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Pantawid Gutom Cash Transfer in the Philippines Lauded by World Bank as world's best

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 01:11

Conditional cash transfer beneficiaries PHOTO FROM BLOGS.ADB.ORG

PH cash transfer program among world’s best–World Bank

The World Bank gave the country’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program high marks, saying it was one of the “largest and best-targeted social safety net programs in the world.”

Ruslan Yemstov, World Bank’s leading economist on social protection and labor, presented on Wednesday the results of the bank’s “The State of Social Safety Nets 2015” report which showed that 82 percent of the benefits of the Philippines’ CCT program went to the bottom 40 percent of the population and noted that it was “way superior” to previous social programs.

“The poor and vulnerable in the Philippines benefit from what is today one of the largest and best-targeted social safety net programs in the world,” said Yemstov, who led the team that prepared the WB report, said.

Protecting families

Social safety net programs include cash and in-kind transfers to poor households with the goal of protecting families from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters, and other crises; ensuring that children grow up healthy, well-fed and stay in school; empowering women and girls, and creating jobs.

According to the World Bank report, more than 1.9 billion people in 136 low- and middle-income countries benefit from social safety net programs.

Across the world, CCT programs account for over 50 percent of social safety net programs, and are being implemented in 64 countries—a dramatic increase from two countries in 1997.

The report also noted that CCT had positive spillover effects on the local economy of target communities. Every dollar transferred to beneficiaries generates income ranging from $1.34 to $2.52 in local communities (“multiplier effects”).

Cash transfers boost school enrollment and attendance, increase live births in safer facilities, improve prenatal and postnatal care, promote regular growth monitoring of children during critically important early ages, and enhance food security, the report said.

In the Philippines, almost 4.5 million households are enrolled in the CCT, or Pantawid Pamilya program, from only 360,000 households in 2008.

“CCT grants account for an average of 11 percent of the income of the poorest recipient households,” noted World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi.

Keep kids healthy and in school

Evaluation studies, according to Konishi, also show that CCT in the Philippines is delivering on its objectives: keeping poor children healthy and in school.

The program increased prenatal and postnatal care by 10 percentage points and increased the delivery of babies in health facilities by skilled health professionals by 20 percentage points. Children benefited by receiving higher intake of vitamin A and iron supplementation by around 12 percentage points and by increased weight monitoring visits to health facilities by 18 percentage points.

Aleksandra Posarac, program leader of the World Bank in Manila, said the Philippines has developed a system “way superior” to previous ones.

She lauded the government’s information management system, called Listahanan,” that identifies who and where the poor are in the country.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, whose agency is the lead implementor of the social safety net program, said the data base, “in a way, makes it corruption-proof.” - INQUIRER

2015 FIBA Asia: Gilas Pilipinas rebounds, mauls Hong Kong for first win by 51

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 19:58

Jayson Castro (William) led the Philippines with 21 points, five rebounds, and two assists. - Photo from FIBA File

A frustrated Gilas Pilipinas bares its teeth and bites down hard on Hong Kong for a strong recovery from a tough loss in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship

Gilas dusts off loss, mauls Hong Kong by 51

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A different Gilas Pilipinas showed up on Thursday morning, September 24 than had been on display the day before. And they sent quite a strong message to the rest of the competition.

The 2013 FIBA Asia silver medalists vented out their frustrations from an embarrassing opening day defeat to Palestine as the 69th ranked Hong Kong was the unfortunate victim of a 101-50 decimation in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship at the Changsha Social Work College Gymnasium in Changsha, China.

Jayson Castro, or Jayson William in international play, showed why he is considered Asia's top point guard, exploding for 21 points, 5 rebounds, two assists. He also was 5-of-6 from three-point land. The speedy Castro was firing on all cylinders as he provided not only offensive ammunition but also stability and leadership in orchestrating Gilas' sets.

Andray Blatche followed up his 21-point outing vs Palestine with a 17-point, 8-rebound performance, while Dondon Hontiveros, after going one-of-6 from downtown in the previous game, found his shooting touch and went 4-of-6 from long range against Hong Kong for 14 points to go with 8 rebounds.

Terrence Romeo added 11 points on 3-of-11 triples to go with 5 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ranidel De Ocampo chipped 10 points and 7 rebounds.

The Philippine national men's basketball team, ranked 31 in the world by FIBA, bared its teeth and bit down hard on Hong Kong from the get-go as they raced to a 20-2 lead out of the gates thanks to Castro's taking over early on.

TAKEOVER. Jayson Castro, known internationally as Jayson William, stabilizes, leads, and orchestrates Gilas Pilipinas on both ends of the floor from start to finish as the Philippines makes mince meat of Hong Kong. Photo from FIBA

And although Hong Kong, which easily dispatched Kuwait on opening day, found their stride late in the first period, and were backed by the small crowd at the venue, the Philippines refused to be slayed once again and outscored their foes 23-7 in the second period to take a 51-22 halftime lead they would never relent.

The statement game continued in the third even as cheers echoed through the arena for every made Hong Kong shot as Gilas entered the fourth period armed with an 83-38 advantage.

The Philippines' defense was sticky. They clogged the paint and made sure they had active hands and feet all throughout. Unlike the first game, Gilas found the mark from the outside with a 41.2% 3-point shooting clip as opposed to 23% versus Palestine.

After the horrible loss to Palestine, head coach Tab Baldwin dared his players to do more.

"I got nothing for rebounds. That's on you," he said after explaining some adjustments for the Hong Kong game, as shown on a TV5 report.

"If we have to discuss that issue again then I won't be interested in putting my hand in the circle again with you guys. And you guys shouldn't be interested in that too. Fair enough?"

Watch the Video of 2015 FIBA Asia Championship: Gilas Pilipinas vs Hong Kong

"Let's have integrity. Let's do what Filipino basketball players have been doing for years – let's play with puso (heart)," he added.

The team, clearly disappointed during that huddle in practice, responded nicely as they out-rebounded Hong Kong, 62-38. The Palestinians had the edge a day before, 53-58.

Gilas also remembered to move the ball around again and look for the open man as they registered 16 assists, compared to just 8 against Palestine.

They were much more aggressive, too, being smarter with their shot selection. Instead of mostly chucking three-pointers barely 24 hours earlier, Gilas took it strong to the hoop and went 17-of-28 from the line. While that free throw shooting still needs work, they limited Hong Kong to just 5-of-8 from the stripe.

Turnovers were also decreased from 15 to 10.

Siu Win Chang and Duncan Reid led Hongkong with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Gilas will round up Group B play with Kuwait on Friday, September 25. The team has no room for a loss through to the second round after dropping the Palestine game. –

Armed Forces united & published a manifesto AGAINST BBL Bangsamoro - Shocks President Aquino!

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 14:14

Aquino ‘surprised’ by Bangsamoro manifesto

SEVERAL GROUPS of retired military and police servicemen, a number of retired chiefs-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and one retired chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) called for the junking of the peace agreements between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in a published “manifesto” that President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said took him by surprise.

In a “Manifesto of Retired Officers” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday, the groups urged the Supreme Court to declare as null and void the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying these agreements violate the Philippine Constitution.

The 13 groups which signed the call include the following:

* Association of General and Flag Officers

* National ROTC Alumni Association

* Kampilan Peacekeepers Association

* Fraternal Organization of ROTC Reservists and Veterans

* Filipino War Veterans Foundation

* Philippine National Police Retirees Association

* Veteran Generals and Flag Officers Federation

* Cavliers 57

* Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association

* Kapisanan ng Kawal Mindanao

* Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache Association

* Last Watering Hole

* Reform the Armed Forces Movement Foundation

Retired PNP chief Umberto A. Rodriguez also signed the manifesto, together with retired AFP chiefs Efren I. Abu, Dionisio R. Santiago, Generoso S. Sengu and Alexander B. Yano.

Political analyst Ramon C. Casiple said that in the military and police service, retired officials tend to have an influence on their junior officers given the culture and nature of these organizations.

“Within the military and police circles, they are influential in a sense that the active leaders now used to be their junior officers,” Mr. Casiple said in a phone interview Monday afternoon.

“I’m not saying that they can actually command their junior officers but we can say that their influence to them is considerable,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said he was “surprised” by the statement, as he noted several among the signatories used to be part of the security cluster.

“So, I was surprised that their reaction was to that degree and that they have objections,” Mr. Aquino told reporters Monday.

“Maybe what’s good is to have a public dialogue with them... so everyone can see if their position on the matter has sound basis,” he added.

In the manifesto, the groups called for safeguards on the proposed BBL, including provisions stating that the proposed Bangsamoro region is “a constituent part of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Other provisions being pushed in the manifesto include a renouncement of separatism, disarmament of all combatants six months after the agreement’s ratification, and conformity of the proposed Bangsamoro region with the Philippine Constitution. –read more at Business World Online

Controversial ₱700-million Iloilo Convention Center opens for APEC Summit

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 17:47

PNoy opens Iloilo Convention Center

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III led on Monday the inauguration of the controversial ₱700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).

Aquino opened the state-of-the-art convention facility located on a 1.7-hectare lot in Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

The ICC became controversial last year after former provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada Jr. alleged that the structure was overpriced and implicated Senate President Franklin Drilon, an Ilonggo.

Mejorada accused Drilon of conspiring with a supposedly favored contractor to rig the bidding of the project.

Mejorada alleged that W.V. Coscoluella and Associates, which designed the building, was awarded a contract without a public bidding and that construction was overpriced by ₱488 million.

President Aquino at the inauguration of the Iloilo Convention Center in Iloilo City. Official Gazette PH

Drilon was charged with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman in October 2014, but the charge was dismissed for lack of merit.

Two stories high with a floor area of 11,832 square meters, the ICC can accommodate over 3,000 guests. It will be used as one of the venues for some high-level ministerial meetings of this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

The construction of the ICC began in 2013 and was based on a design inspired by Iloilo's Dinagyang and Paraw festivals.

Aquino also joined the ceremonial launch of the Iloilo Business Park and Richmonde Hotel Iloilo. - Louis Bacani @philSTAR

VIDEO: Pinay X Factor favorites 4th Power grew up in poverty before shooting to stardom got standing Ovation

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 16:44

The group impressed the judges. image:

X Factor favorites 4th Power grew up in poverty before shooting to stardom, their mum reveals

The girl group sparked outrage last week as it was revealed they were professionals, but they have come a long way from their childhood

X Factor favorites 4th Power grew up in poverty before reaching stardom, their mum has revealed.

Filipino sisters Almira, 27, Celena, 19, Mylene, 23, and Irene, 25, wept with joy on the opening show after getting a standing ovation from the new judging panel of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw.

Some viewers were livid when the Sunday People last week revealed they were seasoned professionals.

But life has not always been so good. The girls grew up in a poor neighborhood in the city of Santiago with two more siblings, their junk dealer dad Dominador and mum Erlindo.

Revealing the family's struggle, Erlindo said: "We moved from place to place to find a better life. Poverty forced my husband to buy and sell bottles and newspapers in a pushcart.

"I sold Tupperware, beauty products and fashionwear. With our hard work, we sent our five daughters and our son to school."

She revealed how they got their first break by finishing second in a family singing contest while wearing homemade kit.

The group appeared on This Morning

The sisters raised travel money by singing at an arena between cock fights and went on to perform at birthdays, weddings and concerts to help pay for school tuition.

A string of international competitions followed.

The band had told X Factor producers about their extensive experience before being invited to perform for the judges.- Read more at

Piolo Pascual back on the cover of Esquire

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 15:46

Piolo Pascual @ Esquire. image: Coconuts Manila

This time, Piolo Pascual gets his solo Esquire cover.

Unlike his usual glossy appearances in other magazines, Kapamilya idol Piolo Pascual sported a gritty, understated look on the September issue cover of Esquire. The cap Piolo was wearing is actually owned dby photographer Geric Cruz, who shot the cover.

In a Facebook post, Esquire said Papa P will be sharing his thoughts on fatherhood, fame, and his role in Lav Diaz's movie Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis.

Of all his experiences on cam, Piolo told Esquire that playing Simoun, who is based in Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, is one of his most challenging roles to date.

Esquire last had Piolo on the cover in 2013, when he was promoting the film, On The Job. At that time, he shared the cover with co-stars Gerald Anderson and Joel Torre.

"I think I’ve come to the point in my life where I can say, 'I think I’ve done enough.' I’ve done more than enough. But if God is going to take me some place else, I won’t mind. But for now, damn, man... never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d get this far," Piolo said.

The September 2013 issue will also be giving readers an inside look at the set of the film, as well as Lav's directing style.

With the theme "Say You Want A Revolution"  (a line from Revolution of The Beatles, yes?), Esquire also touches on poems from writer and poet Pete Lacaba and a love story from the Martial Law era.

More of Papa P coming through:

Piolo Pascual @ Esquire. image: Coconuts Manila

Piolo Pascual @ Esquire. image: Coconuts Manila

Read more at Coconuts Manila

Alex Castro's genital groped at Cospomolitan Bash 2015 Showdown

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 13:19

Alex Castro's dick groped by an anonymous fans during his Cosmopolitan Bash 2015 stage ramp - image: grabbed from PEP Youtube channel

Alex Castro's "jun-jun" groped at #CosmoCarnival 2015

As posted at Philippine Entertainment Portal or PEP, Isang mahiwagang "nilalang" ang tila sinuwerte dahil nahawakan nito ang "jun-jun" ng Kapamilya actor/performer na si Alex Castro sa Cosmo Carnival 2015 na ginanap noong September 5, sa SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds sa Pasay City, Philippines.

Na-spot-an ng (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang pangyayari na makikita sa video na ito simula sa 0:35:

Or, tingnan nyo na lang yung pangatlong photo sa gallery sa sa baba.

Alex Castro - image source:

Alex Castro - image source:

Alex Castro's penis groped by a mysterious fans - image source:

Alex Castro - image source:

Sa huli, tila na-enjoy pa rin naman ni Alex ang Cosmo Bash ngunit nag-iwan siya ng mensahe sa mahiwagang "nilalang" sa kanyang Instagram account.

Sabi ni Alex: "Salamat sa #cosmopolitan at sa lahat na nanood. Dun sa nanghawak bonus na sayo yan! Wag ka na maghuhugas ng kamay. #cosmopolitancarnival2015"

Read more at Philippine Entertainment Portal

Gilas Pilipinas whips Chinese Taipei-B, finishes 2nd in Jones Cup

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 12:30

image: Inquirer

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas, as expected, rampaged past Chinese Taipei B, 96-67, and secured first runner-up honors at the close of the 2015 Jones Cup invitational basketball tournament at the Xinchuang Gymnasium here Sunday (September 6, 2015).

The Nationals pulled away early and preserved a commanding lead to the finish to end up with a 6-2 win-loss record, a game behind Iran at 7-1.

Gilas Pilipinas pulled off earlier wins over Taipei A (77-69), Spartak-Primorye of Russia (85-71), Japan (75-60), the Wellington Saints of New Zealand (92-88) and USA Select-Overtake (78-74), and suffered losses against South Korea (70-82) and Iran (65-74).

Ahead of the Gilas-Taipei B tiff, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan prodded the Nationals to finish strong, thanking them for the patriotism they stirred on their proud showing here.

“Best of luck Gilas on your last game. Team has generated a lot of goodwill here,” Pangilinan posted on his Twitter account @iamMVP.

“I’m surprised myself at the level of keen interest, and support, as well as a strong sense of patriotism you guys have stirred,” he also said. “Let’s finish strong today; make this country stand taller and prouder. Cheers. Puso!”

The Nationals obliged, capping a performance that coach Tab Baldwin considered “a big step for FIBA Asia.”

“With all the circumstances, I’m pleased with the second-place finish. It’s respectable,” said Baldwin. “It’s not really want you want, but we take the most of it. And there are many positives.”

“Like Iran, Japan and korea, we came here to get better for FIBA Asia. It’s a very difficult format playing eight games in eight days. I think there were positives out of that, but we suffered fatigue and injuries. Importantly, we’ll take the positives from our Jones Cup experience,” he added.

Without a doubt, the Nationals got improvements in so many aspects, putting some of these in display in their lopsided win over Taipei B.

Gary David took his turn to lead the way with a game-high 22 points spiked by two three-pointers while Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Moala Tautuaa contributed double-digit outputs as the Nationals rolled past the young Taiwanese squad for a fifth podium finish here in the last 11 years.

Tautuaa and Calvin Abueva delivered 12 and eight points, respectively, playing their eighth game in eight days here. The two were the only Gilas players who played here without a day’s rest.

Abueva finally got a rest after hurting his back on a bad fall six minutes and 17 seconds into the game.

Subbing for Abueva, Troy Rosario nailed the two gift shots as Gilas seized the lead at 22-21 before eventually pulling away en route to the win and the second-place finish coming after Gilas II’s title run here in 2012.

It’s Team Phl’s eighth podium finish overall in the Jones Cup after four title conquests and three third-place finishes.

Iran recaptured the Jones Cup crown with a 7-1 record, its lone defeat coming at the hands of the Americans when the Iranians rested 7-foot-2 behemoth Hamed Haddadi.

Haddadi threw his weight against the Filipinos, but Baldwin can count on Andray Blatche to match up with the Iranian giant on their rematch in FIBA Asia.

The 6-foot-10 NBA veteran was to arrive here Sunday night and is to rejoin Gilas in practice in Manila starting Wednesday.

Blatche and the entire pool will have three practice days before plunging back into action in the MVP Cup on Friday to Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (SB)

The scores:

Gilas 96 – David 22, Castro 15, Tautuaa 12, De Ocampo 10, Abueva 8, Intal 7, Ramos 7, Thoss 6, Rosario 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Norwood 0, Taulava 0.

Taipei B 67 – Chien 18, Hsiao 14, Lin 9, Lee 9, Huang 8, Lee 3, Liu2, Lin CW 2, Chen 2, Chou 0, Cheng 0, Chien 0.

Quarterscores: 24-21, 50-32, 82-52, 96-67 - INQUIRER

Was Julie Anne once the 'Yaya Dub' in Alden's life?

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 02:51

(Right) Julie Anne San Jose: The blessings are pouring. (Left) Alden Richards, rumored to have been Julie Anne’s first (secret?) boyfriend. - image: philSTAR

Because the AlDub tandem of Alden Richards and Yaya Dub/Maine Mendoza is the most popular today, not just here but around the world (in Filipino communities reached by GMA Pinoy TV), the name Julie Anne San Jose is brought up as having been a “Yaya Dub” in Alden’s life once upon a time (although she and Alden would keep mum if reminded about it).

I guess if asked about it, Julie Anne would simply blush as an answer. Same with Alden. Why their romance didn’t progress (didn’t it, secretly?) remains a little mystery up to now.

Both are happy where they are, Alden as the current Crush ng Bayan, Pambansang Dimples and Pambansang Bae rolled into one, and Julie Anne in GMA shows Buena Familia, Sunday PINASaya and Pepito Manaloto. Currently in New York (with Dingdong Dantes, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Christian Bautista and Betong Sumaya) for the 10th-anniversary celebration (yesterday) of GMA Pinoy TV, Julie Anne was recently named the newest celebrity advocate of World Vision. The music video of her latest single titled Not Impressed will be released anytime now.

Funfare let Julie Anne play the “If I Were” game.

• If I were an animal, I would be... A bird. I want to fly.

• If I were a song, I would be... Who You Love. Just because...Hahahaha!

• If I were a place, I would be... Outer space. Space-walking would be cool.

• If I were a tree, I would be... Cherry Blossoms. I wish to take it home.

• If I were a flower, I would be... A rose. I find it really lovely.

• If I were a food, I would be... Pizza. I’d never ever give up pizza.

• If I were a movie, I would be… A Marvel movie. I’m always fond of any Marvel movie.

• If I were a car, I would be... Lamborghini. That car’s sexy.

• If I were a part of the house, I would be... The music room, my comfort zone.

• If I were a hero, I would be... Superman. He’s a classic.

• If I were a cartoon character, I would be... Spongebob. He’s so cute and soft.

• If I were a book, I would be... The Mortal Instruments series. I’m addicted to it.

• If I were a Hollywood actor/actress, I would be... Johnny Depp. He can portray and slay any role.

• If I were a subject (Math, English, etc.), I would be... Science. I love science.

• If I were a president, I would be... Abraham Lincoln. He’s appointed to be the best leader of all time.

• If I were a perfume, I would be…Burberry. It has a sweet scent.

• If I were a musical instrument, I would be... A piano. It’s very soulful and can touch many hearts.

• If I were a drink, I would be… Water. It’s the major constituent of the fluids of organisms.

• If I were a country, I would be... Japan. I’ve never been there and I heard so many good things about that country.

• If I were a fictional character, I would be... Santa Claus. I also wanna ride on his flying sleigh with the reindeer.

• If I were a music icon, I would be... Beyoncé. Ultimate performer.

• If I were a luxury brand, I would be... Hermes. It’s a beautiful brand.

• If I were a sport, I would be... Firing. Guns are cool (if properly used).

• If I were a dessert, I would be… A cake. All-time favorite.

• If I were a season, I would be... Spring. Not that hot, not that cold. - philSTAR

German Technology unveiled new "inkless" printing instant digital camera

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 02:39

Print your photo instantly without using any ink! Its German technology image: Polaroid

Polaroid Snap: their new “inkless” instant digital camera

Berlin – Polaroid announced at the IFA 2015 in Berlin, Germany, its new Snap instant digital camera. The pocket-size device delivers the simplicity and instantaneity by which the brand is known for and it is available at a very reasonable price. But was is most appealing about the $99 digital camera is that it uses ink-free Zero Ink Printing technology developed by ZINK.

The Polaroid Snap contains a 10MP digital instant camera with an incorporated printer that uses ZINK Zero Ink Printing technology. Its 2.8 lens is a fixed focal length, meaning there is no zoom. It doesn’t have a screen, but instead has a pop-up optical viewfinder on top. Additionally to having a photo booth mode, which takes six pictures in 10 seconds with or without the classic Polaroid photo border, users will also be able to set a 10-second timer.

Moreover, consumers can instantly print full 2×3-inch images automatically when the picture is taken. Due to its fast printing abilities, users will be able to shoot new images while the device is printing.

The new addition to the Polaroid family also features a MicroSD up to a 32GB capacity to save images for later uploading them to a computer, cloud service or share in any social media.


The Polaroid Snap minimalist design features a look that incorporates classic elements of the Polaroid legacy, such as the iconic Polaroid Color Spectrum. The resulting design involved the efforts from Ammunition, a design firm that was also behind the creation of the Polaroid Zip, Polaroid Cube and Polaroid Cube+.

Furthermore, the digital camera will be available in black, white and vintage Polaroid.

The Polaroid Snap instant digital camera uses the groundbreaking ink-free Zero Ink Printing technology developed by ZINK. The essential element of the revolutionary technology is the patented ZINK Paper, which is an advance material embedded with cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals including a securing polymer overcoat.

Before printing, the dye crystals are colorless so the ZINK Paper looks like a regular photo paper. But when printing, the device uses heat to activate and colorize the crystals, resulting in a full colored picture. Additionally, the ZINK Paper is adhesive backed so the photo can be used as a sticker. - Polaroid / Pulse Headlines

New Apple battery so powerful that your phone could last weeks

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 02:11

'Fuel cell': The new tech could end the misery of short battery life for millions - image:

Apple patent envisions fuel cell battery that could power a smartphone for weeks

Quick, what's your No. 1 qualm about smartphones? Chances are, you said "battery life." Most smartphones today, even high-end ones, barely last a day of heavy use.

Apple is looking to fix that problem with a new patent, filed in March and published Sept. 3, that describes a "fuel cell system for a portable computing device."

The patent envisions a system consisting of a fuel cell, which converts fuel to electrical power, an interface to the portable computing device (e.g. smartphone) and a controller that monitors the state of the fuel cell and controls it.

An image from an Apple patent filing, describing a fuel cell system for powering portable computing devices - image: Freepatentsonline

As far as patent applications go, this one seems pretty broad; for example, it mentions many possible fuel sources, ranging from lithium hydride and water mix to liquid hydrogen.

The patent posits that a hydrogen fuel cell could "enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refueling" (wouldn't that be dreamy), but also immediately mentions that it's "extremely challenging" to design portable, cost-effective hydrogen fuel cell systems.

As always, a patent filing does not mean we'll soon (or ever) see a product using the technology. A duo of very similar patents, also filed by Apple, were published in 2011, and they definitely haven't resulted in any real world products yet. At least the new filing shows Apple is still interested in the technology, rekindling hopes of a fuel cell iPhone in the future. - Mashable

Hot Pinoy hunks flaunt sexy bods at Cosmo Bachelor bash 2015

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 19:49
Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
IN PHOTOS: Cosmo Bachelor Bash 2015MANILA, Philippines – The men of Cosmo's annual Bachelor Bash took the stage once again at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on Saturday, September 5. This year's bash, themed "Cosmo Carnival," featured celebrities like Daniel Matsunaga, JC de Vera, Elmo Magalona, GMA 7 actor Derrick Monasterio and model and host LA Aguinaldo, walking the stage to the sound of screaming fans.

Most of the guys will be in the CosmoMen supplement in Cosmo's September issue with Erich Gonzales on the cover.

Check out the photos form the Carnival below:

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

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Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

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Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

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Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

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Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

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Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

See more photos in Rappler

Philippines Jobless rate Alarming! 10 reasons: Many jobs but pino's doesn't want to work?

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 01:09

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Taguig, Manila, Philippines - image:

Philippine Unemployment Rate ASEAN’s Highest, but Why?

Even though recent years have seen rapid economic growth in the Republic of the Philippines,  a high unemployment rate has persisted for quite a while in this sprawling Southeast Asian nation with a population of over 100 million people.

Under President Benigno Aquino who has been in office since 2010, the unemployment rate has fallen. The last reported figure was at the rate of 6.4% during the second quarter of this year, 0.6% less than the 7% reported a year earlier. However, the progress has been slow and unstable with the Philippines still having the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN region.

There are many reasons for this. Invest Asian citing top reasons based on research.

" Main one being that the country’s population is growing faster than the rate at which jobs are being created"

In three of the past five years, official statistics show that the number of people entering the job market has been greater than the number of jobs created.

The conundrum highlights the difficulty and complexity of spreading the benefits of economic growth and points out that they have yet to trickle down to more deprived areas of the nation.

Filipinos Just Aren’t Working

Another reason is even more alarming. There is relatively lower working population compared to neighboring countries. This means that even if the unemployment rate falls, it does not ensure maximum productivity of the country.

As mentioned, the participation in the labor force remains relatively low. But what is it in quantifiable numbers?

"Only about 65% of the population aged 15 and above is looking for work "

The number being one of the lowest in the region. To put the number into perspective, the numbers in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia are 78%, 72%, and 68% respectively.

One possible explanation for this low labor force participation percentage is that there is a higher value placed on further education in the Philippines. What this means is that young Filipinos typically spend some more time in college before entering the labor market, directly contributing to the low participation rate. The citizens of the other countries in the region enter the workforce much earlier.

Not Enough Good Jobs?

Yet another alarming reason could be the low quality of jobs available. In 2014, less than half of workers – in both formal and informal employment – were in what were described as paid jobs. Of the rest, about a fourth were self-employed with no guaranteed income and a tenth were in their family business working on farms or other businesses where they typically received food and lodging but no real cash, according to official statistics.

Former budget minister and current economist at the University of the Philippines, Benjamin Diokno, says that this relatively large number of unpaid workers – about 4 million people – “bloats” the ranks of the employed and makes the unemployment rate seem less serious that it really is.

However, such unpaid workers are not the only ones feeling held back.

In a government survey, 18% of workers said that they would like to work longer hours or get an extra job. Only 35% of these worked 40 hours or more a week.

The Philippine government, in an effort to mirror the success of its Asian neighbors, is looking to improve the quality of jobs available by ramping up employment in manufacturing. But it has had little success so far, hindered by issues such as higher wages, limited infrastructure and red tape, which make the country less competitive than its ASEAN peers.

Their lack of success is proven by the fact that only 16.5% of workers were in industrial jobs in the second quarter of 2015.

The country’s uneven employment market has traditionally led millions of Filipinos to seek better-paying jobs overseas.  One out of every 10 Filipinos works abroad, sending billions of dollars in remittances home and  helping to drive the country’s consumption-driven domestic economy – but doing little to promote employment.

There does not seem to be an end (at least in the near future) to the high unemployment rate problem that the Philippines faces.- Invest Asian

Philippines inflation falls to two-decade low

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 23:42
Philippines, Investment in the Philippines, Asia, Economy, Inflation, Deflation
Image source: The Financial Times
If you need evidence that the world faces a "third deflationary wave," look no further than the Philippines.
Annual inflation in the Philippines was just 0.6 per cent in August, the lowest reading in more than two decades of records. Economists had forecast a 0.7 per cent reading, following a 0.8 per cent print in July.
The central bank targets headline inflation target at 3 per cent, plus or minus one per cent. Actual inflation has come in below that band for four months.
The downward trajectory in inflation across much of Asia reflects weak demand, lower commodity prices and a decline in costs for manufactured goods. Currency devaluation has done little to thwart the deflationary threat: the Philippines' peso has depreciated more than 15 per cent since March 2013 and now trades at ₱ 46.79 per dollar, about 8 per cent weaker than its five year average.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile items to get a better sense of underlying trends, looks a little better on the whole but its August reading was well below forecasts. In August the reading was 1.6 per cent year-on-year, versus forecasts at 1.9 per cent. The downward trajectory is clear: in March the reading was 2.7 per cent; one year ago it was 3.4 per cent.
A quarterly index of consumer price inflation across Asia (ex-Japan) confirms this trend is found across the continent. The second quarter reading of 2.06 per cent was about half the rate seen in 2012 and a two-thirds below the rate in 2011. As explained in the FT earlier this week, these trends are likely to intensify as the Federal Reserve lifts interest rates, causing the US dollar to rise and yield-seeking investors to take cash out of emerging markets.
"In sum," wrote Dominic Rossi, global chief investment officer at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, "this third deflationary wave will mean that world GDP will continue to operate at a level below potential output. Downward pressure on prices will persist and a supply-side contraction in developing nations will be required before prices stabilize. A further fall in potential global output is now unavoidable. The adjustments to GDP forecasts are still ahead of us." - The Financial Times

Hanjin unveils first Philippine-made 180 Meters Kaprijke LPG carrier for Belguim's Savery

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 02:25

First Philippine Made 180 meters long LPG carrier ship. image: philSTAR

Hanjin unveils first Philippine-made LPG carrier

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – Korea’s shipbuilding giant Hanjin Heavy Industry and Construction Co., Ltd.–Philippines (HHIC-Phil) recently unveiled the first-ever Philippine-made Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) carrier.

The LPG carrier measures 180 meters in length, 29.4m in breadth and 18m in depth.

It was ordered by Belgian shipping company Exmar Shipping BVBA and was christened as “Kaprijke” by company owner Saverys family.

Construction of the LPG carrier began in June of last year.

The project has once again affirmed the world-class craftsmanship of Filipino workers in the global shipbuilding industry.

In a statement, HHIC-Phil president Jeong Sup Shim recounted the challenges the company had to go through in putting up the state-of-the-art shipyard in the country’s premier freeport.

He attributed the company’s success to the support of the Philippine government and outstanding work ethic of Hanjin shipyard workers.

“It is our company’s earnest desire and long term commitment to catapult the Philippines as the number one shipbuilding country in the world,” Shim said.

Citing the June 2015 edition of the shipping journal published by highly authoritative Europe-based Clarksons Research, “Both the Philippines and HHIC-Phil Inc. have been making great strides in the international business scene, motivating us to push ourselves to the limit to bring more prosperity not only for our company but also for our generous host – the Filipino people,” Shim further said.

“The Philippines is currently ranked fourth in the world in terms of order book by builder country with 2.1 gross compensated tonnage (CGT) for new vessel,” Shim said.

Hanjin Subic shipyard is the 10th largest shipyard in the world in terms of order book by shipyard, accounting for 1.8 GCT or 74 percent of the Philippines’ CGT for new vessels.

The shipbuilding company still has seven LPG carriers in the company’s order book to be delivered in the immediate future.

In 2012, HHIC-Phil Inc. put the country in the worldwide spotlight with the simultaneous inauguration of two Suezmax Crude Oil Tankers first ever built on Philippine shores.

HHIC-Phil Inc. has been building huge commercial vessels ranging from container ships to bulk carriers, crude oil tankers and off-shore structures mainly for overseas clients since 2008. Its Subic shipyard boasts of one of the largest drydocks in the world today.

The company has invested around $1.7 billion so far. Its shipyard is currently home to almost 29,000 workers and still counting.

HHIC-Phil operates a Skill Development Center, a multi-million world class training facility located at the heart of the Subic Bay Freeport’s Industrial Park. - philSTAR

Support for Duterte presidential run gathers steam, Roxas led internal survey over Binay

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 02:05

The trouble with us in government is that we talk too much, act too slow, and do too little, don't we? What the country needs is not more laws but more good men in public service. image:

Support for Duterte presidential run gathers steam

Davao City mayor yet to commit to the idea of running for highest office

Manila: Support for a presidential bid for Davao City’s mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, is gaining ground even as the prospective candidate himself is yet to commit to the idea.

“Yes, talks are on going, but nothing is final at this time,” a source from Cebu City told Gulf News when asked to confirm reports that negotiations are going on between Duterte’s camp and that of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former Senator Manuel Villar and the Partido Demokratiko-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.

Duterte currently belongs to the PDP-Laban.

With their formidable machineries, the two parties together form the biggest political organisations in the country.

It was responsible for the near-win of Villar in the 2010 presidential contest. Villar tallied only second in the electoral contest, losing to current President Benigno Aquino III.

The source confided to Gulf News that NP is courting the support of Duterte as part of a political concession to Villar, whose wife, Senator Cynthia Villar is reportedly seeking the vice-presidency in the 2016 polls.


Reports said an official announcement of a merger of the PDP-Laban-Nacionalista Party is due soon.

So far, Duterte remains non-committed although there are widespread calls for him to run for the top executive office.

A no-nonsense lawyer and administrator, Duterte had been elected mayor of the country’s biggest city — Davao City, time and again despite his image as a leader who would cut short tedious judicial processes by rendering justice swiftly and without fanfare.

In 2012, he forced a man selling fake land titles to eat the counterfeit certificates the latter had been selling to hapless informal settlers.

He would, at a heartbeat, tell rice smugglers that he would have them shot to death if they continue with their nefarious ways.

But the source said, all of this is part of an image Duterte cultivated and happily basked in.

Death squads

“They say he had people executed through the so-called Davao Death Squads but up to now, no one has any proof that he was behind these killings,” said the source.

“For one thing, Mayor Duterte epitomises everything that the government should be — quick to act on concerns even outside the media glare. The people are fed up with slow moving politicians,” he said.

“If only he will run for president then things would appear a little better for a lot of people,” he added.

Mar Roxas: Real survey is in 2016

ZAMBOANGA - Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas is thankful for the results of an internal survey that showed him winning the presidency if he goes one-on-one against Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

Roxas, who arrived Thursday morning in the city, toured different radio and TV stations.

In an interview, the Liberal Party candidate said he is grateful for the results of an internal survey commissioned by the LP. The survey showed that Roxas will win if the presidential race were a one-on-one fight between him and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Roxas said he is not privy to the details of the internal survey.

He also said the real survey will rely on the results of the 2016 election.

Before he left, Roxas made a joke that as of present he too is excited to know who will be his running mate in the 2016 elections.

Roxas is set to attend the three-day Mindanao Business Conference in Dipolog City, which formally opened yesterday. Business leaders and stakeholders from the different parts of the country are among those who participated in the activity. - Gulf news / ABS- CBN

Jones Cup 2015: Gilas Pilipinas beats Japan 75-60 ahead of Iran clash

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 01:32

Jones Cup: Gilas routs Japan, 75-60

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Gilas Pilipinas pulled away early in the fourth quarter to rout Japan, 75-60, in the 37th William Jones Cup on Wednesday (September 2) at the Xinzhuang Stadium in Taipei.

After a tight first three quarters, Gilas fired at will from the three-point area and clamped down on defense to break free in the payoff period.

During that stretch, newcomer Moala Tautuaa scored back-to-back throwdowns followed by five three-pointers from veterans Jayson Castro, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Gabe Norwood to bury Japan for good.

Rising star Terrence Romeo led Gilas anew with 16 points. Castro, De Ocampo, and Tautuaa added 10 apiece.

The Filipinos, who led by as much as 17 points during the spirited surge, now hold a 3-1 win-loss card with the win, improving their chances of topping the tourney they ruled in 2012.

A hurdle on their road to the championship, however, is Iran, which is currently atop the leaderboards with a 4-1 record. Gilas is tied with Chinese Taipei (Blue) and Russia at No. 2.

The Philippines will face Iran, which is coming off a blowout loss to Team USA which are spearheaded by former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) imports (September 3) at 1 p.m.- CNN

BASCAP and Philippines IP Office to bolster cooperation to stop counterfeiting and piracy

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 00:56

SINGAPORE: ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets the foundation for cooperation on intellectual property protection and enforcement initiatives. The goal of the MOU is to foster increased collaboration on intellectual property rights (IPR) that will benefit Philippines consumers as well as international and local brand owners.

Representing BASCAP, Meena Sayal, Unilever's Director of Global Brand Protection, presented the agreement to Allan Gepty, Director General of IPOPHL, last week at the 5th annual Global IP Forum in Singapore. She said: "The IPOPHL has developed a strong enforcement program. BASCAP's members appreciate these efforts and are keen to support IPOPHL's efforts as demonstrated through the signature of this MOU."

"BASCAP and IPOPHL share a common commitment to step up efforts to protect intellectual property and to guard Philippine consumers from the harms caused by product counterfeiting and copyright piracy. We look forward to working together to find ways to stop the trade in fakes in the Philippines and in the region," said BASCAP Director Jeff Hardy, who signed the agreement. "The Philippines IPO has been a leader in the region and in ASEAN on IP protection and enforcement and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on future initiatives that will help both our organizations achieve the goal of wiping out the serious problems created by criminals selling and distributing fakes."

BASCAP and IPOPHL share a common commitment to step up efforts to protect intellectual property and to guard Philippine consumers from the harms caused by product counterfeiting and copyright piracy

Mr Gepty said: "The accession of the Philippines to the Madrid Protocol provides brand owners, particularly foreign brands, with one cost-effective way of protecting their intellectual property rights, particularly trademarks. This MOU with BASCAP demonstrates the commitment of the Philippine government to work with stakeholders and ensure enforcement of these rights."

Under the MOU, the organizations agree to share data, materials and best practices and to cooperate on joint programs and projects. BASCAP and IPOPHL are already collaborating on a public awareness campaign in the Philippines using BASCAP's global "Fakes Cost More, I Buy Real" campaign materials. Both organizations expect to identify additional specific projects to be completed over the next 12 months. - ICC


The drain on businesses and the global economy from counterfeit goods and piracy of intellectual property is of great concern to ICC member companies worldwide. Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) is an ICC initiative that unites the global business community across all product sectors to address issues associated with intellectual property theft and to petition for greater commitments by local, national and international officials in the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights. Visit:


The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is the primary government agency tasked to administer and implement state policies, laws, rules and regulations in the promotion, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. IPOPHL works towards economic, technological, and socio-cultural development by communicating, enabling, and ensuring the effective use of the Intellectual Property System in all levels of society for the creation, protection, utilization, and enforcement of Intellectual Property. Visit:

Tourist blatantly breaks Davao city's anti-smoking ordinance, swallows cigarette butt

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 16:23

Duterte forces smoking tourist to swallow cigarette butt

* A local tourist openly defied Davao City’s anti-smoking ordinance

* He also mocked the restaurant owner who confronted him about the violation

* Duterte poked gun at the man’s crotch and gave the smoker three choices

* The man ended up eating his own cigarette

'Papiliin kita: barilin ko ang bayag mo, i-preso kita, o kainin mo ang upos ng sigarilyo mo,' asks the feisty Davao City mayor of a tourist caught smoking


MANILA, Philippines – A tourist literally got a taste of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s non-conventional style of law enforcement.

A Filipino tourist was forced by the mayor to swallow the butt of the cigarette he was smoking after refusing to follow Davao City’s famed smoking ban, according to a Facebook post in a page calling for Duterte’s presidential bid.

The post was written by former North Cotabato governor and former journalist Manny Piñol, who openly supports a presidential candidacy for Duterte.

The tourist was in the city for the Kadayawan Festival when he dared to smoke in a restaurant one night, read the post, crediting “sources close to” Duterte for the information.

The restaurant owner informed the tourist of the anti-smoking ordinance in the city which prohibits smoking in public places.

The smoker allegedly asked, “On whose orders? Bakit pera ba ni Duterte and binibili ko ng sigarilyo? (Why, am I using Duterte’s money to buy a cigarette?)”

Unfortunately for the tourist, the restaurant owner turned out to be a friend of Duterte. The owner asked the police to inform Duterte of the tourist’s transgression.

A few minutes later, the mayor himself walked into the restaurant, prompting the shocked tourist to drop his cigarette and step on it.

Duterte then sat beside the tourist, “pulled out a snub-nosed .38 revolver and poked it at the man’s crotch,” Piñol wrote.

The mayor then allegedly told the smoker: “Papiliin kita: barilin ko ang bayag mo, i-preso kita, o kainin mo ang upos ng sigarilyo mo (I’ll give you these choices: I’ll shoot your balls, send you to jail, or you eat your cigarette butt).”

To these the smoker could only muster a measly “Sorry Mayor” before picking up the cigarette butt and swallowing it, wrote Piñol.

Davao City is 9th safest City in the World. Image source: Davao Eagle

Dare to challenge the law?

Before leaving the restaurant, witnesses heard Duterte tell the smoker, “Never ever challenge the law.”

Duterte has earned adulation for his hands-on leadership style that many say helped turn Davao City into one of the safest in the country.

But his “vigilante style” of justice and open support for killing criminals has also sparked outrage among human rights advocates and even Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Surveys tag him as a popular choice for president in the lead-up to the 2016 national elections. In a May 8-18, 2015 survey done by Laylo Research Strategies, Duterte and former president Joseph Estrada were tied at 3rd place with their national rating of 10%.

Though Duterte is yet to declare his presidential bid and although he has been sending mixed signals about his real intentions for 2016, he has been going around the country explaining his would-be platform and all-out support for federalism in the Philippines. – Pia Ranada/ / Kickerdaily

The Philippines and KR big winners from China's slowdown but Fearing Investors for MARCOS Jr bid for 2016 Presidency

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 02:41

The Philippines and South Korea are the big winners from China's slowdown

How panicked were investors last week about China's stock market plunge? Enough to treat the Korean peninsula, a place that was teetering on the brink of war, as a safe haven.

Even as policy makers braced for renewed military confrontation between North and South Korea, the won staged a rally.

It may be time to start counting Korea as a developed nation, rather than an emerging market. 

That's made South Korean assets one of the few bright spots in a dark time for emerging markets. On August 24 alone, investors yanked $2.7 trillion out of developing nations, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand especially hard hit. It matched the violent September 2008 selloff after Lehman Brothers collapsed.

Back then, Korea was battered so hard that pundits were calling it the "next Iceland" and the "Bear Stearns economy". Now, together with the Philippines, it's one of Asia's only refuges from chaos.

It's not hard to explain why many Asian economies are suffering from China's slowdown. Exporters of commodities, who depended on a humming Chinese market, have especially suffered. But why are there such big outliers among battered emerging markets?

Less like lemmings

The answer is that investors are finally basing their decisions less on herd mentality than nuanced, case-by-case analyses.

"Emerging market investors have become a lot savvier," says economist Frederic Neumann of HSBC in Hong Kong.

"Gone are the days where emerging markets were all lumped into one bucket. Today, countries with stronger fundamentals are able to resist the spread of contagion washing over global financial markets."

Along with South Korea and the Philippines, Neumann notes that even some frontier economies, like Vietnam, "have weathered global financial turmoil with apparent ease".

The common link among the success stories is they've got the basics right since Asia's 1997 financial meltdown. They have healthier financial systems, greater transparency, stronger banks, sober national balance sheets, and reasonable current-account deficits.

Malaysia's reckoning, by contrast, is long overdue.

The ringgit is trading near 17-year lows because scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak cares more about staying in power than modernising the country's unproductive economy.

Meanwhile, Thailand's military junta is undoing much of the progress Bangkok made since the late 1990s in strengthening the rule of law. And for all its gripes that Indonesia is being unfairly lumped in with Asia's laggards, President Joko Widodo's administration is rapidly losing the trust of investors.

While there's still time to win it back, Widodo's first 315 days in office have been a case study in timidity, drift and lost opportunities.

Korea credible

Korea, by contrast, is on the "more credible side of the spectrum," says economist Marc Chandler of Brown Brothers Harriman.

Even though China's downshift and US interest rate hikes will eventually make a dent, the won was Asia's top performer last week. Its 2.7 percent gain almost matched the drop in the Chinese yuan since August 11.

Meanwhile, Korean bond yields are falling. It turns out that the world's central banks had it right last year when they boosted their Korean debt holdings. In 2014, they made up 45.4 percent of the foreign-held portion of Korea Treasury bonds, up from 41.8 percent a year earlier.

It may be time to start counting Korea as a developed nation, rather than an emerging market. Korea still faces many challenges, not least of which are its rogue family-run conglomerates. But its macroeconomic performance deserves the recognition it's receiving from investors.

The same goes for the Philippines. Since 2010, President Benigno Aquino has steadily improved his nation's debt position (winning investment-grade ratings in the process), attacked graft and drawn in waves of foreign-direct investment.

Last month, reporters asked Philippine central bank governor Amando Tetangco if he's worried about the spectre of economic crisis haunting Asia at the moment.

"There's a herd mentality," he said, "but there'll be differentiation."

So far, he's been proven right. The country formerly derided as the "sick man of Asia" has been standing its ground amid market chaos.

Still risks

Risks abound, of course. While South Korea's economic fundamentals are stable – it's growing at a rate of 2.2 percent with a 3.7 percent jobless rate – its high household debt of $458 billion is a concern.

Manila, for its part, faces an uncertain 2016 election, in which Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the dictator who ravaged the nation in the 1970s and 1980s, may make a bid for the presidency. History has shown that emerging markets are often just one bad leader away from relapsing into chaos.

For now, the relative stability washing over Korea and the Philippines underscores that steady leadership and long-term thinking matter. It also shows that global investors are getting better at identifying those factors in Asia. - Bloomberg / The Sydney Morning Herald


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