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Showing posts with label People. Show all posts
Showing posts with label People. Show all posts

Friends say final goodbye to lady drivers’ leader, Tek Barro

Posted on 21 August 2021 No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap

Tek would have turned 57 this coming Aug 27

A casket bearing the remains of a longtime leader of two lady drivers’ organizations in Hong Kong left for Manila earlier today, Aug 21, to bring her home in Cavite, and then on to her final resting place.

About 30 friends of Maria Teresa “Tek” Barro, who would have turned 57 this coming Aug 27, gathered at the mortuary of Ruttonjee Hospital in Wanchai Friday afternoon to say a final goodbye to her.


Barro had worked in Hong Kong as a domestic helper for the past 29 years.

Mass was said at Ruttonjee mortuary  before Tek's casket was sealed

Chaplain for Filipinos in Hong Kong, Fr Jay Flandez, said mass and blessed Barro’s body before a wooden box containing her coffin was sealed and sent on to the airport for the early-morning flight to Manila via Cathay Pacific.

On Friday night, more of her friends gathered for a mass at St Margaret’s church in Happy Valley in remembrance.

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Her friends extolled Barro for her easy smile, generosity to friends and family, and dedication to her work and the organizations she served.

More people gathered for a memorial mass for Tek at St Margaret's church

She was president of the Radiant Organization of Amiable Drivers (Road HK) from 2015 to 2018, then led a new group, Drivers Advocating Services to Helpers, or Dash Hong Kong.


Barro succumbed to complications from cancer at 6 am on Aug 7 at Ruttonjee. She was single and was survived by her partner, Izy Tagara, and two siblings.

With Barro at the helm, Road and Dash undertook projects to promote members' interest and encourage more foreign domestic workers to boost their salary by learning how to drive. 

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Both groups were also regular participants in Filipino community events organized by the Philippine Consulate, including the annual Philippine Independence Day celebration in Central. 

As president of Dash, Barro continued involving her group in Filcom activities

Ma Teresa Aquino, incumbent Road president, said the deceased had been sick on and off for years, but her condition deteriorated after being taken to hospital for chest pains on Jul 24.

Twelve years ago Barro had a heart bypass operation but recovered well enough to continue driving. Later she was diagnosed with breast cancer but went into remission and was able to resume her work.


She passed on after her cancer metastasized to her lungs, causing pneumonia.

Through her last bout with illnesses, Barro held on to her role as Dash president and remained at the post until her death.

Her employer in Mid-Levels who she worked with for 12 years, then rejoined after being diagnosed with cancer, had paid for the cost of repatriation. Barro also kept her friendship with her former employer in Tai Hang with whom she worked for five years.

Paalam gets silver to wrap up Philippines’ Olympic campaign

Posted on 08 August 2021 No comments

By The SUN 

Philippines' pride: Paalam and Pretecio show off their silver medals, and Marcial, his bronze

Boxer Carlo Paalam got his ever prize in his career when he collected the silver medal in the men’s flyweight final in the Tokyo Olympics.


The 23-year-old came close to winning gold, losing by a split decision to Britain’s Galal Yafai despite getting knocked down in the first round of their bout.

His silver gave the Philippines’ its biggest ever medal haul in the 97-year Olympic games.

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Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first ever gold medal, while boxers Paalam and Nesthy Pretecio in the final of the women’s featherweight division each took silver. Eumir Marcial is going home with the bronze in boxing’s middleweight category.

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Despite his heartbreaking loss in the games, Paalam left the ring on high note, hugging Yafai after the verdict was announced, and giving an emotional speech about how far he’d come in life.

Paalam is all smiles as he receives his silver medal at the podium

“This medal, this is the symbol for my life,” said Paalam, his voice cracking. “I was once a scavenger, and this medal is made from discarded gadgets. It was from trash, so I was able to connect it with my life. That’s where the inspiration to get this came from.”


Paalam kept up his determined campaign to win the gold despite being knocked down in the first round. He connected several solid blows on Yafai in the next two rounds, enough to split the vote 4-1 in the Briton’s favor.


Many see his Olympic silver as a sign of bigger things to come for the young Paalam, who was born in Bukidnon before moving to Cagayan de Oro where he helped his father make a living by scavenging.

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To get to the final round, he knocked out Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinal, then booted out by a unanimous decision Japan’s bet Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinal.

HK-based musician-writer William Elvin launches first single as contract artist

Posted on 25 July 2021 No comments

 By The SUN 

William Elvin is now one of a select group of Filipino musicians signed up by O/C Records
(photo courtesy of Leeh Ann Hidalgo and Rilina Ameerah)

Hong Kong-based singer and songwriter William Elvin has just released his first single under O/C Records, after being an independent artist for almost two decades.

The newly released track, ‘Ang Sabi Nila,’ became a cult favorite among Filipino theater lovers after it was included as a soundtrack of the hit musical play, ‘Mula Sa Buwan,’ the Filipino adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, which William Elvin had co-written with his friend, Pat Vale.


O/C Records, which was launched three years ago, is co-owned by Kean Cipriano, Callalily frontman; and his wife, actress Chynna Ortaleza, along with Viva Entertainment’s Vic del Rosario.

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The song's release under O/C records is William’s way of retelling the story that he first shared in his famous play. While the song’s instrumental and arrangement for the musical play was intended to sound grand and lush, this new version takes a sparser approach as it scales back to the original arrangement, evoking a feeling of yearning, isolation and loneliness.


William Elvin says ‘Ang Sabi Nila’, which he wrote around 2002-2003 in his hot and dusty bedroom in Fairview, Quezon City, chronicles the gentle stream of his heartbreak experiences.

“This song is basically about dwelling on painful memories, not just romantic ones, but every painful memory you carry as a person,” he explains.

When he wrote it, William Elvin was still playing with a rock band, exploring his musical influences and figuring out his songwriting voice. The song built his confidence about his lyrical and musical capabilities, said the artist.


“I just want listeners to know that while it is okay to dwell on painful memories – whatever they may be, and we all have a few – the only way to move forward is to let go of it,” he shares, but adds that this may be easier said than done, as music is meant to be cathartic.

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William Elvin, who used to write for The SUN, is now connected with a leading PR firm in Hong Kong.  

'Ang Sabi Nila’, released on July 23rd, is now out on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube.

Here’s a link to William Elvin singing it on YouTube:

Watch and listen to William Elvin and Kuya Q on "Tribong Pinoy," a show they co-host live on  The SUN Hong Kong Facebook page on alternate Wednesdays, 9:30pm to 10:30 pm.




Online court hearings now allowed in Phl, says lawyer

Posted on 15 December 2020 No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap

Relief from spousal abuse under VAWC Law are among those that can now be filed from abroad 

 If you’re an overseas Filipino worker who has long planned to file a case in the Philippines, including a petition for a declaration of nullity of your marriage, you now have the chance to do it without having to go home.

This was disclosed by lawyer June Ambrosio, a legal consultant of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and vice president of UP Women Lawyers’ Circle (Wiloci) during The SUN Interviews which aired via Facebook Live on Dec. 9. (Link is here: /sunwebhk/videos/3476704765778572/

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Ito yung isa sa mga upside ng pandemic,” said Ambrosio, “pwede nang mag online application ng kaso ang isang Pilipino na nasa abroad.”

(This is one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic. A Filipino can now pursue a case even is he/she is abroad).

Ambrosio cited a recent case of a Filipina in France who sought her help in filing a case for nullity of her marriage. After being sent a declaration form, the applicant had it verified at the Philippine Embassy in Paris, along with a “certificate of non-forum shopping,” then forwarded the same back to the lawyer.

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The case is now ongoing, says Ambrosio, and her client has been allowed to testify from France during the hearing held in Manila.

”We are doing online hearings now, although there are still some judges who are very traditional, and still insist on face-to-face interaction.”

She suggested overseas Filipino workers lobby for a more widespread use of online hearings so the Supreme Court can be forced to improve on the current practice.

A light moment among the panelists discussing a serious topic

Shiela Bonifacio, chair of Gabriela Hong Kong, said that this was a welcome development, since most OFWs are being held back by the requirement for personal appearance if they wanted to pursue a case in the Philippines.


The cases are not just for a declaration of the nullity (or annulment, in cases where the marriage was void from the beginning), but also on matters relating to child custody and support, which often fall under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (VAWC), or RA 9262, which was the focus of the interview.

Ambrosio says the law punishes “any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate.”

Such act may happen inside or outside the family abode, “which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”


For immediate relief, the woman could apply for  a temporary protection order against her aggressor with the barangay nearest her, says Ambrosio. But she should file a case in court if she wants the protection order to become permanent.

According to Ambrosio, the law protects only the woman and her children, and not the husband or partner, “kasi wala pa tayong kaso ng battered husband.” (We don’t have any case of a battered husband).

She suggested that men who think they must have the same kind of protection should look for people who would be willing to support their quest in the form of legislation.

Consul General Raly Tejada talks to clients of a shelter
as part of the 18-day campaign to end violence vs women

Some of the examples Ambrosio cited as falling under the protection of the VAWC law is when the woman is subjected to sexual violence such as rape (which could also happen between married couples), psychological or mental abuse such as when the man commits infidelity, harasses his partner, or blackmails her with threats of posting their sexually explicit photos together.

Also actionable are cases of economic abuse, such as when the husband or partner of the woman refuses to provide financial support to her or their children.

Apart from the woman, also protected under the law are her minor children, or those who, even after attaining the age of majority, are unable to take care of themselves.

As for custody, Ambrosio said the mother gets sole custody for legitimate children who are under seven years old, and for all illegitimate children, no matter how old they may be.

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If the legitimate child is above 7 years old, the court decides who gets the custody, often consulting the child himself or herself.

Bonifacio said it was good to know about the laws that protect women who are in an abusive situation. It thus devolves upon the women to speak out and fight for their eights.

Tindigan natin ang ating mga karapatan,” she said. (We should stand up for our rights)

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This become more urgent if the woman has a child, Bonifacio said, because “hindi lang ikaw ang mapapahamak kundi pati anak mo.” (you won’t be the only one who will be put in harm’s way, but also your child).

Ambrosio said there are many venues for women who want to seek redress if they are in abusive situations.

For those seeking protection under VAWC, they can go to the barangays or a police station, each of which has a women and child desk. They can also go directly to the National Bureau of Investigation, which has a VAWC division, and a separate one for victims of cybercrimes and human trafficking.

Victims may also go to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which has social workers deployed in various local government units under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The other groups that can help are the Philippine Attorney’s Office (PAO) which is specially mandated to assist VAWC victims; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, whose various chapters all over the country offer free legal aid; the UP Women’s Lawyer’s Circle, the Women Crisis Centre at East Avenue Hospital, the women’s section at the Philippine General Hospital, and various groups that offer counseling like Gabriela, Ateneo de Manila University and Commission on Human Rights.

The interview was held during the 18-day national campaign to end violence against women and children, which lasted from Nov 25 to Dec 12.






Birthday wish, big dreams for new Phl trade attaché to HK

Posted on 18 June 2020 No comments
By Vir B. Lumicao

Vice Consul Mabalot is welcomed to the Consulate by Consul General Raly Tejada

The Philippines has reopened its trade office in Hong Kong recently with a youthful former private litigation lawyer assigned the job of seeking more trading and investment opportunities with one of its top trading partners in the world.

For Commercial Attaché and Vice Consul Roberto Mabalot Jr., the task is a realization of a desire to help his people on a macro level through government service.

Mabalot, who fortuitously turns 35 today, Jun 18, explains this goal by citing as an example what a big company that he can attract to invest in the Philippines can do by bringing in new revenue for the government and generating jobs for Filipino workers.

Mabalot arrived in Hong Kong on May 1, but officially took up the post as representative of the Department of Trade and Industry on May 17.

As the point man in the Philippine Trade and Investment Center at the Consulate, Mabalot said that he is single-handedly doing all trade-related activities while re-establishing the PTIC in Hong Kong.

“Previously, the post was open but then it was closed sometime in the 2000s and basically we’re reopening it,” said Mabalot, who has jurisdiction over Hong Kong and Macau.

Trade matters with Hong Kong were previously handled by the PTIC Guangzhou some 130 kilometers north, as the government focused on strengthening bilateral trade relations with China, where three of the DTI’s 29 PTICs in foreign cities.

“Basically, I’m the one who represents the DTI, so all the trade-related activities, I do. So, if there are exporters from the Philippines who would like to find out any requirements here in Hong Kong or would like to be matched with distributors here, I assist them by linking them with the proper departments,” said Mabalot.

If it’s a big foreign firm that is planning to invest in the Philippines, he said he “handholds” the investor to make sure it succeeds in setting up in the country due to the investment and the jobs it could bring.
Mabalot says he wants to serve the Philippines on a bigger scale through trade with HK and Macau

Secretary Ramon Lopez realized the importance of Hong Kong as a trading partner when he saw the large volume of exports by Filipino manufacturers to this city, said Mabalot.

Citing trade statistics for January to November 2018, he said from Manila’s perspective, Hong Kong was second only to the United States in the volume of Philippine exports it had absorbed. Conversely, the Philippines was only the 11th biggest importer of Hong Kong products. 

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Hong Kong imports from the Philippines, led by electrical and electronic equipment, reached US$9.97 billion in 2019, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade.

“Last year, umakyat ang economy as the second-fastest emerging market sa ASEAN.
During the term of President Duterte, trade has improved but, of course, naapektuhan din sa covid,” he said.

Mabalot said the Philippines is asking the Hong Kong side it they could form a joint economic committee for further trade.
“We’re just waiting for the response of Hong Kong,” he said.

“Hong Kong has been and will always be an important trading partner of the Philippines.”

Aside from pushing bilateral trade between the Philippines and Hong Kong, the attache said the DTI is looking at how it can provide help to displaced OFWs in setting up small businesses that will provide them a living, Mabalot said.

He said there are 1,000 Negosyo Centers in the country that work with DTI in providing assistance and training to aspiring OFW entrepreneurs.
DTI is said to be looking at ways to help displaced OFWs start their own businesses
Mabalot was a lawyer in private practice who had his own law office in Baguio City before he joined DTI two years ago. He said he has taken a leave from private practice to fulfil his dream of helping Filipinos.

At DTI, he belongs to a small group of officers called Foreign Trade Service Corps from which the department draws those it assigns to posts abroad. This is his first overseas assignment. 

Mabalot, who is single, obtained his BS Psychology and Bachelor of Law degrees from St Louis University in Baguio. Then he took up Master of Laws at San Beda College in Manila.

The diplomat who is called Vice Consul Bobby by staff at the Consulate, is also a licensed teacher and a practising psychometrician (an expert who designs and interprets tests that measure psychological values such as aptitude, ability, etc) who says he has many plans to accomplish at the macro level, while serving the government.

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