Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Volkswagen, Ayala ink car dealership partnership

MANILA, Philippines–European car giant Volkswagen AG has engaged the diversified Ayala group into a new car distribution partnership, seeking to harness an increasing consumer affluence in the country as part of its ambition towards global leadership.

Volkswagen, which is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, announced on Wednesday the appointment of Ayala’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Ayala Automotive Holdings Corp. , as the Philippine distributor for Volkswagen passenger vehicles.
This distributorship agreement brings together two premier corporate names to compete in an industry with high-growth potential.

“We are very excited to bring Volkswagen’s technology and engineering expertise to the Philippine market. This partnership will no doubt enhance our current portfolio of auto brands given the dominant position of Volkswagen in the global automotive market. This will allow us to offer a much wider range of passenger vehicles in the local market, which will reinforce further Ayala’s strong presence in the local automotive industry,” Ayala Corp. president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said in a press statement.

Weiming Soh, President, Commercial Operations, Greater China/ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Volkswagen AG, commented: “Building on the Ayala group’s excellent reputation and market knowledge, we are excited about offering consumers in the Philippines Volkswagen’s outstanding line-up of vehicles and providing them with an unparalleled level of sales and service experience.

“As an important part of Volkswagen’s ASEAN growth strategy, we, jointly with the Ayala Group, plan to rapidly and robustly establish the brand Volkswagen in the Philippines, contributing to our vision to become the world’s number one car manufacturer by 2018,” Soh said.

The Volkswagen group is the world’s second largest automobile manufacturer as of 2011, with global sales of 8.265-million units accounting for a 12.3 percent share of the passenger car market. It has has 99 production plants in 27 countries and employs more than 500,000 employees worldwide as of end-2011. Volkswagen vehicles are sold in 153 countries.

Ayala has diversified business interests in the Philippines and is a leading player in real estate development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, water infrastructure development, electronics manufacturing, and business process outsourcing. It has recently entered new sectors with investments in power generation and transport infrastructure development.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Actor arrested for mauling partner

An actor and former reality TV show contestant faces charges of violence against women and physical injuries after he reportedly hurt his live-in partner who had just given birth and beat up her brother.

Matt Evans, 25, was arrested by the Pasig City police in his house on Mercedes Avenue in Barangay San Miguel, Pasig City, on Saturday night.

According to the initial investigation conducted by the Pasig City police Women and Children Protection Desk, the incident happened at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

The police report said that Evans, who at that time wasallegedly under the influence of alcohol, got into an argument with his live-in partner, 20-year-old Johnelline Hickins, who had just given birth to their child three weeks earlier.

As tempers flared, the actor pushed Hickins, sending her tumbling down a flight of stairs inside their house.

Upon hearing the commotion, Hickins’ brother stepped in to stop Evans from further harming her but he got beaten up instead.

Concerned neighbors called the attention of policemen who were on patrol in the area. They immediately arrested Evans.

The actor who is now detained at the Pasig police headquarters will be charged with violation of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004 for allegedly pushing Hickins. He will also face charges of physical injuries for hitting her brother.

Evans joined the 2006 edition of ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition before he became a full-fledged actor for the network.

Radio reports quoting Evans’ counsel said the actor denied hitting Hickins. According to him, he was the one who got beaten up during their argument.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

‘Charlie’s angel’ Filipino ‘slur’ stirs cyber storm

LOS ANGELES—A random comment made by Hollywood actress Lucy Liu on “The Late Show with David Letterman” has sparked a debate in cyberspace.

Did the Chinese-American film and TV star (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Ally McBeal”) intend to insult an entire country when she said she was careful not to look a “little Filipino”?
Netizens weighed in on the Inquirer website (www.inquirer.
net) and Twitter account (@InqEnt).

One jested: “Maybe she meant she might look like Pokwang.” (Filipino comedienne Pokwang has claimed that she is Liu’s long-lost twin.)

Another pointed out: “I’m singkit (chinky-eyed) but kayumanggi (brown-skinned). I’m proud of it and I’m not offended.”

Understandably, there were a lot of angry comments. This one was harsher on those: “Pilipinas, ang OA mo (Philippines, you’re overacting)!”
Out of context
In the meantime, Liu has apologized.
“I am so sorry that my comment was taken out of context, as I would never insult another group or ethnicity,” the actress told the Inquirer when asked to comment about her controversial statement as Letterman’s guest on October 11.

When the TV host asked Liu, who is shooting her new TV series, “Elementary,” if she enjoyed running indoors or outdoors, she replied: “I run on a machine—it’s easier for me. Also, if I get really dark, I’ll start to look a little Filipino. It wouldn’t match if I start getting darker, you know what I mean? I can get really dark if I’m in the sun too much.”

Liu’s remark quickly elicited criticisms and complaints in online blog posts and social media sites, for being “racist.”

In a statement given to the Inquirer through her publicist, Carrie Gordon, Liu explained: “Just to clarify, I was explaining why I do not run or exercise outdoors, as my skin tans very easily. Because I am presently playing a character with New York during the autumn/winter season as backdrop, it is important that I keep my look consistent with this type of environment.”

At press time, Liu has not answered the Inquirer’s follow-up question: Why she used the phrase “a little Filipino” if she had been concerned only about the consistency of her character’s skin color. Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson to Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes in “Elementary,” a modern-day take on the popular detective fiction series.—With a report from Bayani San Diego Jr.

Friday, October 5, 2012

‘Marce’ accelerates, moves out of PH Saturday

MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 12 noon., 05 October 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm “Marce” further accelerated as it moved away from the country and is expected to be out of the Philippine territory by Saturday, the state weather bureau said.
Marce was last seen 390 kilometers west of Subic, Zambales with maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.
It is forecast to move west at 15 kph and be 670 km west of Iba, Zambales by Saturday morning or outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility.
Although there are no longer storm signals, Marce will bring rains 10–25 mm per hour (heavy- intense) within its 500-km diameter.
Fishing boats and other small seacraft are still advised not to venture out into the western seaboard of Luzon and Visayas. 

Latest weather forecast philippines as of

Aquino: Evidence of plunder vs Arroyo strong

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—President Benigno Aquino III said here Friday that the government had a strong case of plunder against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We don’t file a case if the evidence is not strong, otherwise we will end up getting embarrassed,” the President told reporters here when asked if the case against his predecessor was strong enough to end in her conviction.

Mr. Aquino was in Pamapanga Friday for a mass oath-taking of Liberal Party members.

Read more Latest Breaking News here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Media groups, Filipinos protest tough cyber law

MANILA, Philippines—Media groups and Filipinos stepped up calls Wednesday for repealing a tough new law that targets cybercrime but activists fear will be used to suppress online freedoms in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act took effect Wednesday despite last-minute petitions to the Supreme Court to stop it. The justices said they will take up the issue next week.

The law is envisioned as a measure against hacking, identity theft, spamming, cybersex and online child pornography. But citizens and groups who protested on social networking sites, blogs and out in the streets fear politicians will use it to silence critics.

The law contains a provision that says libel — which is already punishable by up to six years in prison — is also a cybercrime. It doubles cumulative penalties for online offenses and allows government agencies to search, seize and destroy computer data deemed libelous.

Human rights and media groups have unsuccessfully campaigned for years to downgrade libel from a criminal to a civil offense, saying politicians often use the law to harass journalists and other critics.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s husband sued 46 investigative journalists and publishers in more than 50 libel cases from 2003 to 2007 but later dropped them in a “gesture of peace.”
The journalists wrote stories alleging Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo was corrupt, which he denied. He is now facing two corruption cases linked to an overpriced government deal and the sale of secondhand helicopters to police.

Read more here...

Star power marks Day 2 of COC filing

The magic of star power on Tuesday replaced the flamboyant atmosphere that marked the first day of the formal entry of aspirants in the Senate derby next year.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero was alone when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC).

Gone were the brass bands and ati-atihan and dragon dancers that gave the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a carnival air on Monday as eight senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) trooped there to file their COCs in the elections next May.

Clad in a leather jacket and tight jeans, Escudero—the reelectionist  guest candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) and UNA—gamely posed for photos for all and sundry who asked, including the Comelec staff processing COCs.

But he was also pounded by questions on why he did not come with celebrity Heart Evangelista, his rumored girlfriend. “She’s resting, I think,” he told a reporter.

A shrieking and camera- and mobile phone-toting mob also gathered when actor and TV host Willie Revillame arrived to support and endorse former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, a senatorial aspirant of the ruling party, to make her candidacy official yesterday.

Accompanied by her husband, Sen. Manny Villar, and her son, Mark, an incumbent Las Piñas representative, Cynthia Villar was the first LP candidate to file her COC in the Comelec.
“We were busy yesterday because of the proclamation rally so we thought this would be a good time,” said Villar, who will run on a platform focusing on the care of overseas Filipino workers and the protection of the environment, among others.

‘Manang Henia’ mobbed
Actress Susan Roces also commanded a modest, star-struck crowd when she came Tuesday afternoon with her daughter Grace Poe-Llamanzares, chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. Grace filed her COC for senator.

Comelec employees took turns posing for photos with the actress while the others were content with just ogling her through the glass panels that divided the main hallway of the Palacio del Gobernador and the Comelec’s project management office, where the COCs were being filed.

Others merrily called her “Manang Henia,” a role Roces currently plays on ABS-CBN’s telenovela, “Walang Hanggan,” which also stars Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta and Helen Gamboa.

The actress said the Comelec office brought back bittersweet memories of her late husband, actor Fernando Poe Jr., who ran and lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the presidential race in 2004.

“A lot of memories came rushing back to me the first time I accompanied my husband, Ronnie, to register. I also remembered the first time I accompanied [Grace] to her school when she was in kindergarten,” Roces told reporters in an interview. Her recollection almost brought her daughter to tears.

For her part, Llamanzares said she decided to join the senatorial race to be of service to the Filipino people through hard work and also to push for social welfare programs, particularly for children, that her father had wanted to pursue.

Read more latest news on celebrities here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ateneo and the RH bill

Back in college, my friends and I immersed ourselves in the communities of Smokey Mountain.  We marvelled at the scavengers’ ingenuity in creating products from scrap, but we despaired over the appalling living conditions and the enormity of the task of providing healthcare and education for so many children.

Mothers tearfully said they did not want any more kids, but abstinence was out of the question, and they knew next to nothing about natural family planning.  Two decades later, nothing seems to have changed.

I knew of an upper-class mother who seemed to be healthy enough, but who suddenly died.  Rightly or wrongly, her family attributed her death to the use of the pill (or something like it) to regulate her monthly periods.

Searching the Internet, they found out that the medication could lead to bleeding, strokes or heart attacks.

I refrained from writing about the RH (reproductive health) bill because I had not yet made up my mind and heart.  But I followed discussions, especially the Inquirer columns of Ateneo Law School dean emeritus Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., and University of the Philippines sociology professor Randy David.

Last month, Ateneo colleagues urged me to sign their letter of support for the RH bill. Though I found the message credible and reasonable, I did not sign because I was still undecided.

As a semi-public figure, I also did not want anyone to sensationalize or misinterpret my stand.
I was not going to air my views until some bishops started excoriating the professors who signed the letter.

Fresh air
Born years after Vatican II, I have been influenced by the religious who, though toeing the official Church line on reproductive health, never damned our souls for future sins.  My classmates and I dutifully memorized bits of “Humanae Vitae,” but we also learned about “Humanae Salutis” and Pope John XXIII’s call for the Church to open its windows to let in fresh air.

I never felt any conflict between science and religion, and considered my faith so vital that I chose Ateneo over UP (my parents’ alma mater). I reveled in the intellectual discourse under brilliant and....

Read more rh bill in the philippines.