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Philippines Today



SUBIC FREEPORT (PHLTODAYUSA)  The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has added another feather to its cap of achievements in the management and administration of the country’s first free port.  


After the agency’s record highs for three consecutive years, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia announced that the Freeport garnered two (2) major awards in the recently concluded survey for the Global Free Zones of the Year 2015 awards: overall winner in Asia and overall winner in the sub-region of South and Southeast Asia.


The Subic Freeport also received commendations in the form of bespoke awards for infrastructure developments and reinvestment.  “Some locations, which were particularly outstanding, were acknowledged with honorable mentions and bespoke awards,” Garcia explained.

According to Garcia, the publication received a total of 76 entries from all over the world, which were individually studied by a panel of judges who then nominated their winning and runner-up locations in each region.


“Emerging as overall winner in Asia, as well as in South and Southeast Asia, is a significant indicator of Subic Freeport’s level of competitiveness among other zones in the region,” Garcia said.


Garcia added that the awards also underscore the Freeport’s attractiveness and potential as an investment site and validates the strategies that the Subic agency has been undertaken to spur the zone toward further growth. 


South and Southeast Asia, is a significant indicator of Subic Freeport’s level of competitiveness among other zones in the region,” Garcia said.


Garcia added that the awards also underscore the Freeport’s attractiveness and potential as an investment site and validates the strategies that the Subic agency has been undertaken to spur the zone toward further growth.


The survey was conducted by the fDi Magazine, an 11-year old bi-monthly publication of The Financial Times, Ltd. of London, to acknowledge the most promising free zones across the world.  Invited to join were free zones, government entities, and investment promotion bodies, which were asked to complete a short survey, detailing their zone’s attractiveness, facilities, and incentives offered to investors.

Survey questions included growth performance measures for 2013 and 2014; what multinational companies have chosen to locate in the zone and why; which tenants have chosen to undertake recent expansion of their presence in the zone; and what initiatives have been implemented to offered in the last 12 months to increase tenant numbers, including any special incentives, programmes, or facilities 
catering specifically to small medium enterprises or start-ups.


Also asked were infrastructure developments or facilities upgrades in the last 12 months, as well as major development plans to facilitate future expansion.


Wrapping up, the SBMA chairman pointed out, “These awards also mean that we’re on the right track and doing the right thing, and exerting our best effort as a team”.


After hitting record highs in financial performance for three consecutive years, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has reported another 104-percent hike in net income for the first half of the year.


SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said unaudited figures from the agency’s Finance group placed the agency’s January-to-June net income at P 687 million, showing a significant improvement from P 337 million for the same period last year.


“Revenues for the first semester were pretty good as well,” Garcia said, referring to a 15 percent revenue increase from last year’s level.


Sharing the agency’s operating revenue pie were port services and regulatory fees, which increased by 29 percent and 24 percent, respectively over the same period last year.


Also contributing substantially to the agency’s financial status, Garcia said, were a 33 percent buildup in current assets, including a 38 percent increase in cash assets, and a 56 percent rise in miscellaneous assets such as prepaid expenses, guaranty deposits, mobilization funds given in advance to contractors, and others.


Tight control was also implemented as far as operating expenses were concerned.


Meanwhile, SBMA’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 18 percent.


”This means that the agency is not only pursuing effective strategic initiatives, but is implementing them efficiently as well," Garcia added.


The SBMA top executive also noted that the first semester saw a much improved business climate in the Freeport, which led to better bottom lines for the Subic agency and its locators, as well as the start-up operations of many new ones and a bigger workforce that would soon breach the 100,000-mark.


With this profit increase, Garcia said the SBMA was looking forward to a more positive outcome to further strengthen and sustain the agency’s financial turnaround over the past three years record performances.


“We need to provide funds for our strategic plans, including the implementation of the long-overdue salary increases for SBMA employees and the procurement of badly needed equipment for security, maintenance and infrastructure development work,” he added.

MANILA  The Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against controversial television host, actor, singer and composer Willie Revillame in connection with the child abuse and exploitation case filed against him.


In an 11-page decision, the CA’s Thirteenth Division through Associate Justice Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla resolved that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Quezon City RTC, Branch 86, Presiding Judge Roberto Buenaventura in issuing the arrest warrant against Revillame on Oct. 4, 2013.

Revilla's lawyer, Leonard de Vera, reacting to the CA ruling, stressed that there was no need to arrest Revillame because he has posted bail as early as in 2013 as he clarified the ruling.

The former San Francisco, California-based lawyer Leonard de Vera said in a statement that Willie's camp wants to correct the reports that came out in the media. "We wish to correct news reports appearing today that Mr. Willie Revillame refused to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court and that a warrant of arrest should be issued against him for a child abuse case that was filed back in 2011," de Vera said.

"Upon the finding of probable cause by the regional trial court of Quezon City Branch 86, Mr. Revillame sought and was immediately granted bail in the amount of P80,000.00 in September 4, 2013 or more than two years ago.

"Accordingly, it is unnecessary for the trial court to issue a warrant of arrest against Mr. Revillame," De Vera said.

De Vera also explained that, as part of his client's right, Willie appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA)  the decision against him, but this petition remained pending until the ruling.

"The inaccurate reports spreading in social and mass media are regrettable and are being misinterpreted by certain quarters on account of Mr. Revillame's success in his new show Wowowin now being aired in GMA-7. It is evident that these reports are intended merely to taint and besmirch Mr. Revillame and his new show in the Kapuso network," de Vera said.

De Vera also said that Willie is innocent until proven guilty, and there is no evidence that he is guilty of the charges against him. 

“As a final note, we observe that the resolution of this case had long been delayed because of the petitioner’s refusal to submit to the trial court’s jurisdiction and his erroneous invocation of the Rules in his favor,” the appellate court stressed.

The lawyer also said the new development would allow Revillame to have his day in court.

"Let the trial proceed so that the government can prove its case and Willie can exercise his right in the trial. That's all it meant," he said.

"I hope we would emphasize is what the CA is saying is you may proceed for the trial so that the guilt or innocence of Willie can be determined by the court.

"So now we will proceed with the trial."

Associate Justices Normandie Pizarro and Samuel Gaerlan concurred with the ruling.

According to the appellate court, Judge Buenaventura did not arbitrarily issue the warrant of arrest against petitioner as it was issued after his personal evaluation of the factual circumstances that led him to believe that there was probable cause to apprehend petitioner for his commission of a criminal offense.

The case arose from the controversial incident on March 12, 2011 in his defunct prime time game show “Willing Willie” aired on Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC) 5 Network wherein  one of the contestants was a six-year-old boy.

Revillame then made the boy perform a dance featuring gyrating moves associated with “macho dancers” or male strippers.
The   host even encouraged the boy to repeat his dance moves and   tried to imitate the child’s dance steps. Revillame then gave the boy P10,000 as his price and allowed the boy to repeat his performance several times.


Several days after the episode, the Department of Social Welfare and Development   filed a complaint with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

The DSWD alleged that the  episode constituted psychological abuse, cruelty and emotional maltreatment of the boy and debased, degraded and demeaned his dignity, thus, constituting child abuse.

Consequently, the QC Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause to charge Revillame with child abuse case before the QC RTC.
On Sept. 4, 2013, the RTC  found probable cause on the crime charged against Revillame and issued an arrest warrant against him.



Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez and husband, Mayor Alfred Romualdez


TACLOBAN CITY/ORMOC CITY  More celebrities are running for various posts in the 2016 elections.


At the close of filing of certificates of candidacy, the latest to surface are actor Richard Gomez who is running for mayor of Ormoc City and actress and Councilor Cristina "Kring Kring" Gonzales, wife of outgoing Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who is also running for mayor in, hoping to succeed her husband.


Councilor Gonzales-Romualdez, a former actress and daughter of former actor and San Juan City congressman Jose Mari Gonzales, joined Tacloban City politics as a councilor in 2007. She is on her third and final term as councilor.


Councilor Romualdez, who has Spanish and British blood on her mother's side, has appeared in 40 movies or so since the 1980s but had to leave show business since she married Mayor Romualdez of Tacloban.


In nearby Ormoc City, actor Richard Gomez is running again for mayor of the city.


Gomez, accompanied by his wife,  Rep. Lucy Torres of the fourth district of Leyte, filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor.
While Gomez is running under the administration Liberal Party, Councilor Gonzales-Romualdez is running under the opposition party.


There are reports, however, indicating that Gomez is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition while Torres under the Liberal Party.

Gomez is running against Mayor Edward Codilla, who will seek reelection for a third and final term. Incumbent Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr. is the actor’s running mate.

It would be the fourth time that Gomez is seeking an elective post. He ran but lost for senator in 2007, was disqualified as a party-list congressman in 2010 and lost his first mayoralty bid in Ormoc City in 2013.

Torres said she is supporting the candidacy of LP standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II even though the party did not endorse her husband’s mayoral bid.


Torres will be pitted against Violeta Codilla, the wife of the mayor.  Violeta is running under the banner of Aksyon Demokratiko.


MANILA (PHLTODAYUSA) ― What's in a name?

It matters especially when your name is Manuel Roxas.

The late Manuel Roxas was a former president of the Philippines.

Manuel Roxas, the Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate who was annointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as his successor, is a grandson of the late President Roxas.

Now, the candidate Manuel Araneta Roxas II or Mar, has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare a fellow presidential bet, Manuel Antonio Roxas whose nickname is also “Mar" as a nuisance candidate.

If LP's Mar does not succeed in the Comelec, this may doom his candidacy as votes for him or the other Mar maybe invalidated.

Mar of LP and the other Mar are two of the 130 individuals who filed their certificate of candidacy for president during the October 12 to 16 filing for the May 9, 2016 elections.

The big number of candidates for president could be attributed to the fact that there is no law restricting the filing of CoC. As such, the Comelec has no choice but to receive all applications or CoCs.

The poll body, however, has the mandate afterwards to invalidate the CoCs of individuals who are proven to be nuisance candidates.

Already, the law department of Comelec has started studying all the 130 CoCs and initial results could lead to approval of only five of the 130 presidential aspirants.

For one, the CoC of one of the two Manuel Roxas could be one of the 125 which would be voided.

The LP's Mar Roxas, in fact, has petitioned the Comelec to do so. 
In his Petition to Declare as a Nuisance Candidate, the former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary believes that the respondent is only running in a bid to create confusion in the forthcoming May 2016 elections since they have similar nickname “Mar Roxas.”


“To allow respondent to continue with his candidacy for President would make a mockery of the upcoming elections for the 16th President of the Philippines,” said the eight-page petition of the LP standard bearer.

He added, “Respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas must therefore be declared the nuisance candidate as defined under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, Rules and Jurisprudence.”

The LP standard-bearer noted that the name “Mar Roxas” has always been associated with him since he was first elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1993 until when he ran for vice president in 2010.

Likewise, he said that he has been popularly known as “Mar Roxas” in the various government posts he has held, the latest of which as secretary of the DILG.

“This popular nickname has always been associated with the petitioner, Manuel Araneta Roxas. The media, if not, the general public has always referred to the petitioner as ‘Mar Roxas’,” the petition said.

The administration’s presidential bet added that allowing “Mar Roxas” to run for president will result to their names being placed next to each other in the official ballots to be used.

“This will very well lead to confusion such that voters may unintentionally vote for respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas,” Roxas explained.

The former Interior and Local Government Secretary added that the respondent appears to have no known means to finance a national campaign.

“Finally, without casting aspersions on respondent, the manner by which his COC (certificate of candidacy) has been filled out and his appropriation of the nickname of petitioner, show that he has no bona fide intention to run for President,” the petitioner said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Commission “may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts, which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office.”

The Law Department of the Comelec has filed motu proprio Petitions to Declare as Nuisance Candidates 125 individuals who filed their COCs for president; 13 for vice president; and 128 for senator.

With this, the Clerk of the Commission is set to call a preliminary conference to provide these individuals the opportunities to present their cases to the poll body on why they should not be declared nuisance candidates.

A total of 130 aspirants filed COCs for president; 19 for vice president; and 172 for senator during the five-day filing period from Oct. 12 to 16.

Even Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is leading the surverys for presidentiables, has been summoned by Comelec to appear before it and  answer petitions seeking to disqualify her as candidate for president due to alleged lack of residency and reportedly for not being a natural born citizen.

The neophyte senator has stood firm that she is qualified to run for president as she is a natural born Filipino

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