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Sotto, Zamora, Moreno topple giants; make history in PH politics

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

(L-R) Vico Sotto, Francis Zamora and Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso

MANILA, Philippines – The political arena had a complete turn-around in major cities in the country as the reign of political clans ended and new faces emerged victorious in Monday’s 2019 midterm polls.

Pasig City’s new, “millennial” mayor

A promise of a “new kind of politics” is about to start in Pasig City after 29-year-old Councilor Vico Sotto braved the pressure to break the almost three-decade unbroken line of Eusebios in the country’s eighth largest city.

On his official Facebook page, Sotto thanked his supporters for the trust while he promised to lead the city to its new beginning.

“Maraming salamat. Sa lahat ng nagbigay ng tiwala, sa mga bumoto, at sa mga nakiisa sa ating laban,” the incoming Mayor said.

“Sulit po ang pagod at effort natin. Narinig na ng bayan ang ating tinig. Handa na ang Pasig para sa tunay at pangmatagalang pagbabago!” he added.

Sotto, who topped the councilor race in 2016 in his first ever attempt in public office, is the son of veteran celebrities Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes.

Sotto did not field a vice mayor which left the incumbent Iyo Christian Caruncho Bernardo unopposed.

His party-mate former Rep. Roman Romulo also won the race against Mayor Bobby Eusebio’s brother incumbent Rep. Ricky Eusebio and is now a returning congressman for Pasig City’s lone district.

A game changer in San Juan City

Businessman Francis Zamora is the new mayor of San Juan City ending the reign of the Ejercito-Estrada clan in the smallest city in Metro Manila.

Zamora considered himself a game-changer after winning the election against Jannela Ejercito, the daughter of former senator Jinggoy Estrada and granddaughter of Manila’s incumbent mayor Joseph Estrada.

The new mayor promised to turn the old city of San Juan into a highly developed “Smart City” with improved services and state-of-the-art facilities.

Francis’ father, Ronaldo Zamora, remains in office after defeating challenger Edu Manzano for the lone district of San Juan.

The Estrada clan took hold of San Juan City since 1969 when then popular actor Joseph Estrada won as mayor. He was succeeded by his sons Jinggoy and JV Ejercito then JV’s mother Guia Gomez to whom Zamora narrowly lost his bid for mayor in 2016.

The Zamoras and Estradas were family friends for 30 years until Francis and Guia both ran in the mayoralty race in 2016. Francis claimed he was cheated in the election.

Dethroning a giant

Former Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso defeated the “giant” in the country’s capital, Manila.

The new mayor described his win as a “humbling experience” while he could only wish the best for his opponent, former president and mayor Joseph Estrada.

“Maging masaya ang kaniyang mga araw sa buhay. Maging maligaya din siya na kapiling ang kaniyang pamilya…Nakapaglingkod na naman siya sa taumbayan. Napagbigyan na rin naman siya. And I think he did enough already for the country and for the city,” Domagoso said of Estrada.

A Tondo boy who used to scavenge for food, Domagoso established his political career from serving three terms as a city councilor, another three terms as vice mayor and the most recent as an undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

As now the new mayor of Manila, he promised “more programs of governance” for the city.

“Today is just the beginning. It’s going to be challenging years for us. People are expecting pero may awa ang Dios. We always wanted to be guided by law and order and by God,” he said after securing his win.

His running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan, also won for a second term in office. — Marje Pelayo

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PBA and PBA Legends Foundation sign MOA to support former PBA players

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the PBA Legends Foundation officially signed a contact on Thursday (June 20) that seeks to aid former PBA players in need of assistance.

The PBA Legends Foundation will provide financial assistance including medical help to former PBA players. The foundation can also grant assistance for the education of their children.

PBA Board Vice Chairman Dickie Bachman has vowed to support former players. The PBA has also authorized the foundation to use the PBA name and logo.

“We are basically glad that finally now we get organized with the PBA Legend Foundation Inc., and moving forward will support the past PBA players,” he said.

Meanwhile, UNTV Cup Commissioner and PBA Legends Foundation Chairman Fortunato Atoy Co is excited about upcoming projects to raise funds for the foundation.

Ako po ay malugod na nagpapasalamat sa PBA, kay Commissioner Willie Marcial, kay Dicky Bachman. Pinayagan na rin kami ng PBA na gamitin iyong lumang logo noong panahong naglalaro pa kami, (I am humbly thankful to PBA, to Commissioner Willie Marcial, Dicky Bachman. They also allowed us to use the old PBA logo that was used during our time),” Co said.

Former PBA legends are elated with the news. Ronnie Magsanoc hopes that this will be the beginning of new projects between PBA and the PBA Legend Foundation.

“Ito iyong hudyat ng belief ng tamang pagkakaisa between the league and the players. Sana mabuksan pa ng maraming proyekto, (This marks the belief of proper unity between the league and the players. I hope this opens more projects),” Magsanoc said.

One of the board of directors, Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic hopes that this will also encourage active players to participate in the foundation’s upcoming projects.

“I hope someday we can link the present PBA players, iyong mga active players to join and help this cause. Kasi in the future magbe-benefit rin sila dito. So thank you again sa support ng lahat para mabuo ito, UNTV Group, Kuya Daniel Razon and siyempre mga PBA team, salamat po (Because they will also benefit from this cause in the future. So again, thank you for the support of everyone who made this happen: the UNTV group, Kuya Daniel Razon and of course the PBA team. Thank you),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Bernard Dadis)

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NZ launches ‘buy-back’ scheme for weapons banned after Christchurch mosque attacks

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019

A screenshot of the footage from the Christchurch attack | Courtesy : Reuters

New Zealand’s government on Thursday (June 20) launched a multi-million-dollar, six-month “buy-back” scheme to compensate owners of powerful but newly banned semi-automatic weapons prohibited in the wake of deadly attacks on two mosques in the Southern city of Christchurch.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Minister of Police Stuart Nash said in a joint statement that NZ$208 million ($135.97 million) had been set aside to compensate owners of the banned semi-automatic firearms up to 95% of the original cost, adding in a news conference that they had no idea how many of the firearms were in the community.

“Compensation is necessary because of a new law agreed to by almost the entire parliament in response to the events of the 15th of March. The buy-back and amnesty has one objective – to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation,” Nash said.

“This compensation scheme recognises licensed firearm owners are now in the possession of prohibited items through no fault of their own, but because of a law change. The approach to prices balances fair compensation for people’s firearms and a fair cost for the taxpayer,” he added.

“We have made a commitment that we want these weapons out of circulation and we believe that this buy-back process is a very important part of that. The costs are uncertain and, you can imagine, for a Minister of Finance that’s not a position I ever want to be in but it is just the reality of the situation we have,” Robertson said.

“We will keep monitoring it, as I say, we’ve put a new piece into the puzzle today but there are further pieces to be put in,” he added.

Owners would have until Dec. 20 to hand in their weapons.

Parliament passed the gun reform law – the first substantial changes to the country’s gun laws in decades – by a vote of 119 to 1 in April. (REUTERS)

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Death toll rises to 12 in southwest China earthquake

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy: China Central Television (CCTV)

Twelve people died and another 125 were injured as of 08:30 Tuesday after two earthquakes hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Monday night, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Changning County of Sichuan’s Yibin City at 22:55 Monday and another 5.1-magnitude earthquake occurred in Yibin’s Gong County at 23:36 Monday, according to local authorities. Ten villages and towns have been severely affected by the earthquakes.

“The earthquakes also damaged some houses, roads, power and communication facilities,” said Secretary General of the Yibin government Li Tinggen at a Tuesday press conference.

Li said Yibin has started an emergency response and 2,016 rescuers have been dispatched to alleviate the disaster.

“The city and counties quickly allocated all kinds of relief supplies from their disaster relief material repositories to affected villages and towns. At the initial stage, 450 tents, 5,300 quilts and 1,500 folding beds have been sent to affected areas,” Li said.

Yibin has started evacuation and relocation of local people and carried out medical aid for injured ones, Li said.

“After the earthquakes, the city and counties quickly dispatched 15 vehicles and 61 medical specialists with first aid equipment to the quake-stricken areas in order to treat the wounded.

All health centers of villages and towns in the epicenters conducted medical treatment for injured ones immediately after preliminary safety check of their buildings,” Li said. (REUTERS)

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