for the grievous wrongs that they have suffered."

As for the foundations, their claims were rejected by the court as their legal title was lost when they ignored the effects of the orders of the Swiss courts and authorities in authorizing the fund transfer in Swiss deposits to be held in escrow.

The Swiss court ordered the money transferred to PNB, where the funds are held in escrow. –


WATCH OUT: Official Launching of (Philippines) Pilipinas Online Shopping Mall,  Monday January 7, 2014 at

Skies would open for phones and internet as the Philippine observe Global Standards – CAAP; Cebu Pac offers ₱900 per hour

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 13:17

 Cebu Pacific offers ₱900 per hour or $20 Dollars per hour internet services prior to CAAP announcement 

$20 Dollars and 900.00 per hour internet

Prior to the announcement from CAAP to allow mobile phone users while on board the plane, Cebu Pacific have already implemented the system.

Cebu Pacific flights from and to international destinations are already offering on-board internet service to their passengers at $10 Dollars or ₱450  per half an hour rate.

Cebu pacific flight from and to Incheon, South Korea offered such valuable services to their budget class passengers which per hour internet rate is almost as the cost of their  promo tickets for 4 hour trip.


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Mobile communications to extend to the skies starting 2014

Planes will no longer be the rare refuge from texting.

Airline passengers may use their smartphones and other mobile devices to play games and send text messages inflight in line with global standards starting 2014, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Tuesday.

But passengers on airlines based in the Philippines still cannot make voice calls while in flight, not for safety reasons but to avoid disturbing fellow passengers. So mobile users can expect cabin attendants to still patrol aisles reminding passengers to stop talking on their phones.

The use of digital devices on board flights was restricted for fear that these would interfere with pilots' communications. International experts have determined that danger no longer applies with modern plane equipment.

CAAP said its order, dated December 30, 2013, will take effect only 15 days after it is published in a newspaper of general circulation and a copy is filed with the Office of the National Administrative Register at UP Diliman, Quezon City.

Before take-off and after landing, passengers can use their mobile devices practically without restrictions, including voice calls, unless the pilot says otherwise.

In an e-mailed statement, Director General William K. Hotchkiss III said CAAP will permit people on board commercial flights to use their laptops and cellular phones to use the Internet and send text messages.

Once the doors are closed, mobile devices should be switched to silent mode. Passengers are prohibited from making calls and are only allowed to send text messages or browse the internet.

When the aircraft is refueling, all transmissions will not be allowed and mobile devices must be turned off.

"Basta sinarado na 'yung doors at nakapasok na lahat ng pasahero, bawal na ang voice communications para hindi maingay... pero pwede mag-text at mag-internet basta naka-silent mode bago mag-take-off," CAAP public information officer Eric Apolonio told GMA News Online in a phone interview.

Passengers are also allowed to play games on electronic devices and music on MP3 players with the use of earphones in-flight.

Apolonio said the change in policy reflects the Oct. 31 US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) move which allowed airlines to expand the use of personal electronic devices or PEDs in airplane mode by the end of the year.

The FAA said the decision was based on findings by a group of experts who concluded that most commercial airplanes today can tolerate radio interference signals from mobile devices. – With report from VS/KG/HS, GMA News


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USA and Canada bags order worth ₱1.26 billion 21 Huey helicopters for Philippine Air Force delivery June 2014

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 12:28

With a Marine on the guide using hand gestures to guide them, two AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced), the aviation combat element of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), arrive at Al Asad Airfield, Iraq, Dec. 22, 2005. The 22nd MEU (SOC) is currently deployed in Iraq's Al Anbar province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo by Sgt Richard D. Stephens). Photo from

A joint venture of two companies based in North America has bagged the deal to supply 21 UH-1 combat utility helicopters to the Philippine Air Force.

The joint venture of American firm Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Canadian company Eagle Copters Ltd. won the contract for the supply and delivery of Huey helicopters, the workhorse of the military's operations.

The STAR news learned that the notice of award was issued to the joint venture last week of December.


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Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said in an interview the Huey helicopters can be used for rescue and internal security operations.

"The helicopters will be used to meet immediate requirements. They will be used to address the dwindling capability of the Air Force," Velez said.

The approved outlay for the project was ₱1.26 billion, but the helicopters would be purchased for about ₱1.25 million less than the approved budget for the contract, he added.

The supplier is expected to start delivery within six months.

"The first delivery based on the requirements is six months but they might deliver that in as close as two weeks," Velez said.

Earlier, the Defense department held three public biddings for the Huey helicopters acquisition project but all of these failed due to the bidders' failure to meet some requirements. The Defense department then resorted to an alternative form of procurement to acquire the helicopters.

Officials said the procurement mode was similar to public bidding but without the publication requirements. Under a public bidding, the procuring agency should publish a bid notice in newspapers and the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System website.

Section 53 of the implementing rules of the procurement law allows agencies to resort to a negotiated procurement when there has been a failure of public bidding for the second time.

Negotiated procurement was defined as "a method of procurement of goods, infrastructure projects and consulting services, whereby the procuring entity directly negotiates a contract with a technically, legally and financially capable supplier, contractor or consultant."

The 21 UH-1 helicopters were originally intended to perform poll-related duties last May but the acquisition had been delayed by failed biddings.

Fighter jets

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the delivery of lead-in fighter trainer jets to be acquired from South Korea may start in June 2015.

The government plans to spend ₱18.9 billion to acquire 12 FA-50 supersonic fighter jets from South Korea to boost the Air Force's territorial defense capabilities. –


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A Visayan beauty of Cebu Central Philippines crowned as Miss Tourism International on New Years Eve

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 09:10

ANOTHER PINAY WOWS THE WORLD (AP) — Angeli Dione Gomez of Cebu City reacts after being crowned as 2013-2014 Miss Tourism International in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Dec. 31, 2013. She took the crown from another Cebuana, Rizzini Alexis Gomez, the previous winner of the international beauty pageant.

  • Crowned Miss Tourism International - Miss Angeli Dione Gomez of Cebu, the Philippines
  • 1st Runner-up - Sunidporn Srisuwan, Thailand (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International
  • 2013)
  • 2nd Runner up - Sarah Czarnuch, Australia (Miss Tourism Metropolitan 2013)
  • 3rd Runner up - Michelle Alexis Torres, Dominican Republic (Miss Tourism Global 2013)
  • 4th Runner up - Thaarah Ganesan, Malaysia (Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan)

Miss Angeli Dione Gomez a Visayan from Cebu of the Central Philippines was crowned the Miss Tourism International 2013/2014 on the New Year's Eve in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

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The 20-year-old, who wanted to be a film director, was ecstatic to bring back the crown to Philippines after the country won it last year.

"The first thing I plan to do is to meet my family whom I have not met for about one month and have a nice breakfast with them tomorrow," she told reporters.

As the title holder, Gomez will be tasked as travelling ambassador in promoting informal international relations between countries to spread the message of peace, goodwill and friendship.

The first runner-up who also held the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year 2013/2014 went to Sunidporn Srisuwan from Thailand; second runner-up also carried the Miss Metropolitan 2013/2014 won by Sarah Czarnuch from Australia; Third placeplace won by Michelle Alexis Torres from Dominican Republic which carried the Miss Tourism Global International 2013/2014 title and Malaysia representative Thaarah Ganesan won fifth place which carried the title Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International 2013/2014.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the ministry would give its support to the pageant which he believed make significant mark in the tourism industry especially in 2014 as Visit Malaysia Year.

"The wheels have already been set in motion with the public and private sectors doing their utmost best to promote the country to local and overseas visitors. 

And doing its part in promoting the country nationwide and globally was D'Touch International Sdn Bhd, he said, that had organized the Miss Tourism International 2013 World Final for the 17th consecutive years.

As the only New Year's Eve pageant in the world, he said, this year's Miss Tourism International World Final held on Dec 31 added significant in the Tourism Calendar as Visit Year Malaysia 2014 event took off one day after the World Final.

 "What more, the Miss Tourism International World Final has had already made inroads into the pageantry industry, as it is not only a Malaysian homegrown title, but it is also franchised to more than 80 countries around the world. 

"This year's event, held to promote peace, friendship and cultural exchanges between the participants, will see a record number of 60 delegates from all converging on Malaysia to vie for the title.  

"This set as a record for the largest participation ever since the inaugural event held in Kuching, Sarawak in 1994," he said.

Such an event, he said, would in turn lure more tourist arrivals and placing the country in the international spotlight through global news coverage of the World Final be it in print or electronic.

As an acknowledgement of the pageant's success, the Miss Tourism International Title owned by Datuk Danny Ooi was accorded International Branding status as the Country Branding of the Year Award 2013 at the Brand Laurette Awards 2013 organized by Asia Pacific Brands Foundation.

This cemented Miss Tourism International Pageant's reputation and stature as a top-class and prestigious event recognized worldwide, Nazri said.

2013 International Beauty Queens

This was the second time in 2013 that beauty queen mentor Rodgil Flores produced an international beauty queen. Last December, Bea Rose Santiago won the 2013 Miss International beauty contest in Tokyo, Japan. 2005 Miss International Precious Lara Quigaman Alcaraz also belonged to the "Kagandahang Flores" group.

The year 2013 finished with an impressive four major crowns for the Philippines and Top 5 placements in international beauty pageants.

In 2013, Mutya Johanna Datul won the first title for the country in the Miss Supranational contest in Belarus. It was followed by Megan Lynne Young, the country's first Miss World, in a pageant held in Bali, Indonesia; Bea Rose Santiago, 2013 Miss International; and now Angeli Gomez, 2013 Miss Tourism International.

Miss Philippines Maria Isabelle Zaragoza Mendoza, of San Beda College, was also crowned 2013/2014 Miss Campus World contest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last December 6. Mister Philippines Ronald William de Dios finished second in the same contest.

Other notable placements were Ariella Arida, third runner-up, 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow, Russia; Gil Wagas, fourth runner-up, 2013 Mister International contest, Bali, Indonesia; and Ali Forbes, 2013 Miss Grand International pageant, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Gomez's victory is the latest in a string of victories for the Philippines in international beauty pageants.

Among the Filipina pageant victors this year are Megan Young (Miss World), Mutya Johanna Datul (Miss Supranational), and Bea Rose Santiago (Miss International).

Top 10:

  1. Australia - Sarah Czarnuch
  2. Vietnam - Phan Hoang Thu
  3. Bosnia & Herzegovina - Aleksandra Kovacevic
  4. Ukraine - Oleksandra Timonina
  5. Thailand - Sunidporn Srisuwan
  6. Portugal - Sara Monica Matias da Silveira
  7. Zimbabwe - Dananai Ratiozo Chipunza
  8. Philippines - Angeli Dione Gomez
  9. Malaysia - Thaarah Ganesan
  10. Dominican Republic - Michelle Alexis

Miss Tourism International 2013 Special Awards:

  • Miss Proton Elegance - Portugal
  • Miss Beautiful Skin - Singapore
  • Miss Friendship - Uganda
  • Best in Talent - Armenia
  • Miss Tourism International 2013
  • Great Ambassador Award - Hong Kong
  • Miss Southeast Asia - Vietnam
  • Best National Costume - Mexico
  • Miss Beverly Wilshire Gorgeous - Miss Indonesia
  • Miss Portrait Queen - Romania
  • Miss Focus Point Dazzling - Poland
  • Miss Charity Queen - Korea
  • Miss KL Sogo Trendsetter - Australia
  • Miss Avant Garde i-City - Malaysia
  • Miss Poh Kong Glamour – Australia

With report from Manila Bulletin, ABS-CBN News and New Strait Times

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