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Jessy Mendiola ‘confirms’ split with JM de Guzman

Published in Entertainment

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Actress Jessy Mendiola and actor JM de Guzman have gone separate ways only a few months after their reconciliation.

The split has not been officially confirmed by either of the ABS-CBN stars but showbiz authority and columnist Mario Bautista, citing very reliable sources, believes that the two have indeed broken up or are headed to Splitsville. 

In a column, Mario Bautista recounted how Jessy was heavily guarded by her handlers in the launch of her new soap, "You're My Home" who made sure no personal questions were asked during the interview with her.

As such, writers who came to the presscon never got to ask her personally about what really happened to her at that controversial flight to London where Enrique Gil allegedly harassed her, he wrote.

The reporters also never got to ask her as to what is the real score between her and JM de Guzman, who is said to have gone backsliding to some of his old vices


The columnist said one can draw your own conclusions from some of Jessy's own statements.


When asked if love is now missing in her life, Mario Bautista wrote this is what she said: “Ang pag-ibig, hindi naman nawawala, laging present ang pag-ibig. Andyan nga lang ‘yon sa paligid, nasa tabi-tabi lang. Marami namang uri ng pag-ibig, like love for family."


The columnist said Jessy's statement was a confirmation of what someone very reliable said: That she has really called it quits with JM after they reconciled some months ago when he revived his career after coming out of rehab. 

The columnist said he was inclined to believe the source because it is so easy to say that her love for JM is still there, but she chose to cite her love for her family, which is also a tie up with "You're My Home," an ABS-CBN series about a family. Jessy plays the daughter of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta in the series which also stars JC de Vera, Sam Concepcion and Paul Salas. 

Another showbiz authority and columnist, Ethel Ramos, meanwhile, reported that it looks like JM de Guzman, a son of a journalist, will really be removed from the high-rating primetime series of ABS-CBN, “All of Me.”


JM will be replaced by Albert Martinez, who had died in the series, but was resurrected by a supernatural being. The role of the younger Manuel was given to JM.

“Actually,” said an informer, “ayaw na ni Albert na bumalik sa series, since he is now doing another ABS-CBN series, ‘Ang Probinsyano,’ topbilled by Coco Martin, wrote Ethel Ramos. 

“Kaya lang, nanghinayang siya sa ‘All of Me.’ He also considered the feelings of his former co-stars,” the informer added.
“Nanghihinayang din siya kay JM, who, we all know, was given another chance after his confinement at a rehab center due to drug addiction,” the informer was quoted by the columnist as saying.

JM earlier was replaced by Jericho Rosales in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry, “Walang Forever,” which would have paired him for the first time with Jennylyn Mercado.


What’s causing Obama’s sleepless nights?

Published in Perry Scope
With the conclusion of a much-ballyhooed summit meeting between the leaders of the two largest economic superpowers in the 21st century, one would expect that peace would reign in the vast Asia-Pacific region.  But this is farthest from the truth because the summit didn’t really accomplish anything but allow U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to pretend that all is sweet and sassy between them.   But it soon became apparent that America and China are oceans apart in geopolitical terms just like the way they’re oceans apart in geological terms.  
But pretension or not, the fact of the matter is that the South China Sea, which is one of the busiest – if not the busiest – maritime routes in the world, has a sprinkling of hundreds of tiny islands, reefs, and shoals that are claimed by six littoral countries in the region.   Mostly concentrated in the Spratly Archipelago, these tiny specks of outcroppings are claimed wholly or partly by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. 
The biggest and most aggressive claimant is China who pegs her claim on the “nine-dash line,” a tongue-shaped arbitrary line that runs from east of Taiwan through the Luzon Strait and along the littoral coasts of the Philippines, Borneo, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  The area that the nine-dash line encroached represents roughly 85% of the entire South China Sea (SCS), through which $5 trillion in maritime trade pass every year by way of the Strait of Malacca. 
Economic powerhouse
A large number of the goods – including oil -- that passes through are bound for China and Japan, respectively the second and third largest economies of the world.  And together with the United States, whose westernmost territories – Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Asia-Pacific region is undoubtedly the world’s “economic powerhouse.”  
Ideally, if the U.S., China, and Japan could co-exist economically, politically, and militarily, a pacific Asia-Pacific region would serve the best interest of every nation on Earth.  Peace can then be achieved.  But because of the disputed tiny islands, reef, and shoals in the SCS, the world has never been closer to World War III than it is today.  Indeed, what is happening now in the SCS, Middle East, and East Europe has all the recipes of a nuclear war among the great powers: the U.S. against Russia, China, and Iran. 
Artificial islands

It all began two years ago when China began building artificial islands by dredging sand and rocks from the bottom of the sea and dumping them on reefs and shoals in the Spratly Archipelago, seven of which have been reclaimed to date.  And on these artificial islands, China is erecting infrastructure and buildings including runways for military aircraft, deep-water harbors to accommodate large warships, garrisons for troops, and defensive fortifications.   
The U.S. did not do anything to stop or warn China about the risks of militarizing the SCS.  And the Obama administration’s silence on the matter was interpreted by Beijing that the U.S. was sticking to her position of neutrality on the territorial disputes in the SCS.  The Chinese also interpreted Uncle Sam’s silence as a “go signal” to China’s land reclamation projects in the Spratlys. 
Recently, America’s military top brass managed to convinced the White House to send American warships to within 12 miles of the artificial islands.   Although the White House agreed to notify the Chinese that American warships will be sent to the Spratlys, actual deployment has yet to occur, an indication that Obama might still be trying one more time to convince China to abandon the reclamation projects, diplomatically.   China’s response was direct to the point: China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and warned the U.S. that she would not allow any foreign intrusion into Chinese waters.  

Evidently, Xi called Obama’s bluff, which raises the question: Would Obama stay in the game or fold?  As any Poker player can tell:  A strong hand could lose to a weak hand if the player doesn’t have what it takes – guts -- to win.  As they say, “No guts, no glory.”  Surmise it to say, Obama would be relieved if the game ended in a draw.  But with all the reclaimed islands almost complete, it cannot end in a draw.  Obama knows that Xi’s hand is weaker than his and Xi knows it, too.   Instead, Xi declared that China would go to war to protect her “indisputable sovereignty” over the SCS.   
Freedom of navigation
Recently, the Obama administration came out with a strategy.  It’s called “freedom of navigation” (FON), which is not really a novel idea because it has been around for more than century when the U.S. became the only maritime superpower on Earth.  Since then, there was no country that could match America’s naval power.  Not China.  Not Russia.  America became the “policeman” of the high seas. 
The U.S. has formidable fleet of 11 aircraft carriers – more than all the other countries put together.  In addition, she has nine helicopter carriers that could also carry a limited number of aircraft.  She has 14 nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), each carrying 24 Trident ballistic missiles.  Each missile has 3-12 nuclear warheads, which can be aimed to hit several targets.  That’s a total of more than 4,000 nuclear warheads that SSBNs can carry.  They are the vanguard of America’s second-strike attack in the event China or Russia launches a first-strike attack against the U.S.  With that kind of nuclear punch, the U.S. can and should be able to enforce “freedom of navigation” and stop the militarization of the SCS.   
But the problem is that Obama is perceived as a “peacenik” who vowed never to send “boots on the ground” to trouble spots in Eastern Europe and the Middle East; thus, emboldening U.S.’s enemies to grab territories, knowing that he wouldn’t stop them.   We’ve seen it happen in Georgia, Libya, Crimea, Ukraine, South China Sea, and, recently, Syria.   Who are next on Russia’s hit list?  The Baltic States?
At the annual AUSMIN meeting between American and Australian foreign and defense ministers, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said during a press conference: “Make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea will not be an exception.”  His warning was directed at China over her building of militarized artificial islands in the Spratlys.  When asked about reports that the U.S. had already decided to conduct freedom-of-navigation operations (FONOPs) inside the 12 nautical mile limits, which China claims around the artificial islands, Carter responded: “We will do that in the time and places of our choosing.”  

FONOPs are conducted to test China’s reaction by sailing into or flying over territories that China believes she owns without seeking China’s permission.   The question is: Would the U.S. conduct a FONOP during Obama’s soon-to-be lame duck presidency?  Or would Obama comfort himself by shelving it and let his successor decide whether to conduct FONOPs or not?   
Meanwhile, Exercise Malabar 2015 kicked off last October 14 in the Bay of Bengal.  It involves naval forces from the U.S., India, and Japan.  Part of this year’s Exercise Malabar, which ends on October 19, is to conduct FONOP exercises.  In these exercises, carriers, warships, submarines, and aircraft are rehearsing for possible action in the South China Sea that includes challenging China’s sovereignty over the SCS.   
While it is presumed that Exercise Malabar takes into account a worst-case scenario; that is, China attacks the intruding forces, one wonders what is the battle plan of the joint U.S.-India-Japan forces against the Chinese?  
In the real world, would a FONOP in the South China Sea lead to war?  Or would China sue for peace?  And this is what’s probably causing Obama sleepless nights as manifested by those circles around his eyes.

Let our voices be heard

Published in On Distant Shore
Last Friday, I took time out to register as an overseas voter at the Philippine consulate general in Los Angeles. Now, I can look forward to actually making my choice count for president, vice president and the 12 senators who will run the country for the next six years.
If you bring with you the completed application form and your valid Philippine passport or certification of dual citizenship if you are a dual citizen, it shouldn’t take the whole morning to have your application processed. I am now one of more than 1.3 million overseas Filipino voters from all over the world whose vote can become a game changer in the expected close fight for the presidency and the vice presidency in next year’s election.
In previous national elections, the overseas Filipino vote hardly caused a dent on the election results because of the poor turnout in voter registration and even lighter turnout during the election itself. But this time, with more than 1.3 million voters and counting, the voice of the more than 11 million overseas Filipino will hopefully be heard.
With that number, plus the influence overseas Filipinos wield on their relatives back home, candidates will have to take note of our presence and our importance in the coming presidential and senatorial elections.
Under the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, citizens of the Philippines residing or working abroad who are not disqualified by law and are at least 18 years old are entitled to vote in their respective country of work or residence for the positions of president, vice president and senators.
Only 364,187 registered for the 2004 presidential elections and 233,092 actually cast their votes. The number of registered voters was a mere fraction of the more than 11 million overseas Filipinos and those who actually voted represented a 64-percent turnout. This was actually a good turnout.
In the 2010 presidential elections, the turnout was only 26 percent. In the 2013 mid-term elections, the turnout got even worse. There were 737,759 registered voters abroad, but only 113,209 were able to vote, representing a mere 15.35 percent.
Sen. Franklin Drilon said of the low turnout: “When we crafted the absentee voting law, we wanted to empower the overseas Filipino workers in the hope that at least they can influence the result of the election by electing qualified leaders. However, the turnout is getting more and more disappointing.”
He noted that a P105.038-million budget was allocated for the Comelec while the DFA received P43.41 million for the OAV for the 2013 elections. “With only 113,209 overseas Filipinos voting, the cost of each absentee vote is now P1,310 per vote. This is outrageous. I wonder how the Comelec and the DFA can justify these numbers,” Drilon said at that time.
Now it would seem Drilon wouldn’t be complaining much about the voter registration turnout for the 2016 presidential elections. Whether the actual voter turnout would surpass the 26-percent turnout in 2010 remains a big question.
It is to the credit of the personnel of the Philippine embassies and consulates abroad that the number of registered voters has leaped to 1,301,598 as of last Friday, Oct. 16, with still almost two weeks before the deadline for registration on Oct. 31.
“Since overseas Filipinos are considered to be their family’s bread winners, it is not a stretch to surmise that each overseas Filipino can influence the vote of at least three family members. Thus, the 1.3 million active registered overseas voters are roughly equivalent to 5.2 million votes. This is a definite game changer for Philippine politics,” Office of Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, who is concurrently Chairman of DFA-OVS, said.
Broken down by region, the Middle East and Africa have almost 550,000 active registered overseas voters, about 250,000 from the Americas, Europe about 150,000 and 320,000 from Asia and the Pacific. Registered seafarers number about 30,000.
With the coming presidential, vice presidential and senatorial elections expected to be a tight race, the 1.3 million overseas votes – not counting the number of votes overseas Filipinos can influence – could spell the difference between victory and defeat for these national candidates. Even from afar, overseas Filipinos can be a major factor in the course that the country will pursue in the next six years.
In the 1992 presidential elections, for example, Fidel Ramos won by only 874,348 votes over Miriam Defensor Santiago in a seven-way fight among major candidates. In 2004, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won by 1.12 million votes over Fernando Poe Jr. in a fraud-marred election highlighted by the “Hello Garci” scandal. Arroyo’s running mate for vice president, Noli de Castro, bested Loren Legarda by only 881,744 votes.
In the 2010 elections, although Benigno Aquino III beat Joseph Estrada by 5.7 million votes, Estrada’s running mate Jejomar Binay won over Manuel Roxas III by only 727,084 votes.
Overseas Filipinos, particularly those in the United States and other developed nations, have seen how democracy works in their adopted countries and have a more objective view of what is happening and what is good for the homeland. It is hoped that the more than 1.3 million overseas Filipino voters would yield more intelligent votes.
Leaders of overseas Filipinos all over the world fought a long and hard battle to gain voting rights for those who cannot go back to the Philippines to vote. There have been four elections since then, and we still have to show that it was worth the struggle and the expense on the part of the government to give us back the right to help determine the destiny of our beloved country.
For those who qualify, it is not just a right but also a duty to register and vote, both as an absentee voter in our homeland and also in our respective adopted country.

BAGUIO CITY (PHLTODAYUSA)  October 22, 2015  Typhoon Lando swept Northern Luzon and Central Luzon with strong winds and heavy rains during the past few days, causing widespread floods and landslides and disrupting power, communications and air, land and sea transportation resulting to the death of at least 58 people and displacing some 300,000 people.



Damage to property, infrastructures and agricultural crops was initially placed at  almost P7 billion, with rice farms, vegetables, fisheries and livestock losses estimated at P6.3 billion alone.


Sixteen of the 58 killed were in Pangasinan but the Cordillera region that includes Baguio City, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao and Abra registered the highest number of fatalities of 20 as of Wednesday, October 21..Benguet alone had 13 dead, mostly due to landslides. There were also deaths in Western Visayas and Metro Manila due to the onslaught of typhoon Lando.


Due to high number of casualties, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Sarmiento ordered PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez to relieve Senior Supt. David Lacdan as provincial police director in Benguet.


Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. and Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda personally led in rescue efforts and distributed food and relief goods immediately.


The Pangasinan relief and rescue groups were still conducting search and rescue operations for isolated individuals and families in 24 other barangays of Bugallon, Aguilar, Labrador, Infanta, Mabini and Mangatarem affected by flash foods as of Wednesday, but sought help from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) due to the big number of people to be rescued.


Gov. Espino, who directed operations at the PDRRMO tactical operations center, clarified that the flash floods came from accumulated rain waters in the mountains that cascaded and not from the swelling of adjacent rivers.


Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Rep. Leni Robredo were in Infanta, Dasol and Mangatarem on Wednesday to distribute relief goods for the typhoon victims.


Around 87 people were also reported injured while nine persons were still missing, according to official reports of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which listed the official death toll from typhoon “Lando" only at 35 as of Wednesday, October 21.


As of that day, NDRRMC Executive director Alexander Pama said that damages stood at P6.918 billion, the bulk of which of P6.359 billion were in agriculture.


The NDRRMC did not consider in its tally a boat mishap incident in Iloilo that resulted in the death of nine persons due to typhoon Lando.


The agency also reported that 992,707 persons were affected while 103,437 were staying inside the evacuation centers in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, at Central Luzon. 


The cyclone (international name Koppu) made landfall over Aurora province early Sunday and was forecast to remain within the Philippine Area of Responsibility until October 25, Sunday, as it weakened into a low pressure area.


As a result of the damage and widespread floodings, officials declared many areas under state of calamity like Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Isabela, Aurora, Cagayan.


The number of fatalities and those injured may still rise as the typhoon, the second strong howler to hit the country this year, continues to linger over the Ilocos region and pummel other parts of Luzon.


President Aquino, accompanied by some Cabinet members, and Vice President Jejomar Binay fanned out into the different areas, inspected the damage and distributed relief goods and seedlings.


The distribution of relief goods by LP presidential bet Mar Roxas and vice presidential bet Leni Robredo in Baler, Aurora, meanwhile, were made as they allegedly campaigned for votes in the area, an accusation which Malacanang immediately denied.


Malacañang clarified that the relief goods distributed by  Roxas and Robredo to families affected by Typhoon Lando in Baler, Aurora province were not from the government.


Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepositioned goods in Baler and the relief goods brought by Roxas and Robredo were for augmentation.


"These relief goods that are being given by Mar and Leni are augmentation. Ibig pong sabihin may mga prepositioned goods po ang DSWD roon,” Secretary Laciera said..


The Palace official stressed that the Liberal Party's presidential and vice presidential bets went to Baler only to check on the typhoon victims and distribute relief goods.


"Bakit niya lalagyan ng pulitika ang isang bagay na hindi naman dapat lagyan ng pulitika? Nasabi po natin ay tutulungan po ang taumbayan," Lacierda said in reaction to reports that Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa denied receiving relief goods from Roxas and Robredo because the mayor belongs to PDP-Laban.


"Ang mahalaga sa amin ‘yung taumbayan. Ang taumbayan dapat ang makatanggap ng relief goods, at hindi si Mayor Bihasa," he said.


"May litrato pong nilabas ang media bureau po nila ay nakatanggap po ang taumbayan ng Baler ng relief goods. Ang mahalaga kasi rito ang relief goods mapunta sa taumbayan, hindi po doon sa mayor... At saka ang PDP-Laban, hindi ho kalaban, kasama ho sa coalition ang PDP-Laban," he added.


The NDRRMC earlier reported the fatalities and injured were from Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Tarlac,  Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Mt. Province, Benguet, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Zambales and Metro Manila. In Quezon City, two people were killed when hit by a tree toppled due to strong winds. In Laguna Lake, a fisherman in Mabitac town drowned due to strong waves.. 


Binay visited flooded towns in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan on Wednesday as his office continued to provide relief and other assistance to families displaced by typhoon Lando.


Binay visited San Simon, Candaba, and Arayat in Pampanga; Cabiao, San Isidro, and Gapan in Nueva Ecija; San Miguel, and San Ildefonso in Bulacan.


He talked with local leaders to know the needs of the affected residents and what assistance his office could give them. Aside from relief goods, local officials requested hybrid rice seedlings from the Vice President to replace damaged crops. 


The Vice President said his office will provide relief goods and seedlings.


So far, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has delivered 9,500 packs of relief goods in Nueva Ecija, 5,000 in Isabela, 4,600 in Bulacan, 2,400 in Pampanga, 4,500 in Pangasinan, 3,200 in Tarlac, 3,000 in Quirino, 3,000 in Nueva Vizcaya, and 5,000 in Aurora.


According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Typhoon Lando has claimed 58 lives and inflicted around P6 million-worth of damage to the agriculture sector.                


On Tuesday, Binay visited the towns of Gerona and Pura in Tarlac; and Guimba, Cabanatuan City, Bongabon, and Licab in Nueva Ecija. He is scheduled to go to Isabela, his mother’s home province, on Thursday.


The Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Mangement Council (RDRRMC 3) reported that Benita Farmanilay, 62, of Barangay Asinan, Subic, Zambales died of head injuries after a wall collapsed on her while her husband, Gregorio suffered minor injuries and was brought to hospital.


Sixteen persons were confirmed dead and three others injured when typhoon "Lando" pounded Pangasinan with powerful winds starting early dawn of Saturday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said.


Among the fatalities in Pangasinan were identified as Mauro Nuerong, 75, of Barangay Pampano, Mangatarem, who died when  a santol tree fell and crashed his house; Regina Sabangan, 85, of Bongato, Bayambang, who slipped off the floor inside his house and died on arrival at the Bayambang District Hospital; and one-year old Jan Kerby Capina of Barangay Ilog, Malino, Bolinao, who was pinned down by a mango tree which fell on their house.


Residents of flooded farming villages in those areas were seen on television trapped on their rooftops and animals floated down the swollen rivers.


NDRMMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan added that seven people have been confirmed injured.


She said that as of Tuesday, a total of 60,170 families or 290,797 people were displaced in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, Bicol, National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region.


Of said number, 15,603 families or 70,503 people are staying in 376 evacuation centers in the seven regions while 27,142 families or 132,621 people are outside evacuation centers.


The agency recorded 74 incidents -- 72 incidents of flooding in the provinces of Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Zambales and Pampanga; collapsed wall in Zambales; and toppled trees were monitored in Regions 1, 2, 3 and National Capital Region (NCR).


A total of 36 roads sections and 18 bridges were rendered unpassable due to flooding and landslides in Regions 2, 3, 5 and CAR.


Power interruptions/outages were reported in three cities and 65 municipalities in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 4-B and Cordillera Administrative Region; while province-wide power outages were reported in Pangasinan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Apayao and Kalinga.


As of October 18, power supply has been restored in five cities and 48 municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, Laguna and Benguet.


A total of 5,011 passenger, 61 vessels, 55 motorized bancas, 215 rolling cargoes are stranded due to rough sea condition caused by severe tropical storm Lando.


Total cost of government assistance for the affected families has reached P2,176,345 worth of relief goods provided to affected families in Regions 1,2, 3 and 5.


School classes were suspended in many areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog.

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