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Vicki Belo marries Hayden Kho in Makati

Published in Entertainment

(Photo from Instagram | @scarletsnowbelo)


Celebrity cosmetic doctor Victoria "Vicki" G. Belo finally married her long-time boyfriend Hayden Kho Jr., after almost 12 years of being together. 


On Instagram, Belo, 61, and Kho, 37, shared photos of their civil wedding officiated by Makati Mayor Abigail Binay at their home in Dasmarinas City.


"I was afraid that I would feel like I would lose my freedom by getting married. Instead I feel joyful and free. Thank you #mayorabbybinay for officiating our civil wedding," Belo wrote in the caption on the photos.


"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." #OfficiallyOffTheMarket," Kho wrote in his own post.


Earlier, Belo, who is aesthetic doctor to many stars and celebrities, and Kho announced they will get married in Paris, France in September this year.


Many were surprised with the unannounced civil wedding and their posts afterwards.


In her Instagram accoun, Belo alsot posted a photo of her, Hayden and their daughter Scarlet Snow with Makati  Mayor Binay in their home.


Belo thanked Mayor Binay for officiating the simple civil wedding.


It looked like the ceremony was kept a secret that even Belo’s children from her previous marriage were not aware of ceremony.


Showbiz authority and entertainment editor and tv host Ricky Lo reported that only seven people witnessed the exchange of vows between the well known couple.


Those who were there included- the couple’s close friend/confidante/adviser Joji Dingcong, Agnes Ballesteros Lopez and Eroica Mendoza.


The innocent witness was Scarlet Snow, the couple’s two-year-old daughter who is a trend-setter on social media, whose activities are religiously monitored by millions of followers.


Scarlet also shared a snap on her account, and it seemed she was tasked to ask the big question.

She wrote, “Do you, Mommy, take Daddy as your lawfully wedded husband? Yes or yes yes yes?”


“It was a very small and very private ceremony,” Vicki told Funfare's Ricky Lo.


Belo told Ricky Lo no invitation has been sent for the Paris wedding.


It was hinted a French VIP will be invited though.

(Photo from Instagram | @itspokwang27)


Pokwang, the actress and comedienne, is pregnant at 44.


Marietta Subong in real life, Pokwang thanked her followers on social media for praying for the health of her unborn baby. 

Earlier, she uploaded a photo on Instagram showing her beside a sonogram machine. She captioned it with: “Hello baby O’ Brian hahahhaha first picture nya thank you sa lahat ng mga dasal nyo para matupad ito, at sa patuloy nyo pang dasal para ligtas si baby o’brian at tuluyan na sya mangulit sa February dito sa earth. Salamat nang marami.... At dahil buntis ako bawal ka muna sa bahay @hot_chokoleit at iwas din ako sa sarili ko haahahaa. [sic]” 

A smiling Lee O’Brian, the baby’s American dad, and an unidentified woman, presumably Pokwang’s obstetrician-gynecologist, were also in the photo. 

Pokwang, who has a grown daughter from a previous relationship, has a history of miscarriage. Two years ago, she and O’Brien lost their unborn baby.


Pokwang and O’Brian have already decided to tie the knot, but the new development prompted them to put on hold the planned marriage to focus on the comedienne’s pregnancy.

“Sa totoo lang, nasa [plan na] namin ‘yan bago pa man ako nagkaroon ng miscarriage last year. But I suggested to Lee that we take our time. And since I’m nga pregnant with our first baby, hindi pagpapakasal ang magiging priority naming,” entertainment columnist Ethel Ramos quoted Pokwang as saying.

“Ito munang aking panganganak. I have strict orders from my obstetrician na maging maingat, para walang mangyari sa baby. And I understand. Forty-four years old na nga naman ako,” she revealed.

According to reports, Lee is even more excited than Pokwang and he has a name ready should Pokwang deliver a boy. He will be called William, said Lee.

Pokwang and Lee are expecting their first child by February.


 Pokwang has a daughter, Ria Mae, from a previous relationship. She had another child, a son who died from cancer when he was just five years old.

Before Pokwang learned about her pregnancy, she was busy with two projects, the top-rating television series on ABS-CBN “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” and the “Banana Sundae” in the same network.


It was gathered she has to temporarily give up both shows because of her delicate condition.

Showbiz authority Ethel Ramos recounted in her column that the romance between Pokwang and Lee blossomed while they were filming the movie, “EDSA Woolsworth,” which has Pokwang playing the title role.

The film was produced by TFC (The Filipino Channel), a subsidiary, of ABS-CBN, where Pokwang is a contract talent. 

“I played a devoted daughter,” said Pokwang, “Half of the movie was filmed sa US and the other half, dito sa Pilipinas.

“Mabait si Lee,” she continued, “Kaya gumaan kaagad ang loob ko sa kanya. Bago ko pa nalaman, kami na.”

Pokwang has met Lee’s folks when the O’Brians came over recently. And Lee had the chance to know Pokwang’s mother before her Alzheimer’s disease worsened, the columnist reported.


Published in Headline

Digong’s ‘new’ friends

Published in Perry Scope

On May 23, 2017 while President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte was enroute to Moscow for a five-day visit, the rebel group Maute struck.  At about 2:00 PM, the Battle of Marawi began.  At least 500 members of Maute attacked a Philippine Army brigade stationed at Camp Ranao in Marawi City.  They were seen rampaging through the streets waving ISIS black flags.  While in Moscow, Duterte declared martial law at 10:00 pm that same day. He cut short his visit after meeting his new friend Russian President Vladimir Putin for a short time. 


Last June 2, Duterte complained about the quality of “secondhand” American military hardware. “I will not accept any more military equipment that is secondhand. The ones the Americans are giving, I do not want that anymore,” he said  He threatened to form alliances with China and Russia and asked them to provide weapons to the Philippine military. 


But a few days later, on June 5, the U.S. handed over  – I mean, given free -- $150 million worth of brand-new weapons that included 300 M4 assault rifles, 100 grenade launchers, and four M134D Gatling-style machine guns that can fire thousands of rounds a minute.  The U.S. Embassy issued a statement, saying: “This equipment will enhance the [Philippine Marines'] counterterrorism capabilities, and help protect [troops] actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines."


The Pentagon also confirmed the presence of 50 to 100 special-operations forces that were providing technical support to the Philippine Marines.  Another force of 300 to 500 U.S. military personnel are involved in providing regular bilateral training, exercises, and other activities.  However, in a press conference, Duterte claimed that he didn’t ask for the American weapons and found out their presence in Marawi after they had arrived.


Battle of Marawi

Today, with the battle of Marawi intensifying, the Philippine spokesman confirmed the Philippine military’s deaths amounted to the biggest single-day loss in the fighting. "There were intense firefights, house-to-house gun battles," the spokesman revealed during a press conference in Marawi.  He added that the government suffered 58 casualties and more than 20 civilians killed.  It was estimated that 10% of Marawi is still under the Maute group’s control.   Tens of thousands have fled the city, with more than 200,000 people displaced.  About 2,000 people are believed to have been trapped in insurgent-held areas.  Duterte believed that the militant attack was part of a wider plot by ISIS to establish a base in Mindanao.  He declared martial law hoping to quell the threat, which begs the question:  Does Duterte have sufficient military personnel and weaponry to stop what seems to be cancerous spread of hatred and violence?  Or does it take more than a military remedy to remove the cancer? 


Military solution

By virtue of Duterte’s declaration of martial law, it is presumed that he believes the Marawi problem can be solved militarily.  He even suggested that he just might declare martial law nationwide to deal with the threat of “Islamist” militancy.  But some social scientists would disagree with Duterte’s approach in solving the Marawi problem; that is, to apply military solution to a social problem.  And as most of us know, Mindanao is the hotbed of social unrest ever since the Spaniards arrived in this country.


For one thing, Mindanao – or more specifically, the Muslim region of Mindanao – is the poorest region in the country.   The bigger the Muslim population is, the poorer the region.  Why so?  This has baffled social scientists ever since the country gained her independence.   So should it be fair to presume that the Muslims of Mindanao aren’t self-sufficient enough to maintain a higher economic production? 


That’s farthest from the truth.  On the contrary, Mindanao is the richest region in terms of natural resources and agricultural productivity.  So, what’s the problem?  How can Mindanao’s calculus change to make it as rich as Luzon or Western Visayas?  Let’s use a simple example of how productivity works: A small city’s production output is P500 million, which she turns over to the central government in Manila, who in turn allots P50 million back to the small city and puts the remaining P450 million in the national treasury.  As you can see, for every 10 pesos generated by the small city, the central government allots only 10% back to the small city.  Meanwhile, the central government spends the money earned by the small city on projects or programs that don’t benefit the small city.  What results is a disproportionately funded small city who has no other source of income.  Interestingly, the regions closest to the central government are where most economic projects and programs are being spent.  Out of the 10 poorest provinces in the country, seven are predominantly Muslim: Lanao del Sur (poorest), Sulu, Sarangani, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, and Zamboanga del Norte.  Marawi City is located in the province of Lanao del Sur.  Which makes one wonder: Is poverty the catalyst to social unrest?  You betcha! 


So what is Digong doing to solve the poverty in Muslim Mindanao?   We all know that military solution doesn’t relieve the plight of the poor.  On the contrary, it puts the poor in a worse situation. 


Meanwhile, what are Duterte’s economic projects that would uplift the poor in Mindanao?  Last April, Duterte’s economic team announced several big-ticket projects aimed to reduce poverty and fill the country’s infrastructure gap.  They call it “Dutertenomics,” whose 10-point socioeconomic agenda primarily aims to reduce poverty from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 13 to 15 percent by 2022.


In addition to the poverty reduction, a major plank of Dutertenomics will be a big infrastructure push, which they said would usher a “golden age of infrastructure” in the Philippines that includes a railway system for Mindanao.  But what does Dutertenomics do for the Muslims of Lanao del Sur and the six others that are high on the poverty list?  Is Dutertenomics going to change how provincial revenues are distributed?


But Dutertenomics has hit a snag before it could even take off.  That “snag” is the Battle of Marawi and it seems that it is getting bigger and bigger and getting out of control.  With foreign fighters from the Middle East joining the ranks of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants, the rebellion is escalating to a point where America might find herself directly fighting the militants in support of Philippine troops – not just technical support but “boots on the ground” as well. 


But military operation alone would only exacerbate the poverty situation of Muslim Mindanao.  What Digong should do is find ways constitutionally or by congressional fiat to alleviate the poverty situation.  The bottom line is: the central government should – nay, must! – find ways to stimulate the economy in Muslim Mindanao to sustain a healthy development of the region.  


At the end of the day, the timely arrival of Duterte’s “new” friends – the Americans—to help quell the Maute rebellion is a quantum improvement in U.S.-Philippine bilateral relations.  It is also a great opportunity for him to pursue structural and economic reforms and to defeat poverty -- which is the real enemy – and achieve social justice for the poor.  Failure to do so would only perpetuate the simmering social discontent in the region that could explode into another – if not larger – uprising.  Duterte has his work cut out for him.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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