ANGELES CITY NEWS

September 2009

I apologize that it has been so long since the last newsletter, but for almost nine weeks now my mother has been in various hospitals. She started out in Angeles University Hospital. When she was stable we transferred her to St. Luke's in Manila and eventually to Bangkok Hospital in Thailand. She is on the mend now, but it has been a long, costly process.  More on lessons learned about Asian hospitals in a future newsletter.

Since all my photos were left behind when we medevac'd my mom to Thailand, the photos in this newsletter come from various sources.  I have given credit to the photographers I knew. If I poached one of your images, let me know and I'll give you a photo credit or remove it.

I had some equipment before this illness, but in the future, if anyone needs the temporary use of a wheel chair or crutches, contact the manager at Margarita Station and we will work something out.  We can also get a basic hospital bed and even a nurse for very reasonable fees.

There are several disturbing news items since the last newsletter. The first one is the closure of the Pacific Breeze by the BIR in early September.   They were finally able to reopen on the morning of 11 September.  From everything I have heard this wasn't due to tax evasion on the part of the owners of Pacific Breeze.  It was more about some personnel from the Manila BIR office doing a 100% check on income over a set period but refusing to consider the expenses involved in achieving that income.  We can only hope that other hotels are not closed in a drive to top off the BIR Christmas fund.

Below is a statement from Pacific Breeze management posted on a local bulletin board

As for the situation at the Pacific Breeze, there are two sides to every story and the media did not allow us to present ours. I don’t know what you have heard but here is a summary of the situation. Two days ago, the Pacific Breeze was visited by members of the Manila BIR and closed for 5 days. The closure stemmed from a disagreement over of past sales. When we refused to pay the exorbitant amount that the BIR had computed (which included no write-offs for expenses) we were told that they would issue the closure order. They were true to their word and did. We have been negotiating with the local representatives of the BIR and we hope to come to a much more reasonable assessment. You can read between the lines. The official closure will expire on 8 September.

Finally, please remember this is the Philippines and it’s election season so anything goes right now. We have unconfirmed reports that some other businesses may also be affected depending on how they choose to deal with their assessments. We are the first to be affected, but I don’t believe that we will be the last."

The good news is that the Pacific Breeze is back to 100% occupancy of all 110 rooms starting on the 18th.  Our reservations office says this is still the most requested hotel on our list. So if you want to book at the Pacific Breeze I recommend you book early.

 

We have had two more murders of foreigners in Angeles since the last newsletter.  This time it was a Malaysian and an American.  The Malaysian had just changed a large amount of money on Narcisio Street in broad daylight.  The American on the other hand had a reputation for acting stupidly and aggressively when he "wasn't on his medication.  He most likely provoked the attack that cost him his life.   [See stories below]

Some common sense can help you have a safe incident trip to Angeles City.

  • Don't flash cash on the street
    • Change large amounts of money only at indoor money changers

  • Don't carry large amounts of cash or wear flashy jewelry.

  • Avoid areas where there have been incidents

    • Narciso Area - There are several good hotels on this street including the Medgar. The hotels are safe, but due to the number of incidents on this street I recommend taking a trike to/from the hotel.  The businesses on this street are working hard to beef up security during the daylight hours.  check with the hotel management for current conditions.

    • Any dark alleys/street - Avoid any areas that look dark and deserted.  If only takes a short distance down a dark street until you can be in danger.  If it doesn't look safe, it isn't

    • A.Santos Street past the Wild Orchid.

    • The alley that runs behind the Dollhouse Hotel, Champagne, and Royal Amsterdam after dark.  There are lots of little bars and karaoke's on this street and an abundance of drunk Filipino guys looking for a fight.

    • First Street - This in the street on the other side of Astro  Park from Fields Ave.  There have been no major reported in the area for a long time, but I recommend avoiding the park and all areas north of the park after dark.

  • Don't walk in dark unpopulated areas after dark.

    • This includes Perimeter Road.  Numerous incidents have occurred on short stretches of Perimeter Road after dark. It looks like a short walk from Euro Asia to Lewis Grand but it was isolated enough to get a guy murdered this summer.  Guys on motorcycles or trikes see someone walking after dark and they go ahead and wait in the dark.

  • Don't let anyone talk you into going for a ride!

    • I shouldn't have to say this one, but I frequently hear about dummies that get talked into a trike to go see some secret club. They all end up in a card game with a stacked deck.

  • I recommend against buying stuff from street vendors

    • There have been several incidents where foreigners were set up by vendors when they tried to by cigarettes or other items on the street.

    • If you need cigarettes or other items, send a waitress from a bar out to get them

  • Don't argue or fight with trike drivers - you won't win.

    • Most trike drivers have pipes or other weapons stuffed somewhere on their sidecar.  If you refuse to pay up because the guy over charged you 30 pisos, the guy is liable to smash your head because you refused to give him sixty cents!  Write it off to your stupidity for not negotiating the price before you got in the trike.

  • If you are mugged, give them everything. Don't get stabbed or shot because you refused to give up $50.

18 June

Posted by the owner of Medgar Hotel:

On Thursday approximately 9:15 AM, a Malaysian tourist, Mr Selvaraj was shot on Narciso St, between Tiger and Medgar Hotels. He walked to the corner of Field and Narciso to exchange money to settle his hotel bill. As his way back, there were two men on a motorbike that approach, shot and robbed the tourist (on bike that looked like Honda Wave, blue color).

Our driver took the man to AUF Medical Center emergency room. Blood was filling one of his lungs, they put a tube to drain the blood in the emergency room. There was additional internal bleeding continuing and they took him into surgery for 3 hours, but were unable to save him from massive bleeding (3 surgeons where attending). The bullet (9 mm) pierced his lungs, liver and other damage; the shell was recovered on the scene and given to the police. He died about 3:15 PM. It should be noted, the AUF medical staff were extremely professional and they really tried to save his life. Thanks to Dr M. De Guzman (the lead surgeon).

12 August

ANGELES CITY -- A 30-year-old American tourist was stabbed to death by a vendor in front of the 7-11 convenience store along Fields Avenue in Barangay Balibago here around 3 a.m. Thursday. Chief Inspector Ronaldo Lorenzo, commander of Police Station 4 here, identified the fatality as Thomas Michael Thorpe, a retired US Navy personnel from New York City who was temporarily staying at a hotel here.  The suspect was identified as Richard David, 23, who repeatedly stabbed the American with a 10-inch butterfly knife in various parts of the body during their fistfight. Policemen who responded to the commotion were able to arrest David, whom they saw was still holding the knife while the victim was sprawled on the pavement with blood oozing from his stab wounds. The suspect tried to escape but was apprehended by the policemen.  Investigation showed that the suspect and the victim had an argument and eventually traded punches. At the height of the brawl, David pulled a butterfly knife and stabbed Thorpe on the chest, neck, and left side of the abdomen. The victim was rushed to the Ospital Ning Angeles but he was pronounced dead on arrival by attending physicians. (Jun A. Malig)

ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT & PERIMETER ROAD NEWS

retraction:   In my last newsletter I said there were two sides to every story and I posted one guys side of the COYOTE UGLY story as told by Rockin Dave.  It turns out that Dave's version wasn't exactly as he had portrayed it.  He had received compensation from his former partner and signed a legal release before he sent me the information which indicated he had received nothing.  My apologies for a misleading article.

The Screamin' Eagle Cafe at Friendship (Formally EZ Rider Cafe) now has  live bands every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday night.    Saturday they have free BBQ from 6pm, Sunday is a roast dinner from midday, Tuesday is P30 San Miguel all day, Thursday is ladies night with free rum & cokes.  Promos subject to change since I haven't been able to check them out since I got the flyer, and that has been a while.

Suave's Music Lounge  Jhun Longhair is singing six nights a week in the Suave Music Lounge above Tequila reef restaurant.  His brother Alex is singing on his night off.  So, if you want to sit back and watch Jhun or one of the girls sing, or if you want to grab the microphone and show off your skills, stop into Suave's Music Lounge.

OTHER ANGELES CITY NEWS

(The following are excerpts from Press releases) The MARQUEE Mall, the first Ayala Mall in Central Luzon  is set to open on September 23, 2009.  The MarQuee Mall sits right at Angeles Exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

It will offer more than 300 popular and specialty stores of local and affordable international brands, fast food outlets, casual-dining restaurants, grills, cafés and an amusement center with a mixture of the new trends and concepts such as flagship stores, food showcases from known restaurateurs and highly-pronounced zones for kids, teens, sports, IT, home and wellness.  It will house Metro Department Store and Supermarket as its anchor merchant, four digital cinemas, an activity center, children’s playground, civic park and transport terminal.

MarQuee Mall is the retail component of Marquee, a 53-hectare integrated community in Central Luzon skillfully developed by Ayala Land that also includes MarQuee Place, a residential development located a few meters away from the mall.

The new Marquee Mall is destined to attract the "richer" folks from San Fernando, Magalang, and naturally downtown AC. A NEW gathering place that will redefine shopping, dining and entertainment experience in Central Luzon is now in Angeles City.

The mall’s junior anchor stores include True Value, Abenson, Toys R’ Us, Saizen, Wilcon Home Essentials. Top-notch dining features TGI Fridays, Italianni’s, Red Kimono, Xtremely Expresso, Sumo Sam. Popular Kapampangan specialties like Nathaniel’s, Susie’s Cuisine, Kabigting’s Halo Halo, Aling Lucing and Ikabud add to the unique mix of the mall.

Come September 23, MarQuee Mall will offer a venue for local festivities and occasions. Discerning shoppers will enjoy unique and compelling events featuring both local culture and Ayala Malls signature events. MarQuee’s activity center is a dynamic events venue that will serve as an entertainment hub where visitors can hang around and enjoy different kinds of activities such as live performances, shows, exhibits and the like.

With a total land area of 9.3 hectares, MarQuee Mall also provides several amenities including a parking area for more than 1,000 vehicles, a public transport terminal dedicated for buses, jeepneys, AUVs and tricycles, a customer lounge, and concierge services.

Just a week til opening??                      Photos by Rick "The Wizard" from Rick's Cafe

The big abandoned Elite Movie Theater next to Johnny's, was demolished in August. Construction will start soon on a new building that has been reported to be a mini-mall, a 3 story mall, or a huge two story entertainment complex. Construction has started at full blast with a planned opening in December (very unlikely).

Construction of the 48 new rooms at the Wild Orchid is on schedule.  They hope to open in sixty days.  The new Island Pool construction is a little behind because of all the rain.

The old Villa Modesto is about to reopen as the Cox Hotel and Resort. Quite an upgrade from the dilapidated Villa Modesto.
 

Many small riverside shacks also fell into the Albacan river during heavy rains this summer.

RAINY SEASON IS HERE

Swagman Hotel: The Swagman lost 18 rooms to flood waters in the creek behind the hotel. Due to heavy rains the creek turned into a river, erosion followed and rooms were lost to the swirling waters below.

 

Other developments in the planning:
- ABC hotel extension (will be out of this World)
- A few more Dollhouse bars further up Perimeter
- A Soho hotel across from Jolibee
- Juliana's makeover at Oasis hotel
- Fields Plaza 2 further down Fields Ave.
- Lexus Apartments restarting?

PHOTOs OF THE MONTH

      

A blast from the past - Airwolf Bruce

OPENINGS - CHANGES - ETC

ZAPATA's  closed their doors on 13 Sept. The rent at their location had just became too expensive.  They will reopen in a short while at a new location near the Screaming Eagle at Friendship [under a new name (probably Iguana's), with new ownership, and much of the original staff].

Neil Meaker, the guy that built and operated Roadies and Stargate has left town in a bit of a hurry after he fabricated a story that appeared to be an attempt to get board members to contribute to a fictitious charity.   He sold Roadies to the owner of Body Shop and his partner in Stargate has assumed management of that club.

I can't guess why Neil spread such a yarn.   I've met all kinds in my years in Angeles.  Neil did take pretty good care of his employees and he gave a fair amount to charities.  Did he give 100% of what people donated?  No way we will ever know, but the kids in orphanage Duyen di Maria got toys every year at Christmas, school supplies for a few years and some much needed facility improvements because he got involved.  And if Neil hadn't stepped up Neville's daughter would never have seen her father before he died.

TOUCH OF VELVET has opened where Cheers was located before on mid-Perimeter Road.  I only made it in one time a few days after they opened.  I thought it was a vast improvement on Cheers.  Not a lot of talent here, but worth an occasional visit.

The former Tartz/Vixens on Perimeter Road was renovated and reopened as Shady Lady.   The Club is located between Wee George's and Silly Hat.

Shanno's was renamed THE INTERNATIONAL - Sports & gaming Club.   Along with the change in name, the management says there will be some improvements such as: more imported beers and more International dishes (such as Korean and Japanese dishes) added to the already extensive menu.  Shano and most of the former staff will also remain.  The INTERNATIONAL will now be open 24 hours/7 days a week. George has increased the number of flat screen TV's in the bar to 10. They will be showing live sports events from around the world 24 hours a day (to include a new NFL package from the States that is under testing at the moment). They have two pool tables and of course the Poker rooms with tournaments daily starting at 3pm. Note: every Wednesday The International will update its weekly schedule of live sports. The September NFL schedule is already available plus the first week of college football. If you have questions just ask a manager, they are there to assist you.

The huge new mega-bar between Typhoon and Welcome Inn will reportedly be called Geisha House. This bar is being build by Lewis (Lewis Grand Hotel).  Reports are that there will be a two story tall bar on the ground floor with a VIP bar on the 3rd floor.

They have a banner in front saying they are now hiring, but the construction has a real long way to go.

CLUB ASIA  is the Dollhouse's latest mega-bar project.  It also happens to be its biggest club (even bigger than Atlantis!). It is situated next to and under Blue Nile Executive and goes all the way back to the back street. Together with the Atlantis bar and Crystal Palace, this is going to be another one of the Dollhouse's huge mega-clubs.  They will also have KTV rooms.  Look for Daddy Bruce from the Golden Nile to be the manager here.

Pony Tails Bar: (formerly the Crazy Horse Saloon) had a soft opening on 28 August with a grand opening on 1 Sept.  This bar is part of the Dollhouse Group with Stu (Sloppy) is the resident manager.

Formerly Bourbon Street , Genesis is located next to another recently-opened La Pasha Group venue, Fantasy, and there's a connecting doorway between the two bars

The former Truck Stop on Santos Street has reopened, under new ownership, as THE Underground The prices are slightly higher than the other bars along the street, but remain considerably lower than some Field Ave clubs. There is a little VIP room that has a good view of the dancers (charge P1000 per hour - consumable).

Fields Plaza is nearing completion.  This complex will contain six nightclubs/bars and one open air bar.  Along with the new Club Asia, Genesis, & Fantasy, these new clubs will surely bring  more life in this end of Fields Ave.

H Rock  Angeles City's version of the Hard Rock Cafe will host the town's and some of Manila's best rock bands in what will be one of the coolest live band / disco venues in the country. According to the owner, the venue also happens to break a Guinness World Record: the World's biggest wooden guitar hangs on the ceiling.

Love and Music Lounge/Disco Bar  L & M will be Angeles City's most upscale lounge go-go bar, with only the most comfortable lounge sofa sets filling the huge two-story bar. Its theme promises to be the most unique in AC, with a different color/lighting concept for each night. In contrast to its lounge nights, the bar which aims to have over 150 GROs, will be transforming into AC's first ever girlie-bar disco on weekends (A truly exciting bar concept idea). The second floor consists of 2-story luxury KTV and Jacuzzi loft rooms, another thing totally new in town.

The Piano Bar  Want to relax from the hard-rocking H Rock Disco atmosphere? A flight of stairs up will bring you into AC's first second ever piano bar. A pianist will be performing here nightly in what will be AC's classiest lounge bar, perfect for a romantic night out with your partner. [NOTE: The first was in Cleopatra and it died a slow death. photos> 1 2 3 4 ]

The Reggae bar  Next door from H Rock's piano bar will be AC first reggae lounge. Obviously, Bob Marley and such will be filling the air, and before you ask: its a non-smoking lounge...

Shooters & Carwash Bar  Shooters and its sister bar Carwash will retain AC's conventional gogo bar concept concentrating primarily on fine women, customer interaction and good music. The majority of its GROs will be staying in housing dormitories on the second floor, just a couple of steps up. Furthermore, the manager will also be living upstairs. So if you have any issues in the bar, just wake his ass up. This bar will be operated by the Body Shop Group.

Paradise beer garden  Nestled at the front of the complex's remarkably exotic exterior design, will be its classy outdoor resto-bar oasis: The Paradise Beer Garden. Angeles City's first exquisite outdoor beerbar, will be the number one place to chill outside of the air-con while enjoying a fine selection of meals, similar to that what is offered at the International Bar.

Fields Plaza Condos AC's newest 7-storey condominium complex just next to the Fields Plaza will boast 21 Luxury condominium units at a class never before seen in Angeles City. Other than the finest fixtures and layout designs, the building will also include state-of-the-art security systems at a level that is really exaggerated for Angeles City necessities.

 

For a comparison of Angeles City condos (completed and under construction)    CLICK HERE

Fields Plaza Condos KTV   A luxury KTV is in the planning in the commercial space below the Fields Plaza Condos. It will be similar to the level of some of the expensive VIP KTVs that can be found on Quezon Ave, Quezon City and other large cities in Asia.

Willie Pigs Diner on Perimeter is undergoing a full-tilt renovation; no idea when they'll reopen, but Nick promises it'll be worth the wait...

Angeles City's first Luxury Spa  Spa lovers will adore this establishment and be thrilled about its opening. The interior is marvelously designed, bringing up interior design in AC to a different level. Its use of light, waterfalls, ponds, general aesthetic and layouts is just exceptional in the small space. No doubt the level of its treatments will be just as great.

A new Mini-Mart is opening soon on the corner between Margarita Station and the new Pony Tails Bar.

Looks like Aura 82 (opposite Walk-About Hotel on Lower Field) will soon have a sister club

The former Electric Blue on Perimeter is now Midnight-Rock.  Another bar that I didn't get a chance to check out, but I'm willing to bet that Dave is playing good rock n' roll music.

NEWS CLIPPINGS

From multiple sources (Not necessarily in chronological order) 

Some text may have been removed due to space limits & occasional verbose reporters.

Teodoro: PAF will move out of Clark

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will definitely move out of Clark Field, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro told Pampanga officials on Saturday. Teodoro reiterated the government’s plan to transfer major units of the PAF here to Basa Air Base in Floridablanca town in this province and in Mactan island, Cebu.  “It has been decided. The PAF may transfer to Basa Air Base or Mactan Air Base in Cebu,” the defense chief said.  But he said the transfer will only start once the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) is completed, including the air field and hangars. Teodoro said the PAF cannot just be driven away since it led other entities in cleaning and maintaining Clark airport after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

There are at least seven major PAF units stationed inside the Freeport. Among these are the 600th Air Base Wing, 410th Maintenance and Supply Wing, 710th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Logistics Command, 1st Air Division, and 420th Supply Wing.  The PAF will need about P8 billion for the implementation of its plan to pull out from Clark, Teodoro said.  The defense chief met with some Pampanga mayors and barangay leaders and aired his presidential bid. Teodoro expressed hope that he will be chosen as the standard bearer of the Lakas-Kampi coalition in next year’s presidential race. (Reynaldo G. Navales)

2 Malaysians face human trafficking rap

By Reynaldo G. Navales

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) here is now preparing charges of human trafficking and bribery against two Malaysian nationals who were caught escorting three Filipino women out of the country on Tuesday.  BI Regional Director Heranio Manalo identified the two Malaysian nationals as Darrel Chin Chun Tin and Cristopher Chung Tze Kang.  The three Filipino women on the other hand were named as Elvira Lugbugan and Rebecca Solarte, both of Lanao Del Sur; and Angelita Serrano of Pampanga.  Before they were apprehended, the Malaysians and Filipino women were all bound for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on board an Air Asia Flight No. AK-6265 at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here.  Manalo said the three women inserted four pieces of P500 bills amounting to P2,000 each on their passports upon reaching the immigration counter.  When accosted, the three women reportedly pointed at the two Malaysian nationals who are supposed to escort them to Malaysia.

Manalo said the passports of the two Malaysians indicated they frequently enter Philippines, based on the multiple entries indicated on their passports.  He suspected that the Malaysian nationals had been escorting Filipino women in the past.  BI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan has instructed Manalo to file charges against the Malaysians and Filipinos involved in the attempted bribery.

The Malaysian nationals have been turned over to the Immigration Detention Center in Bicutan while charges are being readied against them. The three Filipino women were turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for further questioning. The three women may turn state witness against the Malaysians for having violated Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, according to Manalo.

DMIA posts 21% hike in international passenger volume

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) continues to attract more passengers as it posted a 21-percent increase in international passenger volume in the first five months of 2009.  The increase was recorded despite the global downturn in the aviation industry caused by the economic slowdown.  Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Victor Jose Luciano made the announcement during the eight leg of the 2009 DMIA Product Update, which was recently held at the CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center in Camp John Hay, Baguio City.  Luciano said the DMIA posted a 21-percent increase in international passenger volume from the period January and May, this year, compared to the figures posted in 2008 in the same period.

Based on a report by the CIAC Corporate Planning Department, 251,719 international passengers passed through the DMIA from January to May this year compared to 208,858 in 2008 in the same period, or a difference of 42,861 passengers. The report also showed a significant increase of passenger volume in the month of January alone by as much as 27 percent with 53,068 compared to the 41,944 January 2008 figure proving that DMIA is one of the busiest airports in the country.  “I am happy to report to you that despite a 16-percent slump in the first five months of 2009 in the entire aviation industry in the Asia Pacific Region caused by the global economic recession and more recently the A (H1N1), the DMIA posted a 21 percent growth over the first five months of 2009,” Luciano told some 200 participants of the DMIA product update.

He said DMIA remained strong and continues to attract passengers. He added: “The CIAC Road Show is a big boost to the airport’s thrusts in the promotion of international flights especially in the North Luzon.”  “We are here to invite you, the leaders of the travel agencies, the hotel industry, the chambers of commerce, the Rotary Club and the Jaycees, among others, to come to and fly in and out of Clark,” Luciano said.   “People of Northern Luzon, Baguio and Central Luzon this is your airport, Clark is your airport,” he added. “We want Baguio to be the focal point of the growth of DMIA.”   The road show covered the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and the Northern Luzon areas, such as Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and the summer capital of Baguio City in Benguet Province.   DMIA is hosts to foreign and local carriers such as Tiger Airways that flies via Clark-Singapore, Air Asia via Clark-Kuala Lumpur and Kotakinabalu, Asiana Airlines via Clark-Incheon in South Korea with connecting flights of the US, China and Japan.  Local carrier Cebu Pacific Air also flies via Clark-Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and Bangkok, South East Asian Airlines (Seair) and Zest Air via Clark-Caticlan to the world famous Boracay Beach.

PNP searches for 7 suspects in 38 foreigners' murders
By Cecille Suerte Felipe Updated July 06, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) are searching for seven individuals who were implicated in the deaths of 38 foreigners in the country since January this year. Records of the PNP-Task Force Usig stated that the seven suspects were among the 22 identified individuals involved in the deaths of the 38 foreigners. Police are waiting for their warrants of arrest. Of the 38 foreigners, there were nine Indians, six Americans, five Koreans, four Bristish, three Germans, two Australians, two Canadians, and one each from Japan, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Iran, France, Malaysia and Switzerland.

In a report, Task Force Usig chief Director Raul Bacalzo said 13 cases were filed before prosecutor’s office while 25 remain under investigation. On orders of President Arroyo, PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said the mandate of Task Force Usig, which was created in 2006 to handle killings of media practitioners and members of militant groups, has expanded by including the investigation in the killings of foreigners.

Verzosa directed Bacalzo to inform task force investigators of their additional duty. Verzosa said the PNP is expanding the functions of Task Force Usig to include the creation of Regional Task Force Usig units, to be headed by the deputy regional director for administration, which will also assist in providing assistance and security to victims’ families.

Records showed that the Task Force Usig has filed 26 cases against 55 suspects in 31 journalists’ murders since 2001. Among the 55 suspects charged, 18 have been arrested, 10 surrendered, four have been convicted, 20 are at large while three were killed in separate encounters with lawmen. Of the 26 cases filed in court, Bacalzo said 20 are undergoing trial, two were resolved with suspects convicted, while four cases were dismissed.

Angeles City sustains financial 'wellness'

ANGELES CITY -- This city's financial health has dramatically improved. This is among the main points cited by Mayor Francis "Blueboy" Nepomuceno during his State of the City Address (Soca) attended by hundreds of city officials and employees and guests at SM City Clark here on Monday.  Nepomuceno said the city's good financial condition is evidenced by the increased tax collection revenue.  "We registered an increase of 15 percent in total collected revenues," he said. "In 2008, we generated a gross income that is significantly higher than the previous year." The mayor said of all income sources, business taxes are the biggest contributor in the city's revenue with 42 percent. This, he added, is due to the massive campaign undertaken by the City Treasurer's Office.

"We encourage taxpayers to settle their obligations with the City Government to avail of the incentives like discounts as much as 20 percent for early payments," he said.  Aside from good fiscal management, Nepomuceno also cited the implementation of various infrastructure projects and delivery of basic services, which his administration has prioritized.  With this, he said, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave the city a high rating in terms of performance.  The Central Luzon Growth Corridor Foundation Incorporated (CLGCFI) has also given the city a Hall of Fame award in the highly urbanized category for the city's streamlining program on the issuance of mayor's permit implemented three years ago. 

The mayor also said the San Nicolas Public Markets and Slaughterhouse are no longer "white elephant projects," as his administration has started full utilization of the potentials of the two establishments. "As we are all aware, the San Nicolas Public Market saps much of the city's resources in terms of amortization requirements that is part of the P300 million loan which we inherited from the previous administration. We have transformed these establishments into major economic enterprises. In fact, our City Government has significantly reduced its debt service ratio close to six percent," Nepomuceno said.

He also highlighted the other gains of his administration like the improved collection on business taxes, which marked a P230-million collection this year, a 25-percent increase from the previous 170 million collections last year.  He said the agenda of the City Government under his leadership includes employment generation, infrastructure, zero sidewalk vendors program, installation of street and traffic lights, solid waste management, tourism, peace and order, shelter, health, youth, and sports, among others. The Angeles City Police Office (Acpo), he said, reported a relatively better performance this year compared to 2008. "The total crime volume from January to May this year of 123 incidents is lower than last year of 172 incidents." In January 2009, the Acpo posted a crime solution efficiency of 89 percent, which is 13 percent better than the 75 percent crime solution efficiency recorded in 2008, according to him.

The City Government is also focused on health and social services. It has implemented several programs to prevent the spread of diseases like dengue and influenza A (H1N1) virus, Nepomuceno said. The city also has a free education program for indigent students. "About 88 poor but deserving students were able to enroll in different secondary and college schools in the city." The City Government also aims to construct a sports complex and implement a full computerization program, according to the mayor."As our administration enters the final year of our first term, let me assure you we will move on with a sense of urgency and maintain the same high expectations for what can be accomplished," Nepomuceno stated. (Reynaldo G. Navales and Ian Ocampo Flora)

HE IS SO BIG!   "A retired police officer shot and wounded a retired member of the United States Special Forces yesterday in front of the Negros Oriental 2 Electric Cooperative in Dumaguete City.  Romarico Elumba, formerly assigned with the Provincial Internal Affairs Service of the police, allegedly shot retired US veteran war hero Louis Robinson with a .45 caliber pistol following an altercation over a traffic incident.

Elumba said he identified himself as a former police officer, and wanted to hold the American national so he could be issued a temporary operators permit, but he was allegedly attacked after a verbal altercation. He shot him in the leg, he said, to immobilize the American national because “he is so big”. Elumba was reportedly hit in the right shoulder by the side mirror of Robinson’s motorbike. The latter said it was an accident and did not even notice Elumba while parking his bike. After paying for his bills at the NORECO 2, Robinson claimed in a written statement, that Elumba had even apologized to him. He told Elumba that “There’s no need to be sorry for nothing had happened.”  Robinson said he then moved past Elumba and mounted his bike, but he heard a pop and when he looked up, he saw Elumba holding a gun pointed at him but it jammed. As soon as he looked down, Robinson said he saw that his left leg had been hit.

He further claimed that another customer brought him to the hospital, contrary to Elumba’s statement he brought the wounded American to the hospital and voluntarily surrendered to the police. Robinson is preparing frustrated homicide charges against the former police officer. Both are residents of Barangay Batinguel.*JG"

8 confirmed A(H1N1) cases in Pampanga

By Ian Ocampo Flora

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday confirmed that there are eight cases of swine flu or A(H1N1) virus infections in Pampanga.  Of the eight confirmed cases, five are males and three are females with age ranging from 19 to 48.   DOH Regional Director Rio Magpantay said the confirmed cases are among the 16 people with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) who have undergone swab tests at the regional health office here.   Magpantay also confirmed that Don Bosco Academy in Mabalacat town has suspended its classes since June 22 after 30 to 40 “suspected” A(H1N1) cases surfaced in the said school.“We did not recommend that they suspend their classes, but the school administration suspended their classes as precautionary measure while the suspected cases are undergoing self-quarantine,” Magapantay said, adding that 10 people from the school have already undergone swab tests. The health department is still awaiting the results of the tests.

It has received reports that 40 people at Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC) in Magalang town have started showing influenza-like illnesses as of Thursday. The DOH has ordered an immediate investigation of the report.   Magpantay said 75 persons were found positive for A(H1N1) as of June 24. Of the number, 58 patients have fully recovered while the rest are undergoing self-quarantine and being closely monitored.   The cases Central Luzon are described as “mild cases,” in a DOH statement sent to Sun.Star.

DOH records showed that there are two confirmed cases in Bataan, 32 in Bulacan, 26 in Nueva Ecija, one in Tarlac, and six in Zambales. About 242 people with ILI from the region have also undergone swab tests.

“At this point in time, mitigation measures are being conducted with the assistance of the local government units, local health authorities and the local school officials,” Magpantay said.  He emphasized that the situation is being managed well through early detection and aggressive treatment. He, however, reiterated that there is no need to panic.  “If you have traveled to an A(H1N1)-infected country or have been exposed to a confirmed case and have fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms, please consult a health practitioner immediately or visit a nearest health facility,” he added.  The DOH regional office has also activated its Operations Center ready to accept calls regarding A(H1N1) suspected cases through the numbers (045) 861-3117.

113 A (H1N1) cases recorded in Pampanga

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 113 confirmed cases of swine flu or influenza A (H1N1) in Pampanga as of last July 13. In an update sent to Sun.Star, the DOH regional office said that of the 113 A (H1N1)-infected persons, 102 have fully recovered.  This means 11 individuals in the province are still suffering from the infection.

The good news is no fatality has been recorded in Pampanga and in other parts of Central Luzon.  All over the region, the DOH has recorded a total of 218 A (H1N1) cases.  The DOH recorded 35 confirmed cases in Bulacan, 30 in Nueva Ecija, 21 in Bataan, 17 in Zambales, and only two in Tarlac.   Meanwhile, Pampanga Board Member Tarcicio Halili called for the “protection” of high risk groups prone to A (H1N1).  He made the call during the regular session of the Provincial Board (PB) where DOH regional coordinator for A (H1N1) and medical specialist Dr. Rhodora Cruz, representing regional director Rio Magpantay, presented before the legislative body details of the current pandemic sweeping the province and the Central Luzon at Level 6.

Cruz said that of the reported 2,688 confirmed cases in the country, 2,534 have fully recovered and that Pampanga remains to be the most vigilant in the region in fighting the spread of the genetically reasserted virus.   She admitted though that interventions and risk communication challenges would have to be strengthened to contain the pandemic and prevent panic and misconceptions.   “If that is the case then, why don’t we at the PB lead the initiation of a project that would protect first and foremost our government workers who serve our constituents?” Halili asked.  He told Sun.Star that he would include in his resolution, set to be filed soon, senior citizens on top of the elderly group of workers in the Provincial Government and government-owned and -controlled corporations.  Board Member Johnny Quiambao and Cruz, meanwhile, lauded Halili’s proposal, calling it a “good idea” that will address the seriousness of the pandemic.  The City Government of San Fernando two weeks ago led the way for the vaccination of its employees and health workers with free seasonal flu shots to the tune of P1.4 million. (Jovi T. De Leon)

BI Clark nabs 4 Koreans for human trafficking

CLARK FREEPORT -- Four Koreans suspected of illegal recruitment and human trafficking were nabbed on Monday by joint operatives of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Area Office 2 based here and Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment.  Immigration Area 2 Director Heranio Manalo identified the four Korean nationals as Ricky Jung, Rich Shin, one Ivan and one Elvin.  The suspects were also working in the country without permits, according to Manalo.   He said 15 Filipino women, who were rescued by the authorities, were about to work as singers and dancers in South Korea.  The Koreans and the 15 Filipino women were taken to the office of the Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment in Camp Crame. Charges of wide-scale illegal recruitment, human trafficking and working without permits are being readied against the Koreans. The 15 Filipino women were advised to file illegal recruitment charges against the Koreans. Manalo said the Koreans were apprehended in various locations in Angeles City pursuant to the mission order issued by Commissioner Marcelino Libanan against the suspects. Two of them were arrested at the Yoojin Travel & Tours Office along Friendship Highway while the others were found at Sunset Estate, Palace Hotel in Barangay Anunas, Widus Hotel and a “safe house” at Timog Park. “This is a major accomplishment of Immigration Area 2 under the ‘Regionalization Program’ of the Bureau of Immigration implemented by Commissioner Libanan early this month,” said Manalo. Commissioner Libanan has effected the arrest of the Koreans for their continued violations of the Philippines Immigration Act of 1940. The BID Area 2 has received information on the illegal operations of the group.  The applicants are being brought to a training center in Aduas Norte, Cabanatuan City where their tourist visa will be issued before they are deployed to Korea.  The arresting officers include SPO1 Henry Bertillo and PO1 Junvy Camero of the Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment and Eric Anthony Gan and Lucito Mercado of BI-Clark. Last month, human trafficking charges were also leveled against two Malaysian nationals who were apprehended escorting three Filipino women out of the country. (RGN)

>>>> A Subic Blog with interesting comments about the Korean Invasion there <<<<

More related stories:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Hanjin Boss Charged With Attempted Murder Of A Worker

Hanjin has been in the News constantly since it arrived in Subic both as a rich power lord that can get its own way anytime, even at the highest level of government, but also as an abusive employer who hides behind a curtain of deception it calls "subcontractors".  From speeding buses to railroaded power plants and numerous worker deaths, Hanjin has disgraced themselves over and over again and now news has broken that a Korean man working as a Manager at Hanjin has been charged with attempted murder of a local worker. But this is not an isolated incident this is the second time a Korean national working as a Hanjin manager has been accused of physical attacks on Filipino employees.

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From The Philippine Daily Inquirer
07/04/2009


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—A Filipino worker at the shipbuilding company Hanjin has filed a complaint for frustrated murder against a Korean foreman who allegedly attacked him with a metal flashlight in the head and face while at work on June 23.

Arceo Malit, 26, sued Lee Cheon Sik, 53, at the office of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Jacqueline Suing on June 30 in Olongapo City. Malit, of Sta. Rita village in Olongapo, attached in his two-page sworn statement a medico-legal certificate by Dr. Leonardo Toledo of St. Jude Medical Center. Toledo certified that Malit suffered from multiple lacerations and abrasions as a result of the attack.

Senior Supt. Roland Feliz, Zambales police chief, was still checking if Suing had issued an arrest warrant for Lee. A frustrated murder case is bailable under Philippine laws.  Greenbeach, a subcontractor of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Phils Inc., heeded a recommendation of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to suspend Lee for 30 days starting June 24 pending the completion of an in-house investigation of the incident. According to a Greenbeach official, Lee has been confined at the company’s staff house at the shipyard off Redondo Bay in Subic.

Greenbeach has not announced Lee’s likely dismissal but in a similar incident last year, the subcontracting company terminated the employment of a Korean foreman who figured in a similar incident, it was learned.

“I am thankful that I am not dead like the others who had accidents in Hanjin. But I am still not feeling well,” Malit said when he was at St. Jude Hospital. Malit, pipe welder and foreman, said the attack began at Hanjin shipyard’s Bay 27 at about noon when a few workers were fitting the pipes to be welded by his team. He said he was surprised when he saw Lee fuming mad. To know what’s going on, Malit asked his coworkers to get a Korean foreman from their team to act as an interpreter. Lee later said he was angry because work in his team was delayed. Malit said Lee got more upset when the supervisor, Jeong So Hu, could not go to the area because it was lunch break. Lee then led Malit to Hanjin shipyard’s Bay 28 where a container van and a stockroom were located. “I went with him because I thought he only wanted to talk. It was not clear to me why he was angry. He thought that I was the foreman of the men working there already,” Malit said. When they entered the stockroom, Malit said Lee challenged him to a fistfight. “I didn’t want to fight or else I would lose my job,” he said.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza asked Lee’s Hanjin subcontractor to suspend the Korean foreman pending investigation. Olongapo Councilor John Carlos de los Reyes said the suspension was “too soft a response.” “The Korean foreman should have been fired immediately or his working permits taken away. There is no excuse and certainly no acceptable explanation for this kind of behavior toward our workers,” he said. The incident had triggered pickets by labor groups in Zambales.
Robert Gonzaga and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Philippine floods kill 12, including 3 Europeans

Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.

Clark Museum now open on Saturdays

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Clark Development Corporation announced that the Clark Museum during is now open until Saturday.  The museum, located in front of Clark’s Parade Ground inside the Freeport zone, will be open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting this September. This came about following the increasing number of local and foreign tourists, including school children, who frequent the Museum during weekends.  CDC President Benigno Ricafort said several sectors requested for opening of the Museum, which showcases Clark’s memorabilia from the Spanish, Japanese and American eras.  The Clark Museum is managed by the CDC Tourism and Promotions Office (TPO).  The opening of the museum on Saturdays will also cater to the Aetas’ employment, who recently completed a course as tour guides.  The Specialized Tour Guiding Seminar is part of CDC’s development program on tourism for the Freeport and the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ).  The tour guiding seminar for some 20 Aetas was in conjunction with the regional office of the Department of Tourism in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Noemi Garcia, TPO Manager, said any concerns regarding tourism and the museum may be relayed to her office with telephone numbers (045) 599-3222 or (045) 599-3854. (Reynaldo G. Navales)

Kids benefit from cleft palate, harelip mission

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Some 110 children with cleft palate and harelip deformities availed of free reconstructive surgery recently at the Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center here.  The children were the beneficiaries of the Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF) and Operation Smile joint mission dubbed as “Free Cleft Palate and Harelip Surgery Mission for Kapampangan Children.” Most of the children beneficiaries came from northern towns of the province. According to KDF Trustee Sylvia Ordonez, the program is part of the ongoing advocacy of the two organizations in partnership with local groups here to provide free reconstructive surgery to indigent children.  “Many children suffer humiliation and ridicule because of their facial deformities. These children become less productive in their lives and will be deprived of chance to live a happy life because of such conditions. With the mission, we were able to change this and give them a chance to be normal again,” Ordonez said.  Currently, commercial reconstructive surgery costs around P100,000 in professional and hospital fees. Medicines and other surgery related costs may also blow such amount to over P130,000 per operation.  But with the help of volunteer doctors from Operation Smile and the Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center, the beneficiaries would only need to attend the surgery session.  Most of the beneficiaries operated upon by Operation Smile were housed at the Social Action Center of Pampanga (Sacop) while the actual surgeries were conducted at the Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center.  Lyn Tiamson, mother of one of the beneficiaries, said that they were happy for the great support given to them by KDF and Operation Smile. “We are only poor and could not afford such operation for our child. If not for this mission my son would have to live with the deformity,” she said.  Various Rotary Clubs in Pampanga were also instrumental in defraying most of the costs of the operations.  Rotary Assistant District Governor Rudy Mallari said that almost all Rotary clubs in Pampanga gave their share in the financial and logistic needs of the mission.  “We are happy that such a number of beneficiaries were operated upon and could now live normal lives,” Mallari said.  Additional funding was also donated by Board Members Ricardo Yabut and Catalina Bagasina.  Yabut, who is also president of the Rotary Club of Central Pampanga, urged barangay officials here to scout for possible beneficiaries for the future cleft plate and harelip surgery mission of KDF and Operation Smile.  Interested parties may visit Sacop in Barangay Maimpis here for more details on the upcoming missions this September. (Ian Ocampo Flora)

H1N1 victims in Central Luzon recover

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Health (DOH) regional office here announced that all of the 318 Influenza A(H1N1) cases in Central Luzon have recovered from the dreaded disease and are now in good health.  DOH Regional Director Rio Magpantay said the regional office is also expecting a “windfall” in the number of A(H1N1) cases in the region in the future. As of August 27, cases of Swine flu in Central Luzon have been recorded at 318.  Cases are distributed in Aurora with two cases, Bataan with 40 cases, Bulacan with 44, and Nueva Ecija with 65 recorded cases. Pampanga remains as the province with the highest recorded cases with 147 as of Monday. There were also three recorded cases in Tarlac and 17 cases in Zambales.  Magpantay said that monitoring of A(H1N1) cases is now part of the regular surveillance of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU).  “We are not letting our guards down, we continue to be vigilant of this disease,” Magpantay said, adding that people should not let their guard down on the disease to prevent a possible second wave of infection.  He also emphasized that school teachers and students, along with malls, business and public establishments, should be always cautious against A(H1N1) and to religiously implement the prescribed preventive measures.  “We have been still very vigilant on our regular surveillance. Continuous ito, like the center we have at Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital are on the alert for influenza-like symptoms. If someone seems infected, they immediately do the swab test and conduct the proper procedures,” Magpantay said. He added that he hopes there wouldn’t be a second wave of the virus attack but that they are on the look-out nonetheless “if the virus might take a second turn.” Meanwhile, Magpantay told Sun.Star that most of hospital-based pharmacies in the province and the region are now complying with the government’s Cheaper Medicines Act. “Before, those who were violating (the Cheaper Medicines Act) were the bigger private hospitals. Take the case of Mother Calcutta. But now, after the process was explained to them, they wrote us back and said they are complying with the act,” he said. “We are giving others a grace period but they only have until September 15 to fully comply. The grace period will only be one week and this should be observed in the right process," Magpantay noted.  He added the September 15 deadline includes smaller drugstores and pharmacies that need to conform with the DOH directive. Magpantay also reminded the public to be on the watch against waterborne diseases.  Despite the noise created by A(H1N1), he said the general public should never forget the dangers poised by water-borne diseases that include Influenza, Leptospirosis and Dengue, all of which cause more deaths than A(H1N1). (Ian Ocampo Flora and Jovi T. De Leon)

Norwegian nabbed for overstaying

CLARK FREEPORT -- A Norwegian national suspected of “overstaying” in the country was apprehended by elements of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Angeles City over the weekend.  Vidar Teige Nordas was arrested at the Eruptions Bar at the entertainment district of Barangay Balibago, said Immigration Area II Director Heranio Manalo.  Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan on Friday ordered the arrest of the Norwegian for blatant violation of immigration laws, according to Manalo. Elements of the Immigration Area II swooped down at the bar where Nordas holds office.  Nordas later admitted that he was an “overstaying alien” but said that he already gave his passport to his lawyer in Manila to fix his status. Manalo said Nordas had allegedly tried to bribe the arresting team by requesting them “to settle his case inside his office” but to no avail. He said his office will coordinate with the Norwegian Embassy and BI-Interpol Chief, Lawyer Floro Balato, to know Nordas’s background.  The alien arrived in the Philippines on August 20, 2004. He was given 21 days or until September 10 of 2004 to stay in the country.  Manalo said that Nordas was allowed to extend his stay in the country until May 18, 2005 and since then he has failed to apply for an extension of his stay.   He said Nordas presented an identification card showing that he is a member of a non-government organization called Justice League, according to Manalo.   “He even misrepresented himself as a Filipino with Securities and Exchange Commission documents he presented to the Immigration Area II law enforcement agents headed by Intelligence Officer Eliseo Exconde,” he said. Nordas was taken to the Immigration Detention Center in Manila where he will face deportation proceedings, according to Manalo. Libanan ordered all international seaports, airports and border crossing stations to tighten the monitoring of arriving and departing foreigners. (Reynaldo G. Navales)

New law puts cap on rental increases at 7 % for rental housing

This article from the Pacific Stars & seems a little negative.

'Juicy bars’ said to be havens for prostitution aimed at U.S. military

By Jon Rabiroff and Hwang Hae-rym, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DONGDUCHEON, South Korea — It took less than an hour and $40 in glasses of juice for the pretty young woman working at the noisy bar to offer up her cell phone number and a promise that “the pleasures of a Filipina” could be had for the right price.As eager young American servicemen from nearby Camp Casey started to fill the bar around her, the woman repeatedly touched a patron suggestively and offered a proposition as thinly veiled as she was scantily clad.

Juice, it turns out, is not all that is sold inside many of South Korea’s “juicy bars,” the seedy entertainment establishments that commonly cluster near the gates of U.S. military bases across South Korea. Prostitution and indentured servitude are everyday realities at many of these popular hangouts for American soldiers, according to past and present bar girls, many of whom were enticed from the Philippines to work in the South Korean bars with false promises that they could earn legitimate incomes as singers and entertainers.

“If you don’t sell a lot of drinks, [the bar owners] are going to push you to go out with a customer to make money,” said Jenny, a former bar girl who asked not to be fully identified. “I was shocked the first night I worked there.”

And it’s all happening right under the noses of U.S. military officials and the South Korean and Philippine governments, women’s advocacy groups assert.

“Three governments are to be blamed for their irresponsibility,” said Yu Young-nim, director of My Sister’s Place, a social service agency that helps Philippine bar girls forced into prostitution in South Korea. “The Philippine government for not working hard to create job opportunities for its poor people, the Korean government for not managing and controlling jobs [given to immigrants] and the U.S. government for neglecting its responsibility to supervise its soldiers and for not helping these victims.” Officially, none of what often transpires inside the juicy bars is supposed to be happening. The U.S. Department of Defense has a strict policy against prostitution and human trafficking that requires military officials to “deter activities of DoD Service members, civilian employees, indirect hires” and others “that would facilitate or support [sex trafficking] domestically and overseas.”  And in practice, U.S. military officials have long placed South Korean “glass houses,” where prostitutes sit in storefronts like meat hanging in a butcher shop window, off-limits.

But no such blanket prohibition exists for juicy bars, despite their history of trouble. About 50 entertainment establishments — U.S. officials don’t identify juicy bars or use the term — have been declared no-go zones for U.S. Forces Korea personnel due to prostitution and human trafficking violations. Another 19 outside Osan Air Base were almost added to that list earlier this year for similar reasons before they collectively agreed to clean up their acts. Still, dozens — if not hundreds — of other juicy bars, like the one outside Camp Casey, have managed to evade sanctions.  The problems are so widespread that the U.S. State Department, in its 2009 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” notes that South Korea is a “destination country” for women from the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia, “some of whom are recruited to work on entertainment visas and may be vulnerable to trafficking for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.”

“Does prostitution occur? I imagine it does,” said Watson Wallace Jr., civilian misconduct action specialist for the Area I Support Activity Directorate of Human Resources and an affiliate of the USFK Prostitution and Human Trafficking Working Group. “But, we don’t authorize it. We don’t tolerate it. And, if we find out it is going on, that bar goes off-limits.”  U.S. military representatives say they believe most of the juicy bars stick to selling juice — and the few minutes of female companionship that each $10 glass can buy a servicemember. That is why they say they have not put all the juicy bars categorically off-limits.

“There is a constant review, all the time, of all these places,” said Charles Johnson, an action officer with the USFK working group. “A decision was made years ago that glass houses were off limits because … the thought is it is probably an unhealthy or immoral area that lends itself to prostitution. With the other establishments, it’s a case-by-case basis.”  But there are also powerful economic factors that help keep the doors to the juicy bars open and American servicemen flowing inside.  The juicy bars are a big part of the tourist business in South Korea, and many are officially licensed by the government. About 200 “entertainment establishments” get tax breaks through the Tourism Promotion Act on the condition they cater primarily to foreigners, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

And juicy bar owners themselves have political muscle they aren’t shy about flexing. Owners of the 19 Osan-area juicy bars threatened with U.S. sanctions protested outside the base and enlisted the help of local political officials. And at Camp Casey earlier this year, juicy bar owners demanded that U.S. military officials do something to prevent American soldiers from wooing away their bar girls with promises of marriage. Close government scrutiny of the juicy bars is lacking. Officials of Korean government and police agencies said they suspect prostitution occurs inside juicy bars, but none said their agency has primary responsibility for addressing the problem.

“We expect something suspicious is going on there. However, there is no way for us to confirm these offenses,” said a spokesman for the police in Dongducheon, home to Camp Casey and the 70 juicy bars nearby in The Ville entertainment district.  “We see this problem very seriously, although this one is a very sensitive issue,” another Dongducheon police official said, suggesting any crackdown on the juicy bars would likely cause problems with the bar owners and the U.S. military. Korean police customarily speak without name attribution.  “We are worried about [it becoming a] diplomatic issue,” the official said.

The means by which Filipinas are brought to South Korea to work the bars are sanctioned under Korean law. But what many must do to reimburse the promoters and club owners who sponsor them is not always above board or explained to them until after they arrive, according to Yu and two former juicy bar employees.   The process of getting the women to South Korea is extensive and expensive, according to Cho Kyu-moon, president of the Foreign Artist Promotion Co., and Cho Yong-seok, owner of Xanadu, a Camp Casey-area club.  The women are first recruited by promoters in the Philippines. Then, in order to try to qualify for visas as “entertainers,” they must record a video of themselves singing, which is sent to the Korea Media Rating Board for review. A spokesman for the Rating Board said judges review as many as 80 videos each day, and less than half the women who submit them are deemed worthy of an entertainer visa.  Cho Yong-seok and Cho Kyu-moon said the women are “sometimes” asked to sing once they arrive in South Korea, but the former juicy bar employees said one would be lucky to even find a microphone in most clubs.

Once the women secure their visas, the 300 or so promoters in South Korea who pay to import them essentially rent the women out to clubs on a monthly basis. According to a variety of sources, the women sign contracts ranging from three months to a year that entitle them to free room and board, and a salary (not including tips) ranging from about 700,000 to 900,000 won — or about $560 to $725 — per month.  Abuse is rampant and many of the women are held in indentured servitude, Yu and the former juicy bar employees said. Often the bar owners seize the women’s passports. Sometimes they withhold their salaries, the women said. Club owner Cho said their jobs “simply speaking … are to drink together and chat with the soldiers.” In exchange, soldiers are asked to buy them drinks, usually starting at $10 for a small glass of juice. The more money the soldier spends on drinks, the longer the woman sits with him, Cho said, adding that the club and the women split the juice money 50-50. But the former bar employees said they received only a 10 percent cut of the juice money they generated.  Yu said that most juicy bars have a quota system that is linked to the drink purchases, with the women expected to sell anywhere from 200 to 400 drinks per month.  “If you do not sell enough juice, the mama-san who controls the women in the clubs, they force the women to go to the ‘bar fine,’ ” Yu said. “ ‘Bar fine’ means prostitution.”  The former juicy bar employees said soldiers and other customers usually paid $150 to bring them from the bar to a hotel room for sex, with the women getting $40 of that money.  Jenny said promoters and bar owners “think only about making their money” when they exploit the women. And soldiers “make the girls run away from the bars … so they don’t have to spend a lot of money in the bars,” she added. “They all have bad motives.”

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=64633

BCDA sets safety measures on SCTEX

CLARK FREEPORT --- The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has announced that immediate corrective measures are being instituted to ensure the safety of motorists along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). This action follows a landslide that occurred at the freeway in Barangay Pabanlag, Floridablanca town at around 2 a.m. on September 8.The landslide was brought about by heavy rains in the area.  Clearing operations are now going on and is expected to be completed today. The BCDA and its interim service provider, the Tollways Management Corporation, have also dispatched personnel along the expressway to make sure that motorists are being warned about the situation. The BCDA also hired the services of an independent geotechnical engineer to review the situation and provide a long-term holistic solution. BCDA officials said they are looking at the warranties of the contractors and consultants based on their contracts. For the meantime, motorists are advised to take the necessary precautions and observe the proper speed limit while driving along the SCTEx. (Reynaldo G. Navales)

OTHER NEWS

Welcome by me anytime!

A few months back, in a different newsletter, a girl from Emotions named Cristy was branded a thief for supposedly taking money from a guy that took her to Subic for a few days.  Although the editor did present her rebuttal the following month, I feel obliged to pipe in.   The editor made some pretty negative comments about Cristy like: " instead of being grateful that someone overlooked her not too pretty face", "she instead got greedy", and "there is always one that can poison the barrel".  But, the EXPAT involved was nothing by a poor victim in both the original article and the rebuttal.

I have known Cristy for a while and find her to be a fun & honest person and a sparkplug of fun.  Granted I have never left her alone with some money, but I still don't believe it is in her character to steal.  [What kind of hotel was the guy in that he didn't exercise prudent caution and lock up foreign currency he didn't need?]   I personally think the guy should be looking harder at his intoxicated girl friend that was also in the room, or the hotel staff.  Most importantly, I think all of us need to look closer before we brand someone as a cheat or thief based on the words of just one other person. See my related retraction in the Entertainment News section.

Tomo  sold out of Blue Rock.  He had a farewell party at Blue Rock on the 31st August 2009.   According to reports, he intends to spend a lot more time just relaxing in the Subic area.   But, another report says he is concentrating on the  LIPS NIGHTCLUBS COMPLEX of three bars and a beer garden. Doesn't sound like retirement to me?
A couple of Angeles

 stories from the

 Cebu Pacific

 in-flight magazines

The RAILROAD is coming!  They have been saying that for 15 years, but there is noticeable activity in the railroad right away.  Squatters are being moved back and the areas cleared.  Will be interesting to see how this effects the building with Chow King and the International Hotel in it.  About ten feet of this multistory building encroaches on to the right away.
CEBU PACIFIC continues to be one of the customer service orientated worst airlines in Asia. But,  it's hard to beat the $200 round trip from Clark to Bangkok.  If you do decide to fly anywhere on this airlines make sure your schedule is etched in stone. Rebookings sometimes cost more than the original ticket.
FINAL SALUTE

Mr. Palaniappen Selvaraj, a 54 year old  Malaysian tourist,  was shot while resisting a robbery.  He was a repeat visitor to  Angeles City.  By all accounts he was a quiet mannered individual that was well liked by all that met him.

JIM SLOWEY  Jim retired as a Sgt Major (E-9) in 1985 and lived in Baguio. He moved to Angeles City just before the volcano blew up in 1991. Lived in Oasis compound with wife of 50 years. Knew many people over the years but more or less stayed home most of the time these last 3-4 years. Passed away the evening of 29 June 2009 at age 77. Many people remember him from seeing him on his walks - he always had a scarf around hin neck, a flat hat and a walking stick.  He was buried him at Clark at 10 AM July 7Th, 2009 Cause of death was a very advanced case of cancer.

IAN HELSMITH  From Norway committed suicide in the America Hotel.  
Bill Oltjenbruns (Daddy O')   Bill, USAf retired, had delivered Asia beer products to the bars for over ten years.  He died of a heart attack in the hospital on 25 Jul 09. It was reported to be his third heart attack in the last three months.  His friends said he just ignored them.  He suffered from a bad heart and complications from diabetes  In the US Air Force he was stationed at Clark with the 1961st Communications Group. He is survived by his wife, Tess, 41 years old who will carry on the family business, and his 21 year old son.
Thomas Michael Thorpe  Thirty years old and medically retired (?) from the US Navy, he was stabbed to death  at approximately 0300 hrs, 13 Aug in front of the 7-11 Store on Fields Ave.   The assailant was apprehended at the scene.  Thomas Thorpe was well known around the Fields Ave area by both the police and fellow Expats.   He has been in and out of trouble for a few years and is known to have a violent temper that has landed him in trouble many times in the past.

Warwick Rogers   Warwick was a Angeles Bar manager although I don’t know which ones, he moved to Subic and managed Mosquito Bar for Tommo.  He died of a heart attack on August 22nd. He was a hell of a nice guy.

Ken Evans died Friday the 4th of September at his home in Nong Khai of an apparent Heart attack. You may remember Ken as the former mayor of an East End' town called Thurrock.   He came to Angeles and bought the Silver Fox off Neville. Being an Ex-mayor he caught the eye of Philippine TV who did a magazine story on his new life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymUJMOWxUsw
 
After an extortion attempt was staged by Neville & wife, he left for Thailand where he was living until recently, his fortunes were up and down over the years, but apart from a few quick visits back to the UK he had decided that Asia was his new home. Many times he spoke of his love of the Philippines and his wish to return, but circumstances got in the way.
Mick ? A 70+ year old Austrilian manager of Eager Beaver's died of prostate caner.   Sorry, but I don't have a full name or more details on this one.  He had also managed at Dirty Duck, Viper Bar & Stinger.
Lionel Clayden passed away 12 Sept due to kidney and liver shutdown. Lionel was the owner of Clarkview Laundry

 

SERVICED HOUSE FOR RENT   We only have one,  so book early.   You can rent one bedroom and have the entire house to yourself, or a group of 3 guys can have a party house much cheaper than 3 hotel rooms.    For more details see http://www.margarita-station.com/house.html

Booked now thru end of November 2009

Margarita Station Website

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My favorite charity is Bahay Pag-Ibig in Angeles City. Here I can see 100% of my donations going to the people in need.  Sadly, so many charities have high overhead costs where a huge percentage of donations go to the over paid staff personnel.

Another great charity is the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya, Thailand. I encourage anyone with a little money to spare to look into and then support this great charity.  There are many great volunteers trying to continue the work of the late Father Ray trying to feed, clothe, education, house, etc. more that 850 young folks.  But, times are tough and they need contributions to keep taking care of these needy children.

They have produced a small DVD, narrated by TOM MINTIER, the retired CNN BANGKOK BUREAU CHIEF.  For a copy of the DVD or more information contact  vincentfoundation@Yahoo.com

Again, I don't support many charities, but this is one of the good ones!

The Father Ray Foundation website is:   www.fr-ray.org