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    UK ‘complicit’ in Duterte’s war on drugs – anti arms-trade group

    February 22nd, 2018

    By RT

    © Damir Sagolj / Reuters

    THE UK is “complicit” in human rights abuses in the Philippines as it has emerged it is selling spying equipment to President Rodrigo Duterte. The country’s leader is currently waging a war on drugs that has killed thousands.

    According to the Guardian, the British government has sold some £150,000 worth of spying equipment to Duterte as he endeavors to hunt down drug dealers and users, avowedly as part of his campaign to tackle drug crime. Equipment included IMSI-Catchers, used to eavesdrop on phone conversations, and other internet surveillance tools, the paper reports.

    Duterte has admitted authorizing the wiretapping of at least two mayors, whom he accused of being “narcopoliticians.”One, former Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojino, was killed along with another 14 people when police raided his home last July.

    Following the report, the Campaign Against Arms Trade’s Andrew Smith told RT: “The regime in the Philippines has an appalling human rights record. By providing surveillance equipment and support, the UK is making itself complicit in the abuses taking place. We don’t know how that equipment will be used, or who it will be used against.”

    The UK’s relationship with Duterte has also faced censure in parliament. Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a member of the committees on arms export controls, accused the government of facilitating the deadly war on drugs. Russell-Moyle said the sales “makes us complicit in the deaths of thousands of Filipinos.

    “This sad case shows that our arms export control regime is broken. The government is failing in its basic legal duty,” he added.

    The arms sales also appear to contravene UK law. It is, in fact, against its statute to “issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression”.

    The UK, however, has a record of providing arms to governments accused of internal repression. It has previously sold espionage equipment to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain and Egypt.

    The kit was sold to Duterte’s government in 2016. By that time, the Filipino leader had already made it clear he would resort to any means necessary to follow through with his plans to tackle drug-related crime.

    During a rally last year, Duterte said: “Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor.

    “You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I’d kill you, I’ll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.”

    But Human Rights Watch (HRW) envoy to the Philippines Phelim Kine called into question the validity of the Guardian’s report, as he said there is “no clarity as to who exactly received” the equipment.

    According to evidence garnered by HRW, there is no “no confirmation” that the equipment has actually been handed to the Philippine national police to pursue the President’s “slaughter.”

    Moreover, he questioned the likelihood of the equipment being used in the war on drugs, or what he also referred to as the “war on the poor”, as the campaign targets “urban slum-dwellers” who are tracked down through a local government register. “It’s unclear to me why and how high surveillance equipment would be needed to target that population segment,” Kine told RT.

    He claimed HRW is well-acquainted with the “modus operandi” of the regime as it has worked in the field for 19 months, and that the anti-drug campaign is an “extremely brutal, low-tech venture”. But he concluded there is “no evidence that national police is sourcing targets through surveillance. We go on verifiable facts. [The Guardian article] raises more questions than it gives answers,” Kine quipped.

    The UK department for international trade responded to the allegations. It told the Guardian the “government takes its export responsibilities very seriously.”

    According to HRW, Duterte’s war on drugs has claimed the lives of 12,000 people. The anti-drug campaign started in July 30, 2016.

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    A Call to Action and for Support @ the People Power Monument

    February 22nd, 2018

    People Power Monument Image © INQUIRER PHOTO/ARNOLD ALMACEN

    WE of Dasal at Ayuno Laban sa ChaCha para sa Demokrasya are inviting everyone to come to the Edsa People Power Monument starting midnight tonight until Sunday, Feb 25.

    We are being threatened to be evicted tonight. We want to defend this shrine of freedom against the coming of leaders and groups that want to change the present Constitution and return to dictatorship.

    Let us together reclaim the spirit of Edsa thru prayer and active non-violence. Para sa Diyos at Bayan.

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    Leo Orii’s ‘Sampaguita and Gold Button’ available at Solidaridad

    February 22nd, 2018

    JAPANESE-American author and tapestry artist Leo Orii’s epic novel “Sampaguita and Gold Button” is now available at National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose’s Solidaridad bookshop on Padre Faura St. in Manila.

    In the novel, Orii uses his detailed and highly visual mode of storytelling to weave a tale of first love and suffering in a Japanese-occupied Philippines during World War II, and how this love survived the brutal years of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.

    A tapestry-maker and painter, Orii melds his mastery of the visual arts to shape the narrative of his story of a romance between a Japanese sailor and a comely young woman from Cebu, juxtaposing the tenderness and innocence of their youthful passion against the fumes and flames of war.

    Set in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, and in Sendai and Tokyo in Japan, “Sampaguita and Gold Button” offers a very human, and very rare, look at the Japanese perspective of the grand story of the Great War.

    It also offers rare insights of the Martial Law years, as seen from the eyes of a Japanese man living in Manila.

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    Yellowstone Eruption Imminent? Geologists Worried by Intensifying Activity

    February 21st, 2018

    By Sputnik News

    © AFP 2018/ Mark Ralston

    The last massive earthquake in Yellowstone National Park claimed the lives of 28 people and created a whole new lake. An eruption of a supervolcano like the one at Yellowstone could render significant part of the US uninhabitable for years and threaten life on the whole planet.

    Over 200 tremors have struck the Yellowstone supervolcano over the past few days, while normally only 1,000-2,000 tremors occur during a year. The latest quakes were just 2.9 in magnitude on the Richter scale, but the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory warned that a bigger earthquake of magnitude-7 potentially coming in the near future.

    Such unusual intensification may be connected to the 7.5 magnitude 1959 earthquake, when a huge landslide took the lives of 28 people and led to the creation of Quake Lake.

    But it is not the earthquake that is troubling, it is the possible eruption. With a huge magma chamber situated beneath the giant 55 by 72 kilometer Yellowstone Caldera, the amount of ash that would be erupt into the atmosphere may kill all life in the western US by blanketing the skies within hours, blocking out the sun and changing the climate on the whole continent, according to research by Ilya N. Bindeman, professor at the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Oregon.

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    The Deadly Rule of the American Oligarchs*

    February 21st, 2018

    By Russia Insider/Chris Hedges**

    “If we don’t … revolt, we will be herded into the abattoirs that tyrannies set up at the end of their existence.”

    Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain.

    “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions,” Aristotle wrote.

    The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.

    These deviant forms of government are defined by common characteristics, most of which Aristotle understood. Oligarchs use power and ruling structures solely for personal advancement.

    Oligarchs, though they speak of deconstructing the administrative state, actually increase deficits and the size and power of law enforcement and the military to protect their global business interests and ensure domestic social control. The parts of the state that serve the common good wither in the name of deregulation and austerity. The parts that promote the oligarchs’ power expand in the name of national security, economic growth and law and order.

    For example, the oligarchs educate their children in private schools and buy them admissions into elite universities (this is how a mediocre student like Jared Kushner went to Harvard and Donald Trump went to the University of Pennsylvania), so they see no need to fund good public education for the wider population.

    Oligarchs can pay teams of high-priced lawyers to bail them and their families out of legal trouble. There is no need, in their eyes, to provide funds for legal representation for the poor. When oligarchs do not fly on private jets, they fly in first class, so they permit airlines to fleece and abuse “economy” passengers. They do not use subways, buses or trains, and they slash funds for the maintenance and improvement of these services.

    Oligarchs have private clinics and private doctors, so they do not want to pay for public health or Medicare. Oligarchs detest the press, which when it works shines a light on their corruption and mendacity, so they buy up and control systems of information and push their critics to the margins of society, something they will accelerate with the abolition of net neutrality.

    Oligarchs do not vacation on public beaches or in public parks. They own their own land and estates, where we are not allowed. They see no reason to maintain or fund public parks or protect public land. They hand such land over to other oligarchs to exploit for profit. Oligarchs cynically view laws as mechanisms to legalize their fraud and plunder.

    They use their lobbyists in the legislative branch of government to author bills that increase and protect their wealth, through the avoidance of taxes and other means. Oligarchs do not allow free and fair elections. They use gerrymandering and campaign contributions to make sure other oligarchs are elected over and over to office. Many run unopposed.

    Oligarchs look at regulations to protect the environment or the safety of workers as impediments to profit and abolish them. Oligarchs move industries to Mexico or China to increase their wealth while impoverishing American workers and leaving U.S. cities in ruins. Oligarchs are philistines.

    They are deaf, dumb and blind to great works of art, reveling in tawdry spectacles, patriotic kitsch and mindless entertainment. They despise artists and intellectuals who promote virtues and self-criticism that conflict with the lust for power, celebrity and wealth. Oligarchs always unleash wars on culture, attacking it as elitist, irrelevant and immoral and cutting its funding.

    All social services and institutions, such as public housing programs, public parks, meals for the elderly, infrastructure projects, welfare and Social Security, are viewed by oligarchs as a waste of money. These services are gutted or turned over to fellow oligarchs, who harvest them for profit until they are destroyed.

    Oligarchs, who do not serve in the military and who ensure their children do not serve in the military, pretend to be great patriots. They attack those who oppose them as anti-American, traitors or agents for a foreign power. They use the language of patriotism to stoke hatred against their critics and to justify their crimes.

    They see the world in black and white—those who are loyal to them and those who are the enemy. They extent this stunted belief system to foreign affairs. Diplomacy is abandoned for the crude threats and indiscriminate use of force that are the preferred forms of communication of all despots.

    There is little dispute that we live in an oligarchic state. The wealthiest 1 percent of America’s families control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, a statistic similar to what is seen globally: The wealthiest one percent of the world’s population owns more than half of the world’s wealth. This wealth translates into political power.

    The political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, after examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, concluded, “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

    Oligarchs accelerate social, political, cultural and economic collapse. The unchecked plunder leads to systems breakdown. The refusal to protect natural resources, or the economic engines that sustain the state, means that poverty becomes the norm and the natural world becomes a toxic wasteland.

    Basic institutions no longer work. Infrastructure is no longer reliable. Water, air and soil are poisoned. The population is left uneducated, untrained, impoverished, oppressed by organs of internal security and beset by despair. The state eventually goes bankrupt. Oligarchs respond to this steady deterioration by forcing workers to do more for less and launching self-destructive wars in the vain attempt to restore a lost golden age.

    They also insist, no matter how bad it gets, on maintaining their opulent and hedonistic lifestyles. They further tax the resources of the state, the ecosystem and the population with suicidal demands. They flee from the looming chaos into their gated compounds, modern versions of Versailles or the Forbidden City. They lose touch with reality. In the end, they are overthrown or destroy the state itself. There is no institution left in America that can be called democratic, and thus there is no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity.

    “The political role of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system, not excrescences upon it,” the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin wrote in “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.”

    “The system would remain in place even if the Democratic Party attained a majority; and should that circumstance arise, the system will set tight limits to unwelcome changes, as if foreshadowed in the timidity of the current Democratic proposals for reform. In the last analysis, the much-lauded stability and conservatism of the American system owe nothing to lofty ideals, and everything to the irrefutable fact that it is shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors.

    When a minimum of a million dollars is required of House candidates and elected judges, and when patriotism is for the draft-free to extol and for the ordinary citizen to serve, in such times it is a simple act of bad faith to claim that politics-as-we-now-know-it can miraculously cure the evils which are essential to its very existence.”

    The longer we are ruled by oligarchs, the deadlier our predicament becomes, especially since the oligarchs refuse to address climate change, the greatest existential crisis to humankind. The oligarchs have many mechanisms, including wholesale surveillance, to keep us in check. They will stop at nothing to maintain the sophistry of their rule.

    History may not repeat itself, but it echoes. And if we don’t recognize these echoes and then revolt, we will be herded into the abattoirs that tyrannies set up at the end of their existence.

    ** The author is formerly a foreign correspondent with the New York Times, where he won a Pulitzer prize, until he was fired for criticizing Israel and the Iraq war. He is a New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, left-leaning  political activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. He hosts an excellent show on RT called ‘On Contact’. He speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard University. 

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.*

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    SPARK’s statement on Beyond Deadlines’ Second Anniversary

    February 21st, 2018

    THE Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan would like to congratulate the editorial board and staff of Beyond Deadlines on the occasion of your second anniversary.

    We believe that your task alone of delivering accurate and objective news is daunting enough and will likely get more interesting while this administration’s grip on power slowly loosens as it fails to deliver the promised social changes aggravated by the rapid deterioration of the concerns it has inherited from the past administrations.

    We also would like to thank you for the supported you have extended to us in publishing the true stories and sentiments of the marginalized masses of our people. We commend you for be traveling with us in the our quest for social justice and economic emancipation from this wretched economic and political system.

    Again, congratulations and more power.

    Secretariat Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK)

    Mabuhay kayo, mga kasama!


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    Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Traffic Advisory 022118

    February 21st, 2018

    Honor Guard Drills in-front of People’s Power Monument 

    The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will undertake the rehearsal of the military honor guards in front of People Power Monument on Friday, February 23 at 8am, in preparation for the 32nd People Power Anniversary. Northbound lanes of Edsa will be affected.

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    MMDA’s Tim Orbos appointed transportation undersecretary

    February 20th, 2018

    Tomas Orbos Photo © Inquirer News

    INTER-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) head Tim Orbos on Monday bade goodbye to his Metropolitan Manila Development Authority family as he takes on his role in the transportation department.

    Orbos, who served as the MMDA General Manager and Officer in Charge for about a year will now focus on being DoTr’s Undersecretary for Roads. His task revolves around addressing traffic concerns and coordinating between transportation agencies and local government units.

    The DOTr official expressed his gratefulness to the MMDA which, according to him, is very close to his heart.

    MMDA will always be a part of who I am and I am thankful for being part of an agency, which, despite being under equipped, remains dedicated to serving Metro Manila,” Orbos said.

    “It is truly an honor to have worked and served with the people here at MMDA, from the directors to the laborers, who all take their jobs seriously, with their hearts to it” adding that I am glad that I am back on the roads as Undersecretary for the road sector.”

    At the same time, Orbos assured that despite him leaving the MMDA, concerns regarding traffic especially in the Metro will still be properly addressed through proper coordination and stronger cooperation among agencies thru I-ACT.

    Under the previous Aquino administration, Orbos has served as the MMDA’s Assistant General Manager for Planning and eventually took over the reins as the agency’s officer-in-charge after being appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as MMDA General Manager.

    He led the agency for eight months until the current chairman, Danilo Lim, was appointed May last year and the responsibility of traffic management was given to the new MMDA appointees.

    During his stint at the MMDA, Orbos, with the concurrence of the Metro Manila Council, introduced and implemented a handful of policies like the no window hour, expanded number coding, and light trucks ban – all to ease the traffic flow in Metro Manila.

    Orbos was replaced by Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia Jr., who also served as MMDA’s Assistant General for Planning.

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    Opera and Fashion Show for Marawi Set

    February 20th, 2018

    THE biggest names in Philippine opera and fashion are all set for the magnificent production of “MARAWING SALAMAT – The Best of Opera & Fashion for Marawi,” an extraordinary synergy of the high art of opera and the popular art of fashion for a noble & worthy cause.

    Presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and The Lyric Opera of the Philippines in cooperation with E. Zobel Foundation Inc., the much-awaited collaboration –all for the love of Marawi — will be held at the CCP Main Theater on April 6, 2018 at 8 pm.

    The Best of Opera will stage the best-loved opera arias from “Tosca,” “Carmen,” “La Traviata,” “Rigoletto,” “I Pagliacci,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “La Boheme,” and “Turandot,” among others. They will be interpreted by an all-Filipino cast from the Lyric Opera of the Philippines, the country’s most prestigious non-profit opera company and chaired by celebrated Filipino soprano, Maestra Irma Ponce Enrile-Potenciano. The performers will be led by renowned opera tenors Sherwin Sozon, Randy Gilongo & John Glenn Gaerlan, baritone Noel Azcona, sopranos Ana Feleo, Rica Nepomuceno, Mary Patrice Pacis, Ton Ton Pascual, and Naomi Sison.

    To be directed by internationally-acclaimed filmmaker, Carlitos Siguion Reyna, the twin-bill presentation will also feature the 70-piece UST Symphony Orchestra, a CCP resident company, which shall provide the music under the baton of American guest conductor, Maestro William Barkhymer.

    The Best of Fashion, on the other hand, will be the biggest-ever-Fashion-for-a-Cause project involving over 100 fashion & jewelry designers, fashion directors & choreographers, hairstylists & makeup artists, fashion models & muses, and beauty queens & celebrity performers.

    With a unique concept & script by Zardo A. Austria and to be directed by Raymond Villanueva & Nathan De Leon , the cultural fashion show will re-live “The Pomp & Pageantry of Philippine Carnival Queens” as it showcases the Filipino beauty & talent in a breath-taking parade of modern Filipiniana creations inspired from the glorious, bygone era of the Carnival Queens (circa 1908-1939).

    Having morphed into a nationwide contest for Miss Philippines before and after the war, the search for the Carnival Queen, undoubtedly, became the precursor of modern-day beauty pageants.

    UST Symphony Orchestra. Image ©

    Playing immortal kundiman classics & folk songs, along with adorable pop tunes, the UST Symphony Orchestra will be conducted this time by Maestro Herminigildo Ranera, former resident conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. “The Pomp & Pageantry of Carnival Queens” will, thus, be a grand display of Filipino ingenuity, music and cultural heritage.

    Among the country’s top & talented couturiers who have been fastidiously selected to unveil their brilliant designs are: Edgar Allan, Albert Andrada, Ronaldo Arnaldo, Eddie Baddeo, Delby Bragais, Tony Cajucom, Jing Chua, Steve de Leon, Peri Diaz, Toni Galang, Rocky Gathercole, Nolie Hans, Roland Lirio, Ricci Lizaso, Jojie Lloren, Edgar Madamba, Jontie Martinez, Ole Morabe, Richard Papa, Oskar Peralta, Lito Perez, Nardie Presa, Barge Ramos, Rholand Roxas, Renee Salud, Ditta Sandico, Edgar San Diego, and Fanny Serrano.

    Leading the all-exquisite Ladies Committee are Becky Garcia & Roni Tapia-Merk as chairpersons. Providing their graphic design expertise are Dopy Doplon & Vince Pozon, co-creators of the catchy title ‘Marawing Salamat,’ haute couture jewelry designer Gerry Ereneta Sunga, Mark Higgins of Slims Fashion & Arts School, ace photographers George Tapan, Sonny Espiritu, Henry Ferrer and Ritche Mariano, along with the teams of Chat Sun and Anton Paranal for hair & makeup.

    Early project supporters are Hon. Senator Cynthia Villar, interior designer Eric Paras of Artelano 11 Furniture Showroom, Lorna Cruz-Ambas of LJC Restaurant Group, Lorenzo’s Way in BGC, FELIZO for timeless & elegant Filipiniana accessories, Chef Extraordinaire Jessie Sincioco of Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, makeup and skincare by Mary Kay, the Ing Bale Mi Heritage Home in Mexico Pampanga, and Villa Tortuga in Taal, Batangas.

    The high point of the gala event will be the special tribute accorded to the Opera & Fashion Icons. To be recognized for their talent & achievements by their peers are Opera Legends Irma Potenciano, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, couple Jose & Teresita Agana -Santos, Armida Siguion Reyna, Nomer Son, and Noel Velasco to name some.

    The fashion society, meanwhile, will acknowledge the Pillars of Philippine Fashion which include National Artist Ramon Valera, Jose ‘Pitoy’ Moreno, Ben Farrales, Aureo Alonzo, Christian Espiritu, Joe Salazar and Salvacion Lim-Higgins of Slims.

    Spearheading this tribute & fund-raising project for the Rebuilding of Marawi City are the event producers: Book Author & Publisher, and Fashion & Arts Impresario Zardo A. Austria; former President of Fashion Designers Association & Heritage Advocate Lito P. Perez; renowned Tenor & Co-founder of Lyric Opera Philippines Sherwin K. Sozon; and Award-winning Theater, TV & Film Actress and Educator Lorli Villanueva. They have unanimously chosen the Duyog Marawi project of the Prelature of St. Mary’s in Marawi to be the beneficiary of Marawing Salamat fund-raising event.

    Prelature of Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña delivers the homily during the Red Wednesday mass at the Manila Cathedral on November 21, 2017 Image ©

    Established by Bishop Edwin dela Pena of Marawi, together with the Redemptorist missionaries, Duyog Marawi literally means “to accompany Marawi” towards recovery and reconstruction. But going beyond the physical process, it is anchored on the belief that to truly rebuild the city, the real foundation must be built in the hearts of its people. Faith & culture must be factored into the rebuilding process, and that people’s rights are always protected and upheld.

    According to Bishop dela Pena, they have already identified 13 communities in Marawi which will serve as the Peace Corridor, and the loci of their operations for rehabilitation. These communities will be transformed into a chain that channels a free passage of ideas and dreams of peace, and eventually shall become gateways & guardians, so that ideas of terror & extremism will not flow freely once again. They have started with some of their key services to these communities, such as, a healing center that combines psychiatric & psychological support, as well as culture-based approaches to healing & wellness. This is particularly effective to the children who have been traumatized by the wounds of war.

    The other special programs shall include Health, Wellness, & Peace Caravans which will bring wholistic medical missions to the people; Peace Education in Child-friendly Spaces; Training & Mobilization of Maranao & Christian Youth Volunteers towards Peace & Dialogue as a way to curb the influence of ISIS and other extremist forces in the area; and Communications for Peace, Healing, and Reconciliation to help create a Culture of Compassion among the Catholic faithful towards the Maranao.

    To highlight this remarkable cooperation and offering, a landmark coffee-table book, entitled “THE GOLDEN AGE OF OPERA & CARNIVAL QUEENS IN THE PHILIPPINES,” will be launched on July 4, 2018 to coincide with the Filipino-American Friendship Day celebration.

    To be published & written by Zardo A. Austria, and with design by foremost Marawi-born creative director Dopy Doplon, the book aims to promote to the Filipino public, particularly to the new generation of the millennials, an appreciation of the art of opera performance and the recognition & understanding of a cultural tradition & lifestyle that is inherently Filipino. But more than that, says Austria, “the book, in its true essence, shall be a lasting testament, or a tribute, to the compassionate nature of the Filipinos, and to their innate spirit of Bayanihan.”

    For ticket sales or reservations, call TicketWorld at 891-9999 or contact mobile number 0917-8607560.

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    ‘Chinese province of the Philippines?’ Duterte says Beijing’s military bases only threaten the US

    February 20th, 2018

    By RT

    Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island. January 29, 2016. / Reuters

    THE Philippines is not concerned about Chinese military bases in the South China Sea, which are aimed to counter US influence, Rodrigo Duterte said, emphasizing that Manila can solve any disputes with Beijing diplomatically.

    The disputed waters of the South China Sea have long been a bone of contention between the regional players – China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Beijing has laid claim to nearly all of the resource-rich area, through which an estimated $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. China reportedly boosted the construction of military bases on artificial islands around the Spratly and Paracel Islands to protect its national interests in the area. The control of the archipelago, which includes about 130 small coral islands and reefs, is key to Beijing’s dominance in the South China Sea.

    The Philippines, a direct party to the territorial dispute, believes that the Chinese military installations are not intended to confront neighbors, but rather to repel the US from the region. Despite Washington having no territorial claims in the area, the US has always stressed the necessity for freedom of navigation in the area and opposed China’s claims. The US and Chinese militaries have had frequent standoffs in the South China Sea.

    “China [is] building structures and military bases. I must admit it. But is it intended for us? You must be joking,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese-Filipino businessmen at a gathering in Manila attended by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.

    “It’s not intended for us. The contending ideological powers of the world or the geopolitics has greatly changed. It’s really intended against those who the Chinese think would destroy them. And that is America,” he added, according to Inquirer.

    Duterte stressed that Manila will pursue a “diplomatic” course with Beijing over territorial disputes and avoid any military provocation in the region. In July 2016, judges in the Hague ruled that China has caused irreversible harm to the ecosystem of the Spratly Islands and violated sovereign rights of the Philippines. A tribunal at the Hague said in a ruling that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line,’” referring to a demarcation line on a map of the sea from 1947. However, Beijing has ignored the verdict, saying its islands come with exclusive economic zones, where Chinese people have had activities for 2,000 years.

    “We cannot go there, ride in our whatever, Navy, the gray ships, the Coast Guard and start waving our rifles. We cannot do that today. It is unrealistic. It cannot be true,” Duterte said. “Then why would I go there, bring my Navy, my soldiers, my police and everything only to be slaughtered?”

    “I will not commit the lives of the Filipinos only to die unnecessarily. I will not go into a battle which I can never win. We cannot do that today. It is unrealistic,” Duterte added, signaling that he is ready for rapprochement with China on the issue.

    Duterte even joked about making the Philippines a province of China, downplaying moves by China to assign Chinese names to several undersea features in the Pacific belonging to the Philippines.

    “If you want, you can make us a province, like Fujian. Province of the Philippines, Republic of China,” Duterte said, according to Channel News Asia.

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    Eco Waste Coalition’s statement on Beyond Deadlines’ Second Anniversary

    February 20th, 2018


    Dear Pastor Nelson,

    As the founding anniversary period of Beyond Deadlines is commemorated from January 14 to February 24, we at the EcoWaste Coalition would like to extend our warm gratitude and appreciation for your splendid efforts to reach out to Filipinos the world over through the timely sharing of news and views that matter to our lives as a nation.

    We are most thankful to you and your team for providing us with an online platform to shed light on many critical environmental and health issues from the perspective of the public interest.

    As a non-profit organization, we deeply value our collaboration with Beyond Deadlines and wish you continued success in your current and future endeavors.

    Mabuhay and keep the light burning!

    Eileen B. Sison
    EcoWaste Coalition

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    Beyond Deadlines on Howdy Philippines and Pinoy Houston TV YouTube #50 – “The PH Local Government Code and Federalism (Part 2)”

    February 18th, 2018

    Kindly watch this Beyond Deadlines’ segment at Howdy Philippines where I will talk about the Philippine Local Government Code and Federalism and why the former answers is all that we need. Thanks and God Bless…

    The Beyond Deadlines on TV/YouTube segment was produced by the Houston, Texas based Pinoy Houston TV. The program’s show time is every Saturday at 1 p.m. (Houston time) at Channel 15.3 with a repeat broadcast at 5:30 p.m. every Sunday.

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    ‘Avoid condoms, they’re not pleasurable,’ Duterte tells Filipinos

    February 17th, 2018

    By RT

    OUTSPOKEN Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has once again courted controversy for an off-the-cuff remark in which he advised Filipinos not to use condoms, as they aren’t “pleasurable.”

    “Avoid condoms because condoms aren’t pleasurable,”Duterte said at an event with overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait on Tuesday. The Philippines leader advised instead that women use “free” contraceptive pills, a point which he illustrated using a wrapped piece of candy.

    “Here, try eating it without unwrapping it,” he said. “Eat it. That’s what a condom is like.”

    Duterte is well-known for his outlandish remarks, which have included rape jokes and politically incorrect humor about religion. As with his previous bizarre asides, the president came under intense criticism at home and abroad for advocating reckless behavior with regard to sexual health.

    Not only has the Philippines long-struggled with the issue of unwanted pregnancy, owing to fierce opposition to contraceptives in the predominantly Catholic country, but it is also grappling with the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, with cases more than doubling from 4,300 in 2010 to 10,500 in 2016, according to Rappler.

    “President Duterte should stop making thoughtless, reckless, and irresponsible statements at the expense of public health,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros in a statement published Thursday. “President Duterte seems to be overly concerned with pleasure. There is nothing pleasurable or funny about the rise in our cases of HIV and teen pregnancy.”

    “Instead of criticizing condoms as a pleasure inhibitor, Duterte should take meaningful action to protect the health of Filipinos by backing urgently needed policy changes to expand the accessibility and use of condoms in the Philippines,”said Carlos Conde, researcher for the Asia Division of HRW.

    Two out of three new HIV infections occur among 15- to 24-year-old ‘males who have sex with males,’ or ‘MSMs.’ Condom use among MSMs has increased, from 36 percent in 2011 to 50 percent in 2015, but the rate of infection still remains high.

    “Now let me clarify: We’re not talking about those that are openly gay… What we’re saying is any male who has sex with another male for whatever reason, is at risk for getting HIV based on our data,” Genesis Samonte, chief of the DOH’s Public Health Surveillance department said as cited by Rappler.

    “The Philippines has become the country with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific, and has become one of 8 countries that account for more than 85% of new HIV infections in the region,” Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said at a press conference last year.

    (Read More:


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    Another successful year for Beyond Deadlines

    February 16th, 2018

    The Beginning

    THE month of January actually marks the second anniversary of Beyond Deadlines for the idea to embark on this grand project germinated in the first two weeks of the first month of the year 2016, after a series of brainstorming by yours truly and my former colleague at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mr. Gerald Lacuarta, who later became our website’s developer.

    The first online issue of Beyond Deadlines came out on January 14, 2016 with my Usaping Bayan column entitled “Kung ano ang puno. Iyon ang Bunga” as its first ever article. (Read More: Two more articles came out in the same month, one of which witnessed the debut of Luke Coloco, our resident Salt of the Earth writer whose column then was titled “Cafe Finn Dott.” Coloco a.k.a. CJ Espiritu, later changed his column handle to “Luke Who’s Talking.”

    On July 9, 2016, Beyond Deadlines was formally launched in the Philippines at the historic Champagne Room of the famed Manila Hotel in Intramuros, Manila.

    The People Behind

    By mid-February, Mr. Abner Galino of the People’s Eye fame came on board. Later, veteran reporter Gerry Abaya (now deceased), writer Yul Baritugo, investigative reporter Janet Rebusio-Ducayag, travel writer Dennis Gasgonia, feature writer Kleo Hernandez Kannangara, police beat reporter Ricardo Panelo Jr., business writer Geneia Verdejo and airport beat veteran Benjie Vergara joined the BD family.

    Beyond Deadlines staff during its July 9, 2016 Philippine launching at the historic Manila Hotel. From left to right: CJ Espiritu, Benjie Vergara, Kleo Kanangara, Nelson Flores, Jose Lina, Robert Roque, Geneia Verdejo, Janet Rebusio Ducayag, Gerry Abaya (deceased) and Ricardo Panelo Jr. Photo © Beyond Deadlines

    As Beyond Deadlines grew, more experienced writers and personalities came to be part of its growing family. These includes Nida Mendoza-Abu, Rudy Andal, Ana Mylene Asuncion, Mar-Vic Cagurangan, Santiago Celario, (Ret.) Brig. General Victor Corpus, former Rep. Michael Defensor, Bernadette Escalo, Daniella Flanagan, John Gilbuena, former Senator Joey Lina, Lyn Lirio, Vics Magsaysay, Ibarra Mateo, Genevieve Magsaysay Medina, Danny Petilla, Robert Bellis Roque Jr., Arturo Sampana, Seymour Barros Sanchez, Christian Toledo, Romulo Velasquez and Joselito Zulueta.

    Google Accreditation

    After more than a month of processing and vetting, Beyond Deadlines was accredited by Google Adsense on Feb. 24, 2016 and thus began its official internet journey as a mediator/messenger to the Filipino worldwide. In view of the historicity for Beyond Deadlines of the dates beginning January 14 to February 24, 2016; it will, from now on, commemorate these dates as its founding anniversary period.


    After clarifying Beyond Deadlines’ history, kindly allow me to report that according to Google Adsense, as of 1107H (US Central Time) today (0216), our site was viewed 138,053 times since we started in 2016 (that is an average of 206 views daily). This is 39 more daily views (an increase of 23 percent since 2017) compared to our first year’s daily average visitors.

    Moreover, based on Google Adsense record, (this is in order of the number of page hits) the Philippines, United States, Canada, Australia, and United Arab Emirates are the top five countries where Beyond Deadlines is read most. The report also showed that our site has a growing number of viewers in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar and Hong Kong.

    Furthermore, Google Adsense said, we also have established a presence in Peru, Italy, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Spain, Norway, Kuwait, Bahrain, Indonesia, India, Guam, Russia, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Switzerland, China, Brazil, Vietnam, Turkey, Oman, Northern Mariana Islands, Mexico, Libya, Greece, Chile, Sweden, Suriname, Romania, Nepal, Myanmar, Macau, and Brunei.

    Thanks to the World Wide Web we have established a very modest international presence.

    Quality Product and Hard Work

    Beyond Deadlines’ growth is a testament to the credibility, product quality, hard work of our writers and the support of the Filipino and international communities. Yes, our media entity is still small but with God’s grace, we will grow and establish a meaningful and financially competitive presence in the world.


    With these in mind, I want to show my appreciation to all our volunteers/writers and personalities who sacrificed their time and talent to make this gargantuan project a success by thanking you all. THANK YOU…

    I also thank all our supporters and friends who believed in our efforts, particularly the EcoWaste Coalition, National Police Commission Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-PIO, Office of the Ombudsman Media Relations Bureau, the World Health Organization, and the Quezon City Public Affairs and Information Service Office.

    I am also grateful to the following: former Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos Sr., Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Publicists Resty Perez and Joselito “Toots” Tolentino, Ms. Aileen Lucero, Mr. Thony Dizon, Ms. Noemi Frias, Mr. Loloy Reyes and former National Press Club President and newspaper publisher, my Kumpadre Jerry Yap.

    If ever I missed some names, I beg for your forgiveness. Thank you all and thank you again for trusting me and my Beyond Deadlines staff. With your untiring support I know we can make it. God bless.

    Happy Anniversary!!!

    Rev. Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK Publisher


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    Rivermaya’s “Adik sa ‘Yo”

    February 16th, 2018

    Rivermaya Image ©

    Love this addiction song…


    Music Video © YouTUBE

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    Appointed ‘Son of God’ Gets Busted by Customs Officials in Hawaii

    February 16th, 2018

    By Sputnik News

    Apollo “Appointed Son of God” Quiboloy © AFP 2018/ MANMAN DEJETO

    A FILIPINO preacher has reportedly been temporarily detained by US authorities in Honolulu after a vast undeclared sum of money was found aboard his private aircraft.

    Apollo Quiboloy, founder and Executive Pastor of a church called the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, who also calls himself the Appointed Son of God, was apprehended by US Customs agents in Honolulu International Airport, the Manila Times reports citing local media outlets.

    A subsequent search of Quiboloy’s personal Cessna Citation Sovereign jet by customs officials yielded some USD$350,000 in cash, with USD$100 bills being folded and stuffed into socks stored in luggage, as well as “parts of military-style rifles”, the newspaper adds.

    Felina Salinas, business manager of Quiboloy’s church in Waipahu, was arrested by the authorities and charged with bulk cash smuggling after she claimed that the money found aboard the plane belonged to her.

    Quiboloy himself reportedly departed for the Philippines aboard a passenger airliner as his own plane remained detained in Hawaii.

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    Military Conflict Between East and West Has Never Been Closer*

    February 15th, 2018

    By Sputnik News/John Wight

    Image © AFP 2018/ Menahem Kahana

    RECENT events in Syria serve to illustrate the dire consequences of a unipolar world. They also provide further confirmation that international law now belongs to the realm of fiction when it comes to Washington and its allies, for whom exceptionalism is the natural order of things.

    There is compelling evidence to speculate that what is now being attempted by the US in Syria, with its occupation of a large swathe of territory in the north west of the country, is a re-run of the Balkanisation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s — a sovereign state broken up and dismembered after the collapse of the Soviet Union in service to the unipolar world that had just come into being as a result.

    The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a state born out of the carnage of the Second World War, was stark evidence that for hawks within the US political and military establishment the Cold War had not ended it had been won – won by dint of America’s divinely chosen position as the “indispensable nation”, a credo first articulated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during an NBC interview in 1998.

    Thus triumphalism abounded within the corridors of power in the land of the free, which cheered on by its willing vassals — such as Tony Blair’s UK government, and various eastern European satellites harbouring unresolved anti-Russian animus — produced an intoxication with overwhelming military power and strength, encapsulated in the eastward expansion of NATO.

    The unending wars and military interventions that have been embarked by the US and its allies since the 1990s, rather than push the frontiers of democracy, have produced nothing but human misery, chaos, and instability. And on a scale hitherto absent.

    Syria is only the latest country and society to experience the tender mercies of Washington’s self-ordained role as the world’s policeman. It does so not with the objective of maintaining the world as a safe place or democracy or human rights, as tirelessly claimed, but so that global corporations are able to function and prosper and exploit the world’s human and natural resources unimpeded. They call it free market economics. A much more accurate name is’ disruptive unfettered capitalism’, an economic model which is no respecter of borders or cultures, no respecter of even the concept of the nation state.

    The presence of US military forces in Syria is illegal. This is a fact that no amount of obfuscation or dissembling can elide. It poses a threat to the security and stability not only of Syria but the entire region. The idea that the presence of US military forces in the country, or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter, is necessary to bolster security and stability, this is an exercise in peddling fiction. Just ask the people of Iraq or Libya, two countries laid waste by Washington and its allies, if you do not believe me.

    Adding to the pot of instability and US-inspired mayhem in the Middle East is the news that the gargantuan US military budget for 2019 is to include $300 million for the training and equipping of the SDF, Washington’s proxy ground force in Syria, in addition to $250 million to fund the ‘border security force’ in the country that’s been mooted. By way of a reminder, as with the SDF the planned border security force will largely comprise Syrian Kurds attached to the YPG. All this, it’s worth recalling, is being undertaken in clear violation of Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the very epitome of might is right, redolent of that which sustained the Roman Empire.

    The seeming willingness of the Trump administration to rupture its alliance and relationship with fellow NATO member, Turkey, with its commitment to arming and training the Kurds across Ankara’s southern border is remarkable, not to mention inexplicable. President Erdogan’s government has made no bones about the fact it considers it a threat to Turkey’s security, and has pledged to act accordingly. Indeed with its Operation Olive Branch military campaign against the YPG in Afrin, northern Syria, currently underway, involving ground forces deploying across the border in the process, the Erdogan government is making good on this pledge.

    The fact is that along with Israel, Turkey is now exploiting the crisis and conflict in Syria to violate its sovereignty with wilful abandon.

    It requires neither an abiding love or Russia nor a burning hatred of America to understand the necessity of a world in which no one nation is able or inclined to arrogate to itself the right to exercise global hegemony. Empires are doomed by virtue of the very premise upon which they exist, which is that nations and peoples can be dominated and subjugated by other nations. They cannot. Or at least they cannot over a sustained period.

    If history teaches us anything it is that those who seek to dominate only succeed in sowing dragon’s teeth, inviting blowback and backlash. The monster that is Salafi-jihadism and the ensuing spate of terrorist attacks across the world in recent years leaves no doubt of it.

    The need to check the untrammelled power of Washington is self-evident. Since the Soviet Union was consigned to history in the early 1990s, the US has rampaged across the world like an out of control juggernaut of death and destruction. It has done so regardless of the administration or president occupying the White House.

    In Donald Trump, a man for whom subtlety is an alien concept, we have ourselves a US president who cannot seem to make up his mind whether he is a recurring character in the Sopranos or the elected leader of the world largest economy and nuclear power.

    With his presidency, the sheer reckless, aggressive and capricious character of it, the time has come to pose the question: Who will save us from America?

    * * *

    John Wight is a writer and political commentator whose articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Guardian, the Independent, Counterpunch, American Herald Tribune, the Huffington Post, and RT. He is also a broadcaster whose interviews and analysis can be viewed and listened to on RT, TRT World, the BBC, and Press TV. John currently presents Hard Facts – a topical weekly radio show at Sputnik.


    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

    1 Comment "

    Derogatory & demeaning: HRW slam Duterte’s ‘shoot female rebels in the vagina’ remark

    February 13th, 2018

    By RT

    © Manman Dejeto / AFP

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte violated international humanitarian law when he ordered soldiers to shoot female communist fighters in the vagina, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

    “President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” Carlos Conde of HRW’s Asia Division said in a statement on Monday.

    “It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict, which is a violation of international humanitarian law,” he added.

    Addressing a group of former rebels at the Presidential Museum and Library last week, Duterte said that soldiers should take action to counter the threat of female opposition.

    “’Are there any women holding guns?’ ‘Sir, she’s a fighter. An Amazon.’ ‘Shoot them in the…,’” he said, according to the official transcript from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) which censored Duterte where he used a word for vagina.

    “Tell the soldiers. ‘There’s a new order coming from [the] mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your [vagina] so that… it would be useless,” he added. Duterte prefers to be addressed as “Mayor,” paying tribute to his 22-year-old long service as Davao City mayor prior to the presidency.

    His comments set off an avalanche of criticism within the social media community as well as amid human rights and feminist groups. Gabriela Women’s Party, which represents Filipino women in the country’s House of Representatives, said Duterte’s remarks “encourage violence against women and contribute to their impunity.”

    This is not the first time Duterte has made misogynistic statements. Speaking at the Philippines-India Business Forum in New Delhi late last month, he remarked that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) fighters lure followers with the promise of “42 virgins” in heaven.

    His remarks came under fire from the Akbayan Women’s rights group, which called Duterte an “international embarrassment.”

    “Duterte dismisses Filipinas as mere goods for trade, that women are just sights for tourists. This insults millions of women who work hard to build our nation with honor only to be represented as virgin fodder for tourists by the president himself,” the group said, as cited by The Philippine Star.

    The group added that the leader’s comments encourage the culture of “treating women as sexual objects devoid of dignity and human rights.”

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    New PH Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez meets with the country’s consul generals in Washington

    February 12th, 2018

    Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez (4th from left, front row), DFA-Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Maria Andrelita S. Austria (5th from left, front row), and the Philippine Consuls General in the US led the Planning Conference on 8-9 February 2018 in Washington, D.C.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Heads of Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States and the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of American Affairs met for the 2018 Planning Conference of Team Philippines-USA at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.

    Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez chaired the February 8 and 9 Conference, which was participated in by the heads and representatives of the Philippine Consulates General in Agana (Guam), Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The Philippine Consulate General in Houston, Texas that is slated to open later this year, was also represented.

    In his opening remarks, Romualdez exhorted the Consulates General to continue delivering effective public service and do right by the country and the Filipino people.

    Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. also took the opportunity to provide insight and guidance to Team Philippines-USA on the first day of the Planning Conference.

    The Planning Conference was preceded by a one-day economic diplomacy brainstorming session among officials from the Posts’ Economic Sections, Office of the Agriculture Attaché, Philippine Trade and Investment Centers, Tourism Offices, Philippine Overseas Labor and Welfare Office (POLO-OWWA), and Philippine Honorary Consulates in the US.

    The Planning Conference is a bi-annual stocktaking and direction-setting exercise that allows Philippine Foreign Service Posts to craft a common strategy on improving consular and assistance-to-nationals services and strengthening political, economic and people-to-people ties with the United States.

    1 Comment "

    Beyond Deadlines on Howdy Philippines and Pinoy Houston TV YouTube #49 – “The PH Local Government Code and Federalism (Part 1)”

    February 11th, 2018

    Kindly watch this Beyond Deadlines’ segment at Howdy Philippines where I will talk about the Philippine Local Government Code and Federalism and why the former answers is all that we need. Thanks and God Bless…

    The Beyond Deadlines on TV/YouTube segment was produced by the Houston, Texas based Pinoy Houston TV. The program’s show time is every Saturday at 1 p.m. (Houston time) at Channel 15.3 with a repeat broadcast at 5:30 p.m. every Sunday.

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    Health Advice for Travellers to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the Republic of Korea

    February 9th, 2018

    The 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang begins on February 9. Image ©

    Joint advice from WHO and the Republic of Korea

    THE XXIII Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea from 9 to 25 February 2018 and from 9 to 18 March 2018, respectively. Nearby Gangneung will also host events such as curling, hockey and ice skating.

    The following recommendations are intended to advise national health authorities, health-care providers and individuals about preventive health measures for travellers to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Travellers to the Republic of Korea should also consult the travel advice issued by their national authorities and discuss health risks and preventive practices with their health-care providers prior to departure.

    Potential health risks

    The winter season in the Republic of Korea poses an increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Additionally, crowding of visitors indoors during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games could increase the risk of spread of infections.

    Currently, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) is reporting an increase in seasonal influenza (influenza type B and A(H3N2)).

    The country has also been experiencing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N6) in birds and poultry. No human cases of A(H5N6) have been detected during these outbreaks and the risk of human infection is considered very low.

    In addition, there is a small risk of the importation of other respiratory infections not normally seen in the Republic of Korea such as measles, diphtheria and human cases of avian influenza.

    Mosquito and tick activity is low or non-existent at this time. The risk of vector-borne diseases during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is therefore considered very low.

    The risk of food- and waterborne outbreaks is, in general, increased during mass gatherings when large numbers of people eat from commercial outlets, many of which may have been set up temporarily.

    Recommendations for international travellers

    a) Vaccine-preventable diseases

    There are currently multiple ongoing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide, including measles, diphtheria, influenza and mumps. Travellers to the Republic of Korea are advised to consult their health-care providers to ensure they are up to date with the recommended routine immunizations prior to departure.

    b) Respiratory infections including influenza

    One important measure to reduce the risk of contracting seasonal influenza is vaccination.

    Other measures to prevent getting and transmitting influenza and many other respiratory illnesses include:

    • Regular handwashing with proper drying of the hands
    • Good respiratory hygiene–covering coughs and sneezes with a medical mask, arm/elbow or tissue, and disposing of tissues correctly
    • Early self-isolation if feeling unwell, feverish and experiencing other respiratory symptoms
    • Avoiding close contact with sick people
    • Avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth

    If you or a family member are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms (such as a cough, shortness of breath or pneumonia), it is advisable to contact health-care providers early and to report your travel history.

    WHO advises travellers to countries with known outbreaks of animal influenza to avoid farms, contact with animals, entering areas where animals may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with animal faeces. Travellers should also wash their hands often with soap and water. Travellers should follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.

    c) Hypothermia, frostbite and other risks related to the cold

    Exposure to cold conditions, whether indoors or outside, can cause a range of health effects, from light symptoms to serious or life-threatening health outcomes. During cold weather, people should:

    • Pay attention to weather forecasts and warnings
    • Seek advice from their health-care provider and, for those with chronic diseases, ask about specific risks and appropriate medication doses
    • Wear appropriate layers of warm, dry, clothing, and remember to cover the hands, feet and head
    • Consume warm meals regularly
    • Drink enough fluids, but avoid very cold drinks
    • Avoid alcohol and tobacco, which increase the likelihood of adverse effects of cold weather
    • Exercise regularly, but take additional care when exercising or being physically active outside
    • Avoid standing or sitting still for long periods in the cold
    • Make sure the indoor air is sufficiently warm, with at least one room heated to 18–21°C (ideally living areas and bathrooms should be 20–22°C, and other occupied rooms 18°C)
    • Look out for warning signs on the skin from cold exposure (numbness in fingers and toes means the risk of cold injuries has increased and a pale spot on the face or other skin areas is a sign of a cold injury, so warm the area immediately, and protect the skin from further cooling).

    Hypothermia, when a person’s body temperature drops due to exposure to the cold, can be life-threatening. Seek warmth and urgent medical care if you or a family member experience any of the following symptoms: shivering, confusion, memory loss, trouble speaking, fatigue or exhaustion.

    d) Food and drink

    The Republic of Korea has a well-established food safety system. However, it is advisable that travellers take precautions to avoid illnesses caused by unsafe food and drink. These precautions include ensuring hand hygiene through frequent handwashing or the use of hand sanitizer, especially before handling and consuming food. Travellers should be cautious about consuming uncooked food or food which has been kept at room temperature for several hours.

    Drinking safe water is also important to stay healthy. If available, bottled water is the safer choice for drinking-water but always check the seal to ensure it has not been tampered with. When the safety of drinking-water is doubtful, bring it to a vigorous boil.

    e) Sexually transmitted infections

    The risk of infection with HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and other sexually transmitted infections is primarily limited to travellers engaging in sexual risk behaviours, especially unprotected sex, particularly with sex workers and people who inject drugs, and among men who have sex with men. Therefore, the adoption of safe sex practices, specifically consistent and correct condom use, is recommended.

    If you are unwell or injured during your visit

    Public health services including disease surveillance, communicable disease control and health protection (through water and air quality control) will be in place throughout the venues where the Games are held.

    In PyeongChang, two polyclinics and 18 medical stations have been established in the athletes’ village to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes. Thirty-four medical stations have been set up to provide primary health care and emergency medical transportation for visitors (16 at competition venues and 18 at other sites). As visitors are expected to pay for their medical care upon treatment, it is recommended that those visiting the Games check their health insurance prior to departure to make sure it covers medical treatment in the Republic of Korea.

    If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of an infectious disease (such as diarrhoea, fever, rash, cough, vomiting, etc.) during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, please contact one of the following numbers:

    • Visitors who speak Korean can call the KCDC Call Center on 1339
    • Foreign residents who want to speak in other languages can receive consultation on infectious diseases through a three-party interpretation service provided by the Olympics Special Call Center (1330) or Immigration Contact Center (1345). For more information on the languages available and the hours of operation, please see the link below under “KCDC and related call centres.”

    1 Comment "

    “Hindi kailangan ng Pilipino ang isang Diktador” – Sen. “Bam” Aquino IV

    February 9th, 2018

    Sen. Bam Aquino (left) and President Rodrigo Duterte. Photos © and

    “HINDI kailangan ng Pilipino ang isang diktador.”

    Ito ang mariing pahayag ni Senador Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV bilang tugon sa pahayag kamakailan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na siya ay diktador dahil ito lamang ang paraan upang umunlad ang Pilipinas.

    (Read More:

    “Diktadurya ang nagdulot ng karahasan at pagpatay, kawalan ng trabaho at kalayaan, korupsyon at napakalaking pagkakautang,” ang sabi ni Aquino sa isang pahayag na lumabas sa kanyang website (

    Ipinaalaala pa niya na “lumaban ang bayan noong People Power dahil hindi dictatorial style ang dudulot ng sapat na kita para sa bilihin, kalidad na edukasyon, at kaligtasan ng pamilya na inaasam-asam ng mga Pilipino.”

    “Hindi diktador ang kailangan, sa halip ay pinunong may kakayahan at tunay na malasakit sa buong bayan, lalo na para sa mahihirap nating kababayan,” diin ng batang senador.

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    Sam Velarde’s “Ako’y Isang Tomasino (Q-Song)”

    February 9th, 2018

    Sam Velarde . Photo © YouTube


    I am teary eyed when I first heard this song. Suddenly I realized that I am Proud to be a Full Blooded Thomasian


    Music Video © YouTUBE

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    Duterte: ‘If I don’t act like a dictator the Philippines won’t progress’

    February 9th, 2018

    By RT

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. © Erik De Castro / Reuters

    PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has said that if it weren’t for his dictatorial style, his country would stagnate and never improve.

    Opposition leaders have railed against Duterte’s proposal to revise the Philippines’ constitution. Currently the executive, legislative, and judicial powers of each state in a body of states are contained within a central authority, but the proposal aims to switch these over to a federal system.

    “If you say dictator, I am really a dictator. If I don’t act (like a) dictator, son of a b****, nothing will happen to this country,” the president said in Visayan at a meeting with former communist guerillas. He insisted that his style of governance was necessary in order to sustain progress and growth in the country.

    “That’s true. If I don’t act (like a) dictator, which is my style now, nothing will happen to this country,” he added. “I had to (act like a dictator). Besides, you have chosen me as your president. Why won’t you follow me when my dreams are all for you?”

    Critics have long accused Duterte of authoritarian tendencies, given his abrasive and combative rhetoric when dealing with opponents, coupled with his tough stance on drugs, which has become the hallmark of his presidency.

    He also came under intense criticism for declaring martial law on the southern island of Mindanao last year during the Islamist insurgency in Marawi City.

    Duterte’s latest comments come just days before the country celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution, February 22–25, 1986, which ultimately toppled the brutal Marcos dictatorship.

    However, Duterte has publicly stated that he does not intend to become a dictator and called on the people to shun any potential dictatorship. True to form, he even ordered the military and the police to shoot him if he extends his term as president – which is due to end in 2022 –  by even one day.

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    PH among countries ‘most ignorant of key issues’, but also among most confident — survey

    February 7th, 2018

    By GMA Network/Aya Tantiangco

    THE Philippines has landed in the company of Brazil, and South Africa as the “most ignorant” countries due to inaccurate perceptions on key issues, Indy100 reports.

    The attention-grabbing headline is based on the Ipsos Perils of Perception report released in December 2017, which “highlights how wrong the online public across 38 countries are about key global issues and features of the population in their country.”

    At the top of the list as “most accurate” is Sweden, followed by Norway and Denmark. The Philippines was in the middle in 2016, placing 16th in the scale.

    Over 500 respondents between the ages of 16 to 64 were interviewed in the Philippines about murder, teenage pregnancy rates, terrorism, and vaccination among other topics.

    Despite giving inaccurate statistics on these topics, the respondents from the Philippines were among the most confident about their answers — ranking third yet again.

    Meanwhile, Norwegian respondents, who ranked high in accuracy, weren’t confident about their answers.

    In the field of psychology, this is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias or a “mistake in reasoning” wherein people misjudge the level of their knowledge or skills.

    The Macmillan Dictionary defines it as “the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own competence.” More competent people, on the other hand, acknowledge their limitations and might play down their expertise.

    There were 29,133 surveys conducted between September 28 and October 19, 2017 in 38 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA.

    “Across all 38 countries in the study, each population gets a lot wrong. We are often most incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media, such as deaths from terrorism, murder rates, immigration and teenage pregnancy,” Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute was quoted as saying on the official website.

    He added, “There are multiple reasons for these errors – from our struggle with maths and proportions, to media and political coverage of issues, to social psychology explanations of our mental shortcuts or biases.”

    Duffy explained that extensive coverage of a topic influences public perception and pushes people to overestimate its importance or seriousness.

    “It is also clear from our ‘Misperceptions Index’ that the countries who tend to do worst have relatively low internet penetrations: given this is an online survey, this will reflect the fact that this more middle-class and connected population think the rest of their countries are more like them than they really are,” he said. — LA, GMA News


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