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Philippines Today

By JO ERLINDA MAUFIT

 

(Photo from newsfeed.ph)

 

Is actor, singer, composer, host and businessman Willie Revillame running for mayor of Quezon City?

 

Manila media are full of reports on speculations that the popular GMA network “Wowowin” show host is entering politics next year following a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte last May and lately on August 1, with the President's popular daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who has formed a political party which is a breakaway from the administration party PDP-Laban.

 

Revillame, 57, whose real name is Wilfredo Buendia Revillame, first met and had a long talk with President Duterte during the wake of senator Edgardo Angara. The meeting fueled rumors that the actor and comedian could be consulting the President on his possible political plans,

 

Last week, Revillame met with the popular Mayor Duterte at the executive lounge of Quezon City Hall, bolstering speculations of a political plan to run in Quezon City where he is a resident and a voter.

 

A Facebook post by Revillame’s executive producer Adrian Gret showed that the “Wowowin” host Willie Revillame appeared to be happy meeting the Davao mayor and presidential daughter.

 

Three clues after the meeting were elicited by the Facebook post, according to media reports.

 

One clue indicated that after the photo session, the scene transitions to the Philippine flag, and the words “Pag-ibig, pagmamahal, pagmamalasakit sa bawat Pilipino” (Love and compassion for every Filipino) were seen in the post.

 

Greta also described his video on the Willie-Sara meeting: “Duterte. Revillame.”

 

A third clue could be found in a comment left by composer and Revillame’s friend Vehnee Saturno: “Tuloy na tuloy na!” (It’s really happening!), local media reported.


Revillame, however, has remained mum on the speculations that he would be entering politics in 2019. The wait, however, will be short as filing of certificates of candidacy starts this October.

 

There are speculations also, however, that Revillame may not be running in the May 2019 elections after all. One comment from an entertainment website, for one, stated, “nasa contract nya sa GMA not to get involve in politics diba? hmmmm … mawawala na kaya yun show nya ulit?”

 

There was also speculation that the Sara-Willie meeting was probably a discussion only about the show of Willie to be held in Davao City.

 

To recall, photos the “Wowowin” host with the President Rodrigo Duterte has gone viral online during a serious conversation at the wake of Senator Edgardo Angara at the Heritage Park last May of this year.

 

Media in Manila have also reported on rumors that political leaders were actually convincing Revillame to run as Quezon City Mayor.

 

Among those convincing the actor, singer and host to run are veteran Quezon City politicians, namely, Representatives Winnie Castelo and Bingbong Crisologo of Quezon City, Rep. Ace Barbers of Surigao, and former Cabinet Secretary Mike Defensor who was also a former congressman of Quezon City.

 

Since Revillame has not committed to running for mayor, Congressman Crisologo has declared he would run for mayor against incumbent Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, daughter of former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte who is serving his third and final term as Quezon City’s fourth district representative and had served as mayor of Quezon City.

 

The younger Belmonte has earlier joined Mayor Sara Duterte’s group and Revillame’s entry to the race could become a headache for the Davao City mayor if speculations are true that the popular host would really run for mayor of Quezon City, although there are also speculations that Revillame would run for senator.

 

Prior to the much-publicized meeting of Revillame with Mayor Sara Duterte, there were media hypes about the popular television host, adding fuel to speculations that he has political plans.

 

 One such media publicity about Revillame’s resort-like mansion at the Ayala Heights, a posh subdivision in Quezon City, which gives readers and viewers a glimpse about the actor’s private life.

 

Another report showed off Revillame’s achievement as one of the top three richest celebrities in the country, after fighting Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao and megastar Sharon Cuneta Pangilinan.

 

Joe Saballa, reporting for KAMI, stated that Revillame has declared his net worth at P600 million.

 

Another report from Top 10 World indicated that the estimated net worth of Willie including the first two quarters of 2018 is at $25 million or P1.3 billion.

 

The Philippine Entertainment Portal (pep.ph) also added fuel to speculations of Revillame’s run with a feature article opening: “With the possibility of Willie Revillame running for mayor in Quezon City, here's to give you a glimpse of his private life in his sprawling home in Ayala Heights.”

 

The Pep report stated that Revilame bought the Ayala Heights property from Gabby Lopez, his former boss in ABS-CBN, for P80 million.

 

The house was built in the 1990s and designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin.

 

According to the report, Willie wanted it to look like a resort, so he spent an additional P65 million for its renovation.

 

When the improvement was completed, the actor called this P145-million-peso house his "legacy."

 

The house stands on a 2,300 square-meter lot. It features an infinity pool, a Jacuzzi, a garden, a gym with sauna, a koi pond, and a guest house which, according to him, looks like a first-class hotel.

 

Pep also reporte that Revillame commissioned Ponce Veridiano, the landscape artist who did the Greenbelt gardens, to turn his lawn into a relaxing oasis.

 

The formal dining area features an eight-seater narra table, Maxalto chairs from B&B Italia, and the 2097 Chandelier, which was designed by Gino Sarfatti for Flos, a well-known lighting brand.

 

The cooking area is equipped with appliances from trusted brand Thermador.

 

His bedroom has a king-size bed and an 85-inch flat TV.

 

The main house has a total floor area of 700 square meters, according to the Pep.ph report.Revillame has also another mansion in Tagaytay City and owns the WilTower with former Senator Manny Villar.

 

Willie started as a drummer of Randy Santiago before he was tapped to do sideline hosting. He is now 57 years old and is remaining active on his business and hosting careers.

Series tackles federal health care

Published in Upside

 

BEGINNING this week, the federal health insurance system headlines a series of presentations at Doelger Senior Center in Daly City.

 

Now more than ever, Medicare, the 53-year-old benefit for U.S. workers and people with disability, has riveted the attention not just of those imminently eligible but the nation at large. 

 

While politicians and pundits debate the future of the system launched by Pres. Lyndon Johnson in 1965, Americans get older and closer to the age when health care dictates the quality and length of life. 

 

Every day, 10,000 people in this country turn 65, the age people are generally eligible for Medicare.  Or about to retire long after celebrating their 65th birthday.  Or they may be way under the age of 65 and have been disabled for 2 years.  If they do not know when and how to enroll, they would be missing out on a valuable gift or incur late penalties.  

 

For them, their families or their representatives, the private nonprofit Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program or HICAP (pronounced high-cap) exists.

 

Following is the schedule of free and unbiased presentations at Doelger Center at 101 Lake Merced Blvd. in the Westlake area for everyone who are on or will be or is helping someone on Medicare:

 

* HICAP HELPS UNDERSTAND MEDICARE

No-cost nationwide counseling, advocacy

10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018

 

* GOT YOUR NEW MEDICARE CARD?

Protect yourself from scams

11 a.m. - 12 noon, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018

Sponsored by the Office of SMC Supervisor David Canepa with welcome remarks from the Supervisor

 

* MEDICARE & RETIREE PLANS 

Know how health care plans coordinate

10 a.m. - 12 noon, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018

 

*MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Part C & Part D changes in 2019

10 a.m. - 12 noon, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018

 

HICAP guides Medicare beneficiaries in making choices for health care coverage.  It is not a government agency nor is it affiliated with the insurance industry.  Sponsored by the state through federal funds, the program is supported by state-registered volunteers at offices in every county in the U.S.  Counselors provide free, accurate, unbiased and confidential information.  They do not represent or endorse private firms or professionals nor do they sell or recommend health or insurance plans or medical equipment.

 

HICAP is the only private nonprofit authorized to discuss Medicare by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

In San Mateo County, HICAP is administered by Self-Help for the Elderly, a nonprofit multiservice agency headquartered in San Francisco.  Under the direction of program manager Christina Dimas-Kahn, HICAP SM provides the following services, always free and objective:

 

-          One-on-one counseling by appointment in 24 sites in accessible locations from Daly City and Pacifica in the North County to South San Francisco, Foster City, San Mateo and Belmont in Central County, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Part and Palo Alto in South County and Half Moon Bay down the coast;

-          Information & Assistance by telephone;

-          Long-term care insurance counseling;

-          Referrals to coordinating local and state agencies;

-          Community Education through presentations before groups and participation in health, private and public fairs, and

-          Training for counselor registration with the California Department of Aging.

 

The program provides assistance and counseling in Tagalog, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese, German and Arabic.

 

Medicare recipients or their loved ones are encouraged to call HICAP at 650-627-9350 for more information or to schedule a free appointment or presentation.

 

(PNews Editor at Large Cherie M. Querol Moreno coordinates community outreach for HICAP San Mateo.)

 

Tougher war vs drugs, irresponsible mining vowed

Published in Latest News

QUEZON CITY – “The war against illegal drugs is far from over.”

 

 

President Rodrigo R. Duterte stressed this in his third and shortest State of the Nation Address (SONA) as he vowed that his administration's drug war will be “as relentless and chilling” as it was the day it began.

 

“Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over. Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos, today, they run [into] billions in peso value,” Duterte said in his opening statements before the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives at the Batasan Pambansa Complex.

 

Duterte said he could only “shudder” at the harm that illegal drugs have caused Filipinos throughout the country, noting that this was the very reason why the drug war will not be set aside. “Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began,” he stressed.

 

He said drug dealers know the consequences of their criminal acts but still resisted arrest. At the same time, he also hit human rights advocates and church leaders for criticizing his drug war.

 

Despite protests against the drug war, Duterte said it could not dissuade him from continuing his fight against shabu, cocaine, cannabis, heroine, and other illegal drugs.

 

“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of [your] demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong.

 

“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term,” Duterte said.

 

The President's call came as a Pulse Asia survey showed almost seven out of 10 Filipinos believe that the eradication of illegal drugs is the most important accomplishment of the Duterte administration in the first two years of his term.

 

The survey, which was conducted from 15 to 21 June, revealed at least 69 percent of the 1,800 respondents considering the President’s anti-drug campaign as the most important achievement of the administration, while fighting criminality came in as second with 50 percent.

 

Duterte also assured Filipinos the government would intensify its campaign against irresponsible mining nationwide to further protect the environment, so future generations can benefit from the country's natural wealth.

 

The President warned about implementing stricter environmental protection policies, including prohibiting open-pit mining.

 

Duterte, at the same time, called on local government units (LGUs) nationwide to prevent environmental degradation in their areas like what happened to top tourist destination Boracay Island in Aklan province.

 

"I urge LGUs to pro-actively enforce our laws and not wait for us to swoop down on your areas just to do your duty and work," the President said. 

 

He raised the challenge among the LGUs, citing that the environmental degradation in Boracay reflects the government's negligence in law enforcement in the locality.

 

The environment provides water, food, and other necessities people need to survive, so enforcing laws protecting this is essential, he stressed.

 

"Environmental protection and ensuring needs of the people can't be over-emphasized," he said.

 

The government has closed down Boracay Island for six months beginning April 26 this year to hasten the cleanup and rehabilitation work in the world-famous Philippine beach resort.

 

Miners, he stressed, must radically improve the way they manage their operations and rehabilitate the areas where they mine.

 

"To the mining industry, I say this again and maybe for the last time: Do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources," he warned.

 

The President said the revenue that mining brings the government doesn't justify the environmental destruction from irresponsible mineral extraction.


"Don't just give me taxes. I can get these from other sources," he said, referring to the miners. "But give me what needs to be given to my countrymen."

 

All Filipinos must benefit from the country's minerals, he noted.

 

Duterte said irresponsible mining is destroying even the country's aquatic resources, compromising the availability of water and food.

 

"You can no longer fish in rivers, as these are contaminated," he noted, citing one impact of mine waste's flow into the water bodies.

 

Also in his SONA, Duterte renewed his vow to end corruption within government describing it as “a leech that it bleeds the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects.”

 

The President acknowledged that he dismissed several government officials including friends and political supporters, adding that although he valued friendships, “it has its limits.”

 

Meanwhile, he urged officials to cut red-tape within their agencies and make government services “truly customer friendly.”

 

“Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less,” he added.

NEW SLAY PLOT ON DUTERTE UNCOVERED

Published in Headline

Attempt on President foiled in Zamboanga, triggers stricter security measures in events

By ALFRED GABOT and FRANCO REGALA

 

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Duterte was targeted for assassination during his trip to Zamboanga Sibugay last week and the ISIS-Abu Sayyaf rebels were being pinpointed in initial investigations to be behind the new attempt on the President.

 

Mr. Duterte himself actually mentioned the attempt on his life but only in passing during his speech before residents of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay during the celebration of the town’s 69th founding anniversary.

 

The threat did not deter Duterte from proceeding later to far-away Sulu province and also in Zamboanga City.

 

“I said if somebody would shoot then let him shoot,” Duterte said in his Visayan speech but he did not give details.

 

In Jolo, Sulu, Duterte awarded medals to 12 soldiers for gallantry in action against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in separate ceremonies in Sulu province.

 

Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the awarding was held on Thursday and Friday when the President visited Zamboanga city and the province of Sulu.

 

 Duterte headed to Westmincom headquarters on Thursday night after his visit to the fire victims in Barangay Labuan, Zamboanga City, and proceeded to the Joint Task Force Sulu headquarters in Jolo, Sulu the following day.

 

Dela Vega said the 12 soldiers, who were wounded in separate clashes against the ASG bandits in Sulu, received the Order of Lapu-Lapu level of Kampilan Medal.

 

During his visits, Duterte reiterated his intention to bring peace to the war-ravaged region and rallied the locals’ support for the newly signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

 

“Iyong BBL tapos na. Bigyan lang natin ng panahon. Huwag tayong mag-giyera,” the President said.

 

“Huwag natin pasukan ‘yan. Hindi panahon natin ‘yan. Hindi ‘yung away na pwede tayong makipagsapalaran na ubusan. Mag-usap na lang. Iyong Abu Sayyaf, mag-usap na lang tayo,” he added.

 

To boost economic activity in the region, the Chief Executive also reiterated the idea of restarting barter trade in the region.

 

He stressed that improving the local economy could enhance regional peace and security.

 

“Kaya kung ako ang maglagay ng barter trade, sundin lang ninyo kung ano ‘yung patakaran ng gobyerno, wala na kayong problema kailanman. Ganun lang ‘yan eh,” he said.

 

“Noong pre-Spanish time, barter trade was going on. During the Spanish time, American, hanggang nasarahan ni Marcos. Gusto kong buksan. Gusto ko kayong bigyan ng opportunity na mabuhay,” he added.

 

In related developments:

1.       Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo urged the public to immediately report to police and military authorities any suspicious-looking person in their area.

 

"We call on our people to be vigilant and continue their active participation with security forces in reporting their observations," Arevalo said in the wake of the blast in Lamitan City, Basilan that killed 11 people and wounded seven others. Arevalo said authorities will not stop tracking down and neutralizing terrorists headed by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Furuji Indama, who is believed to have been involved in the attack.

 

2.       The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed to go after those behind the bombing of a Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in Lamitan City, Basilan.

 

"We will mobilize all available resources at our disposal to bring the authors of this crime before the bar of justice.We urge the peace-loving people of Basilan not to be cowed by this single act of heinous terror but to keep calm but vigilant against any attempt to sow violence and disrupt our normal lives," PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said in a statement. "We join the Filipino nation in strongly condemning this bastardly act of taking human lives for whatever motive its perpetrators may have," the PNP added.

 

 Mr. Duterte’s revelation did not receive much attention, however, since it was made when he was talking about a plan to arm local officials amid the string of killings early this month.

 

Those killed in the first week of the month were Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City, Batangas, who was killed by a sniper’s bullet; Nueva Ecija’s General Tinio mayor Ferdinand Bote and Trece Martires Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan.

 

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said the discovery of the slay attempt may have prompted security officials to be stricter in protecting the president as pens, pencils, bottled waters and similar gadgets were banned in public events like that in Ipil town and other protective measures were implemented.

 

 “If there is a repeat of violence in this area I will arm you,” Duterte said while recalling the attack on Ipil by Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups in April 1995.

 

Go said the President himself told him about the plot to kill him while they were on their way to Zamboanga Sibugay province.

 

Despite the threat, Go said the President insisted on proceeding to the province where the government provided assistance to 400 families who lost their homes in a fire in Barangay Labuan last 22 July.

 

“You know our President; he’s not afraid to die,” Go said.

 

“While we were in the helicopter, he told me: ‘Let them try’…he said he is ready. You know when the President took on his job he is ready to die,” Go added.

 

In July last year, suspected New People’s Army rebels ambushed a convoy of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) along the boundary of Davao City and Arakan, Cotabato.

 

Five PSG members were wounded during the ambush while a militiaman was killed by the communist rebels while withdrawing from the scene.

 

Go said it was not the first time the President received a death threat. He added both he and the President regularly receive information about threats practically wherever they go.

 

He said he and the President are unfazed by such threats and will continue to serve the people.

 

As proof the President did not mind the supposed threat, Go said he and Mr. Duterte proceeded to Jolo, Sulu to deliver government assistance to 30,000 individuals rendered homeless by a massive fire.

 

“The President always says ‘if it’s my time to go, it’s my time.’ So, we are not afraid to do our job,” Go said.

 

Meanwhile, Go thanked his supporters for heeding his appeal to use funds intended for posters or banners urging him to run for the Senate to instead help victims of calamities such as fire, flood and typhoon.

 

“I thank all my supporters. And I hope you will continue giving assistance to the victims,” Go said.

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