Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sponsored Video: Johnnie Walker Presents 'The Gentleman’s Wager'

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Sponsored Video: Johnnie Walker Presents 'The Gentleman’s Wager'

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Sponsored Video: Johnnie Walker Presents 'The Gentleman’s Wager'  Blue Labels

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Post sponsored by Johnnie Walker, but all thoughts are our own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Typhoon Glenda exits Philippines Island

Typhoon Glenda exits Philippines Island

Typhoon Glenda exits Philippines Island

Typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun) shut down the Philippine capital on Wednesday and claimed at least 16 lives, according to reports by disaster officials and provincial authorities.

Most of the deaths were due to collapsed trees and concrete walls.

Undersecretary Alexander Pama of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the agency has verified the deaths of five people in Bulacan, Northern Samar, and Quezon.

Pama said the first casualty was 25-year-old Lourdes Ongray Lim of Allen, Northern Samar. Lim was killed by a falling electric post.

Reynaldo Hernandez, a resident of Plaridel, Bulacan, died after a tree fell on his tent.

Three family members, identified as Nanette Artificio, Arlene Artificio, and Adrian Artificio, died after a concrete wall collapsed on them in Lucena City, Quezon.

Two people were also reported injured in Camarines, the NDRRMC said. They were identified as Antonio Habana and Jesus Vargas.

The official government death toll from the typhoon is expected to increase as more reports of fatalities come in from areas pummeled by the typhoon.

Aside from the five casualties verified by the NDRRMC, 11 more people were reported to have died during the onslaught of the typhoon.

In Bayawan, Negros Oriental, siblings Julie and Juvira Junalis, aged 10 and 6, drowned while crossing Tabuan River, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) - Central Visayas said.

Angelica Guarillo, 60, died after a tree fell on her in Sitio Demonyo, Barangay San Juan in Cainta, Rizal on Wednesday morning.

In Binangonan, Rizal, 70-year-old Felizardo Ramos of Barangay Tayuman died after a tree also fell on his house.

Cavite Police director Joselito Esquivel Jr. also confirmed that 11-month-old Renz Benedict Lodrado died after a wall of his house in Barangay Biclatan, General Trias town collapsed on him.

He said a certain Lawrence Edward Pe also died after a tree fell on him while he was riding a motorcycle in Dasmarinas City.

Fifty-two year-old Mario Torres of Burgos, San Antonio, Zambales, also died when his house was hit by a falling tree.

Janet Pilapil, 31, suffered a heart attack after strong winds destroyed her house in Lubao, Pampanga.

In Padre Burgos, Quezon, a tree crushed a certain Rodel de Luna. Seven-year-old Jon Paulo Mendez's body was discovered under the rubble in Tiaong, Quezon.

In Barangay Palatiw, Pasig City, fire volunteer Jomark Diaz died after the roof and a concrete portion of the barangay hall collapsed on him, according to Pasig Police chief Sr. Supt. Mario Rariza.

The NDRRMC said the typhoon has affected an estimated 450,689 individuals in Regions 4A, 4B, 5, and 8.

About 373,177 individuals from the Bicol region fled their homes, officials said.


State weather bureau PAGASA said as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the eye of the typhoon was already over the West Philippine Sea. Its exact location was 97 kilometers west of Olongapo.

After interacting with the land, Glenda's winds slightly decreased to 140 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of up to 170 kph.

Glenda was moving northwest at 25 kilometers per hour and is forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning.

Due to Glenda, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Lubang Island, Pangasinan, and Metro Manila have been placed under public storm warning signal number 3. These areas should experience winds of 101 – 185 kilometers per hour in at least 18 hours.

Meanwhile, signal no. 2 (winds of 61-100 kph is expected in at least 24 hours) has been hoisted over the following areas:

La Union
Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Ecija
Southern Aurora
Northern Quezon including Polillo Island
Northern parts of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro

The following areas are under signal no. 3 (winds of 30 – 60 kph expected in at least 36 hours):

Ilocos Sur
Mt. Province
Rest of Aurora
Camarines Norte
Rest of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro
Calamian Group of Islands

In a press conference, PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said the typhoon will no longer re-curve and go back to the Philippines after exiting the country's landmass.

Aurelio said the typhoon may pick up strength once it reaches the West Philippine Sea.

Another PAGASA forecaster, Rene Paciente, said the southern portion of Metro Manila was hit by the typhoon's eye.

Due to the sheer strength of the typhoon's winds, large trees were uprooted, and unstable structures were damaged in areas hit by the weather disturbance. Some uprooted trees and toppled posts rendered roads impassable


Paciente said even though Glenda was already on its way towards the West Philippine Sea, rains and winds will still be felt in Metro Manila as it is still within the reach of the wall of the typhoon's eye. Paciente said the typhoon's eye has a diameter of 80 kilometers.

Areas which were hit by the typhoon eye's wall are expected to suffer the most, as this portion of the cyclone produces the strongest winds.

Rains may persist over the western side of Luzon until Thursday as the typhoon was enhancing the southwest monsoon, PAGASA forecaster Gener Quitlong told dzMM.

Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under signal nos. 3, 2, and 1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

Residents in coastal areas under signal nos. 3 and 2 are also alerted against storm surges which may reach up to two meters.

Fishing boats and other small vessels are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of Visayas.

An estimated rainfall amount of 15 – 25 millimeters per hour (heavy - intense) is expected within the typhoon's 500-km diameter. – with reports from Henry Atuelan, Zhander Cayabyab, Eric Dastas, Jay Pelayo, June Perez, and Ricky Velasco, dzMM; Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Derek Ramsay Reveal the real score with Kris Aquino

Derek Ramsay Reveal the real score with Kris Aquino

Derek Ramsay Reveal the real score with Kris Aquino

Derek Ramsay again denied that he is dating Kris Aquino, but admitted that he is grateful to have her as a "best friend" whom he can turn to for advice.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, the 37-year-old actor revealed that has has always been close with Aquino and that they make an effort to see each other despite their busy schedules.

"I have been very grateful that we are very, very close friends," he said about the television host.

"She knows a lot of things about my life that I'm comfortable telling her and she gives me advice on those aspects or whatever problems I have. Also, she asks me for advice," he continued.

"For someone like Kris Aquino to come to me and ask me for advice, it goes to show how she values our friendship," he added.

For the past two months, Aquino and Ramsay have been romantically linked to each other, with photos of the two going out for a movie fanning speculations.

Aquino also visited Ramsay while he was confined in a hospital due to pneumonia -- a gesture which the actor appreciates.

"I really appreciate it noong na-ospital ako one week, dumalaw siya sa hospital nung may sakit ako," he said.

To show his gratitude, Ramsay shared that he will be giving Aquino a Bichon Frise -- a hypoallergenic dog breed. He explained that Aquino has always wanted a dog as a pet, but would decide against getting one because of the allergies of her son, James "Bimby" Yap, Jr.

"It's not just a gift that you give to anybody. You have to know a person if the person is going to take care of the dog," he said.

Asked if he is dating anyone at the moment, Ramsay said that he is "happily single."

He admitted that his schedule, which includes promoting the romance-drama film "The Trophy Wife" with girlfriend Cristine Reyes, has been "killing" his personal life.

"I think it's just fair na tapusin ko muna tong mga ginagawa bago I set my mind to something like that," said Ramsay, who is also taping a reality TV show. "It's draining. I'm in and out of the hospital. I need to prioritize. Keep more time for myself to relax."

Kc Conception and Paulo Avelino are now dating again

Kc Conception and Paulo Avelino are now dating again

Kc Conception and Paulo Avelino are now dating again 

Actress KC Concepcion admitted that she is again dating Paulo Avelino amid speculations about the real score between the two.

In an interview with Push during her contract signing with ABS-CBN, the 29-year-old said that she is willing to try again with Avelino, but added that her tight schedule may play a part.

"Medyo nagmamakaawa ako na sana intindihin din ako kung may times na parang mag-aadjust pa ako sa schedule," she said.

"Sana naman mahanapan ng way na parang makapag-date pa din or makapag-spend ng time with you know, kung sinong makakapagpa-happy sa iyo," she added.

Last month, the two were spotted in Baguio together after Concepcion returned to the country from New York. Avelino earlier cited that the distance was one of the factors affecting their "relationship."

"Yun naman yung maganda when you’re able to spend time para makilala mo din yung tao 'di ba?" Concepcion asked, referring to the actor.

"Para makilala namin yung isa't isa. 'Yun ang pinaka-importante sa lahat, 'yung malaman mo kung paano ba talaga ang isang tao. Basta we're okay. 'Yun lang ang masasabi ko siguro. Okay kami," she said.

Concepcion also revealed that the Baguio trip was planned by Avelino, and said that she appreciates the "efforts" being made by the actor.

"Gusto kong maramdaman lang na normal ako ganun. Na hindi ako natatakot na maglakad sa streets of Manila. And napag-usapan lang namin one time na nagplano siya na parampahin ako sa Session Road," she said.

"Kinabahan ako actually kasi first time ko actually na wala talagang maraming kasama. Pero 'yun lang, we're okay. Sa time namin ngayon in our lives important yung work," she reiterated.

Concepcion is set to feature in the ongoing television series "Ikaw Lamang," while Avelino is currently cast as one of the major characters in ABS-CBN's newest primetime soap "Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon."

"Passion niya 'yung work. Passion ko rin 'yung work. Kaya rin kami magkasundo. We're happy for each other and we're okay," she explained.

Earlier in the year, Avelino said on national television that his special relationship with Concepcion hasn't taken off but is definitely not yet over.

Avelino first admitted to dating Concepcion in November last year, weeks after he confirmed his separation from former girlfriend, actress LJ Reyes, with whom he has a son.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

XXX: Xperience, Xcite, Xperia with Lazada Philippines

XXX: Xperience, Xcite,  Xperia with Lazada Philippines
The season's "it" phone is now available in the country's online shopping mall

Headlining this season's roster of new smartphones is no other than the Sony Xperia Z2 and it is now available in - the country's online shopping mall.

Trailing from its predecessor - the Sony Xperia Z1, the Sony Xperia Z2 is packed with more features and with a slightly larger screen display. While the product details would spell out the details of the Sony Xperia Z2, here are the things to expect about the season's "it" phone - utilitarian, richer color display, and agile imaging capability.

Utilitarian: The Sony Xperia Z2 remains true to its Z-series DNA being resistant to dust, moisture, and even water. So whether you are trekking outdoors or partying the night away, fret no more as the Z2 never shies away from these challenges.

Out of pocket or purse space? The Sony Xperia Z2 now comes leaner with an 8.2mm body with glass panels front and back and encased in a single aluminium frame. So it could easily fit anywhere.
 XXX: Xperience, Xcite,  Xperia with Lazada Philippines
Richer Color Display: Viewing selfies and videos with friends are so much easier with the Sony Xperia Z2! With its Triluminos display with X-Reality for a wider color range and greater detail, the Z2 now sports the Live Colour LED which makes wide angle viewing much easier. So you won't need to pass around your phone everytime you need to show a cool photo!

Agile Imaging Capability: Capturing vivid moments? The Sony Xperia Z2's 20.7 megapixel camera boasts its sheer capability of shooting videos at 4K resolution and has its own software-based image stabilization called SteadyShot. So you can be sure that you won't miss any moment behind and you can live your life at its best!
Sounds too good to be true? Experience the newest Sony Xperia Z2 with the Philippines' Online Shopping Mall. Shop effortlessly and risk-free by logging into to get the best deals on the Sony Xperia Z2 and experience what the rave about the season “it” phone is all about.


About Lazada
Lazada( is Philippines’ largest online shopping mall and is pioneering e-commerce by providing a fast, convenient and secure online shopping experience combined with an extensive product offering in categories ranging from mobiles & tablets and consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion and sports equipment. Lazada is continuously striving to offer its customers the best possible shopping experience with multiple payment methods including cash on delivery, extensive warranty commitments and free returns. Lazada mobile applications for Android, iPhone and iPad provide additional convenience to its consumers’ allowing them to shop anywhere, anytime.

For more information, please visit For updates on Lazada’s latest innovations, as well as activities, contests and promotions, connect with us via Facebook (

Sarah Geronimo admits that he really loves Mateo Guidicelli

Sarah Geronimo admits that he really loves Mateo Guidicelli

Sarah Geronimo admits that he really loves Mateo Guidicelli

Following her admission that she is in a romantic relationship with Matteo Guidicelli, Sarah Geronimo now reveals when she plans to walk down the aisle and tie the knot.

In an interview with Ogie Diaz for the premium exclusive segment of “The Buzz,” Diaz asked the singer-actress what is her ideal marrying age considering she is already turning 26 next month.

“Ang ideal age for me is before 30, or sana 29. Kahit matagalan nang konti basta wala naman po sa edad iyan. Kapag natagpuan mo na ang tamang panahon, tamang ikaw at tamang partner din, yun na,” she said.

Geronimo said she is grateful to have Guidicelli in her life because he makes an effort to make her feel special.

“Siyempre thankful naman tayo sa Diyos dahil everything that’s happening, kumbaga na-bless ako ng ganitong klaseng relationship, ganitong klaseng karelasyon kasi mabait na tao naman si Matteo at talagang matiyaga,” she said.

Just like Guidicelli, the singer-actress said she also calls him “mahal.”

“Oo. Oo naman, kasi mahal ko yun eh. Mahal ko yun talaga,” she beamingly said.

When told that Guidicelli seems to be the only suitor who won her parents’ hearts, Geronimo said, “Ano naman iyan eh, continuous iyan. Dapat hindi natatapos ang effort mo na ligawan [ang magulang]. Kasi ako okay na ako, yung magulang na talaga.”

Since Geronimo admitted her romantic ties with Guidicelli, several netizens, including celebrities, have expressed that they are extremely happy for the “The Voice” coach.

Asked how she feels about the overwhelming response of other people, Geronimo said, “Salamat po. Siguro [gusto rin nila ako maging masaya]. Maraming salamat sa suporta niyo at sa pag-intindi.”

Geronimo said her recent movie “Maybe This Time” and her relationship with Guidicelli are probably the reasons why she seems radiant lately.

“Feeling ko malaki yung growth sa akin nitong pelikulang ito. Ang daming naitulong sa akin and yung mga naging katrabaho ko and of course siyempre yung kung ano din yung meron kami [ni Matteo] kasi mag-26 na ako so medyo late na rin pero okay naman,” she said.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What's next for Maja Salvador after The Legal Wife

What's next for Maja Salvador after The Legal Wife

What's next for Maja Salvador after The Legal Wife 

After her "stressful" role as the mistress in the recently concluded "The Legal Wife," Maja Salvador is set to star in a new series -- but first, the young actress is hard at work on her upcoming concert in July.

Dubbed "MAJ: The Legal Performer," Salvador's one-night show will be held at the Music Museum in Greenhills on July 12. She will be joined by Rayver Cruz, Enchong Dee, Enrique Gil and Piolo Pascual.

"I will try my best. Kasi pangarap ko maging total performer talaga," the 25-year-old actress told reporters Monday on the sidelines of a press conference for a condominium she endorses.

Only a week since the taping for "The Legal Wife" wrapped up -- the series aired its finale episode last June 13 -- Salvador said she is now busy with preparations for the concert.

"Mag-sa-start na ako mag-voice lessons ulit. 'Yung mga i-pe-perform ko, siyempre kailangan kong pag-aralan din po iyon. Tapos mga dance rehearsals," she said.

Salvador, who recently launched her debut album "Believe," considers the upcoming show a way of giving back to those who have supported her since she entered showbiz in 2003.

"Sobrang in love ako mag-perform, kasi isang way ko po iyon na magpasalamat sa mga fans. Sobrang gustung-gusto ko 'yung feeling na na-e-entertain ko sila kapag nag-pe-perform ako, kasi ibang happiness 'yung naibibigay ko rin sa kanila," she explained.

Letting go of Nicole

The "Thelma" star was also happy to confirm that a new TV series is in the works, but declined to divulge details.

For now, Salvador said she feels relieved to be able to "let go" of Nicole, a character who has drawn both ire and praise throughout the four-month run of "The Legal Wife."

"Siyempre kailangan mo nang i-let go agad 'yung character na 'yon, kasi sobrang stress maging mistress," she quipped. "Sa taping, nung na-pack up na kami, isang linggo lang ako nag-stay sa aking condo para mag-relax, kasi nandoon na lahat din, e. Doon lang ako, nag-relax lang ako, inalis ko 'yung stress ko kay Nicole."

Salvador said that since "The Legal Wife" soared in popularity, which showed in record-breaking ratings and buzz online, new doors have opened for her.

Referring to her physical confrontation scenes with co-star Angel Locsin, with whom she has since become close friends, Salvador said: "It was worth it!"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kc Conception on rumored that she's the real mother of Miel and Miguel Pangilinan

Kc Conception on rumored that she's the real mother of Miel and Miguel Pangilinan

Kc Conception on rumored that she's the real mother of Miel and Miguel Pangilinan

After taking a swipe at a popular rumor alleging that she is the real mother of her younger siblings Miel and Miguel, KC Concepcion finally opened up about the persistent talk and emphasized that she is not their mother.

Rumors that Concepcion is the real mother of Miel, who is turning 10 in September, has long been circulating. In 2012, veteran actress Sharon Cuneta had to publicly deny that Concepcion is the real mom of Miel and adopted son, Miguel.

In an interview Bianca Gonzalez as published on The Philippine Star Sunday, Concepcion said she initially did not mind the rumor about Miel being her daughter because she knows it is not true.

“First of all, sabi nila, kaya daw ako nag-Paris when I was 18 is because I was pregnant. And I didn’t know it was such a big rumor because it isn’t true! I didn’t mind it. It was funny eh, but when your family starts to ask about it, then it gets real. Parang, wait lang, showbiz can actually ruin relationships,” she said.

“So when they didn’t see any tell-tale signs, sabi nila, nagpa-abort daw kasi ako. Ano ba talaga? Nabuntis ba ako or nagpa-abort? They said anak ko daw si Miel (Pangilinan), because I wasn’t here when she was born. They said my mom paid so and so millions para daw tumahimik yung mga tao. Then when we adopted my brother Miguel, si Miguel naman daw 'yung tunay kong anak,” she added.

Concepcion quipped that it is unfortunate that “in showbiz, there can be smoke when there’s no fire.”

Aside from the pregnancy rumors, Concepcion also laughed off talk that the only reason she moved to Boston when she was 12 was because she was caught smoking in the bathroom.

Despite all these rumors, Concepcion said she only becomes more determined to let the people know more about herself.

“If you know me, how I am, how I think, kayo na mismo makakaalam if (rumors are) true or not. Instead of allowing other people to introduce me, I’ll do it myself,” she told Gonzalez.

This is also the reason she is active on various social media sites.

“I am so passionate about photos, sharing myself on Twitter and Instagram, and my blog before, it is my way of letting the fans in, so that they can know me,” she said.

What is the real score of Paulo Avelino on Kc Conception?

What is the real score of Paulo Avelino on Kc Conception?

What is the real score of Paulo Avelino on Kc Conception?

Paulo Avelino said his special relationship with KC Concepcion hasn’t taken off but it’s definitely not yet over.

This comes two weeks after he first admitted that they tried to bring their relationship to the next level but didn't work out.

During an interview on “The Buzz” on Sunday, host Boy Abunda asked Avelino to finally clarify the real score between him and Concepcion, following reports that they are no longer dating.

Avelino then said: “Ang masasabi ko siguro hindi pa talaga nagte-take off but it’s not over.”

In a previous interview with ABS-CBN News, Avelino said one of the factors that affected their “relationship” was the long distance. Concepcion recently took a short course on acting in New York City but is now back in the Philippines.

Concepcion confessed last April through a text message to "Kris TV" writer Darla Sauler that she loves Avelino.

"No comment except… Basta, mahal ko siya. Yun lang. :)" the 29-year-old actress was quoted as saying.

Avelino first admitted dating Concepcion in November last year, weeks after he confirmed his separation from former girlfriend, actress LJ Reyes, with whom he has a son.

Meanwhile, Avelino, who is currently promoting the series "Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon," is hoping the soap will also receive the same amount of support given to "The Legal Wife."

"Nakaka-pressure lalo na napakataas ng ratings nila and naging very controversial. Sa ngayon, nakakakaba rin dahil bukas na kami eere. Ine-expect lang namin na sana yung sumuporta ng 'Legal Wife', ganun din ang gawin sa 'Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon,'" he said.

Directed by Jerome Pobocan and Trina Dayrit, "Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon" will also star Dina Bonnevie, Maricar Reyes, Tonton Gutierrez, and Albert Martinez.

The soap joins ABS-CBN's primetime lineup on June 16.

Is it true that Ruffa Gutierrez have a new Boyfriend?

Is it true that Ruffa Gutierrez have a new Boyfriend?

Is it true that Ruffa Gutierrez have a new Boyfriend?

Does actress Ruffa Gutierrez have a new man in his life?

On Sunday's episode of “It Takes Gutz to be a Gutierrez” which aired on E! Channel, twins Raymond and Richard Gutierrez, along with Sarah Lahbati, speculated about their older sister's love life.

Raymond mentioned that he noticed that their sister had been posting love and inspirational quotes on her Instagram account, leading to speculations that she is in love.

"Is she hiding someone?" Raymond asked.

Richard said he saw a picture posted on Tim Yap's Instagram account of their sister with a man.

Is it true that Ruffa Gutierrez have a new Boyfriend?

The three then speculated if the man, who is a foreigner, is just a friend or already her boyfriend.

"How do you find a guy when everyone's intimidated by you?" Raymond said about his sister.

In another location, Ruffa was shown having a conversation with her daughters Lorin and Venice. She asked her daughters if it will be okay if she has a new baby, since the girls are grown up.

The two got excited with the idea, but noted that their mother should just adopt a baby.

"Why will I adopt when I can make babies?" said Ruffa.

Venice said she wants a British baby, and Ruffa joked that she'll just look for a British boyfriend.

However, her daughters said that if their mother will have a new boyfriend, he should pass their "checklist."

Lorin and Venice said their mother's new boyfriend shouldn't smoke, should only drink refined alcohol (wine and champagne), and should be classy.

"Can he be short?" Ruffa asked her daughters.

Venice said he can't be short because she doesn't want to bend down for him.

"I'm making it sure that you do not fall into the hands of the "right guy" and get heartbroken, again," Lorin told her mother.

Is it true that Ruffa Gutierrez have a new Boyfriend?

Meanwhile, the family went to Singapore for a cruise onboard the Superstar Virgo. It was a special vacation for the family, as it was not often that they go on a trip as a complete family.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Celebrities that makes Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Several celebrities have joined the bandwagon in creating rainbow looms, the latest craze among Filipinos.

The process of making these rainbow looms includes twisting and tying rubber bands into colorful bracelets and other accessories.

Among the local stars who got addicted to making these are real-life couple Cheska Garcia and Doug Kramer.


Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Lea Salonga also posted a picture of her daughter Nicole as she does her own rainbow loom.
Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Toni Gonzaga, Angelica Panganiban and Mylene Dizon, meanwhile, posted photos of their bracelets.
Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

As for Judy Ann Santos and Kim Chiu, they said they use their free time looming.
Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Celebrities that make Loom Bands

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Graphic warnings on cigarette packs

Graphic warnings on cigarette packs

Graphic warnings on cigarette packs

The Senate and the House of Representatives were able to reconcile their versions of the bill that will put graphic health warnings on tobacco products following a bicameral conference.

Senator Pia Cayetano said the reconciled version was able to retain the proposal that 50 percent of cigarette packaging be devoted to the graphic warning although it will be placed in the packaging’s lower portion.

But legislators agreed that the warning should not be obscured and that it should still be placed on the front and back panels of the packaging and printed in English and Filipino.

Another salient point in the bicam version, Cayetano said, is that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will join the Department of Health (DOH) as lead agencies in implementing the law.

Within 30 days after the law is implemented, the DOH shall come up with the templates for the graphic health warnings.

The tobacco industry has a year to comply to allow them to purchase machines needed to put the warnings on cigarette packages.

Manufacturers were also given an 8-month extension for them to exhaust their current stocks in the market before penalties are imposed.

“Because of the existing packaging na naiwan sa market na wala pang graphic warning, we have agreed to give them an eight-month period of exhaustion. The Senate came from a one-year version without further exhaustion. But in the interest of moving forward, we had to agree to an additional 8-month para maubos ang stock sa market. That simply means that wala pang penalties. But within one year, makakakita na po kayo ng graphic health warning sa lahat ng cigarette packs natin,” Cayetano said.

“I am still proud that after seven years, mapapasabatas na ito. And I expect that all government agencies of the country that are now part of the crafting of the [implementing rules and regulations] will fully participate to ensure na ‘yung mandate natin sa batas na ito ay malaman ng mga Pilipino ang kasamaan, ang maidudulot na sakit sa kanila ng paninigarilyo,” she said.

How Cocolisap infestation spread in Philippines

How Cocolisap infestation spread in Philippines

How Cocolisap infestation spread in Philippines

The local coconut industry has lost at least P200 million because of the the so-called "cocolisap" infestation.

Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan on Monday said the losses are mounting.

“Last year, ang datos po nila almost P200 million (losses). Inaverage out iyong yield loss, mga 60 percent ang bagsak. Sometimes it’s 100 percent kapag talagang nadali na iyong puno; sometimes it’s as low as 25 percent kung ito po ay moderate ang kanyang infestation," he said, describing the infestation on coconut plantations. "But they average out at 60 percent, 58 percent ang yield loss. So, ang total for last year based on the data was around P180 million yield loss for the industry."

If the infestation is left unchecked, Pangilinan said losses may go up to billions of pesos. "If left without intervention, you will have P12 billion losses in Region 4, another P13 billion losses in Region 5 and around P7 billion losses, potential losses [in Region 9], with a 58 percent decrease."

"In other words, 60 percent decrease. Based on our experience dito sa Calabarzon (Cavite/Laguna/Batangas/Rizal/Quezon), kung bumagsak ng 60 percent ang yield, ‘yan po ang magiging pigura," Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said the problem involves the pests moving to other areas. "Meaning, lumilipat. We have from 2010 to 2014, based on the data, the pest moves 400 meters a month. It can also transport itself even quicker kung ito ay dinadala by way of transporting the goods."

He gave examples. "Meron tayong naging karanasan, halimbawa, from Batangas biglang sumulpot at lumabas sa Cavinti, Laguna. Outside of the normal 400 meters a month traveling bigla hong nagkaroon ng reports. At ang kanilang conclusion is that somebody transported infested products from Batangas to Cavinti, Laguna. Also in Polilio Island, for example, which is an island, meron na ring infestation and that confirms precisely the theory or the belief, which is established also by science, that it’s airborne."

The losses are not limited to coconuts anymore, as the infestation also affected other crops that are used in multi-cropping.

This, however doesn’t mean government will avoid multi-cropping altogether.

"Pati po ang produkto ng mangosteen at saka lanzones, merong kalahating milyong mga puno na apektado na rin. And the treatment there will be different. Ang gagamitin po natin diyan is organic [pesticide] --- organic spraying, hindi ho chemical. And multi-cropping, I guess, eventually ganun pa rin ang solusyon. Temporarily, in certain areas where infestation is severe, it would not be advisable to plant new crops kasi nga baka siya ay mahaluan din at mahawa," Pangilinan said.


He said other areas threatened, aside from areas already infested, are Region 4-B (Mimaropa), Region 5, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

“Dapat din natin sigurong malaman na ang kulisap na ito, ang infestation ay nakita na po sa Tagkawayan, Quezon. Ito po ang huling bayan bago po ng Camarines Norte. Ibig sabihin kung hindi ho tayo magkakaroon ng masusing pag-intervene o pag-treat at pag-manage po nito ay pati ho ang Bicol region apektado," he warned.

"Bakit po mayroong threatened areas? Dahil itong kulisap na ito ay ang biyahe po niya pwede siyang bumiyahe ng airborne. Ibig sabihin pwede po siyang lumipat via air. Pwede rin po siyang lumipat because nga iyong mga produktong niyog, ‘pag ito ay merong infestation ay pwede ring lumipat by way of transporting these products. So we will have to check precisely [quarantine] measures," he explained.

As of June 2014, around 1.2 million trees have been affected in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite and Basilan.

Hardest-hit is Batangas with over half a million trees.

Pangilinan said what is endemic in the Philippines is "aspidiotus rigidus," which is the pest that that has been identified that may have been introduced from out of the country.

He said government does not have the data and the evidence as to how it got into the country, “but there is the possibility that this could have been brought in through Batangas ports, and by way of bringing in ornamental plants.”

He said a similar pest can be seen in Indonesia. ”Base doon sa datos na ating nalikom, we cannot determine as of this point, with certainty, saan po ito nanggaling. But there are similar pests in Indonesia so we can only assume that it may have come from Indonesia. With respect to Basilan, ang datos na sinabi sa atin ng ating mga scientists, iba ho siya. Scale insect is a family of insects. So merong magkakapatid, may pinsan. So, itong scale insect sa Basilan is a cousin of the scale insect here in Calabarzon. So it may have been also transported from outlying areas perhaps not directly --- well, not directly from here. So it could have come in from other areas in the southern border.”


Pangilinan said the government has also sought help from Indonesia. "The task force informed me that they actually visited the site in Indonesia. The conclusions they were to draw, or are drawing, are that biocontrol agents eventually are the key to be able to manage this pest effectively. The target is, we begin the biocontrol after the treatment and after the spraying. Kasi hindi mo naman pwedeng isabay at pati sila maaapektuhan ‘nung spraying, so after. That would be in August."

"Based on the data that we have, 65 percent ang mortality niya. So nabawasan ka na doon sa pruning at burning, mababawasan pa after the injection and then after two weeks, that’s when you put the spraying, lalo pang mababawasan. Matitira na lang iyong 35 percent," he said. '"'Pag ini-spray mo, mas effective iyong magiging focus ‘nung spray dahil mas kakaunti na lang itong peste. And after you spray, that’s when you release the biocontrol agents. Dahil kakaunti na lang iyong peste, mas kakayanin niyang kainin."

Pangilinan hopes for cooperation from the affected communities. "Hindi ho ito magiging matagumpay kung hindi ho kasama ang pamahalaang lokal, ang ating mga magsasaka mismo, ang ating mga farmers groups and organizations na kikilos para ho matugunan ito."

He explained that Batangas is prone to the infestation because it has many farms with ornamental flowering plants. “Sinasabay po nila iyan sa coconut. So, nagmumulti-cropping po sila. Again ang hinala, if it were...If it may have come from Indonesia, then it could have come from the Batangas port. The evidence does not say that precisely this is where it has come from. But we are continuing to look at the, you know, and finding out, trying to figure out exactly where it came from.”

Pangilinan explained why it took some time before government was able to identify the necessary measures to combat this pest.

He said because it was not endemic to the country, the pest has no natural enemies to defeat it or at least keep it at bay.

"Dahil nga bago po iyong peste, hindi kaagad nalaman kung ano ang magiging tamang management nito. Iyong una, nag-spraying, hindi masyadong umubra. Iyong iba naman naggupit-gupit at saka nag-pruning at burning, hindi rin sapat. Iyong iba nag-spraying at burning, hindi rin sapat. That’s why po ang protocols natin, based on the experience in the last four years, is to do either four or five depending on the severity of the infestation.”

Pangilian explained government’s response: From 2011 to 2014, leaf pruning, spraying, the release of biocontrol agents or ‘yung friendly o kaibigang kulisap, the rehabilitation and re-planting and fertilization, and then in 2014, the systemic pesticide trunk injection. Until May of this year, we have had 65-million pesos spent for this effort, “and this is precisely why we felt the need to augment and provide greater support—budgetary and personnel support—for the effort.”

Pangilinan explained the details of the Scale Insect Emergency Action Program: a 6-month program starting in June.

"We will do all these: pruning and burning of drying leaves, integrated po ‘yung approach niya, and then we will do a trunk injection. After which, there will be spraying using organic material, organic pesticide. After spraying, we will do release of biocontrol agents, which is the friendly kulisap, and then we do fertilization and strengthening or providing more sustenance and nutrients to the trees, so that it will recover faster," he said.

"We will do quarantining. We will set up checkpoints in these areas because you can spread the disease—or the infestation, rather—the pests by way of infested crops or infested coconuts, infested trunks, infested leaves. And so, we will be quarantining key areas in the CALABARZON area," Pangilinan said. "Mass rearing of biocontrol agents, that is raising the friendly kulisaps, so that they may, in their natural environment, help contain these pests and then continuing research and development. We will also have fertilization, intercropping, livelihood intervention in order to address the damage and the loss of income of our farmers."

The program will have the following budget: Phase I (June to August) involves around P460 million; Phase II with P204 million; and Phase III, P88 million.

"It will include precisely the protocols that we mentioned: injection of insecticides, pruning and burning, scale insect laboratory to produce these biocon agents, rehabilitation, surveillance, and quarantine," Pangilinan said.

The expense is justified with the following cost benefit analysis: P750-million to be spent to address 1.2 million trees.

"Ang cost po ng isang buko ay sampung piso. Ang isang niyog, puno ng niyog ay kaya pong mamunga at makapag-harvest ng 40 niyog sa isang taon. So 40 (coconuts) per year per tree at P10, that is P400 per tree."

Pangilinan expects the local coconut industry to recover in 2 years. "If there are a million trees, that is P400-million worth of coconuts in one year. And so, in two years’ time, if we spend around P750 million or P800-million, in two years’ time we will be able to recover economically. And not to mention, of course, the impact—the social impact on our farmers."


Stopping the infestation, however, is expected this year. "Based on the field studies, lumalabas ang improvement makikita na on the third month but this is anywhere between four to six months makikita ang marked improvement. But that does not mean it is...We cannot eradicate this pest. This pest will always be with us. What is strategic here is to bring it down to manageable levels and therefore it will no longer threaten the other regions and the other areas of the country."

"Timetable is to be able to see significant results in the next six months. Otherwise, well the other side of the coin is if we do not intervene, it can reach Bicol Region and Zamboanga Peninsula by the end of the year. So, that is why failure here is not an option," he said.

President Aquino issued an executive order last week imposing emergency measures in areas affected by the cocolisap infestation.

Pangilinan clarified that no state of emergency has been imposed in those areas.

“It is [an] emergency measures declaration for Calabarzon and Basilan, which therefore requires emergency measures and taking of emergency steps, which will include quarantining, augmenting of the budgets, greater coordination with the local governments. In other words it is specific to Calabarzon and Basilan."

Pangilinan said coconut farmers are the poorest types of farmers. "Kung P23,000 a year ang kinikita po ng average farmer doon po sa usapin ng kanyang income, mas mababa pa po ang coconut farmer. Tumatama lang yata ng mga P15,000 on average per year. Iyan ho iyong average.”

This is why government is also working on livelihood assistance. “Kung maaalala ninyo, sinabi natin magkakaroon po ng pruning and burning e kailangan po ng taong gagawa po ‘non at meron po tayong pondo para ho sa cash-for-work. Ang mga magsasaka po mismo hihingin po natin ang suporta nila lalo na po iyong mga kinakailangan po ng pangtustos sa araw-araw na gastusin na nawala na dahil nga naubos ang kanilang mga niyog. Kasama din po doon iyong spraying. Kakailanganin din ng suporta mula po sa ating mga nasa barangay para umasiste o to assist dito po sa pagii-spray, kasama din po dito po sa pag-inject."

Pangilinan confirmed that the Philippine National Police will assist in quarantine work.

He said the government may be told of any attempts to corrupt the quarantine system through a hotline. "Tatanggapin po natin lahat ng reklamo tungkol po rito. Kung meron pong ganoong klaseng mga pangyayari ay dapat i-report agad sa atin at hindi ho tayong magdadalawang-isip na disiplinahin ang sinuman na gagawa po ng kalokohan o sasamantalahin itong sitwasyon na ito.Nakikiusap din po tayo na huwag na po nating gawing samantalahin ang sitwasyon dahil ang kinakailangan po rito ay iisa lang po ang ating layunin na itong pesteng ito ay sugpuin po natin at matigil."

Pangilinan said there are 3.5 million hectares or 27 percent of total national agricultural land planted with coconuts, with around 3.5 million coconut farmers.

He added that 25 million Filipinos, or nearly one-fourth of the population, are directly or indirectly dependent on the coconut industry.

The Philippines accounts for 60 percent of the share of the world’s coconut exports, making the industry a billion-dollar earner per year.


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