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Department of Foreign Affairs-26October2009-updates

RP Re-Elected to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Governing Body

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 07:45 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James’ Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines was reelected as member of the 1992 Fund Executive Committee at elections held in London last October 15.

Ambassador Lagdameo, who is concurrently the Philippine Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, noted that the Philippines will be occupying its seat in the Executive Committee for one year.

The Executive Committee is an organ of the International Oil Pollution Compensation 1992 Fund which is tasked to review oil-spill incidents around the world where the 1992 Fund is liable to compensate the victims.

Among the incidents being reviewed by the Executive Committee involves the sinking of Solar I off the coast of Guimaras Island in November 2006. A total of UK£10.74 million have been paid to claimants by the 1992 Fund in this incident, with the assessment of the expenses incurred by the Philippine Coast Guard in responding to the incident remaining as the only outstanding claim.

In the same meeting in London, Minister Francisco Noel Fernandez III of the Philippine Embassy in London was elected as Vice Chairman of the 1992 Fund Executive Committee. He succeeded Patrick Tso Chi-hung of Hong Kong, China who decided not to seek re-election. Sweden’s Daniel Kjellgren was re-elected as the Executive Committee’s Chairman. Kjellgren and Fernandez will serve as the Executive Committee’s Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, for one year.

The IOPC Funds is an inter-governmental body composed of three independent and separate organizations namely: the 1992 Fund, the Supplementary Fund, and the 1971 Fund. It provides compensation for oil pollution damage caused by spills from persistent oil carried by tankers.

The organization is supported by a Secretariat based in London and is manned by international civil servants. Contributions to the Funds come from levies collected from companies which receive oil after sea transport, normally oil companies. END

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APEC I.T. and Call Center Run by the Visually-Impaired Opens in RP

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 07:25 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – The first call center in the Philippines manned by visually-impaired persons formally opened its doors on October 20 at the Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV) offices along E. Rodriguez, Quezon City.

The call center is also believed to be the first and the only one of its kind operating in a developing economy in the world.

The Center is made possible under the APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) Initiative, and is expected to be fully operational by November 2009.

It is supported by the ADOC Secretariat, the Institute for Information Industry (III), Chunghwa Telecom, Acer Computer Corporation, and Tamkang University – all based in Chinese Taipei – as well as the Communication and Information Technology (CICT), the Philippine APEC National Secretariat/DFA-OUIER, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP), the Philippine National School for the Blind and the City Government of Quezon City in the Philippines.

The facility is equipped with special and customized outbound call center software and refreshable Braille display input output devices that will enable its agents to assist clients by reading prescribed responses in Braille.

Blind agents are assisted by a screen reader which translates displayed text to speech, while partially blind agents make use of screen magnification software. The technology would enable visually impaired agents to become as efficient and effective as sighted call center agents.

The opening of the center was led by Chairman Peter Leslie Wallace of the ATRIEV Foundation and Philippine Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Representative Donald C.T. Lee. A message from Dr. Stan Shih, Chairman of the ADOC Secretariat and founder of the Acer Group, was also read during the opening ceremonies.

On hand to witness the opening were various national and city government, as well as private partners of ATRIEV. Mr. Wallace acknowledged the significant efforts being made to provide visually impaired persons the opportunity for sustained employment, while Representative Lee noted the continuing work needed to enhance access to digital technology digital for many marginalized people in APEC.

Together with the opening of the call center, the 10th APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) was also inaugurated at the ATRIEV Offices. ADOC No. 10 shall design and provide training courses for visually-impaired persons in the use of computers. The Center is the beneficiary of computer equipment donated by the ADOC Secretariat.

The unique Call Center and ADOC facility was also launched ahead in Taipei on October 6, during the ADOC 2.0 Week. National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP) Executive Director and Attorney Mateo Acuin Lee Jr. and Philippine APEC National Secretariat and DFA-OUIER Special Assistant Eric Gerardo E. Tamayo joined the Filipino trainees during the forum.

Those who underwent the special training course for the visually impaired in Taipei were Mr. Adonis Untalan of the Philippine National School for the Blind, Mr. Josephus Reynes, Special Needs School Instructor of the DepEd Cebu City School System, the Rev. Antonio D. Llanes Jr., ATRIEV President, Ms. Lourdes B. Borgonia ATRIEV Instructor and blind webmaster, Mr. Deterson Omas, ATRIEV Instructor, software programmer and blind athlete, Ms.. Charito Co of the Grace Christian Academy, and Ms. Mabel Gaerlan of the Philippine Resources for the Blind Foundation in Cebu. END

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Germany Provides One Million Euros for ICRC Humanitarian Aid Measures in RP

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 07:18 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – Germany’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Ambassador Christian Ludwig Weber-Lortsch, announced on October 21 that the Federal Government of Germany will donate the amount of €1,000,000 (approximately 70 million Pesos) to support the humanitarian efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Philippines.

The German contribution to the ICRC will be used to support the victims of the conflict in Mindanao, including those seeking shelter in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and those who are sick or wounded as a result of the conflicts occurring in the region.

The fund will be utilized from the present time to the end of this year. END

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Showcase of Philippine-made Products in Los Angeles

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 01:07 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – Philippine Consul General to Los Angeles Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that a two-day Philippine product promotional event was held on October 17-18 at the Eagle Rock Plaza to promote Philippine-made products in Southern California. A Business-to-Business (B2B) event was also held with the purchasing officer of Seafood City.

On 19 October, a press briefing was held at the Conference Room of the Consulate General to drum up support for the export programs being undertaken by the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Los Angeles. END

Another B2B event was held on 20-21 October with executives and purchasing officers of other US-based importers with Philippine exporters at the Redondo Beach Function Room of the Radisson LA Westside Hotel in Culver City.

The main objective of the North Philippine Trade Mission is to create awareness among participants on the policies, regulations, business challenges and existing business opportunities in the US market, both for ethnic and mainstream markets, and to generate sales for participating companies whose products are ready to enter the US market.

The program is organized in cooperation with the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA); Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC), DTI North Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT), Atlas Shippers International Corp., and Seafood City.

The exporters which participated in the events and their respective products include: ADDS Enterprise (dry roasted cashew nuts and greaseless peanut); Amanda’s Marine Products (sautéed shrimp paste, smoked fish and dried fish); Anjo Farms (milkfish in various preparations); Arjan’s Vegetarian Foods (vegan products); Bonsure Evergreen Intl., Corp. (tuna floss); Carlo’s Bamboo Craft & Furnishing (bamboo-based products); Cormel Foods (sugarcane vinegar, sugarcane wine and fruit wine); Pervil Corporation (cosmetics); and the San Fernando LGU (lantern). END

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RP Film “ASTIG” Receives Special Mention Citation at Filmfest

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 01:00 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – Filipino filmmaker GB Sampedro’s “Astig” (“Squalor”) received a Special Mention citation at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The film competed with 11 others in the New Currents Section. Written by Jerry Gracio, “Astig” was cited for “its boldness in form and narration and for its courage to approach without concession the hard life of young Filipinos confronted to struggle to survive in an unequal society.”

“We are thrilled to have brought honor to our country from the PIFF,” supervising producer Noel Ferrer said on October 16. “I’m particularly happy that we were able to highlight the best of indie and mainstream cinema and got recognized for it.”

“Astig,” an episodic tale of four young men whose stories parallel and contrast with the landmarks and various images of Manila, won for Sampedro the Best Director award at the 5th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in July. It has been invited to the Asiatica Filmmediale in Rome, Italy, to be held next month.

“Sampedro approaches the sexual commerce as a means to survive. His images are harsh, poignant and set the relationships between money and sex and the exploitation of women. Very inventive, ‘Squalor’ is a politically correct film,” PIFF New Currents jury, chaired by French filmmaker Jean Jacques Beneix, said.

Twenty Filipino films were screened at the PIFF in the Retrospective section, six in exhibition and two in competition. The Philippines is the festival’s “country of honor” this year..

The awards ceremony, held at the Pusan IFF Pavilion, began promptly at 6 p.m. (Manila time) and was attended by an estimated 10,000 people.

The Iraqi-Kurdish drama “Kick Off,” by Shawkat Amin Korki, shared the New Currents Award with the South Korean film “I’m In Trouble,” by So Sang-min. The award, given to first-time and second-time film directors, also came with a cash prize of $30,000.

“Kick Off,” a story of a group people living in an illegal multi-ethnic settlement that tries to stage a friendly soccer match under obstacle-strewn conditions, also bagged the festival’s Best Movie honor in a separate award handed by the International Federation of Film Critics.

For the first time this year, the PIFF handed over a Flash Forward Award to debuting director Zaida Bergoth of Finland for the family drama “Last Cowboy Standing.” The award also came with a $20,000 cash prize.

The Sonje Award for Short Films went to Kim Jae-won’s “Somewhere Unreached” (Korea) and Basil Vassili Mironer’s “Rare Fish” (Singapore, Indonesia); the PIFF Mecenat Award for Documentaries to Kwon Woo-jung’s “Earth’s Woman” (Korea) and Saba Dewan’s “The Other Song” (India); the NETPAC Award to Park Chan-ok’s “Paju” (Korea); and the KNN Movie Award to Jiang Wenli’s “Lan” (China).

Last year, two Filipino films won awards in their respective categories at the same prestigious fest. Milo Tolentino won the Sonje award for his short film “Andong.” Chris Martinez’s “100,” which stars Mylene Dizon and has Eugene Domingo in the supporting role, won the KNN Movie (audience choice) award. All three Pusan winning films were Cinemalaya entries funded by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. END

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6TH Annual Economic Development Conference

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 12:55 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that a gala dinner was held for the Mabuhay Alliance 6th Annual Economic Development Conference on 17 October at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim, California.

The participants to the Conference benefitted from the workshops on foreclosure prevention, micro-business technical assistance, financial literacy and supplier diversity as these will help minorities, including Filipino-Americans, to recover from the global economic crisis.

Left Photo: Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon (left) with Ms. Faith Bautista, CEO & President, Mabuhay Alliance.

Right Photo (left to right): Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon poses with Assembly member Ted Lieu, who represents the 53rd Assembly District of California; and, Mr. Robert Gnaizda, founder of Greenlining Institute and a Mabuhay Alliance honoree for his service and support of the Filipino-American community. END

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RP Embassy in Riyadh as ASEAN Volleyball Tournament Champ Anew

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 12:41 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh hosted the 2009 ASEAN Missions’ Volleyball Tournament and bagged the game’s Championship trophy for the second year in a row. The Embassy is now only one win shy from taking home the ASEAN Missions’ perpetual trophy for the volleyball tournament, which it aims to hopefully secure next year.

The tournament was held last October 22 at the Liwasang Bonifacio Multi-purpose court of the Embassy. It is one of the sports activity among the many competitions organized yearly by the members of the ASEAN Riyadh Sports and Social Committee (ARSSC), representing ASEAN missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia namely, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The volleyball tournament commenced promptly at 9 a.m. after a brief program and photo session of the ASEAN diplomatic corps and their respective families, players and supporters. The ceremonial toss led by the ASEAN Chiefs of Mission marked the start of the games.

There were five participating teams – Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and MMS which stands for Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. The MMS team was formed due to lack of available players from the three Embassies. Their participation gathered praises from the audience because it manifests the ASEAN spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

The tournament used a single round robin system, where each team battled with all other teams. The last game which ended at 6 p.m. almost created a triple tie. However, the Philippine Embassy team survived the hard work displayed by the Thais to emerge with a spotless record and ultimately defend its championship title.

The Embassy of Brunei Darussalam secured the first runner-up position while the Royal Thai Embassy placed second runner-up. Special awards were also given and distributed as follows:

Most Valuable Player – Mr. Dimaporo Mustary (Philippines)
Mr. Azral Izwan Mazlan (MMS)
Mr. PG HJ Irman (Brunei)
Mr. Abdulqadir Abdussalam (Indonesia)
Mr. Affan Maseng (Thailand)

Best Female Player – Ms. Aniline Punzalan (Philippines)
Best ball spiker – Mr. Christian San Diego (Philippines)
Best ball stopper – Mr. Uldarico C. Malicse, Jr. (Philippines)
Best ball tosser – Mr. Ibrahim Akhbar (Brunei)
Best ball server – Mr. Prasert Suwandee (Thailand)

Sportsmanship Award – Mr. Htein Lein Aung (Myanmar)
Mr. Komarya (Indonesia)

The victory of the Philippine Embassy team was attributed to the collective effort of its energetic players composed of Attaches Uldarico C. Malicse, Jr. (who also served as Coach), Aniline Punzalan and Lucman Gayampal; and Messrs Serge Borgueta, Acas M. Bayabao, Jr., Dimaporo D. Mustary, Nasrodin Usudan, Christian V. San Diego and Rene Soqueño.

They fought with high morale inspired by the support and financial assistance they received from the Embassy family that sponsored their colorful uniforms.

The officiating and orderly conduct of the games was handled professionally and efficiently by teachers Arnel Monellon, Belen L. Cleto, Rosario E. Makalintal and Edwardo T. Teja from the International Philippine School in Riyadh.

At the sidelines, the presence of the medical team headed by Dr. Jose Tomas V. Octavio, together with Nurses Elisa T. Serrano and Edna Notario-Torricampo, gave the players the sense of safety and protection.

Filipino hospitality once again thrived during the affair. Guests were entertained not only by the fun and excitement brought about by the games, but were also indulged with samplings of Filipino cuisine.

The ever dependable Philippine Embassy ladies and wives of Embassy & Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) personnel cooked and served them with Filipino styled arrozcaldo (congee) coupled with fried tofu (soy) during breakfast. Guests were also treated to oven fresh banana cakes personally baked and donated by Mrs. Faidah Amal B. Haris of the POLO. Native dishes that suit the palate of the ASEAN family like tom yang and corn soups, beef caldereta, mixed vegetables with coconut milk, bicol express, chicken teriyaki, calamares, gulaman, among others were catered at lunch time, courtesy of PINOY Supermarket.

After the closing ceremony, everyone enjoyed simple afternoon snacks of pansit (noodles) provided gratuitously by R & R Catering Services. In addition, the participants were supplied with free refreshing drinks the whole day donated by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Bin Zoma International and Trading Development Co. Ltd./ Safa Water.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Antonio P. Villamor and Consul Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr. during their opening and closing remarks, respectively thanked the Heads of Mission and the members of their staff and families for gracing the event, the ARSSC for organizing the tournament, the generous sponsors and the hardworking Embassy and POLO personnel. Consul Israel also congratulated the winners of the competition and everyone for boosting once again the true ASEAN spirit and camaraderie.

The ASEAN Missions responded by conveying their praises and good wishes to the Philippine Embassy family. END

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6TH Annual “Pagpapahalaga sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya” Health Fair in Los Angeles

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 12:28 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – The 6th Annual Pagpapahalaga sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya Health Fair was formally opened last October 21 at the Community Hall of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California.

The event was undertaken by Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc. (APHCV) to deliver free health screening services to the Filipino Community. The health fair ran for three days.

Services extended include blood pressure, glucose screenings and BMI screening; osteoporosis scanning; oral health counseling; bone marrow registration; and pre-screening for eligibility for public health care programs, among others.

Left Photo: Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu welcomes the participants to the opening of the health fair. Right Photo: Ms. Marilyn John (left), Pilipino Outreach Worker of the Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc. (APHCV) explains procedures to participants prior to the glucose screening, one of the services provided by APHCV during the health fair. END

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Spanish Humanitarian Assistance to the Philippines

Posted: 26 Oct 2009 12:10 AM PDT

26 October 2009 – The Spanish Government sent two chartered planes loaded with emergency kits and materials, mainly shelter materials and family assistance kits such as two water purification plants, food, blankets, toiletries and kitchen kits, water containers, and tents for beleaguered victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The planeloads arrived on October 03 and October 14, respectively. END

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Mayor Villaraigosa Hosts the Los Angeles Consular Corps

Posted: 25 Oct 2009 10:09 PM PDT

26 October 2009 – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa hosted a reception for the members of the Los Angeles Consular Corps at the Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles, last October 13.

Left photo shows Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa (center) with Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon (left) and Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu (right).

Right photo shows Mayor Villaraigosa with Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon with the other members of the Los Angeles Consular Corps. END

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