Friday, May 31, 2019


A great versatile artist is an uncommon sight and therefore a joy for followers of the entertainment industry. The most common of these are either those recording artists that turn out to be able to act, or the actors and actresses who happen to have some sweet vocal chords alongside their acting chops. Often when an artist crosses over from singing to acting or vice versa, there is a chance that they eventually stop doing their previous thing. So when a singer-turned-actor releases an album after so long, it is sure to get plenty of interest and attention, much like Glaiza de Castro right now.
An acting veteran of both the Philippines’ major networks since 2002, Glaiza de Castro also has an established background as a recording artist, ever since her first album in 2001 back when she was only 13 years old. Three more albums have followed, with the fourth released only in 2017 to great reception on Spotify. She has not slowed down however, since she has a newly-cut single out for her fans, courtesy of PolyEast Records. This is “Kapalaran,” a song that came to fruition as a beautiful team effort between Glaiza and some close friends.
“Kapalaran” was born from a demo sent to Glaiza by actor Alwyn Uytingco while the latter was in Japan. She was inspired by the initial composition and got to co-writing the lyrics and melody with Alwyn. To add more boom to the song, Glaiza collaborated with Juan Miguel Severo, master of spoken-lyric poetry to add some poignant and soulful verse to the composition, all of which are then tied together by the well-practiced arrangement of Axel Fernandez. Alwyn’s Japan trip experience, spiced up through Glaiza’s vocals and Juan Miguel’s “hugot,” come together to make “Kapalaran” a new hit OPM single.
Of the lyrics, Glaiza de Castro notes that she wants to help her listeners to stand up to the pressures of society, and trust in their own abilities to show them what their future path can be. “We all have gifts or skills or talents and whatever it is that you feel you like to do, that is your fate,” she says. The singer-actress also gives props to Juan Miguel, noting that his spoken lyrics in the song are perfect for conveying a strong message. Remarks Glaiza of the master poet and their collaboration, “It’s impossible not to listen to him when he says something.”
Spotify listeners can tune in now to hear Glaiza de Castro’s single “Kapalaran.” You can keep up with her and other artists under the PolyEast Records label via their official social media pages. Catch them on @PolyEastRecords for Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook.


Cebuana Lhuillier, one of the biggest nationwide pawnshop chains in the Philippines, does a lot more in making smiles than just their easy interest rates and number of branches across the country. They are also keen on honoring other Filipinos who do the same. This is exemplified in their Search for the Happiest Pinoy, where upstanding citizens of the Philippines can make their inspirational stories of optimism known via Cebuana and get a chance to win generous cash prizes. Their fourth Happiest Pinoy competition was recently held, with winners chosen from ten categories. And among them a teacher was named the Happiest Pinoy of all.
Public school teacher Zaldy Bueno was chosen by Cebuana Lhuillier as the winner of the 4th Search for the Happiest Pinoy recognition contest. He was a the representative Happiest Pinoy of the Professional category, one of ten finalists from sectors of Philippine society such as the youth, senior citizens, manual laborers, OFWs, civil servants and even the LGBTQ.  For his inspirational life story, Sir Bueno was awarded a P1 million cash prize, tax free. That is a worthy victory especially for the Region IV-A native who overcame monumental obstacles in order to achieve his lifelong calling to education, and doing it with sheer positive optimism.
Born in poverty at Quezon province, Zaldy early school life, supplemented by planting and selling vegetables, was put to its first big test when they survived the 1995 Typhoon Rosing. With their home destroyed and being forced to share room in their barangay health center for months, Zaldy was inspired to make the most of his chances at education to ensure a good life for himself and his family. Having to work part-time during college to earn his education degree, he also had to pay his own expenses while practice-teaching.
But these hardships only instilled in Zaldy Bueno a greater appreciation for his profession, such that he has made it his crusade to help students in as much financial straits as he had been. In addition to teaching ALS classes (that his own mother attended), Sir Bueno was co-founder of a community project that would supply students who lived too far from schools and cannot afford public transport with bicycles. The PADYAK Project has been recognized, endorsed and supported by the local community, government officials and overseas Filipino benefactors for its practical aid to students.
Sir Bueno has already earned accolades from the CALABARZON Awards and the Civil Service Commission for his inspirational assistance to education for youth of slim ways and means. His new award as Cebuana Lhuillier’s Happiest Pinoy, and the prize that comes with it, is a well-deserved additional feather in Zaldy’s cap for his life’s work.
The Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy screens the inspirational life-story essays of interested candidates submitted to their many pawnshops. Top candidates from ten categories were then interviewed by a panel of judges from the company, to determine the top Pinoys in each category, and the Happiest Pinoy among them. The other category winners also won their own individual cash prizes of P50000 each.
“I am very happy with the results of this year’s search – with over 800,000 entries received through our branches, online, SMS and walk-in entries,” noted Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuiller regarding Bueno. “It’s been amazing to read the entries of the 10 finalists and Zaldy proves to be a worthy winner as his tale will definitely inspire countless people to push on despite life’s difficulties. Zaldy exemplifies the commendable Filipino spirit of rising up from your current predicament and using that as fuel to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Thursday, May 30, 2019


International relations between the Philippines and Canada are for the most part warm and positive, with one point of exception. Back in 2013 the North American nation began delivering containers full of trash and potentially toxic waste to Subic port, ostensibly for local disposal. Both the government and Filipino citizens protested the attempt to use the country as a dumping ground, with both previous and incumbent administrations working to prevail on Canada to take back its garbage. Earlier this month they agreed to pay to have the waste shipped back to their territory, and the vessel to transport them is loading these same containers today.
ABS-CBN News reports that a container ship has made port at Subic and commenced to take on board the over 2,000 tons of trash from Canada, stored in 60 cargo containers, that had been deposited in the Philippines for near on six years already. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra noted that the shipping expenses for this vessel and others are to be paid by the Canadian government. The loading of containers will carry on through to this midnight of Friday, May 31, upon which the container ship will begin its journey across the Pacific to Canada.
An estimated $10 million will be shouldered by the national government in Ottawa, capital of Canada according to Guevarra. The destination port for the return of the waste-loaded containers will be Vancouver in British Columbia. Three shipping companies have volunteered their vessels for transporting the garbage: Maersk, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and CMA-CGM Group. Justice Secretary Guevarra is overseeing the transfer as officer-in-charge of the Philippine government while President Rodrigo Duterte is in Japan this week. He is not expected back until the 31st by which time the cargo vessels will have already gone underway.
Friction between the Philippines and Canada has remained present since the previous administration of President Benigno Aquino III until the present term of Rodrigo Duterte. Relations even threatened to deteriorate further when President Duterte took exception to criticism from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on account of the former’s ongoing drug war. This has shaped Duterte’s rhetoric as he exhorted Canada to take back their waste, threatening to simply dump them on Canadian beaches and even declaring war if the American ally did not either transport the garbage themselves or take up the expenses of the trip. An earlier Canadian proposal to have the toxic waste containers removed by June 30 next month was moved up to this week according to Foreign Affairs Secretary “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr.
Image courtesy of

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


In a far cry from how things stood during and shortly after World War II, the international relations between the Philippines and Japan has been warm and positive for decades now. While the country’s war veterans and comfort women along with their families continue to ensure their ordeals are not forgotten, for the most part Filipinos buy Japanese goods, enjoy Japanese pop culture, and even find employment in Japan itself. It is to further these strong socio-economic bonds that President Rodrigo Duterte has traveled to Japan this week for an important regional conference, even taking his cabinet among the delegation.
CNN Philippines reports that President Rodrigo Duterte has arrived in Japan Tuesday evening, May 28. While there he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss important issues regarding the situation in the West Philippine Sea, as well the current economic conditions in both countries and the rest of Asia. President Duterte will also oversee new business transactions between Japanese and Filipino companies for the generation of roughly P300 billion in investment as well as 80,000 new jobs in the Philippines. More than 20 individual agreements will cover new opportunities in various fields from Duterte’s infrastructure projects to the local BPO sector.
This momentous occasion for further Philippine-Japan economic cooperation was somewhat shadowed by the fact that the President brought his entire national Cabinet as part of his delegation. Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V remarked that the presence of President Duterte’s Cabinet Secretaries might be a reward gesture for the Administration’s victory in the recent Midterm Senatorial Elections. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo refuted this on Wednesday, May 29. He explained the vital importance of Duterte’s Cabinet in the business discussions with Japanese companies, and that they were not being rewarded because as Cabinet Secretaries they were prohibited from campaigning for any candidates in the Elections.
Panelo elaborated that the working visit to Japan was a prime opportunity for Filipino Cabinet officials to be able to dialogue with their respective opposite numbers in the National Diet, in the interest of forging stronger international relations. The Secretaries will also accompany the President on his meeting with representatives of the Filipino overseas community in Japan, who according to Panelo are entitled to personally meet with their home government’s national-level officials, who are helping President Duterte in plotting the future course of their nation.
The various business agreements will be officially signed, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), during the NIKKEI Conference on the Future of Asia from May 30-31, which the President will also attend. Duterte also took time to make important announcements regarding the country while in Japan. To specify, he has declared June 5, Wednesday next week, as a regular Holiday for being the time of Eid’l Fitr which ends the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. The occasion itself is an official Holiday since 2002, but must be proclaimed every year due to its not being fixed, depending on the Muslim Calendar and the phases of the moon.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star

WHO Classifies Workplace BURNOUT as MEDICAL CONDITION in ICD Database

These days where people are living in a more connected and global world, there comes the need for a given standard or several for people to follow. It could be the metric system of measurement, or an official list of what medical conditions can be classified as diseases. Such a database is under the purview of the United Nations (UN) agency, the World Health Organization (WHO). In a recent gathering on world health, the WHO has made landmark official recognition of a condition suffered by many people around the world, gotten from their places of work: what is called “burnout.”
ABS-CBN News has it that during the World Health Assembly that concluded Tuesday, May 28 in Geneva Switzerland, the World Health Organization added workplace burnout to their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) database, thus recognizing it as a valid medical condition and providing a definitive guideline for medical practitioners to identify its symptoms. The ICD is a major resource for the global medical community for aid in patient diagnosis. Health insurance companies also consult the database. The official definition of burnout by the WHO is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
The new ICD classification also provides three characterizations of workplace burnout to aid in any medical diagnosis of it. First, the patient should be experiencing “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.” Second, he should also be exhibiting “increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.” Finally, these symptoms should also be resulting in a “reduced professional efficacy” of the patient under diagnosis. There is one caveat to the description, and that is that the above symptoms should be within the patient’s experiences from his occupation, and not borne out of other events in his life, outside work.
Actions taken to have workplace burnout added as a medical condition, which involved discussion and recommendations from world health experts in the International Classification of Diseases has ensured that it would be included in the drafting of an updated database since last year. Approval was given last Saturday, May 25, for the finalized new ICD-11 version. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic notes that this was the first time burnout was proposed for inclusion in the database, and it had made it in on its first attempt.
ICD-11 will take effect in the year 2022. Aside from workplace burnout, other standout additions in official medical conditions include the listing of “excessive video-gaming” as an addiction and “excessive sexual behavior” as a mental disorder. Meanwhile, “transgenderism” was moved from mental disorders to medical conditions related to sexual health.
Image courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times

SPICE GIRLS 2019 TOUR Starts Successfully, Except for Recurring SOUND PROBLEMS

British girl band the Spice Girls is easily one of the most recognizable, most memorable and most iconic faces of UK pop music in the 1990s. With the distinctive personas and styles of its five members, the group became one of the focal points of the “Cool Britannia” culture phenomenon. While having gone their separate ways since 2000, Mel B, Mel C, Emma, Geri and Victoria have gone on reunion tours on and off the first two decades of the 21st Century, particularly during the 2012 London Olympics. Now, four of the Spice Girls are on a 2019 concert tour through the UK and Ireland, and fans are obviously happy. Now if only something can be done about the sound.
The Spice Girls’ “Spice World 2019 Tour” kicked off with its first concert at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland last Friday, May 24 according to Entertainment Tonight. Even with the absence of Victoria Beckham due to scheduling conflicts, the remaining foursome of Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, and Melanies Chisholm and Brown, were more than enough to whip up the audience in a whirlwind of nostalgia, including updated versions of their unforgettable nineties wardrobe as they sang familiar favorites like “2 Become 1,” “Spice Up Your Life,” “Viva Forever” and “Wannabe.”

At least ideally, that was what was supposed to happen last week. Unfortunately as CNN reports, there were technical difficulties in terms of sound quality. The outlying sections of Croke Park were seen in social media posts as having some of the 70,000 strong Spice fans sitting down instead of being on their feet like with the nearer seats. Some Twitter posts on the first concert night decried the performance audio as “awful” and that some of the attendees were actually leaving early instead of sitting through the whole show.
Following the Dublin show, Mel B quickly went to Instagram to address the complaints and promised that the sound bugs would be fixed for their tour’s second concert stop in Cardiff, Wales this Monday, May 27. But in what The Daily Mail describes as a Strike 2, the sound issues followed the Spice Girls to Wales, and this time the frustrated portion of concert-goers were a bit more venomous on social media. Also slammed was the venue of Principality Stadium, which had left its retractable roof open when the concert night actually had scattered rain-showers.
Substandard audio aside, those who were lucky enough to hear the Spice Girls were thoroughly entertained, particularly with the updated take on the group’s advocacy of “Girl Power” as symbolized by Geri’s latest take on her signature UK-flag dress. Their backup dancers were also divided into five squads kitted in each girl’s respective looks: Emma’s “Baby” colors, Mel C’s athleisure gear and Mel B’s cheetah-print.
There are six more stops in the Spice World 2019 Tour, which will terminate in London on June 15. Stop 3 for the Spice Girls is in Manchester, where they are booked at the Etihad Stadium for three consecutive nights starting this Wednesday, May 29.
Image courtesy of Forbes

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


The evolution of the Disney live-action remake of their original animated films has been an interesting development over the past decade or so that they have been doing it. As far back as in 1996 with “101 Dalmatians,” the company has been looking at their Animated Canon properties with an eye for having them done with real actors and necessary CGI. Two variations on these adaptations have also appeared: one that steers away from the original until it is an in-name-only remake (2014’s “Maleficent”), and another that tries to be accurate to its source (2017’s “Beauty and the Beast”). Where then does 2019’s “Aladdin” lie?
Without delving too much into real-life context, Disney definitely was fully confident in releasing a movie with a narrative set in the Middle East in this period of time. Even the expected criticism of many facets of the production did not deter them from making a live-action remake of the 1992 Disney Renaissance masterpiece. Not the absence of any Levantine-Arab actors in the cast to befit the fantasy city of Agrabah; not the unusual directorial choice of British filmmaker Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” plus the RDJ-starring “Sherlock Holmes” movies); not even the use of white extras in “brown-face” during shooting, could stop Disney from coming through.
In terms of the necessary changes transitioning from animation, it could be pointed out that the portrayals and setting of the original were too stereotypical, xenophobic, culturally inaccurate, and so on. The movie crew actually had some reasonable explanations for why the main cast looked as they are, and why the aesthetics of Agrabah remain as much of a mishmash location as the 1992 version but for an understandable reason. Whether the audience will buy that or not holds no bearing on what we will discuss next: the adaptation’s story.
The narrative of Aladdin as told by Disney is fairly basic: orphan “street rat” meets the princess, is roped into retrieving a magic lamp, and meets a genie that can grant him three wishes, all while heartwarming hilarity ensues. Now let us consider the alterations to the plot. Aladdin (Mena Massoud, Egyptian-Canadian) first meets Princess Jasmine of Agrabah (Naomi Scott, British with Ugandan mother of Gujarati stock) under changed circumstances here. Instead of escaping the palace to avoid being married off, she instead wants to see her kingdom’s people after being cloistered for so long. Aladdin notices his monkey Abu has stolen her bracelet and sneaks into the Palace to both return it and see Jasmine again. Then evil intervenes.
One significant change in the remake is remolding the sinister vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari, Tunisian-Dutch) into a younger and outwardly non-suspicious personage, but with a greater ambition and barely-concealed anger issues over being “second” to anybody. He would shanghai Aladdin to take a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders in the desert, only to kill him once he had done so. Aladdin escapes the attempt thanks to Abu and gets stuck in the collapsing cave. Then he rubs the lamp.
Cue perhaps the make-or-break casting choice for the “Aladdin” remake, the Genie of the lamp. Where the original animated version was immortalized by the late comedy great Robin Williams, this time it is rapper-actor Will Smith in the role. And in Disney’s wisdom they had Smith put his own spin on the character, a decision that is one of the highlights of this movie. Where Williams drove his Genie through rapid-fire standup comedy routines, Smith would make his blue giant (with African-American-looking human disguise) something of a mix between his street-smart “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” archetype and his more recent “love doctor” schitck in 2005’s “Hitch,” with magic powers.
He we end up getting quite the awesome lead-wingman tandem of Aladdin and the Genie as they take Agrabah by storm as “Prince Ali” to win the heart of Princess Jasmine, all while Jafar recognizes his second chance at having absolute power and makes his move in the background. A new caveat into the plot progression is tweaking the Agrabah Sultan’s desire for his only child to marry; he wants Jasmine’s prospective husband to be Sultan after him by marriage, while Jasmine wants to prove that she can rule as Sultan in her own right, with her hubby as consort.
That desire is encapsulated in a new song added to the “Aladdin” soundtrack, performed naturally by Naomi Scott thanks to her recording artist background. All the old 1992 standards – “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me,” and “A Whole New World” – are all lovingly redone by original composer Alan Menken. Animation purists however might point out that the corresponding numbers in the film are a far cry from the original, too “limited by realism” of live action. In this critic’s opinion they have a point; that still comes across as needless nitpicking of an already-great product.
Additional cast members (Iranian-American Nasim Pedrad and Turkish-German Numan Acar) playing new characters that were not around in the animation help to really flesh out not just the interactions of the leads but also to make the cast itself more vibrant compared to the limited personages of 1992. But at the heart of the new embellishments is still the delightful Arabian Night fairy tale that Disney made into a hit once before. While fans might insist that this remake will never top the classic, its potential to be a hit in cinemas is beyond doubt.
Disney’s “Aladdin” is now showing.
Image from Comic Book Resources

Friday, May 24, 2019


It is a something of an old and worn-out tale to say that when the Philippines was newly independent from the United States, it boasted one of the most-efficiently equipped armed forces in Southeast Asia, with plenty of leftover hand-down armaments and military vessels in use. Over the decades however, the rest of the nations in the region have caught up and improved their capacities while that of the Philippines has stagnated. Overseas acquisitions of new equipment for the armed forces tend to be fraught with controversy as well. That applies to the new warship being built for the Navy in South Korea, though its recent launch might prove inspiring. reports that the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the first frigate of the Philippine Navy that has missiles as its primary armaments, was launched on Thursday, May 23, at the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in Ulsan, South Korea. The occasion was witnessed by officials from the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Navy. BRP Jose Rizal will also be the class ship of the Navy’s new Jose Rizal frigate line, with another vessel, to be called BRP Antonio Luna, having its keel newly-laid at the HHI yards.
Measuring 107 meters long, the Jose Rizal will be the first Philippine Navy warship with a contemporarily modern design. Its missiles can be launched at targets in the water, land, air, and even underwater. Its shape is of the current trend with stealth-conducive contour to less its radar visibility in the water, backed by an electronic warfare capability. It is a refit of the South Korean frigate design Incheon/FFX-I/HDF-3000. Both Jose Rizal and Antonio Luna were ordered by the Navy from HHI back in 2016, with a total budget of $16 billion for the two.
However, like almost all dealings to modernize the armed forces, the South Korean-made frigates had their own little controversy. Originally their combat management system (CMS) was to be provided from the Netherlands. But in 2017 Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had Navy Chief V-Adm. Joseph Mercado, a proponent of the Dutch CMS, removed from his post. At the same time, HHI contracted a fellow South Korean firm offering its own system for the Jose Rizal frigates. President Duterte said he signed off on Hanwha Naval Shield being installed on the ships following a formal complaint from Hyundai Heavy Industries about potential incompatibility with Netherland’s Thales Tacticos.
The new Navy frigates are to have an over-100-man crew, missile batteries, super-rapid gun and remote-controlled naval cannon. They will also each carry UK-made AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters, both already delivered. BRP Jose Rizal will be delivered to the Philippines in 2020, while BRP Antonio Luna will wait until 2021.
Image courtesy of GMA Network

First TRAILER Out for Paramount’s “TERMINATOR: DARK FATE,” Coming NOVEMBER

Before “Avatar,” before “Titanic,” the movie franchise that would have been an easy connection to the name of filmmaker James Cameron would be “Terminator.” The concept of a human-looking robot assassin from a dark future dominated by machines was a starkly iconic idea. From its relatively low-key sci-fi horror 1984 debut, it ballooned into a very expensive SFX and CGI-laden action epic with the 1991 sequel “Judgment Day,” although subsequent “Terminator” films would be lesser appreciated, from either an attempted direct sequel to spinoffs. Paramount looks to try the franchise again this year with “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the first trailer of which arrived this week according to CBS News.
Perhaps the main draw of this new “Terminator” film is the fact that it goes beyond just featuring key iconic characters of the franchise, such as Sarah and John Connor and the titular T-800 Model 101 Terminator. Rather, they would have another past cast-member join in the project alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is none other than Linda Hamilton, the original actress for Sarah Connor whose performance was much hailed in the 1991 sequel, where she transitioned from the hapless survivor of “The Terminator” to the hard-bitten action mom of “Judgment Day.”
The trailer for “Dark Fate” jumps into the action without much framing or world-building. Once again, the machine leader Skynet has sent an advanced Terminator model from the future to kill a young girl (Natalia Reyes) in the past. Said girl finds a guardian in a young woman (Mackenzie Davis) who, despite insisting that she is human, has a Terminator-like endoskeleton under her skin, with all the superhuman ability that implies. The new Terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) however has a new combination of old tricks from past models, and the only one who might be able to help its targets are an aged Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and an apparently-surviving T-800 (Schwarzenegger) with aged living-tissue disguise.
James Cameron returns to the “Terminator” franchise with “Dark Fate,” though only as producer and co-writer. Directing duties are given over to Tim Miller, who can be credited as one of the reasons for the surprise success of 2016’s “Deadpool” from 20th Century Fox. Cameron gave a definitive word on the status of such “Terminator” entries as “Rise of the Machines” (2003), “Salvation” (2009), “Genesys” (2015) and the TV series “Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008-09) where the title role was played by Lena “Cersei” Headey. These installments apparently happened in alternate histories while their storyline for “Dark Fate” will be a direct sequel to “Judgment Day.”
Diego Bonita, Jude Collie and Enrique Arce also star in the movie, co-produced by Paramount and now-Disney subsidiary 20th Century Fox. The former will distribute the film in North America while Disney handles distribution on the international scene. “Terminator: Dark Fate” premieres this November 1.
Image courtesy of Comic


In the modern Filipino working landscape, one portmanteau term fills many rank-and-file employees with dread: “Endo.” It means “End of Contract” and has been a thorn in the side of working people in the Philippines, particularly since the start of the 21st Century. By exploiting a loophole in the now-ironclad Labor Law regulation of regularizing employees after six months in the company, some businesses have avoided taking on greater responsibilities for their workforce. This was one of the secondary objectives that President Rodrigo Duterte swore to address during his term. Now, the first step toward that resolution has passed with the upper chamber of Congress.
CNN Philippines reports that the Senate has approved their version of a proposed bill that will remove the shadow of Endo over the working career of many employees in the Philippines. Senate Bill 1826 or the “Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act of 2018” should in practice do away with the strong-arm method of employee contractualization that sees many workers flit from job to job every half-year or so once their limited employment contracts end. Ending a work term after only five months is how some companies have prevented their workers from becoming regular employees with greater benefits (and costs to the company).
To drive home just how vital this issue is and how much President Duterte wants the legislation to answer it, Senate Bill 1826 actually passed unanimously on Wednesday, May 22, with all present Senators casting in favor of it. But for the moment, the contents of the does not yet address Endo but rather “labor-only contracting.” This involves a person or firm serving as a job contractor, recruiting workers that they then place with a contracting company. The contractor thus gets a cut and the employees answer to them instead of their company workplace. Bill 1826 would mandate all workers be directly hired by companies, cutting out the contractor middleman.
Another article on the SOTEEA states that except for the probationary workers (new hires up until 5 months of service), all employees in a company are considered regular, even if they only work for a project or for a season. This also includes legal safeguards that would prevent said businesses from dismissing workers out of hand without “just and authorized cause.” There is no mention of legislation that simply prohibits companies from putting 5-month limits to employee contracts, but that part might be covered by the other side of Congress.
The Senate half of this bill to end Endo and other related practices will be joined to the version already passed by the House of Representatives. They will be ironed out by a bicameral committee that will unite the documents into a single “End Endo” bill, awaiting the President’s signature.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star


“American Idol” on ABC has loosed its shot earlier this week when it had its final competition for season 17. As all fans of reality singing competitions know now, it was the master bayou-style singer from Louisiana, Laine Hardy, who prevailed there in the end. Now it was NBC’s turn with its own big-name reality singing show “The Voice,” which aired its 16th season since late this February. Their Week 6 Live Show Finale went on for two days in Monday and Tuesday, and now the results are out. Notably, the winner of “The Voice” season 16 has hit a number of milestones for the entirety of the show’s run.
As People tells it, Maelyn Jarmon, one of Coach John Legend’s singers, who ultimately emerged victorious in the 2-part finale of “The Voice” 16 on May 20 and 21. She was by her lonesome in this home stretch, with the other members of the Final Four being all talents under Coach Blake Shelton: Andrew Sevener, Gyth Rigdon and Dexter Roberts. The finalists were given a three-song set: a solo cover, a duet cover with coach, and an original song each. Despite the heavy odds, it was Jarmon who won it.
With her victory, Jarmon has established new records benchmarks for the whole run of “The Voice” on its network. She is the second time a contestant who made all four coaches turn in the Blind Auditions advance to win in the finals. Her only companion in this achievement is season 10 winner Alisan Porter. Jarmon also snagged the first coaching victory for John Legend, particularly on his debut as Coach. The occasion was the second time a one-contestant “Voice” coach beat a field of three finalists under a rival. In supreme irony, the first Coach to pull that was Shelton Blake in season 7.
During the winner’s press conference he spoke about this triumph at Blake’s expense with some strong words. “I really love Blake and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him this year. He’s a very arrogant bastard,” Legend said. “I had a feeling he was going to kiss someone’s ass after this show and I was right.”
Support for the 26-year-old Maelyn Jarmon was pretty strong not just in the votes but in the audience. Her family and friends, numbering 20 strong, cheered for her performances while wearing matching “Maelyn” shirts. When her win was announced, her boyfriend Jonny Murrel even joined her onstage during the celebration. Even Jarmon’s life story was inspirational. She achieved her win on “The Voice” season 16 even while deaf in her right ear and only 80% hearing on the left, the result of a medical procedure at age 2 gone wrong.
Regarding Shelton Blake’s country music trio, Andrew Sevener was fourth place, Dexter Roberts placed third, and Gyth Rigdon was Runner-Up.
Image courtesy of Newsweek