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Public warned vs groups fronting as MCGI to ask for cash donations

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several cases of street scams have been reported not only in the Philippines but in different parts of the world.

Scammers usually pose as members of charitable institutions or religious groups to ask for cash donations allegedly to fund charity events or programs.

Many of them have gone viral on social media such as a Filipina who was caught on camera asking money from customers inside a restaurant abroad saying the donations were to support a certain “children’s foundation”.

Another incident which happened in Japan was recorded by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who, in the video, was questioning another Filipino about the legality of her action. The latter was caught collecting cash donations from passers by allegedly to support the same foundation for children.

Such scheme was reported by a local news agency in Japan.

Three Filipinas also made headlines in Thailand this year for illegally soliciting funds allegedly to support the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines even if the calamity happened six years ago.

The same modus operandi was reported in Brazil where the scammer was confronted by another Filipino in an airport.

The scammer was caught on video asking monetary donations from tourists and locals to allegedly raise a Yolanda fund and also to donate to a certain children’s foundation by a Filipino founder.

Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate and facilitate the closure of a religiously-inclined group luring Filipinos into an investment scam.

Because such modus operandi have been exposed, scammers are now using the names of legitimate organizations to push their interests.

The Members, Church of God International (MCGI) was not spared from such illegal activities.

A report has reached the knowledge of MCGI administration about individuals posing as supporters of the group’s charity works and collecting money from just anybody on the streets.

The street scammers were using the name of La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) and MCGI to ask for cash donations.

“We vehemently deny the involvement sa mga ganyang klase ng pangongolekta, panghihingi ng donasyon sa kalsada o saan mang lugar, (in any practice of collecting or begging for donations on the streets or just anywhere),” Kuya Daniel Razon said during the program “Good Morning Kuya” on UNTV.

“Hindi po iyan totoo. Hindi po nanggagaling iyan sa organisasyon, iyang ganyang klase ng panghihingi para maipagpatuloy ang ating charity works. Natuto po tayo sa katwiran ng Panginoon na magbatak ng buto,” he further stressed.

(That is not true. That is not a practice in the organization to collect money [from just anybody] to support our charity works. We have learned from the righteousness of God to work and earn a living.)

Kuya Daniel offered a reward to anybody who could provide information that will lead to the arrest of these scammers implicating the names of LVCC and MCGI and to curb such illegal practice while putting those behind the scams to justice.

“Anybody na gumagawa ng ganyan, ipahuli ninyo. Kuhanan ninyo ng video dahil iyan ho ay scam, isang paninira din iyan na maituturing dahil wala hong ganyan na ginagawa ang mga members ng Church of God International o anybody na nagtataguyod po ng La Verdad Christian College or ng ating mga ginagawang mga charity works,” he said.

(Anybody who engages in such schemes, have them arrested. Get videos of them because that is a scam, a form of provocation and defamation because such is not a practice among members of Church of God International or anybody who supports La Verdad Christian College or any of our charity works.)

La Verdad Christian College is a private, non-stock, non-profit institution that provides scholarship to deserving but financially challenged students.

The school is operated by MCGI spearheaded by Bro. Eli Soriano and supported by UNTV under the supervision of Kuya Daniel Razon.

“Sina Bro. Eli Soriano at Kuya Daniel Razon ang isa sa kanilang ginagawa para ma sustain at magtuloy-tuloy ang kanilang advocacy na makapag-provide ng free quality education from pre-school to college (ay) from their own pocket,” noted Shiela Sabugaa, LVCC’s Deputy Administrator.

(Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon primarily work to sustain their advocacy and to be able to constantly provide free, quality pre-school to college education, (they spend) from their own pockets.)

“Nagbibigay talaga sila (ng) galing sa kanilang sariling pera, business or sweldo. Iyon talaga ang primary source ng fund para sa operational expenses ng La Verdad (Christian College). At para ma-sustain, meron pa silang ibang projects na ginagawa,” she added.

(They provide funds taken from their personal earnings, from their personal businesses or salaries. Those are the primary sources of funds for the operational expenses of La Verdad Christian College. And to sustain it, they do additional projects to generate funds.)

Each La Verdad scholar is entitled to free college education, books, uniform and meals without paying any amount.

Scholars from the provinces are also provided with free lodging, regardless of religious affiliation as long as they have the interest and perseverance to learn.

“Free tuition po talaga as in walang binabayaran maski miscellaneous fees po. Tapos aside pa doon may free lunch pa, may free uniform pa tapos minsan pati mga instructional materials ibinibigay sa amin ng libre – paggamit ng computer sa library, walang bayad, walang internet fee unlike doon sa ibang university,” said La Verdad scholar Carein Claire Viray.

“I can never thank them enough doon sa ginawa nila kasi ang dami nilang buhay na natulungan,” said another scholar, Paul John Nadela.

(I can never thank them enough for what they have done because they have helped many lives.)

“Iyon ang catch doon. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available sa labas and oftentimes after they graduate mandated ka nang magtrabaho ng ganito, mag-render ng ganito or anything and doon sa scholarship na ibinibigay sa amin ni Bro. Eli at Kuya hindi lang siya for academic purposes. Hindi lang nakaka-enrich ng mind pati ng spirit,” he added.

(That’s the catch there. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available outside and oftentimes after you graduated, you are mandated to work for them, to render service or do anything [for them]. The scholarship that Bro. Eli and Kuya provide does not serve for academic purposes only. It does not enrich the mind but also the spirit.)

Aside from the free scholarship provided by LVCC, many charitable works are being jointly operated and supported by MCGI and UNTV such as the daily free ride, medical mission, legal consultation and programs that extend assistance to those in need such as UNTV Cup and concerts for a cause.

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in Las Vegas

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Ronaldo posing for team photo during Real Madrid’s champions league celebrations at the Bernabeu. Courtesy: Reuters

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will face no charges in Las Vegas in connection with a sexual assault allegation because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said on Monday.

Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and plays for the Italian club Juventus, has maintained he is innocent of rape.

The allegation made headlines last year after Las Vegas police said they were investigating it.

The case stems from a June 13, 2009 call from a woman to Las Vegas police. She reported that she had been sexually assaulted and police took her to the hospital for an examination, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Monday (July 22).

But she declined to identify the person who she said assaulted her.

The woman and Ronaldo reached a civil settlement in 2010 and law enforcement did not hear again from her until August 28, 2018, when she asked police to reopen the investigation. She said Ronaldo was the person who sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, and a representative for his sports agents could not immediately be reached for comment. (REUTERS)

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

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SONA 2019 Highlights: Towards a ‘better’ Philippines

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

No surprises, no fiascos. President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA) has been smooth despite the more than one hour delay due to sudden rains.

Nevertheless, the annual event pushed through with the President starting his speech at 5:14 p.m. and ending it at 6:47 p.m., an almost expletive-free 93-minute talk.

President Duterte opened his fourth SONA with the usual pleasantries and his expression of gratitude “to all who kept faith with me in our most trying times.”

He noted that the landslide victory of administration candidates in the May 2019 polls as well as recent survey results just proved the Filipino people’s support to his presidency as compared to the only 3% disapproval rating, which he joked about with the members of Congress.

“I hope that the members of Congress – sana hindi kayo included sa 3%,” he said earning laughter from the audience.

This amount of support, the President said, inspires him with determination to pursue relentlessly what the government has started even at the beginning of his term as the highest leader of the country.

No matter how controversial, the President said his policies on the fight against illegal drugs and corruption will remain “whatever be the opposition.”

“For it is not the eagle in the fight but the fight in the eagle that matters,” he said.

“Believe me, I will end my term fighting,” the President said strongly to start his SONA.

For those who did not have the time to sit and watch the President’s SONA, here are some of the highlights.

Illegal Drugs, Corruption, Death Penalty

The President acknowledged that the government still has a long way to go to fight the social menace that is illegal drugs, which he believes is a by-product of corruption.

 “The drugs will not be crushed unless we continue to eliminate corruption that allows this social monster to survive,” he noted.

This is the reason, he said, why he advocates on the reinstatement of death penalty.

“I respectfully request Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs, as well as plunder,” the President said.

Ease of Doing Business

The President, likewise, emphasized the necessity to ensure a responsive government to the needs of the people.

Even after signing the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, he said, much has yet to be done.

Thus, he ordered specific government agencies to simplify their transactions and impose the law “to improve service delivery and fight corruption.”

The agencies mentioned were the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Social Security System (SSS), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and the Pag-IBIG Fund.

He also called the attention of local government units (LGU) to do the same.

“My directive to the government and instrumentalities, including the LGUs and the government corporations: simplify,” he said warning those concerned to suffer sanctions if they again fail.

“Simplify and make your services responsive to — client-friendly. Your client is the Filipino, our employer — from where the money in our pockets come from, from our salaries,” he stressed.

Priority Legislation

Aside from the revival of death penalty, the President directed Congress to pass the creation of new agencies vital to the accomplishments of the administration’s programs for development.

Noting natural disasters as ‘poverty creators,’ the President asked Congress to fast track the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience that would focus on programs that would mitigate the impact of natural hazards and climate change.

Recognizing the damaging effect of El Niño to the country’s agriculture sector and the inconveniences it caused brought about by water crisis, he urged lawmakers to pass a bill creating the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission.

Similar to his appeal last year, the President called Congress to establish the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers to ensure Filipino workers abroad access to government services as well as protection from abuse in foreign lands.

The Chief Executive also urged lawmakers to enact the Magna Carta for Barangays and to postpone the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to October 2022 to provide sitting barangay officials ample time to finish their programs and projects.

To encourage the country’s MSME sector, the President urged Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program also known as Trabaho bill which he said would create more jobs for Filipinos.

In addition to these priority bills, President Duterte also asked Congress to pass a new Salary Standardization Law to increase salary for government workers, including public school teachers and public hospital nurses.

He also asked Congress to approve the National Defense Act, Uniformed Separation and Retirement Pension Bill, and the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

“Very important,” the President said referring to military training to re-instill the spirit of patriotism among Filipino students.

 “Kapag mag giyera, 10 out of 10 hindi marunong maghawak ng baril (If war breaks out, 10 out of 10 do not even know how to hold a gun) to defend even his father and mother and brothers and sisters. Itong mga bata ngayon (youth nowadays,) they are bereft of the patriotism and the love of country. Balik sila dito (Let’s encourage them on this),” he said.

Traffic woes

President Duterte specifically directed Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to suspend mayors or governors who refuse to heed his order to “reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends.”

With the help of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the President wants immediate action “to ensure speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic” in Metro Manila.

On China

True to his promise, the President did ‘educate’ the Filipinos regarding the West Philippine Sea issue, how it started and why his administration cannot drive away China from Philippine waters.

Again, he reiterated that war is not an option as it leaves “widows and orphans in its wake.”

“More and better results can be reached in the privacy of a conference room than in a squabble in public. That is why I will do in the peaceful way,” he said.

Amid criticisms, the President still promised that he would assert the country’s sovereign rights over West Philippine Sea “in due time.”

A better Philippines ahead

Through the end of his SONA, the President assured the Filipino people that his government will continue to propel towards a better Philippines.

“Our goal for the next three years is clear: a comfortable life for everybody, all Filipinos,” he promised.

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World’s longest electric vehicle trip ends in New Zealand

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker posing beside his vehicle the ‘Blue Bandit’, to celebrate the completion of his three-year drive across more than 30 countries in an electric vehicle. | Courtesy: Reuters

A Dutch sustainability advocate completed the longest ever journey in an electric vehicle in New Zealand on Friday (July 19) after a three-year drive that took him through more than 30 countries.

Wiebe Wakker set off from the Netherlands in March 2016 in his “Blue Bandit” to showcase the potential of sustainable transport, funded by donations from those following his trip on social media.

“So I wanted to do my bit to promote this technology and show that sustainability is a viable way of transport. So I wanted really to do something that really speaks to the imagination which is driving an electric car from Amsterdam to literally the other side of the world to show that it can be done,” he said.

The 101,000 kilometers (62,800 miles) trip took Wakker through Eastern Europe, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, before traveling around much of Australia and across to New Zealand.

Wakker gave regular updates on his blog and social media throughout the journey, detailing visiting Iran’s biggest car manufacturer in Tehran, a breakdown on the Indonesian island of Java and visits to Australia’s outback and world-famous Uluru.

The drive had relied on the support of strangers across the globe who offered the traveler food, a place to stay and the essential means to charge his car along the way. (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

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