Ominous, swirling clouds over Mactan island in Cebu prompted organizers to cancel the Wave 2 (6 to 10 years old) swimming portion of the IronKids competition at the Shangri-La Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City on Saturday. AUGUST DE LA CRUZ…

LAPU-LAPU CITY, AUGUST 5, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Cedelf P. Tupas - Jacobs eyes 4th Ironman title; rains halt kids event

TOUGH TEENS The first wave of participants in the IronKids boys’ 13-14 category jump into the sea just outside Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City on Saturday. Organizers were forced to reset the 300-meter-swim-8-kilometer-bike-2-kilometer-run competition for other age-group events because of bad weather. AUGUST DE LA CRUZ

LAPU-LAPU CITY—Pete Jacobs of Australia and Caroline Steffen of Switzerland look to extend their dominance over a field that seems to get more formidable every year in the fifth staging of the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines here.

Jacobs has ruled the premier pro division in the last three stagings and the Aussie remains the favorite this year, despite the return of two-time world champion and compatriot Chris McCormack to the fold.

But McCormack isn’t the only standout triathlete that Jacobs will be worried about.

As if the 1.9K swim0-90.1K-bike and 21.1K-run course isn’t enough, the Aussie will also have to contend with what McCormack described as a spectacularly “stacked field” which also includes Cameron Brown of New Zealand, Alaska TBB’s Matt O’ Halloran, Ben Allen of Australia and Fredrik Croneberg of Sweden.

“It’s fantastic to be back as the field seems to get stronger every year,” said Jacobs, who is using the race to warm up for another event in Hawaii later this year.

Unlike Jacobs, McCormack is already treating the race as his premier event for the year.

“I used this race as preparation for the world championship in 2009, but this is already my main race this year,” said McCormack.

Steffen, who bucked jetlag and the heat to nail the crown last year, headlines the women’s pro division, where long-time national athlete Monica Torres will be making her debut.

Having won the Filipino Elite the past four years, Torres moved up to the pro division, where she will contend with the likes of Bree Wee of the United States, Belinda Granger of Australia, Jacqui Slack of Great Britain, Christie Sym of Australia and Darelle Parker of Great Britain.

This year’s Ironman is the biggest yet with 2,150 participants from 35 countries seeing action in different categories and the relay events. The race starts with the open water swim at the beach of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort, followed by a bike leg with a route that covers four cities—Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay. The culminating run will start at Punta Engaño, also in Lapu-Lapu City.

While triathletes are using the Ironman to test their physical limits, some personalities see the race as an opportunity to promote their advocacy, among them singer of the Black Eyed Peas.

The Filipino-American, whose real name is Allan Pineda, is participating in the relay event to create awareness for his advocacy in helping kids in Mindanao gain access to education.


Meanwhile, Lauren Justine Plaza retained her girls’ 11-12 title with a time of 33 minutes and two seconds in the Alaska IronKids event that was cut short by inclement weather.

Only half of the events were staged after heavy rains and strong winds hit Mactan Island yesterday morning.

Among the races that were canceled was the one that would have featured the country’s top young triathlete, Tara Borlain, who was supposed to race against McCormack’s daughter, Tahlia, in the 9-10 division.

Ruling the boys’ 11-12 division was Bambam Manglicmot of Quezon City, who timed 31:38. Hong Kong’s Arno Baetz topped the 13-14 category (29:59) while Shaia Ruth Uy of Dipolog City checked in at 34:32 to claim the girls’ title.

About IronKids

With over 50 events held on a global basis held each year, the mission of IronKids is to inspire and motivate youth through the sport to lead an active, positive, and healthy lifestyle. The 2013 UnitedHealthcare IronKids National Series and the Hy-Vee IronKids Midwest Series presented by Dole, targeting youth between the ages of 6-15, will provide an interactive weekend experience for the entire family that will not only showcase the nation’s top youth triathlon talent, but also will allow first-time triathletes to experience a positive introduction to the realm of multisport. Children will compete in age-appropriate distances with an emphasis on fitness, fun and safety.

The 2013 IronKids schedule in North America will feature over 30 events, allowing the opportunity for young athletes to compete in multiple races within their region from the months of April through November, with races being held in a diverse number of markets across the country. The U.S. schedule will conclude on August 31, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa, with the 2013 Hy-Vee IronKids US Championship presented by Dole.

The World Triathlon Corporation acquired IronKids in 2008 from the Sara Lee Corporation, who had previously owned the event series since 1985. Since its inception, IronKids has seen over 60,000 participants, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and Olympians Hunter Kemper and Laura Bennett. The brand represents a multi-dimensional approach to creating positive experiences for athletes, families, and communities, as well as embodies achievement and determination while fostering self-esteem.

The IronKids Team consists of World Triathlon Corporation and Premier Event Management staff, local contractors, host-city Parks and Recreation Departments, city workers (Fire, Police, Permitting, etc.), local Convention & Visitors Bureaus, Sport Commissions, local triathlon clubs and of course many local volunteers who are all the foundation of our success.

IronKids North American events are sanctioned by USA Triathlon and follow USAT rules.


BRAIN DRAIN WORSENS By Eric B. Apolonio | Posted on Aug. 04, 2013 at 12:02am | 1,357 views

Aerobridge workers fly to Qatar; Forecasters leave PH ‘area of responsibility’

The Philippines lost nine more highly-skilled workers to overseas companies that offer higher salaries, separate reports said on Saturday.

The loss of highly-skilled workers or ‘brain drain’ has posed a problem for officials and policy markers in light of the reverse migration of expatriates.

An aerobridge operator at work. ERIC APOLONIO An aerobridge operator at work. ERIC APOLONIO Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said that another PAG-ASA forecaster left the Philippine’s “area of responsibility” to work in Congo.

Recto identified the forecaster as Ricky Fabregas, who was offered a P100,000 a month salary to bring his expertise to the African country.

Meanwhile, the Airline Operators Council reported that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has lost eight aerobridge operators, who resigned after they were offered the same job with higher pay in airports in Doha, Qatar.

The aerobridge operators, whose main task is to operate the tubes that ferries the passengers from the plane to the terminal, and vice-versa, were reportedly offered P80,000 per month.

Dante Basanta, NAIA terminal 1 manager, said that the NAIA terminals have 24 professional aerobridge operators who receive P13, 000/month that includes their cost of living allowance (cola).

But with the resignation of the eight operators, the airport management has no other recourse but to hire more aerobridge operators for training to fill the gap left by the resigned operators.

“We are afraid what might happen to our aircraft if trainees will handle the operations”, just like what happened to China Airlines almost a month ago when trainee accidentally miscalculated and bumped the plane’s door that caused about $1 million to $3million damage” said one member, who refused to be identified. The Manila International Airport Authority must act now regarding this issue,” the AOC said.

Recto, meanwhile, expressed fears that at the rate weather forecasters are leaving the country, the Philippines may end up “with no one alarming us that a typhoon is coming.”

“If the problem is in the delay of the release of the benefits of PAGASA people, then I am confident that the DBM, being the main preacher of the gospel against red tape, will resolve it soonest.”

Recto said that based on the 2013 budget, the money for Hazard Pay and the Magna Carta for Science and Technology, or RA 8439, the two allowances PAGASA personnel claim they are entitled to receive, is there.

For Hazard Pay, the bureaucracy-wide budget this year is P51.8 million while that for RA 8439 benefits is P183.7 million. This excludes hazard pay for the military and uniformed personnel.

For next year, the total allocation for Hazard Pay will increase to P832 million, and the Magna Carta for Science and Technology benefits to P224.6 million.

Recto, however, said that the government has added into the 2014 budget four new “hazard and hardship” allowances for civilian employees.

These are the hazard duty pay (P1.3 billion), high-risky duty pay (P893,000), “hazardous duty pay” (P586 million) and the special hardship allowance” (P1.17 billion).

“I think the restructuring and right-sizing of the hazard pay allocations stem from the redefinition of what constitutes a hazard. And the creation of “different shades” of hazard pay should be welcomed by those in high-risk jobs,” Recto said.

“Thus I hope that the perennial compensation issues confronted by personnel in PAGASA and similar agencies will be solved by the new allocations in 2014,” he added.

Recto warned that if the compensation issue is not solved next year, he would summon to the Senate all the stakeholders, and ask them for a solution, if necessary, on how to prevent the departure of technical people who work on “mission critical posts” such as air traffic controllers

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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