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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates Sign MOU to Combat Human Trafficking, Protect Women and Children

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan signed the MOU at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Executive Director Enrico T. Fos) 

New York - A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Combating Human Trafficking was signed between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 26 September 2019 in New York.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan signed the MOU at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

Under the MOU, the Philippines and the UAE will adopt procedures to combat human trafficking, share best practices, exchange information, promote human rights, and provide assistance in the protection, rescue, repatriation, recovery, and rehabilitation of trafficking victims in accordance with domestic laws.

(Photo by DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Executive Director Enrico T. Fos) 

The signing of the MOU also seeks to strengthen the bilateral relations and cooperation between the Philippines and the UAE. Both countries have ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol).

The Philippines as a country of origin has been in the forefront of the fight against human trafficking. By forging international cooperation and arrangements, the Philippines hopes to intensify the government's efforts to help prevent and stamp out this global problem.

P.I.C Live this Friday Oct 4, Parkside Lounge NYC

P.I.C, The Charitys and Stuyvesant invite you for a special Friday night (10/4/2019) of drinking and drawing.

Visual artists will be creating while the bands are playing. Music inspiring art and art inspired music!

All happening Friday 10/4 at the Parkside Lounge 317 E. Houston St. New York City.  

No cover. 21 and over.

Band Line-up
The Charitys - 9:00pm
Stuyvesant - 10:00pm
P.I.C - 11pm

President Duterte warns big hacienderos on land reacquisition

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the decommissioning of the arms and forces of the 727 Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa - Pilipinas/ Revolutionary Proletarian Army/ Alex Boncayao Brigade - Tabara-Paduano Group (RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG) at the Camp General Macario B. Peralta, Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz on September 19, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

JAMINDAN, Capiz—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte warned wealthy landowners not to repurchase lands distributed by the government through its land reform program and should instead help poor land reform beneficiaries by providing them financial assistance.

In a speech during the decommissioning of firearms by former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade -Tabara-Paduano Group (RPA/ABB-TPG), President Duterte said rich hacienderos enjoyed the fruits of their possession of vast tracts of land for many, many decades and it is time to alleviate the condition of poor Filipinos.

“Look, sabihin ko na sa inyo. Sa panahon ko, I will not honor that sale,” the President warned. “Kung sabihin mo na binili mo uli, eh mahirap ‘yung tao eh. Maybe for the first time in his life, he got hold of so much money.”

“If they would insist because it is prohibited to buy itong mga lupa na ibinigay sa land reform at binili ninyo at gusto ninyong…gusto ng tenant kunin at ayaw ninyong ibigay, I will side with the tenants kasi alam ninyo na hindi ninyo pwedeng bilihin ‘yan.”

The President renewed his offer to the members of the New People’s Army (NPA), stressing he is ready to provide them land, shelter, and livelihood if they surrender to the government and shun violence.

He told the former members of RPA/ABB-TPG present during Thursday’s event that he has distributed thousands of land titles to the landless and has been doing it without much fanfare.

The President instructed the agrarian reform secretary to distribute idle state-owned lands to poor farmers to complete the land reform program of the government.

“Sabihin ko ngayon sa Secretary, I will go by two years and so many months from now. Kumpletuhin na niya ang land reform dito at ibigay na ang lahat ng lupa sa gobyerno sa tao dito para to complete the story,” he said.

“Kung wala namang silbi ‘yang lupa ng gobyerno, hindi naman ginagamit, ibigay mo na sa tao kay may problema tayo.”

The President was here in Capiz Thursday to oversee the decommissioning of more than 300 firearms surrendered by the RPA/ABB-TPG. The former combatants received various assistance from different government agencies as they start a new life in the mainstream society.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

PSA: Philippine Consulate New York Community Outreach Team will be in Rhode Island Oct 5 and Connecticut Oct 6; Book Appointments and Pre-register

The Philippine Consulate General in New York will conduct a back-to-back consular outreach over the weekend of 05-06 October. The consular outreach team will be in Rhode Island on 05 October, and Connecticut on 06 October. The SSS New York Representative will also be present to entertain your queries on Philippine social security benefits.

To get an appointment, please register through the following link:

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Local Grassroots Organizations presents 'Queens Week of Community' Full of Art, Workshops, Film Screenings + More, Sept 28 - Oct 5

Woodside, NY - From Saturday, September 28 to Saturday, October 5, Anakbayan New York (ABNY) and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) presents Linggo Ng Samahan (Week of Community) Bayanihan Festival. Community members from all over NYC and beyond are welcome to participate in this weeklong event: showcasing art from local artists, to local & cultural workshops, classes & trainings, and film screenings. This Week of Community is to be held at the Living Artist Gallery located at 38-02 61st Street Woodside, NY 11377. 

Join Anakbayan New York with NAFCON and celebrate the diversity and strength of our local communities.

Background: As the summer comes to a close, we come together to celebrate our communities’ vibrant culture. Queens is a borough historically known for its abundance of migrants and working class families.

In a climate that often makes us feel separated or isolated, we should always remind ourselves that we are not alone and that together we have strength.

During the week of Saturday Sept 28th through Saturday October 5th, Anakbayan New York with NAFCON welcome you to participate in activities and workshops that embrace the neighborhood. These daily events aim to address local issues such as immigration, displacement, anti-gentrification, and the diaspora at large. These activities will initiate and inspire community members through art and culture.

Anakbayan New York with NAFCON invites local members of all cultural backgrounds for Linggo Ng Samahan (Week of Community) as we share space, resources, and build towards empowering the community. All events are free and open to the public* (Some workshops ask for a small donation or fee). Anakbayan New York with NAFCON looks forward to hearing each others’ stories and experiences through cultural expression and educational discussions.

For more information and current schedule visit:

Second Installment of the Forum on Estate Tax Amnesty Law Held at the Philippine Center

Attorneys Sean Borja (5th from right, front row), JaineMesina (4th from right, front row), and Oliver Baclay Jr. (2nd from right, front row) and Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro (3rd from right, front row) pose for a group photo with some of the audience, after the conclusion of the Forum (Photo by NYPCG)

New York – The Philippine Consulate General in New York (PCGNY) and Gulapa and Baclay LLP hosted a Forum on the Estate Tax Amnesty of the Philippines (Republic Act 11213) on 20 September 2019 at the Philippine Center.

While a forum on the same topic was already held on 23 July 2019, in partnership with the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., PCGNY decided to have an installment considering the paramount importance of this piece of legislation and the “limited-time offer” of the amnesty.

Atty. Sean Borja (standing) gives a presentation on the Estate Tax Amnesty immediately after the presentation of Atty. Janine Mesina (seated) (Photoby NYPCG)
Following the instructive presentation was a Q & A where Attorneys Sean Borja and Janine Mesina addressed the legal queries raised by the audience.For the benefit of ourkababayans who were unable to attend, the said Forum was also broadcasted through PCGNY’s Facebook Live.

All those interested to avail of the amnesty, pursuant to Republic Act 11213, are reminded to file the estate tax amnesty return on or before 14 June 2021.

contributed 19925pcgny

Hispanic Heritage Celebration at TOPAZ ARTS

TOPAZ ARTS is pleased to host the 3rd Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration with State Assemblyman Brian Barnwell on Friday, September 27th, 6-8pm. The event honors those of Hispanic heritage who have manifested excellence from within their respective careers, and have shown leadership in the community. In an effort to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, State Assemblyman Barnwell will present those outstanding individuals with an award.

For event details, please contact State Assemblyman Barnwell’s office at 718-651-3185.

55-03 39th Avenue in Woodside, Queens

This event is presented in partnership with NYS Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and TOPAZ ARTS, Inc. with support from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Council.

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Implements First-in-the-Nation Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes

September 15, 2019- New York City- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announces an emergency executive action to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in New York State. The Governor Cuomo also signed legislation to raise the age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21, effective November 13, 2019. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Flickr Page Photo.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that New York State is the first state in the nation to implement a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids, following a vote on emergency regulations by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. The ban, which is now in effect, is the latest in a series of actions to combat the increase in young people using vape products, largely as a result of e-cigarette companies marketing flavors that are intended to get children addicted to nicotine.

"It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes - it's a public health crisis and it ends today," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, and by banning flavored e-cigarettes we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy and potentially deadly life-long habits."

Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Health to convene an emergency meeting of PHHC to consider this ban. The Governor also directed State Police and DOH to immediately partner to ramp up enforcement efforts against retailers who sell to underage youth, with the possibility of criminal penalties, in addition to announcing that he will advance legislation to ban deceptive marketing of e-cigarettes to teens and children. 

As part of the Family Smoking and Tobacco Prevention Act of 2009, the U.S. Congress banned the sale of cigarettes with flavors other than menthol and tobacco.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Flickr Page Photo

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "The alarmingly high numbers of young people in New York State who are using vape products is nothing short of a public health crisis. These regulations are a part of many critical steps we are taking to combat this disturbing trend. We will continue to be aggressive in our efforts to prevent nicotine addiction and 
bad marketing practices under Governor Cuomo's leadership."

Flavors are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes by youth and are a principal reason that youth initiate and maintain e-cigarette use. According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids. High school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%). While New York's high school student smoking rate dropped from 27.1% in 2000 to a record low of 4.3% in 2016, aggressive marketing strategies promoting flavored e-cigarettes is primed to turn that trend.

Flavoring is a key youth marketing strategy of the vaping/aerosol industry just as it is in the cigarette, cigar and smokeless tobacco markets. E-cigarette marketing highlights flavors such as mint chocolate, bubblegum and cherry cola, and creates a deceptive belief that they are not harmful to users. In a 2017 survey of 15 to 17 year-old adolescents in New York State currently using electronic vapor products, 19% of the adolescents said that flavors were the reason that they first tried an e-cigarette and 27% said flavors were the reason for maintaining use. Studies also show nearly 78% of high school students and 75% of middle school students report being exposed to pro-tobacco marketing in 2016. Legislation will be advanced next session to prevent these deceptive and misleading advertisements to target our youth.

The Department of Health will provide retailers with an approximate two-week grace period before conducting visits to enforce the flavoring ban beginning on Friday, October 4.  Local health departments and the Department's District Offices, with State oversight, will handle enforcement. Retailers who violate the ban will face fines of up to $2,000 per violation, which is defined as each unit of flavored e-liquid or product containing e-liquid that is possessed, manufactured, sold or offered for sale.

Mayor de Blasio Rallies for Retirement Security for All New Yorkers

NY City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Miller, AARP and advocates rallied recently to make New York City first city in the nation to create a universal retirement savings program. Currently, about one and a half million private sector employees in New York City have no access to a retirement saving program through their employer.

“Over a million New Yorkers work their whole lives and have nothing to show for it,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Rather than work until the day they die, Universal Retirement Security will allow more New Yorkers to breathe a sigh of relief later in life and truly enjoy the years they’ve earned.”
“We want to level the playing field for all New Yorkers who work in New York City and contribute to its economy.  Historically, low-income workers have been left out of many opportunities to save for their retirement.  This legislation will change that to ensure greater parity for retirement savings accounts,” said Commissioner Jacques Jiha, New York City 
Department of Finance.

Retirement security is a critical issue facing working New Yorkers. Most private sector workers in New York City do not have any access to a retirement savings program, including a disproportionate number of low-income, immigrant, minority, and female New Yorkers. In addition:

  • Only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for retirement. Those that do have access often face large fees, because they do not have the leverage provided by a collectively-pooled savings program.

  • Even those who have started to save do not have much: 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

The City’s proposal would enable New Yorkers in the private sector to automatically enroll in an employee-funded retirement plan.

  • The plan would create an automatic-enrollment individual retirement account for employees at businesses that do not already have a program. Businesses that have a program could not drop their current plan to enroll in this one.

  • Contributions would be exclusively from employees (rather than from employers or the City) and made through payroll. Contributions would be based on a default rate; employees would have the ability to change their rate or opt out of the program.

  • Employees would be able to transfer the savings account from job to job.

  • Consistent with ERISA eligibility, part-time workers who work at least 20 hours per week would be covered. 

  • In addition, the City would create a board to establish and oversee the management of the program, which will be launched by the end of 2021. The City would also undertake a robust outreach and education effort on the program.

  • Through this program, an employee who makes $50,850 per year (the median wage for a job in New York City) and invests 5% annually while earning a conservative average net return of 4% would have saved $146,274 after 30 years.

Retirement Security for All is a continuation of the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to workers’ rights, including Paid Safe and Sick Leave, Fair Workweek, fighting for a $15 minimum wage and Paid Personal Time.

Investment Forum Held in New York; Destination Philippines

Special Trade Representative Nicanor Bautista of PTIC (3rd from left) answers a question from one of the members of the Filipino-American community. (Photo by NYPCG)

New York – The Philippine Consulate General in New York, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), the Center for Strategic Reforms in the Philippines (CSR) and Philippine National Bank – New York (PNB New York) conducted a forum entitled “Kapihan at Kuwentuhan: Investing in the Philippines” on 11 September 2019 at the Philippine Center Kalayaan Hall.

Atty. Betheena Dizon of Ernst & Young during the Q&A portion of the forum. (Photo by NYPCG)

Mr. Mon Abrea, founder of Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines (CSR Philippines) – an organization that aims to empower the fast-growing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector, and currently serves as an adviser to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on tax administration reforms, discussed about entrepreneurship, doing business, and tax reforms in the Philippines. More than twenty members of the Filipino-American community in the US northeast who are interested in business participated in the event.

PCGNY officials and staff, Mr. Mon Abrea of the Center for Strategic Reform of the Philippines (CSR), Special Trade Representative Nicanor S. Bautista of Philippine Trade & Investment Center New York (PTIC), Mr. Eric Bustamante, General Manager of Philippine National Bank – New York (PNB) and members of the Filipino-American communityduring a forum entitled “Kapihan at Kuwentuhan: Investing in the Philippines” held on 11 September 2019 at the Philippine Center Kalayaan Hall. (Photo by NYPCG)

Special Trade Representative Nicanor S. Bautista of PTIC presented short video clips which highlighted the government’s economic gains and targets, and the benefits of investing in the Philippines. His presentation was followed by PNB – New York General Manager Eric Bustamante who gave an overview of the products and services they offer to the public to promote business and investment.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal moderated the event which was streamed live on Facebook and watched online by members of the Fil-Am community who were not able to personally attend the forum.

contributed 19913pcgny

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Consul General Cristobal meets with the Filipino American Press Club of New York

Members of the FAPCNY listen attentively as Consul General answers their questions. PCGNY Photo.

New York – Consul General Claro S. Cristobal met with the members of the Filipino-American Press Club of New York during the ConGen’s Media Hour at the Philippine Center on 12 September 2019.

During the meeting, Consul General Cristobal shared his experiences connecting with the Filipino communities in Egypt where he served as the Philippine Ambassador and in Hong Kong and Tokyo where he was Consul General. 

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal. Photo by Lambert Parong.

He discussed several topics that concerned Filipinos in the US particularly on how important it is for the Filipinos to participate in the 2020 US Census. According to the 2010 Census, Fil-Ams are the third largest Asian group in the US.

Following the discussion, he entertained questions raised by the media on various topics like; the usual problems of Filipinos overseas, how he assesses the Filipino community in the US East Coast, his most rewarding post.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (9th from the left) with the Filipino-American Press Club of New York (FAPCNY) members at the ConGen Media Hour held on 12 September. PCGNY Photo.

The members of the FAPCNY thanked Consul General Cristobal for his time and the information he shared during the meeting.

contributed 19917pcgny

Governor Cuomo Announces Success of New York's Landmark Out-of-Network Law Protecting Consumers from Surprise Medical Bills

Gov Andrew Cuomo Flickr Page Photo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new report detailing the successes of New York's first-in-the-nation out-of-network law, which protects consumers from emergency and surprise bills from out-of-network doctors and other healthcare providers, including an increasing number of dispute resolution requests. The law, which takes consumers out of the dispute process, has saved New Yorkers more than $400 million with respect to emergency services alone.  

"New York has made extraordinary progress when it comes to enforcing fairness in healthcare costs," Governor Cuomo said. "These findings show how the out-of-network law has been effective in protecting patients and making it clear to everyone that getting the care New Yorkers need is a right, not a luxury."       

"We are taking action to ensure consumers are not hit with unexpected medical bills from out-of-network providers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Out-of-Network Law is helping to make sure all New Yorkers have access to affordable, quality health care coverage because health care is a human right. This law is part of our continuing efforts to protect individuals and families and ensure fair and equal health care costs across the state."  

Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell said, "Surprise medical bills have been a huge burden that can stress consumers' finances, literally causing some people to go broke. Our review shows that the law is making a major difference in helping New Yorkers receive the healthcare they deserve without the unnecessary shock and onerous cost of surprise bills and the stress of having to enter disputes themselves."

Under the OON Law, signed by Governor Cuomo in March 2014, consumers are taken out of disputes over out-of-network emergency and surprise bills, and health plans and providers can use the IDR process to resolve such billing disputes. Consumers are held harmless under the OON Law, which includes other consumer protections including protection from surprise bills, improved disclosure, extended network adequacy requirements, minimum OON coverage to be made available to consumers, expanded external appeal rights, and easier claims submission. Since the law was implemented in 2015, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has seen a steady increase in the number of Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) requests filed through its website, as well as decisions on those requests.

The OON Law builds upon the work started by then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to address transparency in out-of-network reimbursements.  Today, health plans typically base out-of-network reimbursements on one of three sources: the FAIR Health Database, an independent nonprofit established by then-Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo to create transparency in health rates; the Medicare fee schedule; or a set fee established by the health plan. However, there are instances when the health plan reimbursement amount is less than what the provider charges.

Providers, health plans, and certain consumers may submit a dispute to an IDR entity (IDRE) through a portal on the DFS website. In the IDR process, a paper review is conducted, and timely decisions are rendered, on disputes involving bills for emergency physician services or surprise bills. IDR requests are submitted to DFS and assigned to IDR entities certified by DFS for review. The IDR entity makes a determination as to whether the provider's fee or the health plan's payment is more reasonable, based upon the last best offer of each party.  

The DFS report issued today found that between 2015 and 2018, a total of 2,595 decisions were rendered, and the number has been steadily increasing, from 149 in 2015 to 1,148 in 2018. The law has saved consumers over $400 million from its March 2015 implementation through the end of 2018, in part through a reduction in costs associated with emergency services and an increased incentive for network participation.

Consumers in need of emergency services are typically unable to choose the physician that provides the services. In addition, even when the consumer receives emergency services at an in-network hospital, the physician may not necessarily be in-network. Prior to the OON Law, there were no protections from excessive emergency charges. Consumers or  health plans would just pay the amount billed, and physicians providing emergency services did not have an incentive to participate in health plan networks. By establishing an independent dispute resolution process for out-of-network emergency services, the OON Law reduced out-of-network billing by 34% and lowered in-network emergency physician payments by 9%. Among the results, the DFS report found the following with respect to emergency services:

  • Of the 2,250 disputes involving bills for emergency services submitted to DFS for IDR during 2015 to 2018, 263 cases were settled, amounting to 12%.
  • 43% of decisions were in favor of the health plan, 24% were in favor of the provider, and 33% were split between the health plan and provider, meaning that more than one CPT code was submitted for the date of service, and the IDRE found in favor of the health plan for some codes and the provider for others. 

The most common specialty for disputes involving emergency services in 2015 to 2018 was plastic surgery, followed by emergency medicine and orthopedic surgery. Less common provider specialties included cardiology, neurology, radiology, dental surgery, anesthesiology, assistant surgery, psychiatry, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, urology, and pediatrics, which each accounted for less than 1% of all disputes reviewed through December 31, 2018.

In 2015 to 2018, 1,486 disputes involving surprise bills were submitted to IDR.  Of those, 815 IDR decisions were rendered. Health plans prevailed in 13% of the cases, while providers prevailed in 48% of the cases. There were split decisions in 39% of the cases.  

The dollar amounts of IDR decisions are most frequently in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, regardless of whether the health plan or the provider prevails.

As awareness continues to increase around this issue, DFS expects the number of IDRs to continue to increase. New York's OON Law has been a true success in bringing stakeholders together to solve the problem of excessive charges for emergency services and surprise bills.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

President Duterte asks newly sworn in officials to help him fight corruption

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administers the oath to the newly appointed officials during a ceremony at the MalacaƱan Palace on September 17, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Manila, Philippines - Newly appointed government officials were sworn in Tuesday September 17, 2019 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in MalacaƱang, asking their support to help his government defeat corruption.

In his speech during the oath-taking rites, President Duterte congratulated the new government officials, reminding them that as public servants, “our foremost duty is to serve our country with the highest standard of moral integrity.”

Public office is a public trust, he noted, as he expressed optimism that as the new officials assume their respective offices, they would lead by example and inspire their colleagues to bring the government closer to the people.

Asking their backing to restore the people’s trust in government, the President said, “I welcome you aboard with a challenge to go beyond selfish personal interests so that you may focus on the tasks waiting for you in your respective agencies.”

“Work with this administration in ensuring that our bureaucracy is free of graft and corruption, red tape, and other illegal activities. Uphold the primacy of the Constitution, obey all laws, and observe due process in the performance of your duties.”

He also asked them to remain committed to the shared task of nation-building, noting that with their active participation in good governance, the administration can achieve a better life and a brighter future for Filipinos.

Release of old convicts

Meanwhile, President Duterte said he would ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to fast-track the processing of release of elderly or ailing inmates from the national penitentiary.

“Ako, I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na,” he said in an interview with reporters after the oath-taking ceremony.

Seventy years old and above must be prioritized for immediate release, he suggested. “Wala na ‘yan eh. Lalo na ‘yung mga 80s. What’s the…what’s the use of keeping them there?”

According to the Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, the court may suspend jail penalty and punishment if the offender is less than 18 years of age or over 70 years.

However, in a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, this rule could not be used by convicted criminals who were below the age of 70 when they committed the misdeed.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Stephanie Sy, 'Thinking Machines' Founder from the Philippines Included in Asia Society’s 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders

NEW YORK — Asia Society announced the 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders, the 13th class joining an unparalleled network of accomplished individuals under the age of 40 from across the Asia Pacific region, representing the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Made up of 39 visionary leaders from 31 countries, this year’s class includes activists, artists, educators, journalists, scientists, and social entrepreneurs.

The 2019 class will meet on November 15-17 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, at the annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit. The summit – the first to be held in the United States – will carry the theme “Technology & Humanity: Roadmaps for the Future.”Since the first Asia 21 summit, held in Seoul in 2006, the initiative has connected people from the region and facilitated collaborations in tackling the common challenges of the 21st century.

Among this year’s Asia 21 Young Leaders are Megha Rajagopalan, a 2018 Human Rights Press Awardee and an international correspondent for BuzzFeed News; Esra’a Al Shafei, who founded a network of online platforms to represent marginalized communities in Bahrain; Van Ngoc Ta, chief lawyer at a Vietnamese charity that rescues children in crisis and the first-ever recipient of Thomson Reuters Foundation’s “Trust Women Anti-Trafficking Hero Award”; Maryam Al-Subaiey, a women’s rights advocate from Qatar, who develops local talents in the creative industry and recently became the first female jockey to participate in the Emir’s Cup; Farhad Wajdi, who helped build a school in a refugee camp in Pakistan at the age of 14 and later founded a non-profit organization that challenges gender inequality in Afghanistan; and Stephanie Sy, a technology entrepreneur from the Philippines and Founder of Thinking Machines, a technology firm that helps organizations make better decisions by building artificial intelligence tools and data platforms.

Also in this year’s class are entrepreneurs and innovators such as Bing Chen, Co-Founder and Chairman of Gold House Foundation and one of the original architects of YouTube; Rhea Singhal, who introduced a fully compostable alternative to plastic and created the first and largest sustainable packaging company in India; Nat Ware, a Rhodes Scholar dubbed a “father of social impact economics”, who started an organization in Australia that provides affordable consulting services by utilizing university students; and Shahab Shabibi, an Iranian based in the Philippines, who provides financial and management support to new enterprisers and was on Forbes magazine’s recent list of Asia’s most influential entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

“This group of next-gen leaders are re-imagining and reshaping the relationship between Asia and the world,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran. “Asia 21 builds a unique, global network to connect this group of change-makers and channels their innovation, energy and vision into a platform to elevate and amplify these future leaders as they take on some of the toughest and most meaningful challenges in the world today.”

Asia 21 alumni now number roughly 1,000, many of whom will return for the 2019 Summit in November. The agenda will include cutting-edge discussions and events that will showcase the best of the Bay Area: technology, history, education, and food & culture. Highlights will include a fireside chat with the first female Dean of the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley, Tsu-Jae King Liu, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Computer History Museum, entrepreneurship workshops at Draper University, and visits and discussions with innovative leaders and tech companies in Northern California.

Asia 21 alumni include Foreign Policy managing editor Ravi Agrawal; SCB ABACUS CEO Sutapa Amornvivat; One Earth Designs co-founder and CEO Catlin Powers; former captain of the Pakistan national women's cricket team Sana Mir; Senior Counsel at the Supreme Court of India Menaka Guruswamy; former Deputy Governor of Jakarta Sandiaga Uno; Global Head of ESG at Manulife Asset Management Emily Chew; former Philippines Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Moby Group Chairman Saad Mohseni; Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah; Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Head of Equity Distribution Managing Director Soofian Zuberi; and President of Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manizha Wafeq.

For complete information and bios about the Asia 21 Class of 2019, please visit

About Asia Society 
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to address a range of challenges facing Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society has cultural centers and public buildings in New York, Hong Kong, and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Zurich. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, Asia Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration between Asia and the world.