Monday, August 13, 2012

Pagcor allocates P8.14M for relief operations for flood victims

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has allocated a total of P8.14 million for victims of last week’s massive flooding in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces.

“We have allocated a total budget of P8.14 million for our relief operations. We hope to be able to give help to at least 20,000 families,” Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. said in a statement on Monday.

“There were so many of our countrymen who were badly affected by this recent flooding. Itong aming relief operations ang paraan ng Pagcor para matulungan ang ating mga kababayan na labis na naapektuhan ng kalamidad na ito (Our relief operations is Pagcor’s way of helping our countrymen who were severely affected by this calamity),” Naguiat added.

So far, the state-gaming firm conducted nine relief operations to 10,000 families in several cities and localities gravely affected by the flooding.

It distributed relief packs to 2,000 families in Barangay (village) Baseco, Tondo and 3,000 families in Tumana and Nangka, Marikina City; Sta. Ana, Manila; and Malabon City.

In the provinces, Pagcor conducted relief operations for a total of 5,000 families in Concepcion, Tarlac; Guiguinto, Bulacan; Rosario, Cavite; Taytay, Rizal; and San Isidro, Tanay, Rizal.

The beneficiaries of the relief operation and their city officials were quick to express their gratitude to Pagcor.

Aida Olivo, a 61 year old resident of Barangay Tuktukan in Guiguinto, was among those who benefited from PAGCOR’s relief operations.

“Nasalanta ang bahay namin. Iniwan na lang namin sa bahay ang karamihan ng gamit namin kasi natakot na kami nung tumaas na ng husto ang baha. Matanda na kami ng asawa ko kaya inuna naming isalba ang mga sarili namin. Hindi kami handa kasi ngayon lang kami binaha (Our house was destroyed. We left our house and many of our belongings when the water level rose. My husband is old so we saved ourselves first),” she narrated.

Last week’s flooding that submerged the town of Guiguinto, Bulacan in chest-high waters and displaced 10,000 families was a first in the history of the municipality, councilor Ariel Arcero said.

Rehabilitation efforts are now being initiated by the local government of Guiguinto but since such efforts will take time, Arcero said, the immediate priority is to provide the residents with clothing, food, water and shelter.

Pagcor also conducted relief operations in Concepcion, Tarlac where 25 out of 45 barangays submerged with floodwaters when the Loong River overflowed due to the incessant rainfall last week.

“Napakalaking tulong po ng relief operations na ito ng Pagcor dahil napakarami pong residente dito sa aming bayan na labis na naapektuhan ng pagbaha. Ang Pagcor po ang unang ahensyang dumayo rito sa Concepcion para magbigay ng tulong kaya’t maraming-marami pong salamat (Pagcor’s relief operations is a big help because many residents in our area were severely affected by the flood. Pagcor is the first agency that came to Concepcion to give aid so we are very thankful),” said Purok Mabo Barangay chairwoman Herminia David.

Pagasa weather forecast

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sultan 900 decision up Friday

MACAU—With the devastating monsoon rains in Manila delaying even the arrival of important documents in the sale of Coca-Cola’s PBA franchise to Sultan 900 Capital, Inc., the board will decide on the fate of the league’s newest member by Friday at the earliest.

The Office of the Commissioner has yet to receive the deed of assignment of the sale of the Coca-Cola franchise, leaving the league no choice but to defer voting on the application of Sultan 900 as the newest member.

“That’s the most important document of all,” said commissioner Chito Salud, who met the press together with newly elected chair Robert Non of Barangay Ginebra and vice chair Mon Segismundo of Meralco.

Mikee Romero, the basketball-enamored sportsman who bought the Coca-Cola franchise,  had told Salud in an overseas call that the DOA will be handed over to the league’s offices by Wednesday at the latest.

Romero would need at least seven votes to be able to participate in the league starting with the Philippine Cup on Sept. 30.

Salud said he had to go over the papers of Sultan 900 before making his recommendation to the board, though Non said during the same briefing that they “think that Sultan 900 has the capacity to run a PBA team.”

If accepted, the board has to rule on some concessions Romero has requested, including  getting the first overall choice in the rookie draft scheduled Sunday.

“Powerade  has a solid lineup and they can be competitive,” Salud said.

If Romero doesn’t get the needed seven votes on Friday, Salud said that Powerade would then have to apply for a leave of absence. “But after the season that passed, we won’t agree to play with just nine teams.”

Azkals start buildup vs Chicago Inferno

CHICAGO—The Philippine national football team fields a mix of veteran players and young Turks when it tangles with the Chicago Inferno Saturday at the Joe Bean Stadium inside the Wheaton College campus west of downtown Chicago.

With Aly Borromeo still sidelined by an injury, Chieffy Caligdong will skipper the national side against the United States Premier Development League team that yielded only a 0-1 loss to Major League Soccer team Chicago Fire last month.

It will mark the first game for the Azkals since their 3-0 thrashing of Guam in an international friendly at the Panaad Stadium last June 12.

The Azkals have been training in the Windy City since last week and German coach Michael Weiss expects a “highly motivated team ready to put up a good show.”

“We’ve trained wonderfully in a fantastic environment,” said Weiss. “I’m very satisfied with the setup. Now, the players have to deliver something.”

Azkals manager Dan Palami said the two matches in the camp, including the one against the US Virgin Islands on Aug. 17 in Indianapolis will go a long way in their preparations for the Suzuki Cup late this year.

Ed Sacapano, who saw action in the third place game against Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup, will get the start at goalkeeper, while a makeshift defensive line will be composed of Under-23 standouts Jason de Jong, Carli de Murga,  Jeff Christiaens and Jason Sabio.

Football Philippines

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spotlight on Manila-based Azkals in twin US matches

LOS ANGELES—The spotlight will be on the Philippine-based members of the national side when the Azkals sees action in a couple of friendly matches in Chicago and Indianapolis on Aug. 11 and 18.

With some of the Europe-based players unavailable due to club commitments, the Azkals will be sticking to the core based in Manila as they crank up their buildup for the Suzuki Cup late this year.

“It’s a fresh lineup and we have a good mix,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss, who steered the Azkals to a historic third place finish in the AFC Challenge Cup early this year.

“There are veterans and young players who will be with us even in Manila after the camp. And having that training time will be crucial to the preparations (for Suzuki Cup).”

Phil and James Younghusband have begged off from the camp because of prior commitments, but stalwarts like Chieffy Caligdong and Aly Borromeo as well as Suzuki Cup hero Chris Greatwich are still around to power the Azkals campaign.

In the absence of the likes of Paul Mulders, Stephan Schrock, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara, local-based players like Anto Gonzales, Marvin and Marwin Angeles and Ian Araneta could have more playing time in the matches against the Chicago Inferno on Aug. 11 at the Joe Bean Stadium and the US Virgin Islands on Aug. 18.

Veterans Nestorio Margarse and Roel Gener are also part of the side in the Chicago camp. Azkals manager Dan Palami said the veteran players’ presence provide stability and leadership in the preparations.

“The veterans know their roles in the team and they are as important as any player in the team,” said Palami.

Palami is hopeful that the Azkals’ fitness and cohesion, which have both been a concern for Weiss, will be addressed in the Chicago camp.

Weiss could work behind the attacking quartet of Caligdong, Denis Wolf, Misagh Bahadoran and Patrick Reichelt in the Chicago camp.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for them to prove their worth,” said Weiss of Bahadoran and Reichelt, who are among the second-stringers in the Azkals’ lineup when the Europe-based players are available.

More news on Football Philippines here. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Weather Forecast for the Asia-Pacific region

The remnants of Tropical Storm Haikui will continue spinning over southeastern China on Friday. Counter-clockwise flow around the system will pull more moisture onshore from the East China Sea, producing more showers and thunderstorms across the region. Expect Shanghai to see more rain showers with a chance of thunderstorms and highs near 30 degrees Celsius. This system will also push moisture eastward into the Korean Peninsula, producing widespread showers and thunderstorms throughout the day. Beijing will be just north of this system under partly cloudy skies with highs near 32 C.

To the east, Tropical Storm Kirogi will lose strength as it moves northward through the North Pacific Ocean and toward the Kuril Islands. The system will reduce to tropical depression strength by Friday, but will bring heavy rains and strong winds to far northern Japan and the Kuril Islands throughout the day. Tokyo will see decreasing clouds and dry conditions with highs in the low 30s C.

A strong low pressure system spinning just offshore of eastern Australia will maintain coastal showers across New South Wales and Queensland. Expect Sydney to see scattered showers and cooler conditions with highs in the mid-teens C. High pressure over the rest of the country will produce another hot and dry day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

COA to Binay: Nothing personal

The Commission on Audit on Thursday assured Vice President Jejomar Binay that no special task force had been created to investigate Makati City projects he implemented when he was its mayor.

Binay had complained that an ongoing COA investigation of the Makati Friendship Suites project was politically motivated and that he was specifically being targeted in a vilification drive.

The Vice President, who has been edging President Benigno Aquino in popularity surveys, blamed “insecure” camps for the smear campaign he believes is aimed at discrediting him in the run-up to the 2013 and 2016 elections.

He accused COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of participating in a special task force’s demolition campaign launched by, he said, those who saw him as a threat to their political ambitions in 2016.

He said it was apparent the audit was part of a plan to “take him out” by December, and challenged Mendoza to explain her actions.

In a letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rolando Macale, director of the COA’s Public Information Office, said the COA chair, and not a commissioner, was responsible for creating special task forces.

Macalale said the complaint relating to the Makati Friendship Suites project of Binay was filed by private citizens and was referred to the auditor concerned and the Fraud Audit Office for validation and investigation.

Binay earlier said the Makati Friendship Suites project had been cleared by the COA during the previous administration. Cynthia D. Balana and Tarra Quismundo

More Makati City news here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chavez brands Congress threat to boycott JBC ‘childish’

MANILA, Philippines—Former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez branded as “childish” Congress’ threat on possibility that it may not send a representative to the Judicial and Bar Council’s deliberation to narrow down the candidates for the Chief Justice post.

“Not sending a representative to the JBC is a childish threat…Growing old is inevitable but growing up is an option,” Chavez told the high court during the oral argument held Thursday.

Chavez insisted that there should only be one representative of Congress to the JBC instead of two.

“There is no inadvertence. There is pure intent to provide only one representative from Congress,” Chavez said adding that there is no need to resort to applying the spirit of the law in interpreting the provision of the Constitution which provides for members of the JBC because the law clearly states “a representative of Congress.”

“There are two kinds of spirit—the bad spirit and the good spirit. The good spirit says stick to the language of the law,” Chavez added.

The former solicitor-general also argued that the Congress cannot hold hostage the JBC deliberation by not sending a representative.

He said if Congress fails to send a representative, it is just one member and there are six others, meaning there is still a quorum.

“Proceed with the deliberation, mark them absent,” Chavez said.

After the oral argument, the high court justices proceeded to deliberate on the case.

However, the high court opted to continue its deliberation on Friday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Erik Spoelstra watches Game 5 of PBA Finals

MANILA, Philippines—Fil-American head coach Erik Spoelstra of the NBA champion Miami Heat graced Game 5 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals between Rain or Shine and B-Meg Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Spoelstra, whose mother hails from San Pablo City in Laguna, was also the guest of honor at the inauguration of the Coliseum’s new Grand Atrium.

This marked the fourth time Spoelstra, who steered the Heat to a 4-1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals, visited Manila.

“I always hit home because I am proud of my heritage, and I grew up with many Filipino values,” he said.

Part of Spoelstra’s homecoming is the NBA Trophy Tour in which the Larry ‘O Brien trophy will be displayed in SM Malls where fans can take a close look.