60-earth-hourOnce again, Philippines

GLOBAL

Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales calls each and every faithful around the world to show their environment concern by turning off their lights for an hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening of March 28, 2009. This is in support to the third year celebration of the Earth Hour, which originated in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a ‘one city lights out environment initiative’. From there, it made a surge of interest from every concern citizen in every country around the world. By 2008, there were 371 cities in 35 countries that joined the initiative in support of the climate change as well as energy conservation. This year, it is expected that the figures will be tripled; 1,000 cities around the world will be conserving energy for an hour and showing their dire concern on climate change.
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NATION

In the Philippines alone, the estimates rose to 10 Million environment loving people and 500 businesses to join the environmental act. Earth Hour Philippines 2009 will be supported by World Wide Fund for Nature- Philippines, The Green Army Network, and SWITCH Movement together with the Department of Energy. The world-wide environmental activity is viewed to increase public awareness of the need to care for the environment. Along with that is the will to conserve energy, which is depleting alongside the alarming rapid climate change.
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REGION

Region-wide, there will also be initiatives that will ensure that the 2009 Earth Hour will be carry on successfully. This will be under the close watch and awareness initiatives of Environment officers in the local offices as well as local Energy governing bodies. For even better success rating, local officials will also lead in the Earth Hour, making their homes dim and conserve watts of current for exactly an hour. Multiply these watts conserve into the millions of homes that will join and you get a lot of energy conserved!

bnpp1A billion dollars or P 48,500,000 plus an island where nuclear waste can be stored in isolation are all the Philippine government need to make the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to work! That will give us independence in producing 621 megawatts of electricity, a good solution to the continually glooming global economy. That is just the good thing. Of course, there would be so many negative sides like its effect to the people living within the radius of effect and on the environment in general.
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Just recently, on January 29, 2008, the 8-man team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led by Akira Omoto inspected the nuke plant and among their recommendations were: First, the power plant’s status must be thoroughly evaluated by technical inspections and economic evaluations conducted by a committed group of nuclear power experts with experience in preservation management. Second, the IAEA mission advised the Philippines Government on the general requirements for starting its nuclear power programme, stressing that the proper infrastructure, safety standards, and knowledge be implemented.
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GOOD

Every rich country known in this world have first invested on nuclear power plants, and that is what our dear government is trying to do now with the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Following the 1973 crisis, which put heavy strain in the Philippine economy, the Bataan Power Plant was thought to be the solution for the countries energy demands and will eliminate the country’s dependence on imported oil. The nuke plant was actually started in 1976 and completed 8 years after in 1984 that cost us $2.3 billion. It was designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity but was never used nor has operated since then.
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BAD

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was inspected and revealed over 4,000 mistakes. Among the very basic were being built near major earthquake fault lines and close to the dormant Mount Pinatubo, which erupted and killed many recently. It is situated in a 3.57 square kilometer government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan just 100 kilometers or 60 miles west of Manila, making it all the more very risky. This inquiry was fuelled after the Three Mile Island accident and Chernobyl disaster. It was left unused due to very many considerations, one of which is the strong opposition of residents and the citizens of the Philippines.

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Finally, the last 10 convicted soldiers in the assassinations of former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and purported gunman Rolando Galman are now released through the executive clemency granted by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This happening, roused different arguments and notions from the public. From the very many, two became too significant: good for those who believe in the innocence of the 10 men who have lost their prime years to prison and bad for those who believed in their guilt.
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To the families of Rogelio Moreno, Ruben Aquino, Arnulfo Artates, Romeo Bautista, Jesus Castro, Arnulfo De Mesa, Rodolfo Desolong, Claro Lat, Ernesto Mateo and Filomeno Miranda, they were more than happy to learn that their father, brother, husband, grandfather or whatever they are to someone have finally been freed. To these date, they still believe in the injustice done to their family member and at least happy of the decision made by the President.
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The 10 men walked out of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) at 3:20 pm in effect of the executive clemency grabnted by PGMA last March 2. They were earlier escorted by Lawyer Persida Rueda-Acosta, head of the Public Attorney’s Office, and other PAO officials out of their cells at 1:10 p.m. yesterday. The NBP in Muntinlupa City was their home for more than 20 years of enduring the anger and hard life behind bars.

The men were among the 16 members of the Aviation Security Command which were sentenced of being guilty of the monumental Aug. 21, 1983 killings at the former Manila International Airport. Moreno was convicted as the triggerman while the opposition leader (aquino) was being led down the stairs of the plane that brought him back to the country.
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The 10 men were the last of the original 16 and were found to be suffering multi-serious illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease and cerebrovascular disease. This is among the considerations that lead PGMA to granting the first earlier prisoner out in December, another two in February, and now the last remaining 10. Their endorsements were signed by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and the time was reviewed by the Bureau of Corrections. Chief Superintendent Ramon Reyes, in charge of the maximum prison compound, signed their release letter and a prison official read it to them at exactly 3:20.

francis_magalonaThe Philippine showbiz industry was surprised by the passing of one of its institutions, Master Rapper Francis Magalona. Also known as Kiko, Francis suffered from complications of leukemia and was suppose to undergo marrow transplant from her donating sister. The actor’s death was announced at Eat Bulaga where he is a mainstay host. Kiko was 44 and turning 45 this October 4. He left 8 kids (2 being step-kids) to her courageous wife Pia Arroyo-Magalona whom he met and married in 1985 through his friend Richard Gomez. They met in a disco house owned by the late film director Ishmael Bernal.
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Kiko was a loyal man to his career and family as well. Unlike most of his batch mates and friends in the industry who have gone through broken marriages, he and his wife Pia had surpassed them all. His death was really unexpected but his family showed strong and intact in this hard time. A close friend and showbiz buddy, Vice-Mayor to Quezon City Herbert Bautista vowed to take care of the late master rapper kids until needed. Herbert is himself remained single all this time and this act is indeed humbling and stunning. All other friends and close showbiz buds extended help and aid in any way possible to Kiko’s bereaved family.
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The late master rapper will continue to be an inspiration to the Filipino youth. In his time, he contributed so much to the industry. Some of which were:

Discography under Octo Arts

* 1989 Francis M. (Extended of Loving You)
* 1990 Yo!
* 1990 Mga Kababayan (E.P. Dance Remix)
* 1990 Gotta Let ‘Cha Know (E.P.)
* 1992 Rap is FrancisM
* 1993 Meron akong ano! (“I have something!”)

BMG Records (Pilipinas)

* 1995 Freeman
* 1996 Happy Battle
* 1998 The Oddventures of Mr. Cool
* 1999 Interscholastic
* 2001 Freeman 2
* 2002 The Best of FrancisM
* 2004 “Pambihira Ka” (single)

Other

* 2008 F Word
* 2009 The Sickos Project (with Ely Buendia; working title)
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Television appearances

* MTV Pilipinas Music Video Award 2006
* Eat Bulaga!
* S.O.P. (Guest Co-host)
* A Telefantastic Christmas: The GMA All-Star Spcecial (2005)
* True Love: Eat Bulaga Special (2005)
* Philippine Idol (Judge)
* Show ko ‘to (2004)
* Astigmatism (2004) as Victim 1
* GMA Telesine Specials
* MTV Talk
* Life’s A Beach
* Music Bureau
* Kamada (1997)
* Student Canteen
* That’s Entertainment
* Plaza 1899
* U. F. O. (Urbana, Felisa & Others)
* Loveliness (co host)
* Vilma In Person (co host)

Filmography

* Anak ni Brocka (2005)
* Kwentong kayumanggi (2002) as Narrator – Hundreds Island and the Bravery of Datu Mabiskeg
* Tong-its (1996)
* Ano ba ‘yan 2 (1993)
* Mama’s Boys (1993)
* Engkanto (1992) as Uban
* Estribo Gang: The Jinggoy Sese Story (1992)
* Joey Boy Munti, 15 anyos ka sa Muntilupa (1991)
* Iputok mo… dadapa ako!!! (1990)
* Gumapang ka sa lusak (aka Dirty Affair) (1990)
* Hati tayo sa magdamag (1988)
* Action Is Not Missing (1987)
* Kung Aagawin Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (1987)
* Family Tree (1987) as Edwin
* Ninja Kids (1986) as Tone
* Doctor, Doctor, We Are Sick (1985)
* Bagets 2 (1984) as Ponce

journey-bandFind March 14 on your calendars and clear it from any task or ‘gimik’ to give way to our very own Arnel Pineda and the Journey band! Yes, they will be here days before their concert here in Manila so you can still watch out for all local televisions and radio stations who will surely be airing them the soonest they get their hands and eyes on the group. All concert tickets will also be available via ticketnet at 3,605 VIP, 2,575 Gold, 1,545 Silver, and 515 Bronze. The concert will be held at the Concert Grounds of Mall of Asia.
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Two things will surely happen here: Journey, especially Arnel Pineda will stir crowd and the Mall of Asia will get all the advertisement. But who cares who gets what and which? What is important, we are getting a load of artists and entertainments every now and then. That only means that the Philippines are becoming a safe place for all these great artists and performers from around the world. And of course, Filipino talent is also making a great appeal to big stars and bands just like the humbling story of Arnel Pineda: once a fan turned to be the main act of his fave band!
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I remember Journey had been in the country last year and that one was very successful. This time, Arnel Pineda and his band will have to prove their worth through the results of tickets bought. Usually, that is how it is going to be. The first time will be crowd stirring and will prove to be a success then the repeat will be the justification. This one though will be tough as Eraserheads will also be doing their own concert on that same date. Although of different genre, E-heads have been one of the most popular bands in the Philippines. Their last concert has resulted to Ely’s, the lead vocalist, near death hospitalization. So this time, it is going to be a lot more dramatic.

Anyway, let us wait and see who gets the bigger crowd….

joy-rojas-runningOnce a TB survivor, Joy Rojas prove her worth of surviving the terminal disease by being the first woman to cross the Philippines running. No, you did not read it wrong, she really did that literally. Joy did that humbling act for her 2 very important goals: to reach her dream and to raise funds for those who are suffering in the same illness as she had in the past. As if not enough, Joy will once again test the sturdiness of her legs by crossing the US running.
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Joy Rojas is the first woman who crossed the Philippines during the Hakbang Pangarap: The Philippine Run in 2005. The race lasted for 46 days that started in Davao City and culminated in Pagudpod. She is set to New York in the second week of May for her training with Mateo Macabe, another open-heart surgery survivor. They will work with project coordinator Chuck Crisanto in the upcoming Takbong Pangarap, Trans-USA Run. They team expects to raise good amount for Social Services of Division of the Philippine Heart Center where Macabe was operated and the Anti-TB Program of the Inner Club of Quezon City District 378, which has 10 barangays.
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The passion that gripped Joy to long-distance running is not just sparked of her being a survivor; it is just one of the ways she knew she can help. But what really made her run is her will. She started as one of the top female finishers in local road racing circuits from 1995 to 2002. When she joined the Visayas Leg of Father Robert Reyes, which was a 40-day 1196 kilometers run, she found her home. She ended to be dreaming of crossing the country running. Now that it is already done, she wants to once again run for her dreams and her chosen charity: California to New York.

100-daysAlternet has defined where the newly elected President should begin his 100 days. Some of which can be done right at his very first day while some will need the help of legislative bodies. With the broken and stained reputation that the Bush administration has left, Obama needs to bold the tough times.

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Bush Executive Orders: As Obama himself said of his first 100 days when campaigning in Denver, “I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution.”

Economic Stimulus: Stop the bleeding — through expanded health and unemployment benefits and providing real aid to beleaguered state and local governments so they can sustain essential public services.
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Iraq: Present plan and hold to your timeline for withdrawal.

Health Care Reform: Begin immediately by expanding health insurance to kids and passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program legislation vetoed by Bush.

Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights: Repeal the Global Gag Rule that requires NGOs receiving federal funding to neither promote nor perform abortions in other countries.

Energy and the Economy: Announce a clean energy strategy that will reduce oil dependence, address global warming, create thousands of green jobs, and improve national security. Groups like the Apollo Alliance, Center for American Progress, and Natural Resources Defense Council have strong and concrete plans in this regard. Incorporate elements of this plan into stimulus package.
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Bailout for Main Street: Work to ensure that homeowners have real opportunities to renegotiate mortgages and remain in their homes.

Poverty and Inequality: Appoint a Hunger Czar — as Senator George McGovern and Congressman Jim McGovern call for in a recent op-ed — who would “coordinate the various food, nutrition and anti-poverty programs… to increase the independence, purchasing power and food security of every human being.” Announce your commitment to the goal of cutting poverty in half in ten years.

Labor and Trade: Reject Colombia, Korea and Panama trade agreements as currently written and ensure future agreements promote the public interest. Work towards passage of Employee Free Choice Act.

Science: Allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Global Warming: Reverse the Bush EPA decision and allow California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Call for a new climate treaty and ask Al Gore to lead that effort.

Guantnamo: Close it, and try people in the US or resettle in countries where they face no risk of persecution or torture. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof offers a compelling idea to “turn it into an international center for research on tropical diseases that afflict poor countries… [serving as] an example of multilateral humanitarianism”

Detention: Close all CIA black sites and secret detention sites. End extraordinary rendition. Abolish preventive detention that allows people to be held indefinitely without charge. Initiate criminal investigations into programs of rendition and secret detention. End trials by military commission. End opposition to full habeas corpus hearings for detainees in Guantnamo and other similar situations. Make known the names and whereabouts of all those detained in rendition and secret detention programs.

Torture: End use in court of any evidence obtained through torture. Officially reject all memos, signing statements and executive orders that justify the use of torture. Establish an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of detention and interrogation practices in the “war on terror.” Announce administration will work for redress and remedy for victims of human rights violations for which US authorities are found to be responsible.

Protect Dissent: Ensure that the FBI adheres to surveillance guidelines. Open Justice Department investigation into surveillance related misconduct. Pledge to end all secret surveillance programs not reviewed by courts or congressional committees.

Limit State Secrets Privilege: issue new Executive Orders that reverse the expansion of state secrets privilege and the over-classification of documents. Pass legislation making it clear that military contractors are accountable for abuses.

Roll Back Executive Power: Repudiate unitary presidency. Renounce use of signing statements as a tool for altering legislation. Pledge to abide by the War Powers Act and end abuse of Authorization to Use Military Force. (Or as Bruce Fein — a key player in the Reagan Justice Department — said, “Renounce presidential power to initiate war anywhere on the planet, including Iran.”)