06 Nov JUAN ROUND TABLE – November 5, 2015


JUAN Roundtable Nov 5 2015 copy

  1. France to lift ban on gay men giving blood

 1France said Wednesday, November 4, that it will lift a ban on gay men giving blood, but only if they abstain from sex in the months beforehand – an exclusion denounced as discriminatory by rights groups.


“Giving blood is an act of generosity, of civic responsibility, and the donor’s sexual orientation cannot be a condition,” Health Minister Marisol Touraine said in Paris.

Lifting of the ban, introduced in 1983 to halt the spread of AIDS, amounted to “lifting a taboo,” she announced, making good on an election promise of French leader Francois Hollande.

At first, donation of “whole blood” – the combination of red cells, plasma and platelets – will be open to gay men who report not having had sex for the preceding 12 months, the minister specified.

For donations of only plasma, the liquid component of blood, donors will be considered if they have not had sex with another man for 4 months, or were in a monogamous relationship.

Experts will then analyze whether the change in policy has increased risk, after which measures may be relaxed further in 2017, the minister said.

French rights group SOS Homophobie said in a statement that the new measure still amounted to “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” as no prerequisite for abstention existed for heterosexual men or women.

“This does not end the stigmatisation of gay and bisexual men,” it said.

Sisa: #WowAngLinisNilaHa

Bianca: It’s about time may this be the beginning!

Nikko: I don’t get why they even have a ban on it. But, yeeeeeey!

  1. Makati-Pasay-Taguig subway auction targeted for next gov’t

2The auction of the country’s P374.5-billion ($8.01-billion) proposed project to build a subway that will connect the cities of Makati, Pasay, and Taguig is now eyed for post-Aquino’s term.

“Clearly, I don’t see that [the project will be approved by the] NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Board this term. It will be up for auction next administration,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said on the sidelines of a media briefing in Pasay City on Wednesday, November 4.

The Makati-Pasay-Taguig Mass Transit System Loop was one of the 7 infrastructure projects approved by the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee Technical Board and Cabinet Committee meeting on January 14.

The planned 20-kilometer (km) system will consist of a 16-km tunnel, a 4-km elevated railway, and 11 stations. This is expected to ease road congestion in the cities of Makati, Pasay, and Taguig, according to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center website.


Sisa: More infrastructure, more money!

Bianca: Eh sana matuloy.

Nikko:  Puro na lang plano! Kakasawa!

  1. This PH startup fulfills requests via SMS

3 Although short message service (SMS) is a staple of Filipino life, few businesses have been built around this form of communication. One of the interesting startups to do so is the recently launched HeyKuya, which was founded by company builder Machine Venturesand began with a simple premise. “Imagine this: You can get almost anything done through text. Sounds crazy right? Well, it is,” said Shahab Shabibi, one of the co-founders of HeyKuya, adding that Filipino patrons have simply grown accustomed to bad customer service.

HeyKuya is being positioned as the opposite: If a customer texts an inquiry into either of their two phone numbers – they have one for each carrier – a kuya(older brother) can help a customer do everything from booking movie tickets or hailing a private car to get directions, and ordering flowers.

Shabibi said that HeyKuya was partly inspired by his own struggles. He would spend a significant amount of his time doing menial tasks, all while holding down a full time job. “I wanted a solution that allowed me to focus on what matters,” he said. “HeyKuya was born to make life easier.”

Sisa: Sana hindi masungit si kuya!

Bianca: Bakit ba tayo nasasanay sa puwede na? Thanks SMC for stepping up.

Nikko: Seems like a good idea!

  1. Why PH has 2nd highest income tax in ASEAN

4 The 19-year-old personal and corporate income tax systems of the Philippines are the “most uninviting and out of date” among the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies, several economists said.

Even Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima agreed with other government officials and business groups that “it’s high time for a tax reform.”

“I’m not debating with you that there is nothing wrong with our tax system. Reform is needed. What I’m saying is we need to have a holistic approach,” Purisima told the audience of the 28th Philippine Economic Briefing in Pasay on Wednesday, September 30.

As the ASEAN region moves toward a borderless economic community, the Philippines will have the most uninviting tax systems among its ASEAN-6 peers should the government not implement a tax cut.

The Philippines currently has the second highest personal and highest corporate income tax systems among its ASEAN-6 peers.

Sisa: Higher taxes, but bad public service. Dafuq.

Bianca: Bakit ba kasi hinaharang to?



  1. Senate panels approve bill seeking to help persons with rare

5Five Senate panels have passed a bill seeking to help address the needs of persons with rare diseases that are often chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening and mostly affect children.

In her speech Wednesday sponsoring the proposed Rare Disease Act of 2015, Senator Pia Cayetano, chairman of Senate committee on health and demography, said the issue of rare diseases is close to her heart.

“I lost my youngest son at nine months old to complications from a rare congenital disease called trisomy 13,” she said.

Aside from the health committee, others involved in the crafting of the bill are the committees on social justice, welfare, and rural development; ways and means; youth; and finance.

Cayetano said many who are afflicted with rare disease do not have ready access to the treatment and support they need.

“These diseases are medically and economically catastrophic—medically, because they progress to multiple disability or multiple organ failure which, without help, leads to early death; and economically, because the cost of care is too high and can push a patient and his family to poverty,” she said.

Cayetano said there are around 7,000 to 8,000 known rare diseases, but fewer than 400 approved treatments for them. She said that 75 percent of rare diseases affect children.

According to the Philippine Registry of Rare Diseases at the Institute of Human Genetics, 41 rare diseases are affecting 300 diagnosed patients in the country, while many others remain undiagnosed, she said.

Sisa: Can we have healthcare in this country? A better one at that.

Bianca: This is great news.

Nikko: Update Public/Government Hospitals first!


  1. NZ gives reprieve to Pinoy dairy workers in visa scams


6Filipino dairy workers implicated in visa scams in New Zealand have been given a reprieve by their host country’s government, allowing them to continue working there, online reports said.

A report on Radio New Zealand quoted Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse as saying that covered by the reprieve are Filipinos who confess to falsifying information about their work experience in their CVs to acquire a visa but otherwise have good records.

Woodhouse said reprieve is likely to be given to Filipinos who have “worked well on the farm while they’re here, [have] made good connections in the community, and have admitted to their initial infraction.”

However, he cautioned that success in new visa applications is not guaranteed, as the Filipinos have to meet other standards like health and character requirements.

The report also quoted Filipino Dairy Workers Association chair Earl Magtiby as saying that the reprieve would be a relief to many workers who had feared being deported.

In a separate report on Stuff.co.nz, Southland Filipino Society chairman Socrates Mallar welcomed the announcement, saying it would be a big help to Filipinos depending on work in farms.

“People are no longer in limbo. There are some people who have been worried,”  Mallar said.

Data cited by Stuff.co.nz from Immigration New Zealand indicated that there are 1,900 Filipinos in the dairy industry on temporary visas, 420 of whom are based in Southland. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

Sisa: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Bianca: Please please protect the country.

Nikko: Great news! Stop Human Trafficking!

  1. Dubai sports officials bid to host Pacquiao’s farewell fight

7Influential sports officials in the United Arab Emirates are hoping to host Manny Pacquiao’s farewell fight next year.

Pacquiao, who is currently in Dubai with his Mahindra Enforcers PBA squad, briefly met with local sports officials and expressed his willingness to have his final fight in the country.

“I’d love to have a fight here in Dubai,” Pacquiao told a group of reporters at the Dubai airport.

Events manager of Dubai Sports Council Rashid Al Kamali, meanwhile, says Dubai would be the best place to host Pacquiao’s next bout given the country’s large population of overseas Filipino workers.

“Dubai is the best place to have the fight due to the large Filipino expatriate population and his popularity here. Arab fans love him as well so that’s another bonus, so why not Dubai?” said Kamali.

“I think the chances [of staging the fight in Dubai] are there, he’s very keen in having his fight in Dubai, but again it’s a very commercial aspect, all the areas have to be balanced and all partners have to agree on his presence in Dubai, otherwise it’s Las Vegas.” JM Siasat/JST, GMA News


Sisa: Magreretire na sha?

Bianca:  In fairness, good opportunity eto.

Nikko: Good Luck, Pacman!

  1. Just a ‘puppet’ of Chiz Escudero? Grace Poe reacts


8This was how Senator Grace Poe responded to accusations that she will just be a “puppet” of her running mate, Senator Francis Escudero, if and when elected president in 2016.

“Ewan ko nga bakit kumalat yang kwento na yan eh,” Poe said during her live appearance on dzMM Wednesday for “Ikaw na ba? Para sa Pamilyang Pilipino.”

Escudero, who is also a lawyer, has been a senator since 2007. Prior to his stint in the Senate, he was congressman of the 1st district of Sorsogon from 1998 to 2007.

Poe, on the other hand, is only halfway through her term as senator. She was chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board from 2010 to 2012.

Poe, who has been repeatedly criticized for having the least experience in government among the known presidential candidates, admitted that her colleague Escudero whom she also considers her friend is a competent senator.

Escudero served as the campaign manager of Poe’s late father, action king Fernando Poe Jr., when he ran for president in the 2004 elections. FPJ lost to now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Poe, however, stressed that during her nearly three-year stint at the Senate, she has already delivered quality services to the Filipino people.

“Siguro naman konting credit siguro. Kung talagang nasusundan ninyo ang aking ginagawa, may mga bagay-bagay na ako lang ang namamahala,” she said.

“Halimbawa, yung hearing sa Mamasapano, yung hearing sa MRT (Metro Rail Transit), ito naman ay mga sarili kong paninindigan at diskarte din,” she added.


Sisa: *eyes rolling here*

Bianca: *Says what’s on everyone’s mind, di na bago yan*

Nikko: Chiz ko Poe, di na bagong balita yan!

  1. Empower PH MSMEs with ‘habit creation,’ says expert

9Empowering the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines will make economic growth more inclusive, as most delegates in the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings believe.

Mike Grogan, founder of “Best of You” which helps organizations to be more efficient and competitive, said one way of achieving this is through “habit creation” among MSMEs in the country.

Sharing his knowledge and experience to Filipinos, Grogan said empowering MSMEs also means teaching them how to sustain behaviors that encourage continuous desire to grow.


Sisa: Don’t give up. Yan lang ang tip ko.

Bianca: Juan is a good habit, diba?

Nikko: More leeway for MSMEs!

  1. San Francisco honors first Fil-Am Olympic gold medalist

10A bronze plaque, the first of its kind in San Francisco, was recently unveiled to honor Filipina American Olympic gold medalist Victoria Manalo Draves.

Draves was the first Filipino American to win an Olympic gold medal and the first American to win two gold medals in the springboard and platform diving competition in the 1948 Olympics.

The National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) was instrumental in getting the bronze plaque at the park.

“Victoria Manalo Draves is one of the icons and one of the leaders that our Filipino youth can look up to because she was discriminated against and despite all the trials and tribulations that she went under she still triumphed and won two gold medals in the Olympics and that’s an amazing feat in itself,” said NaFFAA Chief Executive Officer Rudy Asercion.

Born to a Filipino father and English mother in 1924, Draves grew up in the South of Market neighborhood which has historically been home to the Filipino American community.

Draves began diving at the age of 16 and faced discrimination when she was denied from using the swimming facilities because of her Filipino name.

She was only able to compete after changing her last name to her mother’s maiden name: Taylor.

In 2006, San Francisco named the park in her honor and the Filipino community hopes the park can be an anchor for a proposed Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

Draves passed away in 2010 at the age of 85 after a bout with cancer.

A biopic is in the works to bring more awareness about her legacy.

Future plans for the Victoria Manalo Draves Park include monthly Filipino cultural performances and a Filipino farmers market for the entire community in the South of Market neighborhood.
Sisa:   We should have more inspiring Pinoys for the new generation.

Nikko: Congratulations!

  1. Why Traveling Is The Best Therapy

11You’re probably used to the noisy sounds of vehicles and the masses of people walking to and fro every morning. The annoying protests of your alarm clock at six in the morning must be making you fume. But we all know that’s how life works when in the local city. We feel cramped, stuffy… trapped even.

That’s why travel is such an amazing thing. There’s so much more to life than your home and everything in a close proximity to it. We’ve listed the reasons why traveling outweighs retail in terms of easing stress and frustrations:

Heals a broken heart

Bad break ups can seem difficult to move from, often making you reminisce of the good times you had together. But it can also be viewed like the warmth of the sun. You need to avoid it or you’ll end up burnt like a crisp. Seeing new things and meeting new people or cultures can help fill up the void he/she left behind and show you there’s more to life than just wallowing in sadness and rejection.

Replenishes your soul

Soul searching can be a real downer when you can’t leave everything familiar and search for a new perspective. That’s where traveling comes in. Find yourself an amazingly picturesque view, a cool culture to emulate, amazing people to talk to and just go out and have some fun. You might learn something new or it could just be an excuse to let loose and be free.

Develops your confidence

Traveling is one good way to boost your confidence. Wondering why? Being in a place where nobody knows who you are can feel freeing and help push you to do things you don’t normally do. Sooner or later you’ll realize there’s something fun and entertaining about letting loose and speaking to others. So take a chance to get out there and start blossoming, wallflower.

Gives you the ultimate relaxation you’ll ever need

Sometimes you have to realize that the comfy life can sometimes be the hardest on you. The same routine can wear you down, making what was once a relaxing lifestyle into a dreary existence. That’s why you have to mix it up a bit. Go somewhere where you can melt the cares away like sunbathing in a relaxing tropical resort or take some time off to laugh and love with your family in a chic ski resort.

Makes you  appreciate life like never before

Life. A thing that can be as fun, complicated and amazing as we want it to be. Staying in one place and doing the same thing over and over is how some people choose to live out their lives, but variety is the spice of life. Get out there and learn about the world!

So what are you waiting for? Talk to friends or family to get some great ideas for where you can go and get a new perspective on yourself, other people and life in general. ADVT

Sisa: Kelan kaya ako naman?!

Nikko: #TravelPaMore

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