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Philippines Today

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GENERAL SANTOS CTY – World boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao became emotional when he celebrated his 37th birthday in General Santos City.


This as he delayed his choice of who he will face in what he said will be his last fight for April 9, 2016. He vowed to retire after the fight to devote his time to government work as he is a candidate for senator and according to surveys could be a sure winner in the May 9, 2016 elections.


Meanwhile, Pacquiao became the second biggest individual taxpayer in the country with more than P200 million in taxes paid for 2014 earnings. A year earlier, Pacquiao was the Philippines highest individual taxpayer. 


Rebisco Group founder Jacinto L. Ng Sr. topped the Bureau of Internal Revenue's (BIR) 500 individual taxpayers for 2014, dislodging  Pacquiao. Data released by the BIR showed that the Filipino-Chinese businessman, who is also the Chairman of Asia United Bank Corp., paid a total of P280.11 million last year. Ng’s payment is far higher than Pacquiao's P210.31 million.


Mercury Drug Corp. president Vivian Que Azcona, once the number one taxpayer, came in third after paying a total of P153.55 million. Logging tycoon and Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez is the fourth highest individual tax payer with P 73 million.


Jacinto Co Ng Jr., who is the Chief Executive Officer of real estate developer Elantival Enclaves Inc., made it to the top five after paying P 66.87 million.

Presidential sister and TV personality Kristina "Kris" Bernadette Cojuangco is the 6th highest payer with P54.53 million.


The others who made it to the top 10 are Smart Communications executive Ronaldo Romero Soliman, Coca Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc. President and CEO William Schultz, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) CEO Ramon See Ang, UBS Investments Philippines Managing Director Lauro Baja III. They are the seventh to 10th, respectively.


Pacquiao is choosing from Terrence Crawford, Timothy Bradley or Amir Khan as his next opponent but there are reports that another fight with undefeated world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. was still possible.


The Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch loomed as the American world champion recently appeared no longer belligerent on the Filipino icon, in fact, pointing out that his win against Pacquiao was his best fight ever.


Mayweather even cited the fighting congressman as a talented fighter in big contrast to his earlier statements downplaying the Filipino.


At his party, Pacquiao recalled his humble beginnings as he hosted the celebration with his family and friends.


In his speech, Pacquiao could not help shedding tears when he shared how hard life was for him at the beginning. His life now is very different from what it was like before, he said.


Speaking of blessings, the eight-division world boxing champion gave away a brand new car, which went to Pacquiao household regular Malou Masangkay whose name was picked by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who led his guests together with Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

Since turning into a born-again Christian, Pacquiao has not been seen drinking his favorite San Miguel Light beer in public.

He has also given up gambling and has confessed and renounced his 'womanizing' past.

Both Pacquiao and Binay heaped praises on each other, calling each other the next senator and next president when they took to the ornate stage, accentuated by a red carpet and Greek-inspired columns fashioned out of Styrofoam.



MANILA — Tourists visiting the Philippines for the first 10 months of this year generated P186.89 billion in visitor receipts, an 8.24 percent increase from the P172.66 billion acquired in the same period last year, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).


DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said that the target visitor for receipts by the end of this year is approximately P270 billion (US$6-6.5 billion).


“People now really have to start looking at a different perspective,” Bengzon said referring to how tourism performance indicators did not rely on tourist arrivals or headcount alone but also on receipts and job generation.


“The focus is not so much in headcount,” he added, noting that it was more important to sustain the tourism brand.


In October, receipts amounted to P18.13 billion which is 21.52 percent higher than the P14.92 billion earnings recorded in the previous year’s receipts.


From the July to October, receipts acquired double-digit gain, with September posting the highest growth. January recorded the biggest receipts of P22.48 billion.


In October alone, the average daily expenditure for foreign tourists was estimated at P5,200.30 while average length of stay for the same month registered at 9.66 nights.

DOT also said that average per capita expenditure of visitors for the month in review was P50,234.92.


The top visitor generating market is still South Korea with P4.57 billion, followed by US with P3.99 billion and Canada with P1.05 billion. Canada overtook Japan, which was third receipt generator the month before.


Rounding up the top five visitor generating markets are Japan, now fourth receipt generator with P0.97 billion, followed by Australia with P0.95 billion.


Among the top 12 markets of the country, visitors from Canada registered the highest per capita expenditure for the month of October with P94,792.31 while visitors from Indonesia recorded the second biggest per capita spending of P79,434.77.


Other top markets with high per capita spending include India with P73,123.55, Germany with P69,528.29 and the United States with P67,474.47.


Bengzon said that the increase in visitor receipts is driven by the successful launch of its campaign Visit the Philippines Year 2015 (VPY 2015), which acquired 4.39-million foreign visitors for the first ten months of this year.


This data, the department said, higher by 11.13 percent than the 3.95-million visitors recorded in the same period in 2014 with top markets South Korea, USA, Japan, China, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, UK and Canada.


Meanwhile, DOT said that it is still eyeing between 5.2 to 5.3 million tourists by yearend.


The DOT is inching toward its target of acquiring 5.2-million tourist arrivals by yearend after it welcomed its five-millionth visitoron Monday.


DOT Assistant Secretary Alan Canizal said that the next welcome rites will be done when the Philippines hits its six-millionth visitor next year. DOT earlier said that it is eyeing 10-million visitors by the end of 2016.


Canizal expressed confidence that the tourist arrival target for this year will be met with the country already acquiring around 4.39-million visitors from January to October 2015.

This figure, the department said, is higher by 11.13 percent than the 3.95-million visitors recorded in the same period in 2014.


DOT said that Korea is still the top foreign market with 1,099,192 visitors, a 14.70 percent growth compared to 958,289 tourists acquired for the same months in 2014.


The United States came in second, with 636,658 visitors, a 7.51 percent increase versus the 592,204 arrivals for the same period last year.


The third top market was Japan with 417,147 visitors, a 9.02 percent growth from the 382,633 acquired in the same period in 2014.


A rundown of the top 10 visitor markets includes China (415,868 visitors); Australia (188,971 visitors); Singapore (150,405 visitors); Taiwan (150,531 visitors); Malaysia (129,120 visitors); United Kingdom (123,414 visitors), and Canada (120,903 visitors).


Canizal also revealed that he looks forward to Japanese visitors hitting the 500,000-mark between 2016 and 2017.


“By 2016, we might cross the 500,000 (Japanese) visitors. If we get a lot of Japanese tourists by December, we can meet this target,” he pointed out.


DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. earlier said that the upcoming state visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko is also expected to boost tourism numbers coming from Japanese tourists.


“The Majesties last visited the Philippines in 1962 when they were then Crown Prince and Princess. This is the first time they will visit the country as Emperor and Empress," Jimenez said. 

(Photo from ABS-CBN)


After several months of separation with husband Cesar Montano, beautiful actress Sunshine Cruz now wants out in their marriage.

This as Sunshine reportedly has filed for annulment of her marriage to the award-winning actor and director.

Showbiz authority and columnist Ethel Ramos wrote in her column that Sunshine also asked the court to grant her full custody of their three daughters. 

She will, however, provide Cesar visitation rights, provided, of course, that he seeks permission from her beforehand, Ethel Ramos wrote.

Cesar is currently busy promoting his entry in the Metro Manila Film Festival, “Nilalang” where he stars with Japanese actress Maria Ozawa.

Sunshine and Cesar headed to Splitsville after the actor was reported to have stayed in a hotel in Manila with a young actress while filming a movie.

Cesar consistently denied Sunshine's allegations but the actress would not believe him.

Sunshine asserted that she was fed up with her womanizing husband.

Also, it was gathered that Cesar had failed to give financial support to her and their three daughters at their agreed amount.

Meanwhile, it looks like great things are in store for Cesar’s son with actress Teresa Loyzaga, Diego Loyzaga, in showbiz this coming New Year.

Ethel Ramos reported that a major project is reportedly being prepared for Diego. It was not ascertained though if the project is a movie or tv series.

“At heto pa,” the source continued, “baka matupad na ang pangarap niyang makatrabaho si Sofia Andres.”

Sofia is another promising talent of ABS CBN. She was last seen in the top series, “Forevermore.”

Though busy with the series, “Pangako Sa ‘Yo,” Diego hosts a weekly segment on MYX (The Music Channel).

Cesar’s son is articulate both in English and Tagalog, according to Ethel Ramos.

(Photo from Business World)


QUEZON CITY/LOS ANGELES (via PhilAmPress/MTVi) — Presidential aspirant Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares is still in the presidential race despite the back-to-back decisions of two divisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her which the Comelec en banc affirmed.


There is no official ruling by the Comelec en banc as of press time but sources at the Comelec have indicated that the poll body en banc issued a ruling on appeal Tuesday that effectively voids the candidacy of Senator and presidential aspirant Grace Poe in next year's national election.


This as an independent survey group, Laylo Research, reported that Poe has maintained her top position among presidentiables. She is followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodolfo Duterte and Manuel Roxas II.


The source said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista indicated that the majority of the en banc voted in favor of Poe's disqualification.


Disturbed by the premature leaking of the supposed decision junking her twin motions for reconsideration on the disqualification case, the camp of Senator Poe asked the Comelec to investigate the matter.


“This is highly irregular and we believe that the Comelec should look into this seriously,” Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, spokesman of Poe, said in a statement issued in response to the supposed leak.


 Gatchalian said that “if reports are to be believed the timing of the release of the supposed decision is also suspect.”


“Why release the decision in haste when the holiday breaks are upon us. Is it meant to disadvantage Sen. Poe's legal response?” Gatchalian asked.


Gatchalian said they have yet to receive a copy of the decision, and they will exhaust all legal remedies by filing a petition before the Supreme Court.


“We will appeal to the wisdom of the SC. We know that our arguments are based on laws. Sen. Poe is a natural born Filipino and has met the residency requirement,” Gatchalian stated.


Gatchalian expressed confidence that in the end, the Justices of the SC will see the merits of their position.

Filipino American leaders assailed what they said as bias decision of the Comelec.

 "We denounce under unequivocal terms the Comelec en banc decision on leading presidential candidate Grace Poe as tantamount to criminal abuse of discretion and a clear case of criminal discrimination against innocent and powerless citizens of society." they said in a statement released to the Fil-Am press.

The Grace Poe for President Movement-USA led by Jun Caringal said with the Comelec enbanc decision, there is a clear and blatant disregard of evidence, law, jurisprudence, precepts, principles on the matter favorable to Senator Grace's cause.

Caringal told the Fil-Am press that the disqualification cases filed against Grace Poe affects FilAms particularly those voting as dual citizens and registered voters whose voices will be heard and exercise their right to choose the best candidates.

He told the media that the "politics of exclusion being employed by the Comelec" will have a bearing on Fil Ams who have the same predicament as Grace Poe or have the passion to serve our motherland and come back to enter the polical process there as a candidate in the future.

"Imagine, we will be subjected to the same ordeal and expect the same difficulties as Grace Poe is facing now," said Caringal.

As stated by Grace Poe that she will elevate her case to the Supreme Court, the GPPM–USA  decided to field a legal team of experienced Fil-Am lawyers led by Atty Mosqueda to bolster Sen. Grace Poe’s legal battle up to the Supreme Court following the unfavorable decision by the COMELEC enbanc disqualififying Sen. Grace Poe in the presidential race. 

Caringal said that to show their strong resolve to support Poe's presidential bid, his group has already identified 15 major US cities and to be activated with FilAm leaders/coordinators in USA and Canada.


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