The Inbox
  • By Darlene Cay, VERA Files

    The Commission on Elections on Wednesday said it has packed and shipped 94.65 percent of the materials needed for the October 28 barangay polls.

    Comelec Commissioner Al Parreño, who heads the Committee on Deployment, said the distribution of paraphernalia is being implemented according to the plan.

    "Wala naman kaming nakikitang problema sa paglilipat. Maayos 'yung delivery sa ngayon…Kumpleto na ang ating delivery by this week. Earliest by October 24 (We do not see any problem in the deployment [of election materials]. The delivery is running smoothly. It will be done by this week, earliest is by October 24),” he said.

    The Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila. (Photo by ARTHA KIRA PAREDES)Only Regions III, IV and National Capital Region (NCR) have not received the election materials. NCR is always the last to receive the election materials because Comelec prioritizes deployment to the provinces.

    The Comelec said Monday’s political exercise is expected to see a rise in the number of voters compared to the volume in the last

    Read More »from Comelec gears up for Monday’s elections
  • Cherie Gil in a scene from Mana.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    In his latest film, “Mana” premiered at the MOA recently, director Gabby Fernandez talks of dealing with two lifetimes – his own and that of his parents.

    Currently the chairman of the Production Design Department at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Fernandez was born in Manila descending from the De los Santos and Morenos of Tondo. But he studied in La Salle Bacolod where he had a close glimpse of the Negros upper class.

    Still in his mind were tales from the old world setting specially after Liberation.

    In his film, Mana, Fernandez zeroes in on a family quite unsettled on what to do with a family secret. The result is a beautiful film with old world charm.

    “I think I managed to portray two lifetimes in Mana,” reveals Fernandez who was art director in the Peque Gallaga-Lore Reyes film, Magic Kingdom(1997)”Gangland (1998) and Puso ng Pasko (1998). “I was (and still am) fascinated by the sophisticated culture and the strong sense of folklore

    Read More »from In between two lifetimes
  • icanserve

    By Mylah Reyes Roque, VERA Files

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine laboratory check-up last August. I was not expecting it; I did not see any signs and never felt any symptoms. But we acted quickly. Within two months, my husband and I consulted doctors, had more tests, and thought long and hard before deciding on a treatment plan, which culminated in surgeries.

    I have been quiet but I want to tell people my story because I discovered something along the way: I am not unique, I am one statistic among many, yet our numbers represent the best argument for early breast cancer detection.

    1. It is more common than I thought. I discovered many other women undergoing treatment—someone’s wife, a friend’s mother, an aunt, somebody else’s daughter or cousin.

    The Philippine Cancer Society (PCS), a non-government organization that keeps a cancer registry and helps craft public health policy, says breast cancer is the most prevalent among the different types of cancers, and

    Read More »from 7 things to share with breast cancer patients (and their families)
  • By Darlene CayVERA Files

    The Commission on Elections has so far pooled a mere P102 million from barangays to augment funds for the October 28 elections, or only about a quarter of the amount the body poll would have collected if all the 42,028 barangays nationwide remitted their share.

    Only 17 percent or 6,981 villages turned in their funds as of the Oct 18 deadline, according to the Summary of Barangay Shares Remitted, a document released to VERA Files by the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations on Tuesday.

    On July 10, Comelec passed Resolution No. 9739, which requires all barangays to set aside no less than P10,000 from their general funds to help defray election expenses. The funds will be used to augment the measly P1.2 billion allotted by Congress for the barangay polls.

    Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said the budget will be used “to ensure that the elections are honest, orderly, peaceful and credible.”

    As of October 21, the police has identified

    Read More »from Comelec fails to collect village poll funds

  • By Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    Photos by Anna Leah Sarabia

    Francesca "Chiqui" Mabanta, one of the women in turquoise tops at the Winner Foundation Inc.'s recent silent auction of art, antiques and collectibles, once visited the Arroceros Forest Park in Manila with her then British boyfriend.

    She found genteel ladies holding a picnic under the canopy of old and young trees. She learned how they were putting up a seemingly futile fight against the city mayor at that time to keep the forest protected from the encroachment of concrete structures. So enraged was she that she quickly signed up for membership.

    Regina "Ninit" Paterno, foundation chair, recalled how the foundation later evolved from the time when she and her friends joined former First Lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos in the Clean and Green Movement.

    In the early 1990s, their group was still groping their way. She said, "We were planting all over Metro Manila--in Ortigas Center, along Taft Avenue, even at the Ninoy Aquino

    Read More »from Helping Manila to breathe easier
  • By Darlene Cay, VERA Files

    The Commission on Elections, sitting en banc on Tuesday, scheduled the special barangay elections for Bohol and Zamboanga on November 25.

    The poll body earlier announced the suspension of barangay polls in Bohol, which was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake exactly a week ago. Comelec also suspended elections in Zamboanga City on October 8 due to the standoff between the military and Moro National Liberation Front rebels.

    Comelec wants the special elections in the two areas to take place before the end of the month as Republic Act 9164 specifies that the term of the incumbent barangay officials must end on November 30. The nationwide barangay elections will be held on October 28.

    “We don't want a holdover, unless talaga, ‘wag naman mangyari sana, na may mangyari pa ulit na grabe (We don’t want a holdover, unless something bad will happen again–which I hope does not happen),” Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.

    He said they decided to suspend the

    Read More »from Comelec sets Bohol, Zambo special polls on Nov 25
  • Using calamity an excuse for another calamity


    Aquino in Bohol 2

    By Ellen Tordesillas

    One week after the 7.2 magnitude tremblor that shook Bohol, Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas, many are still unaccounted for.

    Heart rending is the report about the missing five children playing by the waterfall, which has also been obliterated by landslides that followed the quake.

    There may still be areas, isolated by the destruction of roads and bridges that are still to be reached by rescuers and people who are bringing assistance.

    Speaking of assistance, it is good to know that China has set aside the strain in diplomatic relations and condoled with the Filipino people in this moment of tragedy. Beijing sent through the Red Cross $80,000 assistance.

    Taiwan, with whom the Philippines recently patched up relations after the unfortunate killing by a member of the Philippine Coast Guard of a Taiwanese fisherman in the disputed waters in Balintang Channel gave $100,000. The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Manila said more humanitarian

    Read More »from Using calamity an excuse for another calamity
  • Patrick King Pascual, VERA Files

    Ben Chan, 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year

    Overcoming obstacles and turning them into opportunities won for businessman Ben Chan the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines award for 2013.

    “The biggest challenge of my business turned out to be the most rewarding,” Chan,chairman of the board of Suyen Corporation, shared his experience relating how he rebuilt his business from the ashes of a shop razed by fire and renamed it BENCH/ which has expanded to other lines and gone global.

    “You'll find that the energy that you create from following your passion will take you through the ups and downs of running a business. And it will eventually be the substance that will drive your brand.” Chan stressed. “You need to be disciplined and dedicated and you will find fulfillment and success in your chosen endeavor.”

    Chan was named Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines for embodying the entrepreneurial values of leadership, team building, innovation, financial performance and societal transformation.


    Read More »from Success awaits those who dare break barriers
  • Bela's puto Calasiao

    Text and photos by Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    Mark Sablan is that type of guy who'd walk a mile or more to satisfy his food cravings.

    Now the general manager of Marquee Mall in Angeles, Pampanga, he travels far and always find it worth the trip in the company of friends and family. When in Angeles, he heads for outlets that serve his favorites: Nathaniel's buko pandan, Kabigting's halo-halo, Susie's tibo-tibok and Ikabud's tokwa and talong.

    The Marquee Mall’s outdoor park is the venue for "Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival” which started today up to Sunday.

    Small-to-medium-scale entrepreneurs will take center stage at the festival alongside more celebrated chefs: Chef Rolando Laudico, Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition judge; Chef Sau del Rosario, proud son of Pampanga, who has put up a unique decadent flavor for an ice cream line; Sabrina Artadi, beauty queen-star of TV’s Sabrina’s Kitchen; and local legend Lillian Borromeo of Kusina ni Atching Lillian who continues to wow

    Read More »from Eating and loving local
  • Baritone Joseleo Logdat with winner’s certificate and silver medal.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Filipino baritone Joseleo Logdat won second place in the opera category of the 14th Osaka International Music Competition in Osaka, Japan last Sunday.

    The complete list of winners of the opera category include first prize winner Stefan Hadzic from Serbia ( Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien), second prize winner Joseleo Logdat from Philippines (Elisabeth University of Music) and third prize winners Seung Hee Kim from Korea (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien) and Dymfna Meijts from Austria (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien) and two other Japanese contestants.

    A masteral student at the Elizabeth University in Hiroshima where he is a member of the Amici Trio, Logdat sang Giordano‘s “Nemico Della patria” from Andrea Chenier in the the semi-finals last August 23 in the Hiroshima region, and clinched the second prize with the well-rendered aria, “Per me Giunto” from Verdi’s Don Carlo last October 13 in

    Read More »from Filipino baritone bags second prize in Osaka music tilt


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