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Incoming DA chief, a Manila Bulletin colleague
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rp_Chito-Parazo-300x173.jpgIncoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has lots of bright ideas to help turn around the moribund agriculture business in the Philippines. Piñol is in the United States this week to explore possibilities of acquiring farm machineries on long term loans to maximize rice production.

During a press conference in Irvine’s University Research Park, arranged and hosted by the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange, Piñol disclosed that his number one priority once he assumes his post is to make sure that food will be available and affordable for all Filipinos

He also vowed to stop the rampant corruption in the Department of Agriculture to ensure that government funds intended for farm workers will not be pocketed by corrupt officials and employees in the department.

Piñol told members of the Fil-Am Chamber that among other things he also intends to develop the country’s fisheries, and aquatic resources, and make the Philippines rice-sufficient and to revive the once flourishing copra and abaca industries.

He said he would encourage farm workers, with ample government support and funding, to maximize farm production. The Philippines has a total agricultural land area of 13 million hectares. In spite of this vast land area, however, the country sadly and shamefully continues to import rice from other countries to meet the growing demand of its expanding population. It will be recalled that when President Benigno Aquino became president, he promised to make Philippines self-sufficient. Well, that has yet to happen.

Piñol said he would look into the dying abaca and copra business in the country. He said it is also sad that although we have the largest coconut plantation in the world, the country’s copra export business is on the brink of being extinct.

He said the same can be said of the abaca industry in the Philippines. Piñol told his audience that the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that export abaca. The other country, he said, is Ecuador.
Piñol was loudly applauded by his audience when he gave assurance and swore that he will not be corrupted by anyone in his desire to help farmers and fishermen improve their lives as well as to help the country become rice sufficient in the future.

I know Piñol will make good on his promise to change the current system in the Department of Agriculture. In my long years of working with Piñol at the Manila Bulletin as beat reporters, I found him to be an honest and down-to-earth person with a big heart, ready to help anyone who needs assistance.

Good luck Manny or should I now say Secretary Piñol.

Millions of Filipinos are now waiting and watching if President elect Digong Duterte will deliver his promise of change and hope for all Filipinos for a better Philippines in the years to come. Piñol’s choice, in my opinion, is a welcome start.

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UST medical alumni grand reunion at The Beach July 3-5
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The officers and board members of USTMAASC has began its planning session for the USTMAAA 24th Grand Reunion and Medical Convention from July 3 to 6 at Hilton Long Beach. Thanks to Pres. Dr. Lino de Guzman who hosted yesterday's meeting at his house in Newport Beach. (photo courtesy of UST Medical Alumni Association of Southern California Facebook page)

The officers and board members of USTMAASC has began its planning session for the USTMAAA 24th Grand Reunion and Medical Convention from July 3 to 6 at Hilton Long Beach. Thanks to Pres. Dr. Lino de Guzman who hosted yesterday’s meeting at his house in Newport Beach. (photo courtesy of UST Medical Alumni Association of Southern California Facebook page)

LOS ANGELES – The UST Medical Alumni Association of America will go back to sunny Southern California for its 24th Grand Reunion and Medical Convention after almost two decades. The event will be held on July 3-6 at the Hilton Long Beach at 701 West Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90831.

All the jubilarian years ending in 1 and 6 will be the major celebrants but all Thomasian medical alumni are invited to participate in the grand celebration.

The convention chairmen are Dr. Lino J. de Guzman, president of the USTMAAA of Southern California; Dr. Marilou J. Buendia, president of the USTMAAA Foundation; and Dr. Cecilia B. Vallejo, president of the USTMAA of America.

The University of Santo Tomas Medical Alumni Association in America is an organization composed of medical alumni of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. It was founded in 1987 by a group of pioneering Thomasian physicians as an umbrella organization that coordinates the different regional organizations in the United States.

The grand reunion promises to be a fun event for everybody. Participants can showcase their talents during the traditional “USTMAAA Got Talent” and“Dancing with the Thomasian Stars” in the evening of July 4 and even sport a costume depictingthe earlier years of the Mexican-Californian heritage of Southern California.

There will also be a Fun Run/Walk/or even crawl by thebanks of the bay across the hotel on July 4, and join the Zumba dance exercises to thebeat of pulsating Latin music on July 5. Also scheduled are the jubilarian marchesand presentations during the Formal Gala Dinner with a theme of the “OSCARS.”

Dr. De Guzman and Dr. Marilou Dichoso, president-elect and current secretary, will emcee the opening ceremony. Dr. Dichoso is calling on all medical alumni in California to attend the opening ceremony on July 3 and the gala night on July 5.

The event starts on Sunday, July 3, with a mass at 1 p.m. and the opening ceremony from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

For more information call the USTMAAA Executive Office at (812) 238 1216 or (248) 626 2878.

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Tougher penalties vs carnapping awaiting Aquino’s signature
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President Benigno S. Aquino III receives from Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo the Diwata 1 Microsatellite Book during the courtesy call of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (June 20). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III receives from Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo the Diwata 1 Microsatellite Book during the courtesy call of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (June 20). (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The Revised Anti-Carnapping Act, which imposes stiffer penalties for the perpetrators of carnapping, is now up for President Aquino’s approval.

House Bill 4544, authored by re-elected Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) and Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), aims to increase the years of imprisonment for carjackers and gives a more elaborate description of who can be considered as violators of the anti-carnapping law.

Under the proposed measure, the person guilty of the crime regardless of the vehicle’s value shall be imprisoned for 20 years but not more than 30 years. The current anti-carnapping law only imposes 14 to 17 years and four months of imprisonment.

When the crime is committed without violence, imprisonment years shall be 30 up to 40 years while carnapping with violence shall be life imprisonment as the penalty.

HB 4544 also entails carnapping as a non-bailable offense especially if the evidence of guilt is strong.

The bill also adds punishment from six to 12 years imprisonment to persons who participate in the concealment of the crime.

Public officials and government employees who are involved are also subject to dismissal in service and shall be perpetually disqualified from holding any public office if found guilty.

The revised measure also requires any person asking for the original registration of the vehicle to apply for clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Section 7 of the Act also requires LTO to keep a permanent registry of motor vehicle, motor vehicle engines, engine blocks and chassis of all motor vehicles stating the type, make, serial numbers and the names and addresses of the vehicle’s present and previous owners.

Furthermore, tampering of serial numbers and transfer of vehicle plates without LTO’s approval shall be considered as a violation of the Act.

Selling of second hand spare parts from a carnapped vehicle and identity transfer of all parts of the vehicle declared as “total wreck” shall also be in violation of HB 4544.

The Revised Anti-Carnapping Act repeals Republic Act 6539 or the “Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972.” (MNS)

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Legarda renews call for safety, preparedness in disasters
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Firemen from the Bureau of Fire Protection respond to an incident of a fire-engulfed vehicle (right photo) along the EDSA Guadalupe Bridge (northbound lane) during the Metro Manila Shake Drill on Wednesday (June 22, 2016). (MNS photo)

Firemen from the Bureau of Fire Protection respond to an incident of a fire-engulfed vehicle (right photo) along the EDSA Guadalupe Bridge (northbound lane) during the Metro Manila Shake Drill on Wednesday (June 22, 2016). (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – Senator Loren Legarda has renewed her call for the nation to develop a culture of safety and preparedness to prevent natural hazards, such as earthquakes, from turning into disasters.

“Everyone should be ready when the ‘Big One’ occurs. Government agencies and all public institutions must be prepared,” Legarda said in a statement Wednesday, following the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) second Metro Manila Shake Drill—a simulation of conditions that can occur if and when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hits Metro Manila.

“There should be an effective early warning system and massive information and education campaign to equip us with knowledge on what to do before, during and after such disasters,” she said.

Legarda, Global Champion for Resilience of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said there should be regular evaluation and retrofitting of public and private infrastructure to ensure that buildings, bridges and other similar structures can withstand strong earthquakes.

Local government units (LGUs), including barangay (village) officials, she said, must determine open spaces for safe refuge when earthquakes occur and craft evacuation plans that would help the people find the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other secure areas.

Legarda said she would file in the 17th Congress a bill that will mandate the regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills in all public establishments, especially in schools and hospitals.

The drills, she said, should include practice and instructions concerning the location, use and operation of emergency exits, fire escapes, doors and fire extinguishers and other facilities provided for such purpose in buildings as well as the proper evacuation of buildings by persons in the event of fires and earthquakes.

The senator said there should be an effective early warning system like the “5pm chime” of Minato City in Japan. Everyday at 5:00 in the afternoon, she said, the instrumental version of the Japanese folk song “Yuyaku Koyake” is heard in speakers all around the said city. This is a way to ensure that the broadcast system and speakers are working correctly because the speaker network is used to warn people of emergency situations, especially disaster warnings.

“We also need to have this kind of early warning system in the country, so that wherever people are, they are informed of important announcements especially in emergency situations, thereby reducing risks, casualties and damages,” she said.

Legarda reminded that disaster risk reduction and preparedness can significantly reduce the impacts projected in the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS).

The study revealed that without the necessary interventions, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila could destroy 40% of residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, kill 34,000 people, injure 114,000 individuals and the ensuing fires will also result in 18,000 additional fatalities. (MNS)

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Duterte to have 500 guests during oathtaking
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By Lilybeth G. Ison

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte arrives via helicopter at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Wednesday to preside over the first meeting of his incoming Cabinet outside Davao City.(MNS photo)

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte arrives via helicopter at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Wednesday to preside over the first meeting of his incoming Cabinet outside Davao City.(MNS photo)

MANILA  (PNA) – As promised during his election campaign to have a “simple” inauguration if ever he wins, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will be sworn in by a Supreme Court Justice as the country’s 16th President with only 500 officials and guests invited to Malacanang.

Incoming Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, in a statement on Monday, said that members of the diplomatic corps and retired generals would be among the 500 people who will witness the Presidential inauguration.

Pinol said that during the last meeting of the Cabinet secretaries-designate, the incoming President told them that “we all have to come by our lonesome and that we could not bring any member of our family because of the lack of space.”

He said the guest list would also include people very close to the President-elect and those who helped him during the campaign.

Incoming Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Head Christopher “Bong” Go, in an earlier interview with the media, said that Duterte will take his oath before Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang before delivering a speech on his plans and policies.

Go said the President-elect will be wearing a Barong Tagalog made of cotton.

Traditionally, incoming Philippine presidents hold their inauguration at the Quirino Grandstand in the Rizal Park (formerly Luneta) and witnessed by thousands of guests.

Go said the incoming President would only like to have a very simple inauguration.

“Ayaw niya ng magastos,” he said.

Go said that Duterte does not want to burden people with the heavy traffic on the day of his inauguration since it is on a Thursday, a regular working day for the majority.

He said “ordinary” food will also be served during the inauguration.

“Ordinaryong pagkain lang. The mayor (President-elect Duterte) wants his inauguration very simple. The food will be served before he takes his oath, after that, wala na,” he said. (PNA)

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FYLPRO signs 3-year MOU with Ayala, DFA, launches application for 2016 Immersion Program to PHL
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Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia with FYLPRO representatives as they  sign a 3-year partnership with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Ayala Foundation, Inc., which commences the launch of its 2016 Immersion Program application that would identify 10 Filipino-American young leaders to join an all-expense paid, week-long program in the Philippines. The program includes meetings with top government, business and civil society leaders in the Philippine

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia with FYLPRO representatives as they sign a 3-year partnership with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Ayala Foundation, Inc., which commences the launch of its 2016 Immersion Program application that would identify 10 Filipino-American young leaders to join an all-expense paid, week-long program in the Philippines. The program includes meetings with top government, business and civil society leaders in the Philippine

LOS ANGELES — FYLPRO representatives on May 18 signed a 3-year partnership with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Ayala Foundation, Inc., which commences the launch of its 2016 Immersion Program application that would identify 10 Filipino-American young leaders to join an all-expense paid, week-long program in the Philippines, FYLPRO President Bea Rico announced today.

The program includes meetings with top government, business and civil society leaders in the Philippines.

Rico was joined at the City Hall Tom Bradley Tower by Board Chair Kit Zulueta and Philippine Ambassador to the United States and FYLPRO founder Jose L. Cuisia Jr., as well as a representative of Ayala Foundation. Rico said the partnership strengthens the organization’s relationship with the Philippine Embassy, the Consulates General in the United States, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Ayala Foundation.

The official dates of the 2016 Immersion Program is Nov. 24 through Dec. 2. This is the fifth FYLPRO Immersion Program since its inception in 2012.

We are in search of the next 10 to join the esteemed network of FYLPRO delegates across the United States, who all share the same passion of advancing the Filipino-American community,” Rico said. “If you share the same passion, we urge you to apply.”

Interested individuals may click here to apply. The deadline is Sunday, July 24, 2016, midnight of Hawaii Standard Time.

FYLPRO Immersion Program criteria:

No younger than 25 years old and no older than 40 years old by November 24, 2016.

Ready and capable of traveling to the Philippines, to arrive in Manila on or before November 23, 2016.

Have potential or demonstrated leadership skills within their school, community, workplace or other area of involvement; and,

Have potential or demonstrated involvement in the Filipino-American community, or in issues and activities that align with the interest of the Filipino-American community or the Philippines.

Ambassador Cuisia made it a priority from his busy schedule to attend the L.A. reception to encourage all to apply and help further the organization’s mission to make sure the participation and voice of the younger generation – who are leaders of today, are recognized in community building.

“I wanted to be here to show the kind of support I have for FYLPRO.” Cuisia addressed a room full of Fil-Am leaders. “FYLPRO is one of the undertakings that I am very proud of among my accomplishments as Philippine Ambassador.”

He credited his wife, Mrs. Vicky Cuisia, for encouraging him to invest time for the younger generation of Fil-Am leaders.

Nine FYLPRO alumni from the West Coast and Hawaii flew in to share experiences since participating in their immersion trips. Some alumni shared how the trip has inspired them to create “Legacy Projects” such as business enterprises, events and projects that help advance the Fil-Am community in the U.S. with partners made in the Philippines.

It’s important to be in rooms where policy is discussed because very few Filipino-Americans are at the table,” said 2015 FYLPRO alumna Jessica Caloza, who is currently in LA Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We must make sure we develop our pipeline in the public and private sector because we have the privilege and responsibility to speak for our community both in the U.S. and abroad.”

“FYLPRO is life-changing,” Rico said. “It’s an extraordinary opportunity to join other Fil-Am leaders, explore their roots, and build deep relationships and an appreciation for the Philippines.”

Other honored guests at the event were L.A. Philippine Consulate General Leo M. Herrera-Lim, City of Artesia Mayor Victor Manalo, LA Board of Public Works Commissioner Joel Jacinto and Maria Benel Se-Liban, founding president of the International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting.

Event organizers wish to thank all those who attended to help launch this year’s immersion program, especially rising Los Angeles Fil-Am tastemakers Yana Gilbuena (Salo Series), AC Boral (Rice & Shine), Lem Balagot (LA Rose Cafe) and Kristine dela Cruz (Creme Caramel) for providing enjoyable treats.

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Washington exhibit honors Filipina suffragists
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 Philippine society , history, Filipinas , talents, skill,   passion ,Philippine Suffrage Movement ,Minister Patrick Chuasoto, Philippine Embassy, exhibit “The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement” , Erwin Tiongson , Titchie Carandang-Tiongson, Potomac , Maria Victoria Cuisia,  Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose L. Cuisia Jr,Monique Bascon, Mercedes Tiongson Sandiko, Clemencia Lopez, Sofia de Veyra, Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Aurora Quezon, Ines Villa Gonzalez  ,Pilar Hidalgo Lim,   Filipino women , women , Filipino- American community, Mitzi Pickard, Philippine Arts,

U.S. First Lady Florence Harding received a group of women from the Philippines led by Sofia de Veyra, wife of the Philippine Resident Commissioner at the South Lawn of the White House on 19 June 1922. These women are the wives and daughters of the delegation which came to Washington to lay before President Harding the plea for Philippine Independence.

WASHINGTON, D.C. “It is worth noting that Philippine society has always been blessed with strong and powerful women who shape the course of our history. Filipinas are active in diverse fields, pouring their talents, skill, and passion into many areas of human endeavor. It is therefore no wonder that the Philippine Suffrage Movement in the early 1900s was composed mainly of Filipinas who were able to carve an identity, and a mission, that were separate from those of the influential men in their lives.”

Thus remarked Minister Patrick Chuasoto, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy, as he formally opened the exhibit “The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement” on 16 June 2016 at the Embassy’s Romulo Hall.

“The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement” stems from the research of husband-and-wife team Erwin Tiongson and Titchie Carandang-Tiongson, who also spearheaded the ongoing project Philippines on the Potomac or POPDC. It was an initiative of Madam Maria Victoria Cuisia, wife of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. Another remarkable Filipina, Monique Bascon, lent her artistic talent as exhibit designer.

The exhibit focuses on the lives of Mercedes Tiongson Sandiko, Clemencia Lopez, Sofia de Veyra, Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Aurora Quezon, Ines Villa Gonzalez and Pilar Hidalgo Lim, who pursued their advocacy for the extension of suffrage to Filipino women during their stay in the United States in the early part of the 20thcentury.

“The exhibit celebrates a group of extraordinary women and their ties to Washington. And coming so soon after the last Philippine elections, this exhibit, we hope, serves to remind us that suffrage rights have been hard won through the struggles of many people who came before us. And by coincidence, that photo of the women from the Philippines at the White House, around which the exhibit is organized, was taken almost exactly 94 years ago today,” explained Erwin and Titchie Tiongson.

“The exhibit draws materials from our Philippines on the Potomac Project. Discovering all these fascinating women and their ties to our adopted DC home has been a deeply rewarding experience. And the process of discovery has been made so much easier thanks to the generosity of so many people who shared memorabilia, photos, and family stories,” the Tiongson couple added.

The Embassy is hosting the week-long exhibit in line with its Gender and Development (GAD) program and the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Philippines-US diplomatic relations.

“We must remember that while diplomatic relations between our two countries turn only 70 years old this year, the ties that bind our nations have existed for over a century. Moving forward entails being open to outside partnerships and at the same time harnessing the cooperation of your own people to be united in pursuit of common goals. The Philippine Suffrage Movement had its own allies and supporters here at the US capital and we similarly honor their role in the Movement’s eventual success,” the Deputy Chief of Mission emphasized.

The Movement triumphed as the right of suffrage was extended to Filipino women on 30 April 1937. Almost eight months later, on 14 December 1937, the Philippines held the first general election in which Filipino women were allowed to vote and run for public office.

“It truly takes a village to put together an exhibit. We are grateful to the Philippine Embassy, the Public Diplomacy Office, the Gender and Development Program and of course, Mrs. Cuisia, for the wonderful opportunity to share our discoveries with the Filipino- American community,” the Tiongsons concluded.

Ms. Mitzi Pickard, President of the Philippine Arts, Letters and Media Council (PALM), served as master of ceremonies at the exhibit launch.

Members of the public may view the “The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement” at the Romulo Hall until 12:00 p.m.of Thursday, 23 June 2016, excluding Saturday and Sunday. ###

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