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Makati City News July 2011

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Contents

Metro Manila governments stingy with information

(First of two parts)

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Sunday, July 31, 2011 | 09:18 PM
Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/227982/specialreports/metro-manila-governments-stingy-with-information

Politics and government, business and finance, education and culture. In all these and more, the national capital region, Metro Manila, is supposed to lead the rest of the nation. Here, bureaucrats and politicians thrive, mostly schooled and steeled in the art of governance and advisedly, the liberal ramparts of transparency and accountability.

It seems fair for citizens to expect that in Metro Manila, more than anywhere else in the Philippines, the people’s right to know and to access official information and documents would be respected. But that could well be plain wishful thinking for now.

Indeed, while President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino III has once more failed to reiterate a commitment to freedom of information (FOI) in his latest State of the Nation Address, the results of a recent survey by the PCIJ of access to information practices in the 16 cities and sole town of Metro Manila show that majority of the local officials and employees in these Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) continue to linger in the dark ages of closed, opaque government.

Most of the LGUs, in fact, took their sweet time in responding to requests for specific documents, unmindful of deadlines for action set in law. And if they did act at all, they disclosed only some, not all, of the documents requested. The city of Caloocan even recorded net zero action, failing to take action on any of the requests up until the end of the audit. This was even though that city’s officials had approved, orally and in writing, at least a third of the PCIJ’s requests.

Documents for citizens

Beyond simply tracking the transparency regimes obtaining in NCR, the PCIJ audit purposely zeroed in on documents with great impact on the welfare of citizens. From April to June 2011, the Center deployed seven college student interns who filed requests for six major types of documents, including the asset disclosure records of the LGU officials, as well as the budget and development plans of the LGU. The audit also focused on documents pertaining to education, health, public safety, civil registry and property, and doing business.

Surprisingly, however, the most basic documents regularly produced by LGUs proved the most difficult to get. For instance, among the 17 Metro Manila LGUs, only Makati gave complete documents on education, while a mere four – Quezon City, Parañaque, Navotas, and the San Juan Health Department Unit 1 – provided complete documents on health.

On average, only a fourth of the 17 LGUs provided their development and investment plans, and copies of the proposed and enacted budgets. The rest took no action.

Still, of all the documents requested by the PCIJ, the statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) were easily the most tightly guarded and thus, the hardest to obtain. In the mold and manner of national politicians, the local politicians of Metro Manila apparently hold their asset disclosure records close to their chests.

Only two cities – Marikina and Makati – willingly shared the SALNs of all their local officials. Quezon City and Navotas, meanwhile, gave the SALNs of their respective mayor and vice mayor, but came up short when it came to those of their councilors. San Juan released its vice mayor’s SALN, but not its chief executive’s; it also gave incomplete asset records of its councilors. In the rest of the LGUs, the SALNs remain sub rosa or kept under lock and key by local officials who insist on their confidentiality, in apparent indifference to, or ignorance of, the law.

Most LGUs also required requestors to secure the mayor’s approval before all the requests could be granted. This caused bureaucratic delays and most probably is a major barrier to accessing documents in the NCR.

Least opaque

In the PCIJ audit, not one of the LGUs provided all the requested information. Even Quezon City, which came out as the friendliest to access to information requests, took full action (within the 15 working days’ deadline in law for all the documents requested) on only 75 percent of all requests filed by PCIJ.

Next came Marikina, which scored 57 percent, while Pasay, Parañaque, Navotas, and Makati all granted about half of all of PCIJ’s requests. Ten other LGUs (Las Piñas City, Pasig, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Valenzuela, San Juan, Malabon City, Manila, and Pateros) acted only on 12.5 to 37.5 percent of all requests filed.

On average, the LGU offices that gave documents took about 10 days to do so. But the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) of Las Piñas stood out by taking only a day to respond and provide complete documents related to doing business in the city.

To do the audit, the PCIJ interns personally filed simultaneous request letters for documents with the 17 LGUs, monitored all related follow-up activities (request letters sent, phone calls and field visits made to the LGU office), and logged all activity details (name and position of responding personnel and officials, speed and nature of action or referrals made; and the type or nature of documents given or withheld).

In addition, the enrolled deadlines set in law for government agencies to act on such requests – 10 working days to act on requests for SALNs and 15 working days to act on requests for all other types of documents – were used as reference for rating the performance of the various LGUs in this audit.

The audit stretched across a two-month period – one month for fieldwork and data gathering, and another for follow-up activities and data collation. In all, the PCIJ interns filed with the 17 LGUs a combined total of 135 request letters, made 437 phone calls, and received 266 referrals for many requests were tossed around two or more offices in the same LGUs.

The requests were filed with the LGU departments and units that are the custodians of the documents, including the Office of the Mayor, the Health Department, the Public Order and Safety Department, the Business Permit and Licensing Office, and the Civil Registry Department.

Public interest

The documents requested are clearly imbued with public interest because they enroll information and data that should benefit public weal and welfare:

  • For education, the PCIJ asked for two sets of data: statistics or the number of schools and teachers in each LGU, as well as on plans and projects to construct new school buildings, hire new teachers, and acquire new learning materials and copies of contracts.
  • For health, the PCIJ requested information on the actual expenses the LGUs spend on medicines and the volume of medicines distributed per barangay; number of hospitals and medical personnel; and projects undertaken by the health department.
  • For public safety, the PCIJ sought data on the number of police officers and other public order personnel, how the police coordinate with barangay officials, how the police or barangay respond to cases, protocols on public-order incidents, and the number and the amount LGUs spend to build and maintain lampposts.
  • For civil registry and property, the PCIJ asked about the types of civil registry and property documents, how to obtain these documents, fees and timetable involved in obtaining documents.
  • For doing business, the PCIJ requested details on the documentary requirements, request and application process, LGU departments in charge, number of processing days, and fees involved. In addition, the PCIJ sought information on how to locate records of a business establishment, which office tracks records of registered and non-registered businesses in the LGU, and the benefits of registering a business.
  • For other basic, premise data on the LGU and its officials, the PCIJ requested five documents: the SALN and personal data sheet (PDS) of the mayor, vice mayor and councilors; local development plan; local investment plan; proposed budget; and enacted budget.

How and why the citizens must be entitled to these documents, and could benefit from them, are matters affirmed in law and validated by the contents of the documents themselves.

The Local Government Code of 1991 mandates each LGU to prepare a local development plan and a public investment program, which would outline a city or a municipality’s development and budget priorities and serve as basis of its programs and projects for the year.

Useful details

These documents would significantly help citizens to understand the local government’s plans for the city and the barangays and how it intends to spend public resources. These documents would clearly enable citizen participation in policymaking and governance.

For instance, the 2011 Annual Investment Program (AIP) provided by Quezon City states that the city’s development priorities are disaster-risk mitigation, environment management, socio-economic services to empower the poor, tourism development, and effective city management.

To achieve these plans, Quezon City’s AIP outlines its budget allocation for each program, project, and activity, as well as the office or agency assigned to implement each sector.

For 2011, Quezon City has allocated P15.75 million for maternal health care for pregnant and post-partum mothers, and routine care for newborn infants. Residents, especially mothers and expectant mothers who do not have enough funds to avail themselves of private health care services, would find this information useful.

Quezon City has also allotted P2.49 million to provide services to physically, mentally, and socially disabled persons 0 to 60 years of age in order to enhance or develop their capabilities for self-reliance and productivity. Families with a disabled member may then inquire about this program and seek assistance from Quezon City’s Social Services Development Department.

In the meantime, citizens may find information pertaining to education useful so that they themselves can assess and audit education projects of their LGUs.

Makati, which was the only LGU that provided complete documents on education services, gave copies of the contracts that the city government signed with contractors to build new school buildings and to improve or maintain existing ones.

The contracts offered details on the amount of the project, project scope and timetable, and the duties and responsibilities of the contractor. With these data on hand, parents of students in a school may actually be able to check if the project had been fully implemented.

And then there are the SALNs, which are considered to be key in monitoring the wealth of public officials and in discouraging corruption. Yet most Metro Manila LGUs found reason to keep SALNs of certain officials away from the public eye.

The officials of Malabon’s Human Resource Department, for one, insisted that SALNs are “confidential" documents. Navotas, for its part, was quick to approve the release of the SALN of the mayor, but uncertainties on the part of the councilors resulted in their failure to hand over their SALNs.

Pasay was as problematic in the release of the SALNs and personal data sheets of its senior officials supposedly because the request letter had been misplaced.

In Pateros, the head of the Municipal Personnel Office said all 14 town councilors would have to unanimously agree first before any of their SALNs could be released to the PCIJ. Some councilors agreed, while the others refused. Because the personnel officer has imposed an all-or-nothing rule, not a single SALN of Pateros’s local executives was released.

(By contrast, Marikina, which ranked second to Quezon City as the most transparent city in NCR, provided the SALNs of its local executives within just five days from receipt of the PCIJ request.)

Most opaque

The four least transparent cities (Malabon, Manila, Pateros, and Caloocan) actually shared one thing in common: Their personnel showed a common tendency to refer requestors to other LGU departments within the same city halls, needlessly prolonging the process of obtaining documents.

In quite a few cases, too, many LGU personnel seemed totally clueless about their obligations in the Constitution and in Republic Act No. 6713 (the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) to be transparent in all their actions involving use of public funds, and in handling documents vested with public interest.

In Caloocan – the least transparent among the Metro Manila LGUs -- only the police department and the civil registry office responded to the requests within the 15-day deadline set in law. All the other agencies of Caloocan either ignored or denied the other requests.

Unfortunately, even the offices there that promised to release documents, including those on education and health services, and those pertaining to doing business in the city, have yet to do so as of this writing. The police department in particular said it had misplaced the PCIJ’s request letter, causing interminable delays.

In Pateros, NCR’s lone municipality, the PCIJ filed requests with eight various departments. The town’s civil servants generally had an accommodating demeanor, but this failed to compensate for the insufficient documents they eventually released. Four offices took action but only one gave a complete set of documents requested. Pateros ended up being the second least transparent LGU in NCR.

Manila, NCR’s oldest and premier city, is the third least transparent. While its officials approved action on 57 percent of the PCIJ’s requests, they actually gave complete documents on only 14 percent of all requests filed.

The PCIJ sent request letters to seven offices of Manila City Hall but only four responded within the 15-day deadline set in law – the Mayor's Office (SALNs), the business department, the City Civil Registry, and the assessor's department. Manila’s police and health departments have yet to respond to the PCIJ’s requests, while the mayor’s office has yet to act on a separate request for data on education services.

Malabon, the fourth least transparent city, actually approved up to 83.33 percent of the PCIJ’s requests within four to 11 days. But it released the complete documents requested for only 16.67 percent of the requests, within the lawful deadline.

Malabon and Pateros cited the “confidentiality" status of certain documents for refusing the requests.

Among those that performed better than the bottom dwellers, the need for the mayor’s go-signal before certain documents are released was revealed to be a major block for those seeking access to public data. In Parañaque City, Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. had even issued a memorandum that in effect gave him sole power to approve all requests for information. The memo was supposedly based on a provision in R.A. No. 6713, which states that public offices are given the discretion not to disclose any information on the grounds of public safety and “undue advantage." Out of the 10 requests that the PCIJ filed, only five were granted within 15 working days.

Politics & revenues

The practice in Parañaque prevails as well in Taguig, Pasay, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, and Navotas even as no written memorandum requiring the mayor’s approval has been issued.

In Pasig, basic documents and those pertaining to education services could not be released simply because during the month-long data gathering for this audit, Mayor Bobby Eusebio was often out of the office. His deputies said there was no definite schedule when he would report for work.

Political rivalry also got in the way of accessing documents in Taguig. Majority of the requests were denied there supposedly because the documents had to be kept “confidential" on account of an ongoing court case between Mayor Laarni Cayetano and her losing rival in the May 2010 elections, retired Supreme Court justice Dante Tinga.

Only the documents from Taguig’s BPLO, the Assessor’s Office, and the City Health Department were provided. Requests filed with the Mayor's Office, the Public Safety and Order Office (POSO), and the City Budget Office were not granted within the 15-working day deadline set in law.

Documents pertaining to civil registry records and on doing business in Metro Manila were the easiest to secure across the metropolis. In fact, all 17 LGUs provided information on various civil registry and property documents, as well as the procedures, fees, and number of days it would take them to process requests.

As for doing business, 14 of the 17 LGUs gave information on the documentary requirements, the process for applying for business permits and registering business establishments, and the fees involved. In many cases, the data were enrolled in brochures and pamphlets published by the LGUs.

These two offices (Civil Registry and BPLO) conduct regular transactions with citizens every day; releasing documents thus seems almost routinary to them. In addition, these transactions are triggers of revenues (processing and permit fees) and take on the nature of business processes beneficial to the LGUs. - 'With research and reporting by Karol Anne M. Ilagan, Anne Jeanette O. Priela, Krystal Kay S. Jimena, David Faustino T. de Castro, Essen Mei M. Miguel, Henor G. Gotis, Eric H. Rivera, Stephanie Directo, and Jessa Mae B. Jarilla, PCIJ, July 2011.'

GSK headquarters: where work meets play

By: Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
1:28 A.M. | Saturday, July 30th, 2011
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/9489/gsk-headquarters-where-work-meets-play

Only a handful of companies can boast of providing employees ample room for work and several other amenities or avenues for self-improvement. Oftentimes, employees are given just enough space—a desk and chair—to perform their tasks.

Considering that the average hardworking Filipino spends at least eight hours or roughly half of his waking hours in the office, a conducive and healthy environment can be highly crucial in maximizing an individual’s full potential.

This is why pharmaceutical firm GSK Philippines did not hesitate to invest heftily in its 1.2-hectare headquarters in Makati City to develop “open and collaborative work spaces plus recovery rooms to invigorate physical, mental, emotional and spiritual human aspects.”

“At GSK, we ensure that we develop the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental faculties of an employee. It’s a holistic integrated development,” said GSK HR vice president Lito De Guzman in an exclusive interview with the Inquirer.

De Guzman explained that GSK employees are not only trained and developed to become future managers and leaders of the company. GSK also targets to harness one’s potential—the “genius” in every individual.

Much-needed boost
After all, the employees of a company like GSK are constantly under pressure to meet quotas and deadlines. And as such, GSK believes that it has a duty to give employees a much-needed boost by providing them avenues to grow and develop.

“We want to raise the bar. It’s the concept of change and innovativeness, and in the Philippine office [sector] we are the trendsetter. We take the lead,” De Guzman noted.

Thus, in 2009 GSK overhauled its headquarters to enforce several changes and office space renovation. De Guzman even claimed that with these changes the GSK office should not even be viewed simply as an “office” but rather a “formation house” that develops employees across all aspects.

Aside from the usual amenities and basic rooms such as the pantry, auditorium and the like, GSK has also put up “recovery rooms” where employees can also enjoy some time off and rejuvenate. These recovery rooms refer to the four small oscillation rooms that consist of the mind-enriching game room, arcade-type basketball room, meditation room and a warm-up room.

A learning center was likewise incorporated to serve as a resource center that allowed employees to continuously learn and refuel their mental energies. The center is a library-inspired area where a wide-range of rich learning materials such as books, audiovisuals and periodicals are stored and can be borrowed.

Even the colors are well-thought of and carefully chosen based on the “vibe” it may convey to employees.

From the usual bland colors, the company decided to use white, which it said would allow for flexible thinking; green, for continuous improvement; yellow, to be customer-driven; orange, which connotes people development; red, to enable and drive change; and blue, for building relationships.

Feel that ‘energy’
And indeed, the renovation, according to De Guzman, allowed every member of the GSK family to feel that “energy” at his/her workplace.

“It’s now a feel good environment,” he added.

De Guzman believes that the company’s hefty investments in the renovations have more than paid off as the company now has a more contented, fulfilled, driven and competitive set of employees. Proof also was the fact that GSK holds the prestigious title of being the 2010 Employer of the Year, as it continues to promote the culture of transparency, openness and performance with integrity.

“In the end, the return on investment is higher as GSK Philippines continues to deliver its numbers through an exceptional team of employees. Despite tough market conditions, GSK continues to grow faster than the market and its key competitors,” De Guzman concluded.

STI stuns reigning titlist UM in NAASCU Opening

10:08 P.M. | Friday, July 29, 2011
Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/227849/sports/sti-stuns-reigning-titlist-um-in-naascu-opeining

STI College rode on veteran Maclean Sabellina's game-long brilliance in hacking out a 90-72 triumph against reigning titlist University of Manila in Friday's opening of the 11th National Athletic Association of Schools and Universities (NAASCU) basketball championships at the Makati Coliseum.

Sabellina, who used his 6-foot-5 frame to impose his will inside the paint, finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Vic Ycasiano-coached Olympians, last year's losing finalists to the UM Hawks.

Jasper Melano and Lester Bocablo provided scoring support for STI with 12 and 11 markers.

Jeff Alvin Viernes paced for UM with 15 points while Season 10 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Eugene Torres scored 14. Jay-Ar Manuel also finished with 14 markers.

The Hawks, who are seeking an unprecedented seventh title under former coach Loreto "Ato" Tolentino, played minus 6-foot-5 center Edwin Tamayo and last year's scoring champion Randelle Colina.

Jojo Castillo is the new UM coach. - JVP, GMA News


CA: No P25-B assistance to BF

By REY G. PANALIGAN
6:48 P.M. | Friday, July 29, 2011
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/328794/ca-no-p25b-assistance-bf

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has, in effect, nullified an order issued by the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) that directed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Monetary Board to release up to P25 billion in financial assistance and other forms of regulatory relief to the now-padlocked Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid, the CA ordered the dismissal of the case filed by Banco Filipino against the BSP and the Monetary Board that became the basis for RTC Judge Joselito C. Villarosa to order the release of P25 billion financial assistance and other forms of regulatory relief.

The CA said that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case filed by Banco Filipino which should have been filed with the appellate court.

“The RTC has no jurisdiction over the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by Banco Filipino in Civil Case No. 10-1042. It is this court (CA) that has jurisdiction over such petition pursuant to Rule 65, Section 4 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,” the CA said.

“Wherefore, the petition (filed by BSP and MB) is granted. The order dated Nov. 17, 2010 issued by respondent Judge Joselito C. Villarosa of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati City, in Civil Case No. 10-1042, is annulled and set aside. In lieu thereof, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing Civil Case No. 10-1042 on the ground of RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over the same,” the CA ruled.

Associate Justices Noel G. Tijam and Ricardo R. Rosario of the CA’s former Special 10th Division concurred in the 25-page decision.

Earlier, the CA had denied the petition filed by Banco Filipino stockholders to stop the implementation of Monetary Board’s Resolution No. 372-A, issued on March 17, 2011, that placed the savings bank under receivership and stopped its operations nationwide.

On Dec. 4, 2009, the Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 1668 that granted Banco Filipino’s request for a R25-billion financial assistance and certain forms of regulatory relief.

But the Monetary Board set several conditions for the assistance, particularly the withdrawal by Banco Filipino of all its cases filed against the BSP and the Monetary Board in connection with its closure in 1985 that had been declared illegal and arbitrary by the Supreme Court (SC).

Both the BSP and the Monetary Board said they had complied with the SC decision.

Banco Filipino refused to comply with the conditions stipulated in Resolution No. 1668.

When the Monetary Board withheld the release of the financial assistance, Banco Filipino filed Civil Case No. 10-1042 which the Makati City RTC granted in favor of the savings bank.

The BSP and the Monetary Board elevated the issue before the CA which issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and thereafter, a preliminary injunction against the RTC order.

In issuing the injunction, the CA dismissed Banco Filipino’s assertion that the BSP and the Monetary Board stand to suffer no grave irreparable injury that would warrant the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

“As aptly pointed out by petitioners (BSP and the Monetary Board), allowing the case a quo (Civil Case No. 10-1042) to proceed will prevent the former from, or hamper their functions in, exercising regulatory functions over private respondent, which in turn, would work great injustice and cause irreparable injury to the general public,” the CA said.

It further held that it was wrong for Banco Filipino to assert that the BSP and the Monetary Board have no clear right to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction in their favor.

It noted that the bank filed its case assailing Monetary Board Resolution No. 1668 with the Makati RTC on Oct. 20, 2010 or after the SC has ruled that petitions for writs of certiorari, prohibition or mandamus under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court against the acts and omissions of quasi-judicial agencies should be filed with the appellate court for procedural uniformity.

Thus, the CA stressed, Banco Filipino’s contention that its case is, likewise, cognizable by the Makati RTC is “untenable.”

In its decision that made permanent the injunction it had earlier issued, the CA said: “In the absence of any law or provision in the Rules of Court authorizing the filing with the RTC of petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against the acts or issuances of quasi-judicial agencies such as the petitioners (BSP and Monetary Board), the said petitions may be filed only with this court. Respondent judge, therefore, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in holding that the RTC has jurisdiction over the petition filed by private respondent (Banco Filipino) in Civil Case No. 10-1042.”

Ayala Land allots P3-B for upscale condo in Makati

abs-cbnNEWS.com
7:13 PM | Thursday, July 28, 2011
Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/07/28/11/ayala-land-allots-p3-b-upscale-condo-makati

MANILA, Philippines - Property giant Ayala Land Inc. is spending P3 billion to construct the last tower of an upscale residential project in Makati City.

Ayala said the 49-storey tower at Park Terraces will offer a total of 370 condominium units that will sell from P6 million to P55 million.

Ayala Land Premier, the company's unit catering to the high-end market, expects to sell all units over the next two to three years.

"The rising demand for living spaces at the heart of Ayala Center, the country's most desired address, paved the way Ayala Land Premier to introduce Park Terraces. This year the rise of the third and final tower marks... the continuation of Ayala Land's biggest investment into the redevelopment of Ayala Center," Moya said.

The redevelopment of the five-hectare Ayala Center is a P20 billion project that started last year. Two other high-end real estate projects, the Fairmont Hotel and Raffle Suites and Residences, will open within the center next year.

Ayala Center is the flagship mixed-used urban city complex of the Ayala Group.

Makati LGU ready for earthquake, evac drill Friday

by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=45770

MAKATI CITY, July 28 (PIA) -- Offices at the Makati City Hall will temporarily suspend work to make way for their scheduled earthquake and evacuation drills on Friday, June 29 starting 3:00 p.m.

In a statement posted on its website, it said the scheduled exercise, through its Command Control and Communication Center (C3), is in observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay said he has directed Makati C3 to designate and train floor marshals, team leaders, searchers, rescue and medical teams, and site security teams on their respective roles in the evacuation of employees from the building starting 3:30 p.m.

“I want our people to be well-trained in the proper way of dealing with disasters, especially a strong earthquake. We all need to be alert and prepared for such an occurrence to ensure that everyone will act calmly and responsibly, thus preventing panic that could aggravate a critical situation,” Binay said.

The mayor also said Makati C3, in coordination with all concerned departments and offices, has carefully studied and prepared for the safe and orderly flow of the evacuation drill on Friday afternoon. (MAKATI/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

Pacquiao paintings by Filipina sports artist on exhibit in Makati

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Source: http://www.tempo.com.ph/2011/pacquiao-paintings-by-filipina-sports-artist-on-exhibit-in-makati/

MANILA, Philippines – High-profile personalities will grace Thursday’s opening of the exhibit of 14 murals featuring world boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao by renowned Filipina sports artist, Claireyenne Malanyaon, at the Astra Galerie in Makati City.

For the past years several years after she was introduced by former Manila Mayor and DENR Secretary Lito Atienza to Pacquiao, Malanyaon has been the personal painter of boxing’s pound-for-pound king much like sports artist Stephen Holland was to ring legend, Muhammad Ali.

Thirty-four-year-old Malanyaon, who is a physician by profession and once the doctor to SMB’s PBA team, has done dozens of paintings featuring the “Pacman” from his ring exploits to his family portraits.

Her sudden shift from full-time physician to the country’s most sought-after and highest-paid sports artist was the result of the “Manny magic” in her career as an artist.

In the promotion of Pacquiao’s fight with American Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada last February, Pacquiao called Malanyaon on stage to hold up one of her paintings and promoted her exhibit in “Sin City” by introducing her as his personal artist.

“Boss Manny is so generous especially in boosting my confidence,” said Malanyaon. “You won’t see a female sports artist with such a famous subject. I have the world’s pound-for-pound best boxer and he keeps telling people how happy he is about my work.”

As an extra boost, Pacquiao signs each and every mural of himself painted by Malanyaon even if it does not end up in his personal collection, impressing visitors of her recent exhibits in New York and Las Vegas.

Pacquiao will be at the exhibit’s opening at 6 p.m., joined by VIPs that include Vice President Jejomar Binay, other government officials, and Malanyaon’s sponsors like La Scala Restaurant owner Crispin Go, former Mayor Atienza, Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson and Ted Lizares Jimenez. (Nate C. Barretto)

New lifestyle address in Makati

Knightsbridge at Century City allows residents expansive designer living spaces to entertain guests

By: Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
4:55 A.M. | Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Source: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/7181/new-lifestyle-address-in-makati

When the 63-story Knightsbridge condominium is completed in 2015, it will be one of the tallest buildings in Makati. To date, 97 percent of the units have been sold.

People often ask Marco Antonio if the boom in condominium buildings is for real or an illusion. The Century Properties managing director and Knightsbridge project head, says, “There may be too many buildings because a lot of demand is coming in. But if you combine all the developments, they are just playing catch-up to the demand.”

Knightsbridge is one of the up-market condos to rise in Century City, a 3.5-hectare multi-use development on Kalayaan Avenue (the former campus of International School) which will include a medical facility, a boutique mall and two other luxury condominiums. One reason for its success is the prime location.

“The most expensive property in Makati was traditionally defined by the Golden Triangle, surrounded by streets of Ayala, Buendia and Makati Avenue. Since it’s fully developed, the new areas are in the north—Century City and Rockwell,” he says.

Another reason is that it provides a lifestyle that’s not offered in other condos.

Century Properties also introduces hyper-sized amenities. “Many projects are becoming commoditized,” he said. “Everyone is buying the four walls of their home. We took the concept of a home and applied it to a vertical unit. While you own four walls, you still have leeway for entertaining.”

“Instead of inviting the friends to hang out in your compact living space, we can give you expansive designer living areas— the cool lobby, four floors of amenities and a sprawling 500-meter pool,” he said. “Half of the top floor normally exclusive to inhabitants in penthouse units can be enjoyed by the other residents. It’s rare for a building to give its most prime area back to the resident.”

For instance, an owner of a studio can fete their friends in the recreation room, library, café, function rooms or deli located throughout the tower.

“While this is my space, I have the whole building and amenities to invite my friends. It’s giving the people a lifestyle beyond their four walls,” says Antonio.

Pod The company also introduced the pod concept that can multiply into combinable units. “We wanted to make the condo accessible to people in the entry level purchase,” says Antonio. “The Pod is like the Lego of adults. You can connect the pieces to make a larger piece. We created the term pod as a basic unit. It can combine with other pods to form an expanded unit. It gives the buyers flexibility to tailor-fit their purchase and budget to their living requirements.”

“The advantage is that you end up with multiple titles,” he adds. “If you buy two pods, you can combine it in terms of use. If I want to rent one and live in the other, I can do that because I have two titles. Ultimately if I want to sell one and keep the other, I can do that. That’s harder to do if you have a larger unit because it’s harder to cut the title.”

The concept was born out of a trend in which people were looking for a pied-à-terre which didn’t need too much space. “The pod allows owners to customize their space.”

The striking curvilinear architecture presents resident unobstructed views—as much as 360 degrees—of the Makati skyline.

“It’s the first time residents can enjoy the city from this vantage point. There’s an observatory at the top floor where they can take in the view of Makati, Manila Bay and Mandaluyong.”

Another reason for Knightsbridge’s salability is that the various payment conditions are customized.

“People ask how the terms, we ask how much can you afford? We have uncommon payment terms,” says Antonio.

To cap its sales pitch, Knightsbridge launched a fashion-oriented campaign that tied in with its image.

“We wanted a place that had heritage but was also future oriented. We drew inspiration from London where many trends were set and from one of the poshest addresses, Knightsbridge. We wanted to import the cool Britannia by infusing the design and style in our amenities. The ad compaign would tie in with the British theme.”

The campaign reflects the demographics its buyer, majority of whom are in the 20- to 40-year-old age groups. A significant number also comes from the overseas market looking for a second home in their country. Seventy percent of its buyers opted to purchase fully furnished thematic condos.

Since its launch the basic price of the unit has risen from P2.5 million to P3.5 million.

“Early buyers had healthy returns, close to 40 percent. They see the value of pre-selling. When a project is launched, it is an opportune time to purchase. People buy into the reputation and delivery record of developer,” says Antonio.

Ultimately, the condominium is an investment.

“Buying for property forces you to set aside money, and you’re building equity toward your future home.”

Makati Football School-Elite booters cop NCRFA overall championship

Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:22 P.M. | Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Source: http://sports.inquirer.net/8969/makati-football-school-elite-booters-cop-ncrfa-overall-championship

MANILA—Makati football School-Elite bagged the overall championship in the recent Poten-Cee-National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) 17-and-Under Boys Invitational Cup at the De La Salle Zobel grounds in Alabang.

DLSZ and University of Sto. Tomas placed second and third, respectively. Gregory Cruz of the champion team emerged Most Valuable Player, top striker honors went to DLSZ’s Emilio Acosta while UST’s Oses Guevara was named Best Goalkeeper.

The nine-week tournament was also participated in by De La Salle Lipa, La Salle Green Hills, The Eastmont International Learning Center, Perpetual College and Xavier School.

The NCRFA was led by tournament director and coach Hans-Peter Smit of DLSZ.

“We are delighted at this opportunity to actively contribute to the development of young athletes by way of our partnership with NCRFA,” said Riza Sacay, senior brand manager of Poten-Cee.

“We hope that through this undertaking, we will be able to reinforce, especially among the youth, the importance of taking care of one’s health. Being healthy, active and meeting the challenges of a demanding sport like football is definitely within their reach with Poten-cee.”

EDSA-Ayala tunnel in Makati closed due to vehicle smash-up

12:40 P.M. | Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/227434/nation/edsa-ayala-tunnel-in-makati-closed-due-to-vehicle-smash-up

The Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA)-Ayala tunnel in Makati City was closed to traffic on Tuesday after at least seven vehicles figured in a smashup at the southbound part of the tunnel.

Jamie de Mesa of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Metrobase cited initial reports that the vehicles in the smashup included three buses and at least three vans.

"Ang initial report natanggap natin sa enforcer, may confirmed multiple collision sa ilalim ng EDSA-Ayala Tunnel. Temporarily closed to traffic ang tunnel," De Mesa said in an interview on radio dzBB.

A post on the MMDA's Twitter account said the vehicles in the smashup included three buses and four vans.

De Mesa did not immediately say if there were injuries or fatalities in the accident, as radio communication under the tunnel was poor.

De Mesa said Metrobase had dispatched tow trucks to the area to remove the damaged vehicles from the site. - VVP, GMA News

MMDA lifts number coding except in Makati

4:28 P.M. | Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/227467/nation/mmda-lifts-number-coding-except-in-makati

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority lifted Tuesday afternoon the number coding scheme on major roads, except in Makati City.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino also ordered MMDA teams to undertake precautionary measures against possible floods brought by Tropical Storm Juaning (Nock-Ten).

"Suspended na yan as of 3:30 p.m. (We suspended the number coding as of 3:30 p.m.)," Tolentino said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Under the number coding system, vehicles whose license plates end in 3 and 4 are not allowed on major roads from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

But the MMDA said on its Twitter account that the lifting of the number coding scheme will not apply to Makati City.

"Number coding is lifted today July 26, 2011 Tuesday, except Makati as per MAPSA," it said.

Earlier, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration forecaster Sonny Pajarilla said Juaning may affect Metro Manila as it passes Central Luzon.

Tolentino said the MMDA will deploy composite teams to flood-prone areas. — RSJ, GMA News

MWC completes Makati sewage plant

By JAMES A. LOYOLA
3:42 A.M. | Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/328307/mwc-completes-makati-sewage-plant

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Water Company (MWC) has completed the construction of a new sewage treatment plant (STP) in Makati City that forms part of the Three-River Sewerage Master Plan aimed at providing 100 percent sewerage coverage in the East Zone.

“The Poblacion STP in Makati is now undergoing ‘process proving’ stage for one year – a step in the full commissioning process that covers operational testing,” said Manila Water project manager Beth Domanais.

She added that, once it passes all required tests, it will become fully operational. The facility will be capable of processing 11 million liters per day of wastewater, bulk of which comes from domestic households.

“The completion of this new sewage treatment facility is a big step towards reviving the old glory of our major waterways thus addressing the worsening condition of the Marikina, San Juan and Pasig rivers (Three-River System),” said MWC group director for operations Geodino V. Carpio.

He noted that “these major bodies of water traverse Metro Manila and are now considered biologically dead or unsuitable to marine life due to the extremely high levels of pollution brought about by urbanization and population growth.”

An interesting innovation of Poblacion STP is that it was constructed on top of an impounding pond in the existing flood control facility of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) due to the difficulty of acquiring land in a highly urbanized area like Makati.

The flood control facility virtually serves as a collection basin of wastewater. Sewage finds its way to the facility, and eventually to the river, via an extensive network of combined sewer lines and drains.

“Manila Water designed the facility to meet the challenge of treating the collected sewage without disrupting the existing operation and affecting the flood retention capacity of the pond. Hence the STP was raised on 35 massive ‘stilts’ or columns to a total height of 16 meters over the impounding pond,” Domanais said.

8,000 MMDA volunteers clear 8 Metro waterways

By Miko Morelos
11:06 P.M. |Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/28925/8000-mmda-volunteers-clear-8-metro-waterways

Monday’s intermittent rains failed to dampen the spirits of some 8,000 Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) volunteers tasked with clearing eight waterways in the metropolis to help prevent flooding.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the cleanup drive was an offshoot of the agency’s Flood Control Bayanihan Zone Alliances program, which utilizes volunteers from the military, MMDA, local government units and barangays.

“Even for just one day, we would like the public to see that we at the MMDA are very serious and dedicated to keeping our environment clean and we’re hoping that this will inspire them to do the same,” Tolentino said.

The cluster areas the MMDA cleared were the Sampaloc Area/R. Papa in Manila; Makati Diversion Channel/South Superhighway in Makati City; Maysilo Circle, Boni Avenue, Kalentong, New Panaderos, Shaw Boulevard and Acacia Lane in Mandaluyong City; Barangays (villages) Salapan and Balong Bato in San Juan City; and Doña Imelda, Damayan Lagi, Tatalon and Talayan in Quezon City.

Tolentino said he hoped the cleanup would inspire residents to be careful about disposing of their trash so that these would not end up clogging waterways and lead to floods.

Over the agency’s weekly radio program, MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez said that during the cleanup, the volunteers collected garbage like used refrigerators, old mattresses, even dead animals.

In a phone patch interview, Tolentino said the volunteers who cleared a waterway in Barangay Salapan, San Juan, had to do it by hand since they could not bring in their heavy equipment through the narrow alleys leading to the area.

After the cleanup in San Juan, Tolentino proceeded to Tatalon and Talayan in Quezon City to meet with Mayor Herbert Bautista and kick off the waterway clearing operations.

3 victims add to list of political killings

Sunday, July 24, 2011
By: RONALYN V. OLEA
Source: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/24/3-more-victims-add-to-list-of-political-killings/

MANILA – A few days before President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona), three more victims add to the growing list of political killings.

Roque Laputan, 59, a member of Anakpawis partylist, Davao del Sur, was murdered by unidentified men, July 10. Laputan, was at the forefront of protests against the operation of Xstrata-owned Sagittarius Mines Inc. in Davao del Sur and the company’s plan to put up a coal-fired plant here.

Laputan was in a store in Tagansuli village when two masked men on a motorcycle arrived, one of whom alighted, grabbed Laputan by the neck and shot him twice in the head. He died instantly.

Two residents of Pangarap Village in Caloocan City were killed when security guards opened fire at a vigil site set up by residents protesting against the demolition in the area. Soliman Gomez and Rommel Fortadez died and six others were injured.

The guards, who were allegedly drunk, were guarding the property owned by Gregorio Araneta III, a relative of newly-appointed Department of Transportation and Telecommunications secretary and Aquino’s running mate, Manuel “Mar” Roxas III.

“Killings continue just before Aquino delivers his second Sona. Does this tell us that the same policy of extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary killings would continue for the next years of Aquino’s term?” Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general, said. “We ask him, how many more?”

Reacting to announcements made by Malacañang that Pres. Aquino’s SONA will focus on his anti-corruption campaign report for the past year, Hustisya, an organization of families of victims of human rights violations, asked whether human rights is not an alarming issue for the Aquino administration.

“Didn’t he mention an end to extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in his straight path? If this is so, why do killings continue?” Guevarra said.

During his first Sona, Aquino vowed to resolve cases of extrajudicial killings, citing the murder of Fernando Baldomero, a local councilor in Lezo, Aklan, among others.

One year after, the case was recently archived because the arrest warrant issued in January this year had not been served, according to Ernan Baldomero, son of the victim and Hustisya vice chairman. The suspect, Ernan said, has eluded arrest.

“We are raising the alarm not only because victims under the past administration have not been given justice, but most especially, killings continue under Aquino. Until when shall we wait for concrete action to stop the killings?” Guevarra asked.

According to Karapatan, there have been 48 victims of extrajudicial killings, not yet including the recent cases.

Congressional probe

Meanwhile, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said they are seeking an inquiry into the incident in Pangarap Village, adding that the this is not the first time that security guards of Araneta-owned Carmel Development Inc. (CDI) indiscriminately fired at the residents. On April 28, three were injured in the shooting.

Carmel Development is claiming ownership of the 7,008-hectare area where the community is located. The area, almost half the size of Caloocan City, includes Pangarap Village that is part of “Tala Estate,” historically a leper colony as determined by Commonwealth Act 161. Anakpawis said the Aranetas want to clear the area, demolish the urban poor community and develop the area into a commercial center.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) filed a case (GR No. 187876) against CDI for illegally claiming the land. According House Resolution 1236 filed by Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Womens Party, Act Teachers Party-list and Kabataan Party, the DENR said CDI had failed to prove that it had fully paid for the land, which is supposedly part of the “Friar Lands,” “over which the Government holds the title and are not public lands but private or patrimonial property of the Government and can be alienated only upon proper compliance with Act No. 1120 or the Friar Lands Act.”

Mariano said the violence at Pangarap Village adds to the series of bloody demolitions against urban poor communities. Other incidents of violent demolitions also took place in Sitio San Roque in Quezon City, Barangay Corazon de Jesus in San Juan City and Laperal Compound in Makati City. “Aquino’s neglect on the plight of the urban poor is evident in the series of violent demolitions under his watch.”

Fashion mogul Santo Versace visits Manila

4:49 P.M. | Friday, July 22, 2011
Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/227106/lifestyle/fashion-mogul-santo-versace-visits-manila

The president of international fashion house Versace S.p.A. arrived in the Philippines on Friday to raise funds for Filipino children with facial deformities.

Santo Versace, older brother of the late Gianni Versace who founded the famous Italian couture line, will be in the country for three days as the special guest of Century Properties for its lifestyle exhibit this Saturday at the company's headquarters in Makati City.

The exhibit, showcasing unique Versace products flown in from the boutique's shops in Milan and Hong Kong, will be staged for the benefit of Operation Smile Philippines, an organization which helps Filipino children with cleft lips and palates.

Versace is the president of Operation Smile Foundation Italy.

The exhibit in Makati will feature the interior design themes crafted by Versace home for the Milano Residences, a tie-up between Century Properties and Versace. In 2010, the local real estate developer and the world-renowned fashion brand had teamed up to funnel more than P3 billion into the development of the designer condominium.

“We are doing this in thanksgiving [for] the huge success of the project," said Robbie Antonio, Centruy Properties president. “The Milano Residences since its launch last January is close to 70 percent sold."

Versace's charity work includes aid campaigns in quake-struck Haiti and the conflict-ridden countries in Africa and the Middle East. He has also dabbled in Italian politics, securing a parliament seat at Italy's Chamber of Deputies since 2008 as a member of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom Party.

More than a decade ago, Versace and his sister Donatella relaunched the Versace brand after the murder of their brother Gianni in Miami Beach, leading the company to a $1-billion-a-year success in retail sales. — JMT, GMA News

Water interruption in Makati

Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:43 P.M. | Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/27295/metrobriefs-67

Parts of Makati City, including the Makati Central Business District, will be without water on Friday until Saturday as Manila Water conducts an emergency cutting and plugging of an old leaking 600-millimeter cast iron pipeline on Edsa near corner Kalayaan Avenue and Pinagkaisahan Street. The repair work will be carried out from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday. Affected areas include the repair site, Bel-Air, Barangays (villages) Pinagkaisahan, Poblacion, Urdaneta Village and San Lorenzo, and the central business district.

Monorail also planned for Taguig, Pasay, Makati

By: K. A. Martin
11:18:57 P.M. | Thursday, July 21, 2011
Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=Monorail-also-planned-for-Taguig,-Pasay,-Makati&id=35192

A MONORAIL connecting points within the cities of Taguig, Makati and Pasay is being considered by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“We’re now ready to take on another project ... an elevated monorail using electricity to connect Makati to Taguig to Pasay,” BCDA Chairman Felicito C. Payumo told reporters late on Wednesday following the signing of a tollway deal.

The project will be included in the government’s list of public-private partnership projects, he claimed.

Details are still being worked out but Mr. Payumo said the monorail would pass through the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Villamor Airbase in Pasay. It could also be connected to the existing Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT-1) and the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) lines.

“We still have to coordinate [the project] with the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Metro Manila Development Authority,” Mr. Payumo said.

Once the BCDA is given the go signal to pursue the project, it will commission a third party to conduct a feasibility study that will determine the route, cost and the timeline.

Mr. Payumo said he “hopes” to see the transportation project completed before the end of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s term in 2016.

The BCDA chief added that he expected the project to pique the interest of investors.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chairman, told reporters he would be interested.

“It’s a very interesting project,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

The BCDA project follows Monday’s groundbreaking at the University of the Philippines in Diliman for a Filipino-designed monorail project -- backed by the Science and Technology department -- that could be replicated nationwide.

Makati completes 9 infra projects

By ANNA LIZA T. VILLAS
6:00 P.M. | Thursday, July 21, 2011
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/327737/makati-completes-9-infra-projects

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati City government has completed nine infrastructure projects, including new school buildings, to address the need for more classrooms and accommodate the growing number of enrollees in the city’s public schools.

For 2011, the city government of Makati has allocated a P1.6-billion budget for upgrading and expanding its infrastructure projects.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr. inaugurated recently the 12-story Health and Physical Sciences Building at the University of Makati and the four-story Bangkal Elementary School III, and is set to inaugurate seven more newly-completed infrastructure projects in the city.

Binay said the city government has also completed the construction of three other school buildings, namely, the four-story Tibagan High School Extension Building with mezzanine, four-story Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, and four-story Fort Bonifacio High School.

“We continue to invest in modern and sturdy infrastructures to support our programs aimed to promote educational excellence, health and wellness, decent living conditions, and quality public service,” Binay said.

The mayor said the new school buildings will address the need for more classrooms.

The 10-story Health and Physical Sciences Building features four elevators, around 70 parking slots in each of the first four floors, 36 classrooms, a library, computer laboratory, four multimedia rooms, two Chemistry and Zoology rooms, a Microbiology room, and a Science research laboratory. The building also houses a simulated hospital complete with a nurses’ station and pantry, ward, private room, delivery room, nursery, autoclave, orthopedic room, emergency room, and isolation room, among others.

On the 11th and 12th floors, facilities for fitness and sports activities can be found, including a doctor’s consultation clinic, dance studio, saunas for males and females, basketball court, volleyball court/practice wash up area, locker/shower room, calisthenics room, physical education room, and a kitchen and dining area. The building’s roof deck has a landscaped area.

Meanwhile, the four-story Bangkal Elementary School III with mezzanine has 13 classrooms, a library, computer room, audio visual room/stage, principal’s office, three faculty offices, clinic, dressing room, kitchen and canteen, and comfort rooms for males and females in every floor.

Other projects set for inauguration in Districts I and II are the four-story Makati Youth Homes with mezzanine, four-story Bangkal Health Center, four-story Tejeros Tenement, four-story Tibagan High School Extension Building with mezzanine, four-story Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, four-story Fort Bonifacio High School, and the Pembo Community Complex to house the barangay hall, nursery and day care classrooms, and covered court.

Other projects include the renovation and repainting of Ospital ng Makati in Pembo, sreet lighting projects in the barangays, Phase I of the Columbarium Complex in Barangay Valenzuela, and Phase I of the new tertiary hospital in District I, among others.

Fire hits residential area in Makati City

By Karen Boncocan
10:38 A.M. | Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/26989/fire-hits-residential-area-in-makati-city

MANILA, Philippines—Fire broke out in a residential area at South Cembo in Makati Thursday morning, an officer from the Makati Fire Department said.

Sergeant Johnifer Hong said that the fire started at 8:09 a.m. and was put out at 8:43 a.m. after reaching third alarm.

“We sent out 11 fire trucks to the area to put out the fire,” Hong said. He however could not determine whether anyone was injured during the fire.

Hong disclosed that their officers were still at the site and have yet to estimate the cost of damages and determine what had caused the fire.

The ‘Triangle’ in Makati

3:59 A.M. | Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Source: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/6263/the-%E2%80%98triangle%E2%80%99-in-makati

The buzz and the fuss were all over town before 2010 ended. A new string of restaurants is now in what was a forested area in Makati.

Lights were on, gloriously, and everybody was talking about “The Triangle Gardens.” The holiday frenzy has long been over, but not the curiosity and the quest for value for money. And so we flock now and then to The Triangle, rain or shine.

We are rating the restaurants collectively since there is no one that stands out or comes out poorly. When it comes to their specialties, they are on par with one another.

Wee Nam Kee is the Hainanese Chicken Rice place. Its premiere offering is over-rated. We have had better Chicken Rice in Singapore, HK and some homes in the country.

Wee Name Kee serves this either alone, steamed (more like the white chicken in Chinese restaurants), or in combination with roasted bits on a platter. They are either for two diners, four, six or eight.

The broth is given as one sits down, allowed to cool off before the chicken comes out. The diner is likely to drink it up, leaving nothing to mix with the rice. It does not have the usual bed of greens.

Other dishes worth recommending are the Crispy Honey Squids (baby)—truly delicious—the Warm Salad Prawn and the Cereal Prawns. The latter is a version of Camaron con Pellejo (Shelled Prawns), but coated with cereal, rather ingenious.

The restaurant needs to train its staff a lot on the ethics of waiting at tables.

Bon Chon Chicken—This type of fried chicken is normally served in South Korea in restaurants they call Chicken Hofs. What separates it from our Max’s and KFCs is the way they are marinated. We have it on good source that they use Barley syrup. The fowl has nearly paper-thin crispy skin and very tender meat.

Be ready to wait.

Banaffee—a place for luscious cakes and really robust coffee or cold beverages. The girls behind the counter are very attentive, despite the multiple orders coming from very anxious customers.

Take the Banana pie, of course, a sumptuous number of cream, cake base and chunks of lacatan bananas. This can be shared, especially after a big meal.

Yogurt place—It has many flavors, each a super punctuation to a nice eating outing, especially for the calorie-conscious.

Enjoy the lush gardens, they are a rarity…and the food…one can’t really go wrong.

All charge 10 percent for service plus government taxes. Senior cards are honored.

Equal rating for all

Best Filipino heritage–and comfort–food right in Makati business district

New bistro cooks it the way your ‘lola’ did—from Bangus Salpicao to Ampalaya con Tinapang Bangus

By: Vangie Baga-Reyes
4:03 A.M. | Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Source: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/6219/best-filipino-heritage%E2%80%93and-comfort%E2%80%93food-right-in-makati-business-district

“Proud to be Pinoy.”

This is the battlecry of the husband-and-wife team of Andrew and Sandee (Siytangco) Masigan as they have taken to heart their Filipino culinary heritage by opening a straight-forward Filipino restaurant, X/O 46 Bistro Filipino. It serves old-fashioned, home-cooked meals typically prepared during the olden times.

Or, as the veteran couple in the chow business describes their food, “the way our lola’s lola would prepare the food.”

“Everything about this restaurant is a celebration of our heritage,” says Andrew. “We want to depict an old-world service; how things used to be done then, wherein everything was gracious, slow-cooked and properly prepared.”

X/O 46 is quite different from the many Filipino restos in how it attempts to revive traditional food Filipinos grew up on—comfort food at its best.

Tucked away in the busy Valero Street in Salcedo Village, Makati business district, X/O 46 has vintage charm—brick-covered walls, abaca chairs, capiz accents. Paintings depict Philippine sceneries.

At the door of the 50-seat restaurant, servers in baro’t saya and barong tagalog usher diners in and greet them, “Magandang araw, señor/señora.” They wear spanking clean white gloves when serving food.

OPM (Original Pilipino Music) music plays, from kundiman to Metro Pop hits. An LCD TV near the bar shows prime vacation spots in the country.

“The whole place is supposed to take you to that laid back Sunday morning of the olden times,” says Sandee. “People who come here just don’t eat and run. They linger because it is homey and special in a way they like.”

X/O stands for extra-ordinary place, service and food. 46 is the year Filipinos gained independence after the American Commonwealth.

“That’s what our culinary heritage is—extraordinary, fascinating, comforting and complex,” Andrews proudly says. “We studied thoroughly our legacy as a country and we came to appreciate the fact our cuisine is one of the few that has different complexions and nuances.”

Comfort food

X/O 46’s menu reflects the diverse flavors from Pampanga, Ilocos, Bicol and Bulacan.

There are Spanish specialties, too.

Andrew says, “We were under the 300-year Spanish colonial regime. There was, indeed, a big influence in the way we prepare our food. In the restaurant, it’s more like merging the best Spanish and Filipino fare.”

Heirloom recipes are the come-on. Sandee’s dishes put to use her Ilokano, Kampampangan and Bicolano influences, and Andrew his Ilokano (Isabela) and Spanish influences. Executive chef CK Kalaw, Andrew’s nephew who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, Australia, helps in the execution of the recipes.

Instead of serving crusty rolls and butter on the table, the meal starts off with a plate of freshly made puto (ube or pandan) complemented by crab aligue and pineapple-coconut butter, and a refreshing glass of salabat sa tanglad.

X/O has well-thought-out appetizers—Callos à la Madrilena, Rabo de Toro, Gambas al Ajillo, Chupitos Fritos and Bangus Salpicao.

The delicious callos carries the aroma of the chorizo bilbao blending subtly with the ox tripe. Sandee claims their callos is closer to the one they’ve tasted in Spain and it’s the same kind of callos prepared in Andrew’s house when he was growing up.

“When Pinoys make callos they add a whole lot of chick peas or garbanzos. The real callos is practically all ox tripe and stewed the whole day so that all the flavors come out. Others are used to putting tomato sauce or paste. We don’t. We just add three kinds of sausages—chistora, morcilla and bilbao.”

Piece de resistance is the bangus salpicao, a warm bowl of bangus belly cuts bathed in extra-virgin olive oil with lots of garlic and shallots. The fried belly cuts are crunchy outside and juicy inside. It’s very Spanish in origin but it hints of Bicolano because it’s a bit spicy.

The bangus belly melts in the mouth, overwhelming the taste buds with its strong flavors.

They don’t serve calamares, but they have Chupitos Fritos (fried crispy squid) and Chupitos Al Ajillo (squid in olive oil).

Rabo de Toro, one of X/O signature dishes, is an ox tail braised and stewed in sherry wine. But what makes this stew so good is that the fat from the meat slowly melts away during cooking and gets combined with other ingredients, making a very rich and savory sauce. It tastes as good as it looks.

Gambas Al Ajillo is more than just shrimps drenched in olive oil. Andrew’s family hailed from Toledo, Spain, and they prefer their gambas to have more seafood flavor. Apart from olive oil, garlic, salt and chili, the gambas have clam broth, just like in Spain.

“Gambas are not all about garlic, it’s the crustacean taste,” says Andrew.

For main course, lechon kawali tops the list. The recipe comes from Sandee’s mom, Deedee Sytangco, who usually cooks it in her weekend home in Tagaytay. (Deedee used to be the spokesperson of President Cory Aquino.)

“It’s always four days in the making, from boiling and drying to freezing and frying. We don’t take short cuts,” says Sandee.

A winner is Ampalaya con Tinapa—stewed in coconut milk until it loses its bitterness, replacing it with creamy, smooth flavor. It blends well with the smokiness of tinapang bangus.

Tinuktok is similar to Bicol’s laing, gabi leaves stewed in coconut milk. Ground meat like pork, crab and shrimps is wrapped like a small gift package in gabi leaves, boiled and bathed in coconut milk. It’s quite firm and tasty, easy enough to bite into, relish and swallow.

Other favorites are Lengua Estofado, Fabada de Toledo, Bicol Exporess, Lechon Sisig, Dinuguan, Fried Chicken Medalla, Kare Kareng Crispy Tadyang, Kinunot na Lapu-Lapu and Ginataang Sigarilyas.

“We cook these dishes a lot in our own home,” says Sandee. “They are heritage recipes.”

X/O 46 also serves choice Spanish wines best paired with tapas of cheese, fruits and chorizos.

Be proud of it

Since it opened last month, X/O 46 has been getting good reviews and has been packed lunch and dinner. It has also been booked for private functions.

“We should really do something to present our cuisine in a manner that is more elegant, upscale, inviting to foreigners or people who have been exposed to restaurants around the world,” says Andrew. “It’s time we took a step forward for our culinary heritage… for our cuisine to take its place in the world.”

Billboard to death?

By Kap Aguila (The Philippine Star)
12:00 A.M. | Wednesday, July 20, 2011
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=707924&publicationSubCategoryId=72

The Makati Central Business District, with its glistening buildings reaching up to the sky, is a sight that inspires. In times good and bad, it embodies a robust economy; a promise of better days.

This opulent section in the city’s bosom also boasts well-planned, pedestrian-friendly passageways both elevated and subterranean, and is dotted with parks and open spaces that let city dwellers breathe. Yes, it seeks to be the much-ballyhooed utopia for its workforce, leisure seekers, and residents.

If you haven’t noticed it, the Makati CBD is, crucially, bereft of monstrous billboards we have been accustomed to seeing whenever we hit the road. And it is so designed to be. Thank God.

Being a motorist for more than two decades now, I’ve seen how these gigantic billboards – and the huge steel skeletons that brace them – have all but blotted out the sky from our view. They are largely loud, crass, and unapologetic – rudely shoving products, services, and events into your face as you crawl on the pavement. The billboard takeover is well underway.

The recent spate of billboard demolitions and dismantling by the moral police (MMDA to you) has sparked debates on the propriety on either side.

“On the assumption that these billboards are not breaking any of our local laws or ordinances, I believe that there should somehow be a balancing of interests in this issue,” says my good pal Atty. Gani Elacio. “On the one hand, you have the advertiser’s right to promote his merchandise in the pursuit of commerce. On the other, you have the average citizen’s right not to have his sense of morality, decency, and aesthetics offended. As to where this fine balance can be struck, therein lies the rub.”

Indeed, there’s no accounting for taste.

Some among us are offended by the sight of exposed manly pectorals and whatnot; others are offended by guys and gals peddling underwear. Think about it. Isn’t it called underwear because it should be underneath something? It’s not like you can put a “parental guidance” sign underneath the darned thing. It’s visible 24 hours a day for 100 percent of the sighted population.

I remember a couple of instances when almost all the billboards on EDSA were taken down because of typhoons. Driving on that EDSA was a singularly blissful experience. It was, well, peaceful. There were no migraine-inducing, butt-ugly billboards. You got to appreciate the drive; you began to admire the buildings, the trees – everything else that was effectively shut out by the din of advertising messages that were, sometimes, not too cleverly wrapped into prurient packages.

Says Gus Lagman, president of the Automotive Association of the Philippines, “Look at the place in Guadalupe where there used to be this huge billboard. It’s so beautiful now because we can see the trees, and at night, the lighted spiritual statue. Therefore, as a rule, billboards should not cover trees and other scenic places.”

In a manner of speaking, billboards rudely cover some things while blatantly exposing others.

But to say that these giants pose a threat only on our tastes and morals is only half the picture. Billboards do literally kill. In 2006, at the height of typhoon Milenyo, a cab driver was killed (and other people were injured) when a billboard on Estrella Avenue and EDSA in Makati City fell onto his taxi and two other cars, and a passenger bus.

Only after this horrendous accident (which was highly preventable) did billboard owners take down their advertisements during a storm.

Besides, just as we are admonished to keep our hands off our mobile phones while driving, shouldn’t we also be told to keep our eyes on the road?

“I think these things can really cause accidents because they catch our attention,” says Biboy Rivera, an internationally-renowned bowler who does a lot of driving himself.

“In some countries, billboards along the highways follow a standard structure, size, and distance from the road, and from each other. They look all right and they don’t ‘uglify’ the scenery. In urban areas, safety comes first. Their framework should not pose any danger even during typhoons,” narrates Lagman.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s Anti-Billboard Blight Bill Act, crafted in 2006, sought to put a ban on large billboards along major thoroughfares, “billboards on highways that obstruct or obscure the view of vehicular or pedestrian traffic; billboards in residential areas; billboards on any public property such as streets and highways, telephone or utility poles; and billboards on the roof of any building,” reported The STAR’s Christina Mendez in 2007 – the year the Senator re-filed it.

It widely reported that the bill did not pass because of “the influence of a moneyed billboard lobby.”

Yawn. No surprise there in this country of ours where public service is seen as a way to pad your pockets, and augment (make that boost) your income. Never mind that the metro is turning into an ugly pastiche of photos and pitches, never mind people’s safety, never mind. Ka-ching.

“For safety reasons, I think people should tear them down already as soon as the present contracts expire,” concludes Rivera.

“Innocent human beings were torn from their lives and taken, never to return, from the bosom of their loving, bereaved families, simply because nobody dared to face the reality that we Filipinos are living in billboard hell,” said Senator Santiago in 2007.

Hell, yeah.

Last week’s rant by yours truly on the proliferation of potholes in our “Daang Matuwid” drew this reaction for one of our regular Backseat Drivers…

The one thing I noticed is that the maintenance of these roads is not regular. You don’t have to go to C5. In EDSA, the road quality is just pathetic. Where’s the road user’s tax? Well, let’s not go there. I’d say to the president, just do it and do it right like you promised. – brondial

And this reaction from the DPWH… The entire length of the area along C-5 that I mentioned in the column was completely paved. I say, “Bravo”. The best way to feed a persistent writer his own foot is to react positively with haste. Prove me wrong by doing what’s right. Give us what we deserve and hopefully soon I’ll have nothing to rant about – and lots to rave about.

Jamby Madrigal is heir to aunt’s estate–court

By: Miko Morelos
7:37 A.M. | Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/7911/jamby-madrigal-is-heir-to-aunt%E2%80%99s-estate%E2%80%93court

A Makati City Court has declared that former Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal is an heir to the estate of her aunt, the late philanthropist Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal-Collantes, who died three years ago.

In a seven-page order, Branch 148 Acting Presiding Judge Ma. Rita Bascos-Sarabia said questions on the legality of Jamby’s participation should be “put to rest with finality” with the order.

Jamby’s lawyer Ernesto Francisco Jr. said they would seek the nullification of the sale of all Madrigal-Collantes properties done prior to the court order.

In her 2006 will, Madrigal-Collantes left her fortune to her husband, Manuel Collantes; her niece Susana Madrigal, (Jamby’s older sister); her grand-nephew Vicente Gustav Warns, and another niece Gizela Gonzalez-Montinola.

MAKATI BATS FOR GENDER-RESPONSIVE HEALTH INITIATIVES ON 2ND GAD WEEK CELEBRATION

2:53 P.M. | Monday, July 18, 2011
Source: http://www.makati.gov.ph/portal/news/view_news.jsp?news_id=2758

The city government of Makati today conducted free screening for prostate cancer and cervical cancer among male and female employees, respectively, as part of the weeklong celebration of Gender and Development Week focusing on the theme, “A Gender-Responsive Approach to People’s Health: Key to an Empowered and Productive Citizenry.”

Makati Mayor and GAD Council chair Jejomar Erwin S. Binay this morning led the opening program at the City Hall Quadrangle, followed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the GAD Exhibit at the ground floor of the old City Hall.

In his speech, the mayor exhorted all city government employees to be “role models of gender and development” that the city’s constituents can emulate.

“Let us at all times treat our co-workers – whether they are of higher, lower or equal rank – with respect, with civility, and with fairness. And in serving our constituents and other clients, let us exercise utmost patience, humility and compassion, ever mindful of our duty as civil servants,” Binay said.

Meanwhile, acting city administrator and Makati GAD Council vice chair Marjorie A. De Veyra urged city employees to avail themselves of the free screening for prostate and cervical cancer, reminding them that early detection of these diseases will increase their chances of survival and full recovery.

De Veyra said the second GAD Week in Makati focuses on the promotion of gender-responsive health programs that address prevailing health concerns of men and women, taking into account their respective health-seeking behaviour. Recent studies have shown that men tend to have low health-seeking behaviour, while women nowadays seem to be more health-conscious and go for check-ups more often than men.

The Makati Health Department (MHD), a member of the city GAD Council, has offered today free digital rectal examination for prostate cancer for male employees aged 40 and older at the Employees’ Clinic, and free pap smear for the detection of cervical cancer, along with breast examination, for female employees 35 years old and above. The MHD has also offered free counseling on Family Planning and free haemoglobin test to employees.

BINAY URGES PWD OF MAKATI TO AVAIL OF SPECIAL COMELEC REGISTRATION, JOIN FESTIVITIES IN THEIR HONOR

8:42 A.M. | MONDAY, July 18, 2011
Source: http://www.makati.gov.ph/portal/news/view_news.jsp?news_id=2757

Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay today called on city residents under the Persons with Disability (PWD) sector to avail themselves of the special Comelec registration to be held on July 18 and 22, and join in the activities prepared by the city government in support of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPRW) celebration.

“We gladly welcome the move of Comelec to provide a hassle-free registration to our PWD constituents so that they may be able to exercise their right to vote,” Binay said.

Binay said PWD residents of barangays in District I should avail themselves of the scheduled special registration on July 18, Monday, 8am to 5pm at the Comelec Office at the 2nd Floor, Makati Central Fire Station Bldg., Gil Puyat Avenue.

The mayor said those from District II barangays are scheduled for special registration on July 22, Friday, 8am to 5pm also at the Comelec-Makati office. Registrants need only to bring one valid Identification Card, and their National PWD I.D. will be acceptable in lieu of other ID cards.

However, he clarified that PWDs who will be unable to register on the said dates for any reason can still register until October 31, 2012 at the Comelec.

Binay also invited the city’s PWD sector to participate in the activities lined up by the city government for their benefit during the NDPRW celebration from July 18 to 23, which will kick off with a Thanksgiving Mass on Sunday, July 17, 10am at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Orense St., Guadalupe Nuevo.

“The Makati Social Welfare Department, in cooperation with other city agencies, has lined up a series of activities aimed to inspire and promote fitness and well-being among our honourees and their families,” Binay said.

MSWD chief and concurrent acting city administrator Marjorie A. De Veyra said special health missions for PWD will be done simultaneously on Monday, July 18, at Barangay Valenzuela Covered Court in District I and Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo Covered Court in District II. She said the Makati Health Department will be offering medical and dental services, pap smear for women above 18, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol testing, and bone and foot screening for 35 years and above.

On July 19, a Family Fun Day will be held at the Fort Bonifacio High School grandstand. The MSWD has organized two types of games - individual games wherein PWD and their families can participate in the relay, long jump and ball shooting in a hoola-hoop, and group games such as obstacle course, Maria went to town, bottle-straw, longest line and human train.

On July 20, a Search for Talentadong PWD on singing and group dancing will be held from 8am to 12 noon at the Audio-Visual Room of the Nemesio Yabut Elementary School in Guadalupe Nuevo. The Paligsining ng mga Batang May K is slated for July 21, 8am to 12 noon at the 22nd Flr., Makati City Hall. The Paligsining will have four categories – the on-the-spot poster-making contest, slogan-making contest, kundiman singing contest, and folk and cultural dance contest.

De Veyra added that in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Children with Learning Disability, they will conduct a Development Assessment for children two to seven years old with learning disability at the Pio del Pilar SPED Center on July 16 and 23.

Meanwhile, an Education Assessment will be done for 16 students from Pio del Pilar High School and SPED Center on July 18, and 16 students from Fort Bonifacio High School and Nemesio Yabut Elementary School on July 25.

To date, the city has 3,605 registered PWD residents.

Makati prepares activities for PWDs

By ANNA LIZA T. VILLAS
4:43 P.M. | July 17, 2011
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/327202/makati-prepares-activities-pwds

MANILA, Philippines -- Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay yesterday urged the city’s 3,603 registered persons with disabilities (PWDs) to join the activities in line with the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPRW) celebration from July 18 to 23.

“The Makati Social Welfare Department, in cooperation with other city agencies, has lined up a series of activities aimed to inspire and promote fitness and well-being among our honorees and their families,” Binay said.

MSWD chief and concurrent acting city administrator Marjorie A. De Veyra said special health missions for PWD will be done simultaneously at Barangay Valenzuela Covered Court in District I and Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo Covered Court in District II. She said the Makati Health Department will be offering medical and dental services, pap smear for women above 18, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol testing, and bone and foot screening for 35 years and above.

On July 19, a Family Fun Day will be held at the Fort Bonifacio High School grandstand. The MSWD has organized two types of games - individual games in which PWD and their families can participate in the relay, long jump and ball shooting in a hoola-hoop, and group games such as obstacle course, Maria went to town, bottle-straw, longest line and human train.

On July 20, a Search for Talentadong PWD on singing and group dancing will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Audio-Visual Room of the Nemesio Yabut Elementary School in Guadalupe Nuevo. The Paligsining ng mga Batang May K is slated for July 21, 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the 22nd Flr., Makati City Hall. The Paligsining will have four categories – the on-the-spot poster-making contest, slogan making contest, kundiman singing contest, and folk and cultural dance contest.

De Veyra added that in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Children with Learning Disability, they will conduct a Development Assessment for children two to seven years old with learning disability at the Pio del Pilar SPED Center on July 23.

An Education Assessment will be done for 16 students from Pio del Pilar High School and SPED Center on July 18, and 16 students from Fort Bonifacio High School and Nemesio Yabut Elementary School on July 25.

Meanwhile, Binay called on PWDs to avail of the special Commission on Elections (Comelec) registration today, July 18, and July 22.

“We welcome the move of the Comelec to provide a smooth registration to our PWD constituents so that they may be able to exercise their right to vote,” Binay said.

Binay said PWD residents of District I can avail of the scheduled special registration on July 18, Monday, 8 am-5 pm, at the Comelec office at the 2nd floor, Makati Central Fire Station Building, Gil Puyat Avenue.

The mayor said that those from District II barangays are scheduled for special registration on July 22, 8 am-5 pm, also at the Comelec-Makati office. Registrants must bring one valid identification card, and their national PWD ID will be acceptable in lieu of other IDs.

He clarified that PWDs who could not register on the date can still register until October 31, 2012 at the Comelec.

Residential resort living soon a reality

10:46 P.M. | Saturday, July 16, 2011
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/7275/residential-resort-living-soon-a-reality

MANILA, Philippines – This July, true to its promise, Geo Estate Development Corporation will begin the much-anticipated turnover of The Beacon Makati’s Roces Tower units to their new owners.

The Beacon is a resort-style 3-tower condominium development rising right in the middle of the Makati Central Business District, just a stone’s throw away from schools, hospitals, churches, hotels, and first-class shopping centers such as Glorietta and Greenbelt.

The Roces tower is just the first of three towers that compose The Beacon. The construction of the second tower, the Arnaiz, is currently in full swing with 97% of units sold, while the third tower, the Amorsolo, was just recently launched in the market.

The Beacon’s Roces Tower turnover is an important milestone for Geo Estate, as the event highlights this new but fast-rising property developer’s commitment and ability to deliver on its promises.

Geo Estate’s chairman, the highly respected real estate authority Mr. Francisco H.

Licuanan III, remarked, “A company’s success depends on its resolve to maintain its vision and direction.

“Because we focus our expertise on just a few projects, we are able to provide unusually superb-quality output,” he added.

Mr. Licuanan does not exaggerate when he talks about quality and vision, for not only was The Beacon completed right on schedule but the end result is beyond beautiful – it is elegant and high class.

The Beacon’s amenities are first rate and will make you feel like you are always on a vacation, even though you are at home, for the building features landscaped gardens, a

300-meter jogging trail with exercise stations, a 225-square-meter two-level gym, a 450-square-meter lap pool, a kiddie and toddler pool, and a spa.

It also has a function rooms, an emergency clinic, a 20-seater private theater where you can enjoy fun bonding moments with your friends and family, and a bright, spacious and elegant lobby with a concierge to welcome you home every single day.

But as far as luxury amenities go, The Beacon touts its sky lounge as its crowning glory, for here you can enjoy the rare simple pleasure of relaxing in quiet meditation, enjoying some food and wine, or maybe have simple chit-chats with families and friends. Here you can enjoy stunning views of the majestic Manila Bay sunset, the Laguna de Bay sunrise, and colorfully lighted evening skyline of the Makati commercial business district.

The Beacon’s numerous staff members ensure that the sky lounge, as well as the entire building, is well maintained at all times. Security is strict, and the area is guarded 24/7.

The best part of all is that, despite The Beacon’s lush amenities, the prices of its units are friendlier than most of its direct competition’s. (advt)

2 public buildings, inaugurated in Makati

by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
PIA Press Release
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=43746

MAKATI CITY, July 16 (PIA) -- The local government this week inaugurated at least two public buildings that will allow for greater public service for the residents of the city.

Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay on Tuesday led the inauguration rites to the new Makati City Hall Parking Building.

The event coincided with the mayor’s celebration of his 34th birthday at the city hall quadrangle.

The new 10-storey Makati City Hall parking building along F. Zobel St. will house key offices of the city government now occupying the old City Hall.

The structure will also provide parking slots for officials and visitors at the city hall.

The mayor also inaugurated the new 12-storey Health and Physical Sciences Building at the University of Makati (UMak).

This newest structure to the sprawling UMak campus will house various scientific laboratories, a simulated hospital with vital sections, sports facilities, and parking areas on certain floors, among others. (MAKATI/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

INTENSIFIED ANTI-LITTERING DRIVE IN MAKATI NETS 4,331 IN SIX MONTHS

1:46 P.M. | FRIDAY, July 15, 2011
Source: http://www.makati.gov.ph/portal/news/view_news.jsp?news_id=2756

A total of 4,331 litterbugs have been apprehended by the city environmental enforcers in major thoroughfares and streets of Makati as a result of intensified operations from January to June of this year, according to a report of the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay.

DES officer-in-charge Lydia Donato said the number of apprehensions increased by 20 percent compared to 3,620 recorded in the same period last year, as a result of their continuous implementation of City Ordinance No. 2003-095, or the Solid Waste Management Code.

“We will not relax our watch on indiscriminate littering within the city, seeing to it that violators of the ordinance are duly penalized. We fully support Mayor Binay’s thrust of instilling discipline and curtailing this bad habit among residents and visitors alike,” said Donato.

The DES chief said waste materials thrown by the offenders included cigarette butts, candy wrappers, flyers, stickers, and receipts. She also said 611 or 14 percent of the violators were Makati residents, while 3,270 or 86 per cent were transients, mostly male city workers and passersby.

“Aside from being unsightly, rubbish strewn on the streets, especially along gutters and sidewalks, can also cause water surface run-off or flooding when they clog the city’s drainage and inlets,” she said.

Based on the DES report, the city government was able to collect P601,000 in fines and penalties from the six-month operations.

Under the ordinance, individual violators are issued citation tickets and slapped with a fine of P1,000. Violators are usually given seven working days to settle their penalties at the DES office at the ground floor, Old City Hall. Should they fail to show up within the prescribed period, they will be served with a summons and subsequently charged in court. If proven guilty, the offender will be asked to pay the fine, and may be imprisoned between five days to 30 days upon the discretion of the court.

If the violator is a corporation or an establishment, it is liable to pay a fine of P5,000, or to face imprisonment of not less than 30 days.

Makati rolls out "Benefits (B) Card" for residents

Friday, July 15, 2011
by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
PIA Press Release
Source:http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=43584

MAKATI CITY, July 15 (PIA) -- The local government has rolled out Makati Benefits Card or "B Card" for residents of the city.

Mayor Junjun Binay personally led the official launching of the unified benefits card that integrates the Makati Health Plus Card, BLU Card, and Heart Card into a single card.

The city is targeting the first batch of 1,000 recipients of the card from various barangays of the city.

"For the program's pilot implementation, we are giving the cards to our senior citizens," Binay said in a statement.

Likewise, regular employees of the city government have also started to receive their B Cards.

It can be recalled that the Makati Health Plus (MHP), better known as Yellow Card, entitled beneficiaries to free outpatient consultations and subsidized in-patient care in the fields of surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, ENT, ophthalmology, dermatology, and orthopedics at the city-run Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) in Bgy. Pembo.

Likewise, the BLU Card offered burial assistance, wherein family of a deceased senior citizen who is a BLU cardholder will receive financial assistance from the local government.

Makati's Heart Card, meanwhile, gave residents social health insurance scheme for outpatient cardiovascular health care. (MAKATI/RJB/JCP PIA NCR)

MAKATI TO FILE CRIMINAL, ADMINISTRATIVE CHARGES AGAINST RETIRED JUDGE FOR “MIDNIGHT DECISION” ON MAKATI-TAGUIG DISPUTE OVER FORT BONIFACIO

01:27 P.M. | THURSDAY, July 14, 2011
Source: http://www.makati.gov.ph/portal/news/view_news.jsp?news_id=2755

The City of Makati will file criminal and administrative charges against a retired judge for allegedly issuing a “midnight decision” favoring Taguig in a long drawn-out territorial dispute over Fort Bonifacio and several adjoining barangays.

Atty. Kenneth Dasal, head of the city law department, said former Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 153 judge Briccio Ygana issued the decision even after his retirement last July 8, which he said was highly irregular and provides the grounds for the filing of charges.

“Our position is that the judge can no longer render a decision after July 8, 2011 for the basic fact that he is no longer a judge by operation of law on his 70th birthday,” Dasal said.

Dasal said the judge celebrated his 70th birthday last July 9, hence, his last working day as a judge was on July 8, a Friday.

“We expected the judge to render the decision on July 8, 2011, but he did not, “ he said. As proof, Dasal said the city obtained a certification from the Clerk of Court saying that as of July 8, no decision has been rendered on the case and that only a draft, which was still being revised, was available.

But Dasal said city officials were surprised when they received Wednesday afternoon a copy of the judge’s decision dated July 8.

Dasal said he received the decision “under protest.”

“We noted that we are receiving the decision under protest in light of the certification issued by the Clerk of Court, the decision is void,” he said.

The case involved Fort Bonifacio, including the area know as the Inner Fort and several Enlisted Men’s Barrios or Embo barangays in the city’s Second District. Taguig filed the case before the Pasig RTC in 1993.

DSWD, Land Bank renew agreement for CCT

Thursday, July 14, 2011
Source: http://www.positivenewsmedia.net/am2/publish/Main_News_1/DSWD_Land_Bank_renew_agreement_for_CCT.shtml

MANILA, July 14 (PNA) -- To ensure faster delivery of cash grants to beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) renewing their partnership for the implementation of the program.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and LBP president and Chief Executive Officer Gilda Pico will sign the MOA on July 14, 2011 at LBP Makati Business Center, Makati City.

It will be recalled that the DSWD has engaged the services of LBP as its depository and disbursing bank in the implementation of Pantawid Pamilya since 2009.

Under the renewed agreement, the DSWD continuously authorizes the LBP to identify, negotiate, accredit, and enter into separate agreement with qualified conduits for the distribution of cash grants to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

“At present, the payment and distribution of cash grants are made through the LBP cash card or through the CCT conduits, such as rural/cooperative/thrift banks, non-government organizations, and telecommunication companies (TELCOs),” Soliman said.

The LBP, on the other hand, will provide adequate number of tellers to service the beneficiaries scheduled during payout date. If necessary, the LBP will open its banking services on weekends for the distribution of cash cards and payment of cash grants.

In addition, a National Coordinating Committee chaired by the DSWD Secretary with LBP president as co-chair, will be established as well as create the National and Regional Action Centers (NAC/RAC) which are vital in the efficient implementation of CCT. The NAC will be chaired by the DSWD Pantawid Pamilya Program Manager and co-chaired by the head of LBP National Capital Region branches group, while the RAC will be chaired by the DSWD Regional Deputy Project Manager for Pantawid Pamilya, with head of LBP Regional Office as co-chair.

The Pantawid Pamilya reached the targeted one million households in 2010 and on its way to covering additional 1.3 million households for a total of 2.3 million households from the 1,010 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces nationwide by the end of 2011. As of June 16, the DSWD has registered 2,172,130 beneficiaries. (PNA) DCT/FFC/PR/mec

Binay pushes campaign on "trafficking"

7:15pm | Wednesday, July 13, 2011
By JC BELLO RUIZ
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/326667/binay-pushes-campaign-trafficking

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Jejomar C. Binay pushed Wednesday for a Southeast Asia-wide campaign to fight human trafficking as he expressed belief that the Philippines can contribute to formulating a region-wide solution to the problem.

“The Philippine experience of a unified multi-sectoral approach is something we can share with our Southeast Asian friends, as all of our nations have committed to form stronger regional solutions to this evil that plagues us,” the Vice President said in a speech during the Experts’ Meeting to Study the Feasibility of Developing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) in Makati City Wednesday.

The feasibility study is a response to the ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement in Enhancing Cooperation Against Trafficking of Persons in Southeast Asia signed in Jakarta last May.

In a statement, ASEAN leaders vowed to strengthen regional and international cooperation to prevent and combat trafficking in persons.

It also stated that the leaders of the ASEAN promised to enhance the work of the existing network of law-enforcement agencies, including the heads of specialist units to effectively address the issue of trafficking in persons.

“We are proud of what we have managed to accomplish, and we are well aware that there is much to be done. The continued unified vigor of all concerned agencies and stakeholders shall go far in helping us fortify our policies and systems,” Binay said.

“On this firm foundation, we can build stronger working relations with our ASEAN neighbors as we address this common foe. The challenge is upon us. Just as we have worked hard to rise to the occasion, I pray that this gathering shall help an ASEAN Convention in Trafficking in Persons convene at the soonest possible time,” he added.

Makati rolls out Ejeep Heritage Loop as part of "green" route

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=7&r=ncr&id=43165

MAKATI CITY, July 13 (PIA) -- The local government launched Tuesday the Ejeep (electric jeepneys) Heritage Loop Route: the EDSA-Estrella St.-Makati City Hall loop that offers free ride to the public.

In a statement, it said the launching coincided with the birthday of Makati Major Jejomar Erwin S. Binay who said the Ejeep Route is in line with the thrust of the local government to deliver more services to the people.

Likewise, the mayor led the inaugural drive of four units of the Ejeep along the said route as it offered “Libreng Sakay” to the public.

The expansion of the green routes, so called because it aims for less or zero harmful gases, is also a component of the disaster resiliency objectives of the city government to lessen carbon emissions in the atmosphere,” he said.

“I am glad that we are finally opening the Heritage Loop Route that will provide more convenience to the riding public, both residents and non-residents,” he said.

The initial route for Stage 1 of the Heritage Loop Route will cover four kilometers that will start at the Estrella St.-EDSA terminal and will traverse the stretch of Estrella St. The Ejeep will turn left and will travel along J.P. Rizal until F. Zobel St. where it will turn right. It will then turn left to Morong St. and right to Angono St.

On its return trip, the Ejeep will turn right to Osmeña St., turn right to E. Zobel St., turn left to B. Valdez St., then right to Makati Avenue, left to Gen. Luna, left to Burgos St., right to Rivera St., right to J.P. Rizal St., and lastly, right to Estrella St. to go back to the Estrella terminal. The route will be subsequently extended to PRC-Chino Roces Avenue for the implementation of Stage 2 of the project in the near future.

Makati City, the first in the country to establish green routes, has two such itineraries in the Central Business District, the Salcedo Village Route with 3.5 km loop and the Legaspi Village Route with 4.4 km loop. The Heritage Loop Route will service the public from Mondays to Fridays at the following schedules: 7:00 am – 10:00 am, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, and 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Passengers can take a ride at designated loading and unloading stations spaced every 400 meters along the Heritage Loop. An Ejeep can accommodate 14 passengers excluding the driver.

Among Makati's partners in the Heritage Loop project include Motolite, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), DOEN Foundation, NCTS, Century Properties, and Rockwell Land. (MAKATI/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

MMDA dismantles billboard along QC, Boni and Pasay in EDSA

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Source: http://www.positivenewsmedia.net/am2/publish/Main_News_1/MMDA_dismantles_billboard_along_QC_Boni_and_Pasay_in_EDSA.shtml
By Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, July 13 (PNA) -- Personnel of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) dismantled several billboards in Quezon City, Boni-EDSA Mandaluyong and EDSA Pasay City in accordance with its vow to rid the metropolis skyline of billboards with “offensive” content.

Despite the inclement weather, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino personally led the operation on Monday as he insisted their will be no let down in their drive against billboards that violate the provisions of the National Building Code and for featuring “offensive” content.

Among the billboards torn down included the ads featuring actresses Anne Curtis and Angel Locsin on Boni Avenue-Mandaluyong showing both of them clad in brassieres, for being offensive or lewd as well as the ads of Azkal’s skipper Ali Borromeo and Phil Younghusband located along North-EDSA, Santolan, Crame and Guadalupe in Makati.

Last week, authorities also dismantled an underwear ad of the Philippine Volcanoes, the country’s rugby team along EDSA-Guadalupe.

According to Tolentino, the billboards were dismantled not only because of their content but also they have been found erected without any building permit and encroached on setback requirements prescribed in the Building Code.

“We have been reiterating our call against illegal billboards since May when we inspected billboards along Edsa. These billboards have no such permit, and have violated locational and other safety requirements under the Code. Before talking about issues of self-regulations over content of the billboards, first comply with the law,” said Tolentino.

“Secure all necessary permits first, from the local government units, Department of Public Works and Highways, and MMDA to show that they are responsible corporate citizens,” Tolentino added.

Despite the crackdown, the MMDA chief said they are still open to a dialogue with the advertising industry, adding that they are set to discuss the issue with officials of the Advertising Board of the Philippines and the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines to push for the concept of expanded self-regulation.

The crackdown against erring billboards and other ads is part of the MMDA’s “Operation Roll Down, Baby” campaign against illegal billboards that started last May. (PNA) DCT/FFC/CLTC

DOJ rejects Zaldy's bid to turn witness

Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=705567&publicationSubCategoryId=63
By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star)
12:00 A.M. | Wednesday July 13, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday rejected an offer of suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan to become a state witness in connection with the Maguindanao massacre.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Ampatuan, among those principally accused in the multiple murder case, lacks the qualification to become state witness.

“(It’s) not possible. It’s really rejection insofar as public prosecutors are concerned,” De Lima told reporters in a news conference yesterday. “We do not need him.”

She also cited Ampatuan’s insistence of innocence, saying it “goes against the very essence of a state witness.”

“If you offer to become state witness, you should know about it (crime). He’s saying now that he has nothing to do with the massacre. That would be contradictory to our witnesses who pointed to his involvement in the planning stage,” she said.

The DOJ chief added that Ampatuan should be “not the most guilty” for him to qualify as state witness.

“There also should be no other direct evidence which can prove the culpability of the other accused, and that your proffered testimony can be corroborated in its material points,” she said.

The DOJ chief said the prosecution is also aware of speculations that Ampatuan’s move could be a ploy to evade conviction and a strategy of the family to save their assets.

“There’s got to be more to it than meets the eye. It’s not natural human behavior to go against your own brother and father. He wants to save himself and his family. You can say it was conscience knocking on him, but it really has to be evaluated,” she said.

But De Lima said the DOJ might reconsider its stand on Zaldy’s offer should the latter plead guilty during his arraignment and formally apply to become state witness.

She said she also sees nothing wrong with Zaldy’s request for protection while inside the jail.

De Lima has given assurance that the DOJ would successfully prosecute the massacre case and the conviction of the accused is “just a matter of time.”

Zaldy’s lawyer Redemberto Villanueva however clarified his client has no intention to become state witness, but only wants protection from the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).

“Zaldy wants to clarify that [he is not applying to become state witness]. He just wants to cooperate with the government so that the public will know the truth. What we’re saying is that, as a witness, maybe the government can just give him protection,” Villanueva said.

After turning his back on his family, Zaldy has apparently also burned bridges with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a statement released at the DOJ by his lawyer last night, Zaldy said he is willing to cooperate with the administration of President Aquino in investigating anomalies in previous election purportedly perpetrated by the former administration.

“Then President Gloria Arroyo was not the only politician who benefited and manipulated this system of cheating in the ARMM,” he alleged.

Zaldy specifically revealed anomalies and fraud during the 2007 ARMM polls when he won as governor under Arroyo’s ticket.

He bared that his father Andal Sr., who is also indicted as principal accused in the massacre, was called by former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in January 2007 in his office in Makati City to plan the alleged cheating in Maguindanao polls in favor of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

It was during this meeting that Andal Sr. was given P3 million, which was also attended by former provincial administration engineer Norie Unas. The meeting was meant to map out how to ensure a 12-0 vote for the administration.

Zaldy alleged that Mr. Arroyo instructed their family to ensure that then senatorial bet Aquino and other candidates Alan Peter Cayetano and Panfilo Lacson, would get zero votes in Maguindanao.

Arroyo’s lawyer Ruy Rondain however said that the former first gentleman was then convalescing during the period cited by Zaldy’s lawyer in 2007.

Zubiri also denied the charges saying the ARMM polls results were not subject of the poll protest filed by his rival for the last Senate slot, Aquilino Pimentel III.

No discussion to make Zaldy state witness – PNoy

President Aquino said the government would study what Zaldy will reveal about his family members even as he pointed out his administration was not in any way entering into a deal with the former governor and that there was no discussion about making him a state witness.

“I have tasked individuals to assess exactly what he has to offer and whether or not it meets the criteria (of becoming a state witness),” the President told reporters in an ambush interview in Roxas City after the distribution of social services there.

”When you say state witness, there is dropping of charges automatically, the immunity from suit etc. His offer does not contain any of that. He wants to impart –I understand I never talked to him -he wants to impart all of this evidence or purported evidence. As long as he’s not given undue interest,” Aquino said.

Asked how Zaldy’s offer to be a witness would affect the seizure of assets and conspiracy cases of the Ampatuans, the President said “he’s not asking for anything in return.”

“Because if you’re state witness you are being the least guilty, so you can be given immunity from suit. Then if there is immunity from suit, all of his cases will be gone, it becomes moot and academic,” Aquino said.

“But the emissary that I have talked to says he is offering all of this evidence or his testimony without any consideration being asked for,” he added.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the DOJ and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) were tasked to assess Zaldy’s offer.

“The perspective here is that we’re after the truth and we’d like this case to be prosecuted expeditiously. We’d like to assure the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, the relatives of the victims that this is all for the furtherance of truth,” he said.

“If there’s any testimony that can help us further the truth and enlighten what really happened during that day, that’s the reason why we’re looking at the testimony of Zaldy Ampatuan,” Lacierda said.

He said it is the duty of the government to “really discover what really went on and if there’s anybody who can give us direct evidence.”

He said government lawyers have to determine whether Zaldy’s testimony would be “personal knowledge or hearsay,” and that he was not part of the conspiracy.

DILG ‘secures’ Zaldy

The government has “secured” Zaldy, his wife and children a day after he expressed his willingness to become state witness.

“Zaldy has been placed in detention separate from other accused in the massacre, particularly from other members of the Ampatuan clan. We don’t give him perks or any other privileges but we’ll make sure he’ll be safe as well as his family,” Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said in a press conference held at the DILG main office in Quezon City.

Robredo said being “secured” does not necessarily mean Zaldy is enjoying VIP treatment while in detention at the Quezon City Jail Annex.

He said Zaldy made the offer to be state witness when the DILG chief was inspecting the detention in Quezon City Jail Annex in Bicutan, Taguig recently. The inspection of the jail facility, where at least six Ampatuan family members are detained, was to ensure no special treatment was extended to any of them.

But the DILG chief said he was not impressed with the information Zaldy revealed to him.

“Zaldy Ampatuan had told stories, which we already knew. If we want to get those behind the massacre, his statement is not enough,” Robredo said.

“Zaldy claimed he has nothing to do with the massacre but he has to prove it. The government is not after Zaldy but for the interest of justice,” he said.

Former Barongis vice mayor Sukarno Badal tagged the Ampatuans, particularly former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who allegedly gave the order to his men to open fire at the victims.

Ampatuan Jr. allegedly led more than a hundred of his men in stopping a convoy carrying supporters of a political rival and journalists in Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009. The Ampatuans denied the charges.

Aside from Zaldy, other Ampatuans in the lockup are former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Sr., former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Jr., former mayor Anwar, Kagi Akmad, and Sajid.

Other detained members of the Ampatuans are Norodin Datumanong Ampatuan, and Tumi Timba Abas. Police are also hunting 84 accused—mostly members of the civilian volunteer organization (CVO), who acted as private armed groups of the Ampatuans.

Mangudadatu camp rejects Zaldy as state witness

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and his relatives are against taking the suspended governor as state witness, saying it was a “desperate” act.

Mangudadatu told reporters in a text message he is optimistic that the DOJ will not allow Zaldy to avail of the government’s witness protection program since he is also a key suspect in the massacre.

Interviewed by dzRH radio yesterday, Mangudadatu said Zaldy’s turnaround might have something to do with the upcoming elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Zaldy was ARMM governor when he was detained for the Maguindanao massacre.

But Zaldy’s relatives in Ampatuan Shariff Aguak, Datu Unsay, Datu Saudi and Mamasapano towns said it is absurd to insinuate that Ampatuan’s bid to be free could be part of their clan’s preparation for the 2013 ARMM elections.

“We are aware that all Datu Zaldy wants is to clear his name and clarify that he wasn’t involved in that massacre. It is a known fact in Maguindanao that it was masterminded only by two Ampatuan clan members,” a cousin of the ARMM governor, who is a senior public school teacher in Shariff Aguak said.

He betrayed his father [Andal Sr] and brother [Andal Jr] in order to save himself,” said lawyer Nena Santos over the phone.

Santos added the prosecution does “not need” the testimony of Zaldy because they have “enough witnesses to prove conspiracy,” in plotting the massacre.

Santos, citing the testimony of their witnesses said Zaldy was present and consulted in hatching the plot against Mangudadatu.

Santos also questioned the “motive” and “timing” of Zaldy’s actions, saying it could be connected with the filing of cases against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We’ve been receiving reports that there is an ex-deal between Zaldy and Malacañang,” Santos said.

She also questioned Malacañang’s statement that Zaldy could still be state witness, when such prerogative belongs to the prosecution alone.

“Maybe [Zaldy] will testify on what he knows about GMA at the expense of the massacre case,” she said as she demanded explanation on the Palace’s statement.

Zaldy had said he is willing to testify regarding the crime even if it will implicate his family “Yung tatay ko, yung kapatid ko, yung ibang akusado dinidinig na ang kanilang kaso sa korte. Kahit sino pa man na-involve sa krimen na ito na karumal-dumal. Kahit sino pa ang matatamaan, handa ako,” he said in an interview aired by GMA-7.

Gregorio Narvasa II, counsel for Andals Sr. and Jr., meanwhile, refused to give comment.

“He doesn’t like to grant any interview because the case is already in court,” said Narvasa’s staff Zoila Ibañez over the phone.

Lawmakers smell something sinister

Lawmakers expressed suspicions about Zaldy’s offer and warned the DOJ against accepting him as a state witness, saying he is among the most guilty.

“His move is highly suspect. The Ampatuans are shrewd, politically savvy and manipulative. There is more to this than meets the eye,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said.

She said Ampatuan may only testify to exonerate himself and would not resolve the case. “Let him sing first,” Ilagan said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, a veteran prosecutor before entering politics, said he doubts if Ampatuan would qualify as a state witness.

“State witness is being resorted if there is no sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” Barzaga said.

“Moreover, the rules of court require that the state witness should appear to be the least guilty among the accused. I do not think that (former) governor Zaldy Ampatuan would be able to meet these requirements,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares described the offer to turn state witness as “a desperate attempt on the side of the Ampatuans to salvage their clan.”

“He (Zaldy) may be a credible witness but his testimony according to the victims and the prosecution is not crucial to pin down the culprits behind the massacre,” Colmenares said.

“I don’t want one of the most guilty parties to be freed on the pretext of becoming a state witness. Besides his testimony may be double-edged and may go either way and may damage the prosecution,” he said.

Victims’ lawyer also says no

Lawyer Harry Roque, representing the families of some of the slain journalists in the massacre, for his part criticized some Cabinet officials for allegedly intervening in the case.

Roque said he received information that some Cabinet officials have acted as an intermediary between the President and Zaldy, but refused to identify them in the meantime.

He also took exception to the statement of Robredo that Zaldy’s latest offer should be studied. “The victims’ families are upset. The DILG secretary is acting like a counsel for the Ampatuans,” Roque said in an interview.

“What does he (Robredo) need to study? Does he have any relation to this case?” he added.

He said statements relating to the prosecution of the multiple murder case are solely within the functions of the DOJ, the lead agency in the case.

He vowed to file a formal protest about the interference of some Cabinet officials before the Palace and the DOJ. With Aurea Calica, Delon Porcalla, Reinir Padua, John Unson, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Aie Balagtas-See, Paolo Romero

Makati launches third e-jeepney route

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/07/12/11/makati-launches-third-e-jeepney-route
By abs-cbnNEWS.com
4:00 P.M. | Tuesday, July 12, 2011 (Updated as of 07/12/2011 10:44 PM)

MANILA, Philippines – In an effort to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles roaming around the city, the Makati City government launched the third route for its e-jeepney program on July 12.

The new route, named as the “Makati Heritage Route,” is the third one to be launched by the city government after it launched its e-jeepney program in 2009. Five new rechargable e-jeepneys were also allotted for the new route.

The route will be added to the existing routes in Makati: the Legaspi Village Loop and Salcedo Village Loop.

The route covers around 5 kilometers and goes around Barangay Poblacion from City Hall where many ancestral houses are located, the Museo ng Makati, Poblacion Park, Pio Del Pilar High School, then all the way through the Power Plant Mall toward Estrella Street and on to EDSA.

Each e-jeepney can travel up to 150 kilometers and can be charged to full for 6 hours. It can carry up to 15 passengers.

Makati has now a total of 14 e-jeepneys, each priced at P700,000.

Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr. said Makati’s e-jeepney program aims to show that a city from a developing country like the Philippines can still adopt the building of infrastructures and transportation systems aligned with the changing climate.

"As developing countries like the Philippines continue to face the so-called triple crises facing the economy, energy and the environment, cities like Makati can show the way and lead local government efforts at building climate resilient infrastructure and development of sustainable transportation programs," said Binay in a statement.

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Executive Director Red Constantino also added that the role being played by cities, which consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and are responsible for over 70% of global CO2 emissions, in averting climate change is very important.

"Cities are uniquely positioned to lead global efforts to address climate change. Makati demonstrates the kind of bold leadership necessary for cities and municipalities to abandon business-as-usual, carbon-intensive energy and waste management practices. Cities with visionary leaders are poised to leapfrog towards resilient and low carbon development,” he said.

"Despite the lack of progress in the emissions reduction commitments of developed countries, developing countries like the Philippines continue to adopt win-win policies to avert climate change,” he added. - With a report from Dennis Datu, dzMM

BINAY INAUGURATES NEW BUILDINGS, LAUNCHES ‘MAKATI B CARD’, AND THIRD E-JEEPNEYS ROUTE ON 34TH BIRTHDAY

2:31 P.M. | TUESDAY, July 12, 2011
Source http://www.makati.gov.ph/portal/news/view_news.jsp?news_id=2754

Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. BinayMayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay today inaugurated the new Makati City Hall Parking Building, launched the Makati Benefits Card for residents, and formally opened the third route of the electric jeepneys in the city’s old Poblacion and Guadalupe Viejo districts.

The events coincided with the Mayor’s celebration of his 34th birthday at the City Hall Quadrangle. Among the well-wishers were the Mayor’s parents, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and Dr. Elenita S. Binay, other family members, TV and movie celebrity Kris Aquino and stylist, Liz Uy, and hundreds of city and barangay officials, residents and employees.

The mayor led the official launching of the ‘Makati B Card,’ a unified benefits card that integrates the Makati Health Plus Card, BLU Card and Heart Card into a single card. Starting today until July 21, 2011, the city government will issue the first 1,000 B Cards to senior citizens in various barangays as part of the program’s pilot implementation. Regular employees of the city government have also started to receive their B Cards.

Another highlight of the day was the inauguration of the new ten-storey Makati City Hall Parking Building along F. Zobel St. near City Hall, which will house key offices of the city government now occupying the old City Hall, and parking slots for officials and visitors. He also turned over to the Makati Police Department 47 motorcycle units.

Binay also drove an electric jeepney (e-jeepney) to launch the four-kilometer Heritage Loop Route. Four units of ejeepneys will ply the route, offering free rides to the public. The e-jeepneys will start at the Estrella St.-EDSA terminal and traverse the streets of barangays Poblacion and Guadalupe Viejo, the old communities of Makati that date back to the Spanish era.

The Mayor also inaugurated the new 12-storey Health and Physical Sciences Building at the University of Makati (UMak). The newest addition to the sprawling UMak campus will house various scientific laboratories, a simulated hospital with vital sections, sports facilities, and parking areas on certain floors, among others.

Makati to expand "green routes"

Source: http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=65&articleId=704844
By Aie Balagtas
12:00 A.M. | Monday, July 11, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The local government of Makati will expand on Tuesday the “green routes” used by the city’s e-jeepneys.

In a statement, the city government said the route, which will be called the Heritage Loop, will be Makati’s third green route. The first two are the Salcedo Village Route, with a 3.5-kilometer loop and the Legaspi Village Route, with its 4.4-km loop.

The Heritage Loop Route e-jeepneys will serve the public from Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It will start at the Estrella street-EDSA terminal, go through the whole stretch of Estrella street, turn left on J.P. Rizal, and right on F. Zobel St. It will then make a left turn on Morong street and a right on Angono street.

On the return trip, the e-jeeps will turn right on Osmeña street, right on E. Zobel street, left on B. Valdez street, right on Makati Avenue, left on Gen. Luna, left on Burgos, right on Rivera, right on J.P. Rizal, and lastly, right on Estrella street to return to the Estrella terminal.

“The route will be subsequently extended to PRC-Chino Roces Avenue for the implementation of Stage 2 of the project in the near future,” the city government said.

Passengers can take a ride at designated loading and unloading stations spaced every 400 meters along the Heritage Loop. An e-jeep, which is unique in Makati, can accommodate 14 passengers, excluding the driver.

Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay said the launch of the Heritage Loop Route is in line with the city government’s free ride program to the public.

Makati building aims to rid city of mercury waste

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/07/10/11/makati-building-aims-rid-city-mercury-waste
9:39 A.M. | Sunday, July 10, 2011 (Updated as of 07/10/2011 9:39 AM)

MANILA, Philippines - A building in Makati collected 1.58 tons of light bulbs and batteries last month in an effort to make the city free of mercury waste.

The campaign, called "Hg-free Makati," was initiated by developers of the Zuellig building. They observed that light bulbs and batteries, which contain mercury, are normally thrown with regular trash.

Mercury is released when light bulbs break and batteries are left in landfills, and can contaminate air and water supply. The toxic metal can also cause a variety of health issues such as tremors, respiratory problems, and impaired vision and hearing.

"The safety of our community and betterment of the environment are top priority for the city of Makati," Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Jun" Binay said in a statement. The city government supports Zuellig's "Hg-Free" campaign.

He added, "We intend to continually encourage the public to make eco-friendly choices on a daily basis."

Recycling bins have been put up at the Makati City Hall, the Zuellig Building, and the Urdaneta Village Office. Here, people can bring their used and unbroken light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, and batteries used for toys, appliances, laptops and mobile phones.

Innovative Technology Environmental Solutions, a government-accredited waste management facility, then uses a "bulb eater" to safely contain the mercury found in the bulbs and tubes, while the other parts are recycled.

"Through the involvement of the community to keep Makati toxic-free, we hope to foster environmental consciousness," said developer Daniel Zuellig.

Makati City is home to over 500,000 people in over 100,000 households.

Makati beefs up resiliency vs. disasters

Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=42626
By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
Saturday, July 09, 2011

MAKATI CITY, July 9 (PIA) -- In line with the observance of Disaster Consciousness Month, the local government, through the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (MDRRMC), has lined up a series of resiliency-building activities this July.

According to Makati Mayor and MDRRMC chair Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, he has called on all city government employees, barangay officials and residents, and all stakeholders to support the national celebration through participating in activities intended for them.

Around 100 selected city hall employees and security officers recently attended an orientation on Basic Emergency Response Seminar for Emergency Responders conducted by members of the Makati Rescue and Makati C3 (Command Communication and Control Center) in cooperation with the Human Resource Development Office.

On Monday, the celebration kicked off with a three-day orientation seminar on Building Emergency Evacuation Plan for an Earthquake attended by administrators and security officers of various establishments in Barangay San Lorenzo. Another batch will be oriented this coming July 20 to 27 at the barangay hall from 2pm to 5pm.

Today, members of Makati Rescue will attend a Flood Swiftwater Awareness Level Seminar (Part I) and Swimming Skills Test for LGU Rescue Teams at OCD, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On July 11, there will be an MDRRMC consultation meeting on Disaster Mitigation & Preparedness Program from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Makati C3 office, while the Gawad Kalasag Validation Team will visit City Hall on July 13. A Photo Exhibit/Display of Disaster Event & Emergency Response Operations will be held July 13-15, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. at the 23rd and 24th floors of Makati City Hall;

From July 14 to 15, an Emergency Response Orientation Seminar for Barangay First Responders will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the 22nd Floor of Makati City Hall. At the same venue, a Barangay Seminar on Contingency Planning for the two districts will be held from July 18 to 19, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Other activities lined up include a Simultaneous Earthquake Evacuation Drill on July 20-21, 7-10:00 a.m. at Legazpi Area, Barangay San Lorenzo; Flood/Swiftwater First Responder Training Operation Level, July 22-24, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at Infanta, Quezon and Brgy. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal; and Barangay Seminar on Incident Command System & Mass Casualty Management System (District I and II), July 25-26 and 29-30, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., 22nd floor of Makati City Hall.

On July 28, Makati C3 will participate in the 2011 Skills Olympic and Benchmarking at the Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Likewise, the city government is also set to conduct an earthquake evacuation drill within July to increase the level of awareness of the Makati City Hall employees in earthquake emergency.

In September 2010, Makati was recognized by the World Bank as a ‘climate-resilient city’ and has won Gawad Kalasag Award for the 2010 Best City Disaster Coordinating Council, a nationwide search conducted by the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Last May, the city was named by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) as ‘Role Model City’ because of its global campaign to make cities resilient to disasters, including those brought about by climate change.

Presidential Executive Order No. 137 has declared the month of July as National Disaster Consciousness Month in order to strengthen public awareness on the importance of disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. (RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

Replacement of water pipes benefits thousands

Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=42570
By Jell E. Guzman
Saturday, July 09, 2011

QUEZON CITY, July 9 (PIA) –- In replacing 19 kilometers of old, rusty, and leaking pipes, more than 9,800 families in nine barangays of Navotas City now enjoys 24-hour water supply.

Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco, together with Maynilad president and CEO Ricky Vargas and Maynilad head of Business Area Operations Chris Lichauco, led the ceremonial cutting and hydrant opening during the 4th cityhood anniversary of Navotas on June 24.

“We thank the local government of Navotas for supporting our project. With their cooperation, we were able to give Navoteños improved water service levels in time for their 4th cityhood anniversary,” said Vargas.

The P108 million Maynilad pipe replacement project in Navotas includes Barangays BBN, BBS, Navotas East, Navotas West, Sipac Almasen, San Jose, Daanghari, San Roque, and Tangos.

According to Maynilad, water supply availability in Navotas City has increased from 18 hours to 24 hours. Water pressure also improved from 3-4 pounds per square inch (psi) to 20psi.

The pipe replacement project will also recover around 16 million liters of water per day (MLD), enough to supply the daily requirement of 16,000 households.

Maynilad, a concessionaire of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) currently serves customers in the West zone of the Greater Manila Area to include Manila (except San Andres and Sta. Ana), Quezon City (west of San Juan River, West Avenue, EDSA, Congressional, Mindanao Avenue, the northern part starting from the Districts of the Holy Spirit & Batasan Hills), Makati (west of South Super Hi-way), Caloocan, Pasay, Paranaque, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon, and also some areas in the province of Cavite: Cavite City, Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario. (Maynilad/RJB/JEG-PIA-NCR)

Makati mayor orders all school canteens inspected

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/22054/makati-mayor-orders-all-school-canteens-inspected
By Julie M. Aurelio
8:21 P.M. | Thursday, July 7th, 2011

MANILA, Philippines (Philippine Daily Inquirer) — Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr. ordered his city officials on Thursday to inspect all public school canteens following a suspected food poisoning that downed six high school students.

Although the six Makati High School students were discharged already, the city government said it would thoroughly probe what was suspected to be food poisoning on Wednesday afternoon.

Binay cited a report of sanitation inspectors, which found out that insecticide products were stored in the same cabinet as kitchen utensils.

The report of Dr. Estella Barrios, health department chief, recommended for the temporary suspension of the school canteen’s sanitary permit after the students fell ill.

“The incident needs to be thoroughly investigated to make sure what had caused their sudden illness,” Binay pointed out.

On Wednesday, six students of the MHS Annex I in Barangay Poblacion were rushed to the Ospital ng Makati as they fell ill after eating food from the school canteen.

The students were discharged after being given oral re-hydration salts at the Ospital ng Makati the same evening with a diagnosis of acute gastritis.

Barrios said the students complained of dizziness, abdominal pain and vomiting after eating lunch.

Three of the students ate burger patties with ketchup from the canteen, while two bought fried eggs and ate them with rice from

home.

Barrios noted that another student recalled not having taken lunch but drank a chocolate drink and mango shake on Tuesday, the day before the poisoning

As standard procedure, the city government’s sanitary inspectors has sent samples of fried egg, ketchup and cooking oil for testing at the Food and Drug Administration.

“We have to wait for the FDA results before making any conclusion, but clearly there was a violation by the canteen operator when they stored insecticides in the same cabinet where they kept kitchen utensils,” Barrios said.

Makati wants new high-rise buildings to have seismograms

Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=41504
July 3, 2011
by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan

MAKATI CITY, July 3 (PIA) -- The local government is implementing a "no seismogram, no occupancy permit" for all high-rise buildings currently being constructed in the city.

This, after the City Building Official warned owners, developers and contractors of high-rise buildings under construction that they will not be able to obtain an occupancy permit from City Hall if they fail to install seismograms as required by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In a memorandum issued earlier, Building Official and City Engineer Nelson B. Morales reiterated that said requirement was mandatory for high-rise buildings under construction, and non-compliance will be made a ground to deny their application for an Occupancy Permit.

The DPWH Memorandum Circular No. 03 dated March 31, 2011 cites Section 105(2) of the National Structural Code of the Philippines, which requires the installation of accelerometers or seismograms in structures measuring over 50 meters high. Fifteen-storey buildings are approximately 50 meters high and considered as high rise structures.

On the other hand, the National Building Code requires the issuance of an occupancy permit before a new building can be used or occupied.

A building first needs to meet prescribed standards in various aspects, including mechanical, electrical, sanitary/plumbing and fire safety, in order to secure an occupancy permit.

Around 30 more high-rise structures are currently under construction in Makati, the country’s financial center.(RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)
Streetlights in the dark

Even those who don’t have ungodly work hours that have them walking the streets at night may want to know more details about the lampposts that light up their cities.

By knowing where these streetlights have been built, residents and most especially commuters may actually locate the lampposts, and propose to their LGUs where else in the city more should be installed. Or, they can report to their LGUs where lampposts need repair, consume energy 24/7, or even, where there have just a swarm of lampposts.

The value or lack of value in LGU spending on lampposts is a matter that citizens may also compare, if they are so armed with data on the unit cost of these lampposts.

For instance, of the six cities that provided documents regarding their streetlights as part of the PCIJ audit, Makati turned out to have the biggest number of lampposts at 4,803 that the city said were constructed from 2004 to 2010. Malabon comes in second with 2,929, and then Quezon City with 1,660, Mandaluyong with 1,616, and San Juan, 921.

While specifications were not provided, the price variance for the lampposts that various LGUs install in NCR is an interesting matter. Documents showed that in Malabon, each lamppost costs P31,486.80 while in San Juan, each unit costs P49,621.90.

In Makati, the cost of a lamppost ranges approximately from P240,000 to P280,000. This amount, according to Makati City Engineer Nelson R. Morales, includes the following: excavation/restoration and other civil works, wirings and conduits, illuminated street names, programmable lighting controller, and MERALCO service connection. Morales also noted that the “cost varies depending on additional problems that might be encountered (on) site" such as “drainage diversion, unavailability of Secondary Distribution Facilities, and others…"

How much LGUs pay in public funds to maintain the lampposts are curious details, too. Quezon City spends P34.85 million per month on average, or more than a million pesos a day, on the power consumption of its lampposts. Its projected power consumption for 2011, as of March, 14, 2011, is a hefty P418.20 million. And of this amount, the projected power bill for so-called ornamental lampposts account for 41 percent, or P171.31 million. – With research by Anne Jeanette O. Priela, Krystal Kay S. Jimena, David Faustino T. de Castro, Essen Mei M. Miguel, Henor G. Gotis, Eric H. Rivera, and Stephanie Directo, PCIJ, July 2011.
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