PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

BEST SEATS IN 'MEET WITH POPE' RESERVED FOR POOR
Pope wants this event to be a real 'personal encounter 

DEC 13 ---Pope Francis wants to make eye contact with members of poor families when he meets them at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Jan. 16. For this reason, the 300 indigents to be selected by Caritas Manila will get the best seats in the coliseum. They will occupy the center of the arena and directly face the pope, according to Monsignor Esteban Lo, who is in charge of the event. “Many, if not all, of the urban poor would be seated in front of him because they are the VIP (very important people) in the event. This is in the spirit of ‘mercy and compassion,’ ” Lo said, referring to the theme of the papal visit. The arena has a seating capacity of 13,000. Each of the 86 dioceses will be sending 100 people as their representatives, according to Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, chairman of the committee on information and media relations for the papal visit. But Vergara said the Vatican representative for media and the liturgy coordinate said that the pope wants this event to be a real “personal encounter.” READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Dogs in heaven? Pope leaves pearly gate open

DEC 13 ---Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples, and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal-rights activists and vegans. Trying to console a distraught little boy whose dog had died, Francis told him in a recent public appearance on St. Peter’s Square that “paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” While it is unclear whether the pope’s remarks helped soothe the child, they were welcomed by groups like the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who saw them as a repudiation of conservative Catholic theology that says animals cannot go to heaven because they have no souls. Charles Camosy, an author and professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University, said it was difficult to know precisely what Francis meant, since he spoke “in pastoral language that is not really meant to be dissected by academics.” But asked if the remarks had caused a new debate on whether animals have souls, suffer and go to heaven, Mr. Camosy said, “In a word: Absolutely.”  In his relatively short tenure as leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics since taking over from Benedict XVI, Francis, 77, has repeatedly caused a stir among conservatives in the church. He has suggested more lenient positions than his predecessor on issues like homosexuality, single motherhood and unwed couples. So to some extent, it was not a surprise that Francis, an Argentine Jesuit who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, would suggest to a saddened child that his lost pet had a place in the afterlife. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: BI prepares tight security for Pope’s visit in January

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has stepped up its preparations for the coming papal visit in January 2015.
Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said a special task force was created to ensure security and public order during the papal visit. The task force, dubbed Task Unit Immigration (TUI), shall implement the smooth operations of immigration services and intelligence operations during this period. According to the BI chief, the TUI is specifically created to ensure that the Pope and the members of his entourage receive proper immigration service, technical and intelligence support, in furtherance of the mandate of The Papal Visit 2015 National Organizing Committee (PV-NOC).“We have started our general preparation phase as early as October. Our preparations include planning the event, service training for TUI personnel, and survey inspection areas of engagement,” Mison said. Mison also warned that foreign terrorists and human traffickers who might take advantage of the event are not welcome in the country and will be immediately removed. “We must remain vigilant since we are expecting an influx of foreign visitors in the Philippines in January due to the papal visit,” Mison said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: No-fly zones set during Pope Francis’ visit

Philippine aviation officials will implement no-fly zones during the visit of Pope Francis to the country on Jan. 15 to 19. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will coordinate with commercial carriers on the matter, GMA News stringer Ariel Fernandez reported. CAAP Deputy Director General Rodante Joya indicated the no-fly zones will include all areas where the pope will stay during his visit, including the Mass at the Luneta. Joya also said they will issue the appropriate Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) before the pope's arrival. On the other hand, Tacloban Airport in Leyte will be closed the entire day when the pope leads a Mass near the airport. Covered by the no-fly zone are commercial planes, private planes, training aircraft, and even drones, especially over the Luneta Mass. Joya said they will allow few exceptions, but these will have to earn the nod of the visit's organizers. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: The Magic of Dance  

PHOTO: --BP Dance School SM Aura 04 --The person who said magic only exists in fairy tales probably didn’t know how to dance. Never underestimate the power of dance, of grace, of moves, and the benefits it can give to its audience, especially kids. Did you know that children who are exposed to arts are inclined to read more, perform better in school, and have a wider perspective in culture, life, and history? Given the benefits of dance and the magic that storytelling brings, TELUS International Philippines and Ballet Philippines (BP) have found a way to bring the magic not only on stage, but to share it to underprivileged communities in the country. The magic of dance weaves a story of hope, strength, and resurgence into the people’s collective conscience through the beautiful art of dance. Through their Share the Magic program, BP president Margie Moran-Floirendo says it widens the horizon of the deprived children they invite. The program gets public school children to come and watch performances at Cultural Center of the Philippines. “Watching a ballet or dance presentation engages the imagination like nothing else. When you watch a ballet, you have to imagine what the dancers are portraying, what their movement on the stage means,” says Margie. She adds that the children themselves eventually become storytellers to others. READ FULL REPORT..

ALSO: Legarda commends F. Sionil Jose 

DEC 14 --PHOTO: Senator Loren Legarda honors National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose through Senate Resolution 1045, which recognizes his contribution to literature and journalism and his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts. Also in photo is Jose’s wife, Teresita. MANILA, Philippines -Senator Loren Legarda honored the contribution of National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose to literature and journalism through a Resolution adopted by the Senate during its session last Dec. 9. Legarda authored Senate Resolution 1045 to recognize F. Sionil Jose’s contribution to literature and journalism. “F. Sionil Jose has been an inspiration to several generations of writers and journalists through his essays, his role as a publisher, his lectures, his iconic bookshop Solidaridad and his founding of the Philippine chapter of the PEN, an international organization of poets, writers and novelists,” said Legarda. “Cognizant of his artistic and literary genius and for his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts, it is but fitting that F. Sionil Jose be recognized and honored,” she stressed. F. Sionil Jose, who turned 90 years old last Dec. 3, is considered one of the prominent Filipino writers in the English language. His works have been translated to 28 languages, including Czech, Indonesian, French, Korean, Russian, Latvian and Dutch. He has received numerous accolades, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature, among others.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO IMMIGRATION CORNER By Michael J. Gurfinkel: Work authorization and relief from deportation for parents of US citizens and green card holder children  

DEC 14 ---On Nov. 20, 2014, President Obama announced Executive Action (EA) concerning immigration. While there are many aspects or changes brought about by his announcement, one of those changes is the creation of a new “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” (or DAPA), which is similar to the benefit he announced in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

While DACA provides benefits to young people who arrived in the US before age 16, DAPA will benefit parents of green card holders and US citizens. The basic requirements for DAPA are:

• Person has a child who was a US Citizen or green card holder as of 11/20/14

• Parent entered the US before 1/1/10, and has lived continuously in US since then

• Parent was in US on 11/20/14, and out of status

• Passes criminal and national security checks

• Pays taxes and filing fee

• Work authorization is granted for 3 years, and relief from deportation. CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Best seats in meet with pope reserved for poor

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, DECEMBER 15, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Evelyn Macairan - Pope Francis wants to make eye contact with members of poor families when he meets them at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Jan. 16.

For this reason, the 300 indigents to be selected by Caritas Manila will get the best seats in the coliseum. They will occupy the center of the arena and directly face the pope, according to Monsignor Esteban Lo, who is in charge of the event.

“Many, if not all, of the urban poor would be seated in front of him because they are the VIP (very important people) in the event. This is in the spirit of ‘mercy and compassion,’ ” Lo said, referring to the theme of the papal visit.

The arena has a seating capacity of 13,000. Each of the 86 dioceses will be sending 100 people as their representatives, according to Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, chairman of the committee on information and media relations for the papal visit.

But Vergara said the Vatican representative for media and the liturgy coordinate said that the pope wants this event to be a real “personal encounter.”

“If the pope would be at the platform and there are people at the back, there should be no one sitting at the back so we would not be able to utilize that space for the people. Even if there are LED screens, the Holy Father wants it to be a respectful encounter. He wants to have eye contact with the people,” he added.

Pope Francis is expected to be at SM MOA Arena at 5:30 p.m. He would be received by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.

The 100-year-old Remedios Enriquez-Rodrigo, mother-in-law of actress Boots Anson-Roa, will present the garland to Pope Francis. Roa’s husband, lawyer King Rodrigo, will read the Message of the Family.

Three families with different stories will deliver their testimonies to the pope. They are a poor family, a family with overseas Filipino worker (OFW) member, and a family with a person with disability (PWD) member.

Fr. Dennis Soriano, liturgist in charge of the event, explained that by showcasing three different Filipino families, the pope would have an overview of the experiences of Filipino families.

The poor family will speak in Tagalog, the family with OFW member will communicate in English, while the family with PWD member might use sign language and have an interpreter.

The main choir and a support choir will sing at least four songs, including We Are All God’s Children, Only Selfless Love, Tell The World of His Love, and Welcome To The Family. There will also be folk dancing.

Pope to use open vehicle

Pope Francis will use an open vehicle during his visit to the country to get close to Filipinos.

“Because the Holy Father wants to get close to the people, the pope mobile is an open vehicle,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga, chairman of the committee on transportation on the papal visit.

“But with the help of the Presidential Security Group, his security is okay,” Santos said in Filipino. “The Church and the State have a good relationship in preparing for the papal visit. The preparations are going well.”

Noy urged to declare holidays

Meanwhile, mayors of Metro Manila yesterday urged President Aquino to declare Jan. 15 to 19, the days of the papal visit, as non-working holidays.

In a resolution, the Metro Manila Council composed of mayors said the papal visit is expected to generate traffic congestion due to the influx of pilgrims and devotees, so the situation would be better managed if the days of the papal visit would be non-working holidays.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), on the other hand, is set to issue a Notice to Airmen regarding “no fly zones” during the papal visit. With Ric Sapnu, Rudy Santos, Mike Frialde


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Dogs in heaven? Pope leaves pearly gate open by The New York Times December 13, 2014 Share this:

Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples, and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal-rights activists and vegans.

Trying to console a distraught little boy whose dog had died, Francis told him in a recent public appearance on St. Peter’s Square that “paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” While it is unclear whether the pope’s remarks helped soothe the child, they were welcomed by groups like the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who saw them as a repudiation of conservative Catholic theology that says animals cannot go to heaven because they have no souls.

Charles Camosy, an author and professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University, said it was difficult to know precisely what Francis meant, since he spoke “in pastoral language that is not really meant to be dissected by academics.” But asked if the remarks had caused a new debate on whether animals have souls, suffer and go to heaven, Mr. Camosy said, “In a word: Absolutely.”

In his relatively short tenure as leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics since taking over from Benedict XVI, Francis, 77, has repeatedly caused a stir among conservatives in the church. He has suggested more lenient positions than his predecessor on issues like homosexuality, single motherhood and unwed couples. So to some extent, it was not a surprise that Francis, an Argentine Jesuit who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, would suggest to a saddened child that his lost pet had a place in the afterlife.

Citing biblical passages that assert that animals not only go to heaven, but get along with one another when they get there, Francis was quoted by the Italian news media as saying: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

The question of whether animals go to heaven has been debated for much of the church’s history. Pope Pius IX, who led the church from 1846 to 1878, longer than any other pope, strongly supported the doctrine that dogs and other animals have no consciousness. He even sought to thwart the founding of an Italian chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Pope John Paul II appeared to reverse Pius in 1990 when he proclaimed that animals do have souls and are “as near to God as men are.” But the Vatican did not widely publicize his assertion, perhaps because it so directly contradicted Pius, who was the first to declare the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1854.

John Paul’s successor, Benedict, seemed to emphatically reject his view in a 2008 sermon in which he asserted that when an animal dies, it “just means the end of existence on earth.”

Ms. Gutleben of the Humane Society said Francis’ apparent reversal of Benedict’s view could be enormous. “If the pope did mean that all animals go to heaven, then the implication is that animals have a soul,” she said. “And if that’s true, then we ought to seriously consider how we treat them. We have to admit that these are sentient beings, and they mean something to God.”

Sarah Withrow King, director of Christian outreach and engagement at PETA, one of the most activist anti-slaughterhouse groups, said the pope’s remarks vindicated the biblical portrayal of heaven as peaceful and loving, and could influence eating habits, moving Catholics away from consuming meat — which she asserted had already been happening anyway. “It’s a vegan world, life over death and peace between species,” she said. “I’m not a Catholic historian, but PETA’s motto is that animals aren’t ours, and Christians agree. Animals aren’t ours, they’re God’s.”

Whether the pope’s remarks will prove to be a persuasive new reason not to eat meat, a potentially worrisome development to the multibillion-dollar beef, pork, poultry and seafood industries, remains unclear at best. But they did cause discussion.


FROM THE TRIBUNE

BI prepares tight security for Pope’s visit in January  Written by Conrado Ching Saturday, 13 December 2014 00:00

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has stepped up its preparations for the coming papal visit in January 2015.

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said a special task force was created to ensure security and public order during the papal visit.

The task force, dubbed Task Unit Immigration (TUI), shall implement the smooth operations of immigration services and intelligence operations during this period.

According to the BI chief, the TUI is specifically created to ensure that the Pope and the members of his entourage receive proper immigration service, technical and intelligence support, in furtherance of the mandate of The Papal Visit 2015 National Organizing Committee (PV-NOC).

“We have started our general preparation phase as early as October. Our preparations include planning the event, service training for TUI personnel, and survey inspection areas of engagement,” Mison said.

Mison also warned that foreign terrorists and human traffickers who might take advantage of the event are not welcome in the country and will be immediately removed.
“We must remain vigilant since we are expecting an influx of foreign visitors in the Philippines in January due to the papal visit,” Mison said.

“The BI is in close coordination with other law enforcement agencies in intelligence building and has heightened its alert on foreign nationals with emphasis on potential threats to the scheduled arrival of the Pope,” Mison said.

Mison also assured the people there are enough immigration personnel deployed in Manila and Tacloban for the event. He also said immigration agents will be in full force for the papal visit.|

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive on Jan. 15 and is expected to be traveling with members of his entourage and staff.

The Pope’s itinerary will include a visit to Tacloban City, a courtesy visit to President Aquino and a Mass at Rizal Park.

Pope Francis is expected to stay in the country for four days and will depart for Rome on Jan. 19.


FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

No-fly zones set during Pope Francis’ visit December 12, 2014 2:37pm 1 0 0 1

Philippine aviation officials will implement no-fly zones during the visit of Pope Francis to the country on Jan. 15 to 19.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will coordinate with commercial carriers on the matter, GMA News stringer Ariel Fernandez reported.

CAAP Deputy Director General Rodante Joya indicated the no-fly zones will include all areas where the pope will stay during his visit, including the Mass at the Luneta.

Joya also said they will issue the appropriate Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) before the pope's arrival.

On the other hand, Tacloban Airport in Leyte will be closed the entire day when the pope leads a Mass near the airport.

Covered by the no-fly zone are commercial planes, private planes, training aircraft, and even drones, especially over the Luneta Mass.

Joya said they will allow few exceptions, but these will have to earn the nod of the visit's organizers. —Joel Locsin/NB, GMA News


FROM THE MANILA BULELTIN

The Magic of Dance December 13, 2014 Share this:


BP Dance School SM Aura 04

The person who said magic only exists in fairy tales probably didn’t know how to dance. Never underestimate the power of dance, of grace, of moves, and the benefits it can give to its audience, especially kids. Did you know that children who are exposed to arts are inclined to read more, perform better in school, and have a wider perspective in culture, life, and history?

Given the benefits of dance and the magic that storytelling brings, TELUS International Philippines and Ballet Philippines (BP) have found a way to bring the magic not only on stage, but to share it to underprivileged communities in the country. The magic of dance weaves a story of hope, strength, and resurgence into the people’s collective conscience through the beautiful art of dance. Through their Share the Magic program, BP president Margie Moran-Floirendo says it widens the horizon of the deprived children they invite.


PR SDW-Baby Ballet

The program gets public school children to come and watch performances at Cultural Center of the Philippines. “Watching a ballet or dance presentation engages the imagination like nothing else. When you watch a ballet, you have to imagine what the dancers are portraying, what their movement on the stage means,” says Margie. She adds that the children themselves eventually become storytellers to others.

“We also have BP Kidz in summer and we hold auditions for kids in and out of Manila. When we see talent and we know that they will pursue it eventually as a career, we hone them. We help them reach their goal of becoming a dancer,” says Margie. The BP Kidz is composed of members from the underprivileged community, selected scholars, and apprentices.

“It is important that the children are able to relate to what they are watching. We try to match the beneficiaries with what they are taking up in school, or what is most relevant to them. We showcase humanities for the college students, and we show children’s ballet for the kids,” she says.


FROM PHILSTAR

Legarda commends F. Sionil Jose (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 14, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Senator Loren Legarda honors National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose through Senate Resolution 1045, which recognizes his contribution to literature and journalism and his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts. Also in photo is Jose’s wife, Teresita.

MANILA, Philippines -Senator Loren Legarda honored the contribution of National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose to literature and journalism through a Resolution adopted by the Senate during its session last Dec. 9.

Legarda authored Senate Resolution 1045 to recognize F. Sionil Jose’s contribution to literature and journalism.

“F. Sionil Jose has been an inspiration to several generations of writers and journalists through his essays, his role as a publisher, his lectures, his iconic bookshop Solidaridad and his founding of the Philippine chapter of the PEN, an international organization of poets, writers and novelists,” said Legarda.

“Cognizant of his artistic and literary genius and for his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts, it is but fitting that F. Sionil Jose be recognized and honored,” she stressed.

F. Sionil Jose, who turned 90 years old last Dec. 3, is considered one of the prominent Filipino writers in the English language. His works have been translated to 28 languages, including Czech, Indonesian, French, Korean, Russian, Latvian and Dutch.

He has received numerous accolades, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature, among others.


FROM PHILSTAR

Work authorization and relief from deportation for parents of US citizens and green card holder children IMMIGRATION CORNER By Michael J. Gurfinkel (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 14, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 2


By Michael J. Gurfinkel

On Nov. 20, 2014, President Obama announced Executive Action (EA) concerning immigration. While there are many aspects or changes brought about by his announcement, one of those changes is the creation of a new “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” (or DAPA), which is similar to the benefit he announced in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

While DACA provides benefits to young people who arrived in the US before age 16, DAPA will benefit parents of green card holders and US citizens. The basic requirements for DAPA are:

• Person has a child who was a US Citizen or green card holder as of 11/20/14

• Parent entered the US before 1/1/10, and has lived continuously in US since then

• Parent was in US on 11/20/14, and out of status

• Passes criminal and national security checks

• Pays taxes and filing fee

• Work authorization is granted for 3 years, and relief from deportation.

(Note: there was some confusion about whether parents of DACA recipients would also be eligible for work authorization. They are not. However, if a person has several children, one of whom is a US citizen or green card holder, and another child is a DACA recipient, the parent would still be eligible for DAPA benefits, based on having a US citizen or green card child. The fact that they also have a DACA recipient child would not disqualify them from DAPA.)

When DACA first came out in 2012, many Filipinos were reluctant to come forward and apply. While over 600,000 young Latinos applied, less than 4,000 Filipinos came forward. This is despite the US government offering a marvelous opportunity to obtain work authorization, SS number, driver’s license, relief from deportation, possibility for entering college and scholarships, permission to travel to the Philippines, and more.

Those Filipinos, who came forward, were left untouched by ICE (meaning the government did not come after them or their families). President Obama further promised that anyone who applies for DACA or DAPA will not be turned over for deportation, nor will their family members (unless they are terrorists or felons).

If Filipino parents were reluctant to apply for DACA for their children, because it was the parent who needed work permit (not the child), now parents of green card holders or US citizens could be eligible for work authorization.

I also know that, in the past, Filipinos would apply for immigration benefits they were not entitled to, just to obtain work authorization. Some would apply for political asylum, claiming to be persecuted by the NPA, just to get work authorization. Others applied for CSS/LULAC, claiming to have been in the US before January 1981, again just to get work authorization. Now, Filipinos have the chance to get a legitimate work authorization based on providing truthful information and documentation. This benefit could also include the ability to travel outside the US, including to the Philippines, for important or urgent matters.

If you believe you may be eligible, you should definitely see an attorney to evaluate your situation.

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