Remarks of Secretary of Voltaire Gazmin at the joint press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel

Remarks of Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin:During the joint press confenrence with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
[Delivered at MalacaƱan Palace on August 30, 2013]
Members of the press, ladies, and gentlemen:
A pleasant good day to all of you.
Today, we mark another milestone in Philippines-U.S. defense relations. The visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the Philippines coincides with an important date for Philippines-U.S. defense relations for it was on 30 August 1951 that the Mutual Defense Treaty was signed. Today, therefore, is the 62nd anniversary of the Treaty.
The defense relations between our two countries have evolved since then. From military-to-military relations between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Pacific Command, we have begun conducting policy consultations between our defense establishments. In addition to the bilateral strategic dialogue between senior officials from the Defense and Foreign Affairs Departments of both countries, which was first held in 2011, we also had the two-plus-two ministerial consultations between the secretaries of the Philippine and U.S. Defense and Foreign Affairs Departments in April 2012.
Our alliance remains relevant today as it was before. As we have reached a critical juncture in our alliance where our concerns on traditional and non-traditional security issues have become intertwined, the Philippines and the U.S. continue to seek ways to develop each other’s capabilities to address security challenges of mutual concern and contribute to regional peace and stability.
As fellow members of the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting (ADMM)-plus, which was convened for the second time yesterday in Brunei Darussalam, the defense establishments of our two countries deem it important to enhance our relations not only as allies but also as fellow stakeholders of regional security.
Today, we focus on key areas of cooperation, including maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response (HA/DR), and cyber security and information sharing.
Indeed, after more than 60 years, the alliance between the Philippines and the U.S. remain relevant as we continue to enhance our capacity to address current concerns and emerging security issues. Thus, we shall continue to work closely to promote our common interests as well as peace and stability in the region.
Thank you.

Loan Options to typhoon-affected teachers

The Department of Education (DepEd) is extending a calamity loan of up to P20, 000 to teachers and non-teaching personnel who were directly affected by typhoon Maring and habagat monsoon rains.
DepEd Order (DO) No. 10, s. 2011, sets the maximum amount of calamity loan which can be availed at P20,000 with an interest rate of 6% per annum. The loan is payable in 24 equal monthly installments for two years, automatically deducted in the payroll.
Secretary of Education Armin Luistro said applications for calamity loan must be received within two months after the area has been declared under the state of calamity. “This is an urgent measure to promptly respond to our teachers who need help returning to their normal lives after tragedy,” said Luistro.
Apart from the DepEd loan, teachers and non-teaching personnel may also avail of the emergency loan provided by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). GSIS members may apply through any of the 147 GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks located within the calamity areas. Granting of emergency loans will start on August 24, 2013.
GSIS members may avail of the loan only if their area is under a state of calamity. For members who do not have eCards but are eligible to apply for a loan, they may apply over-the-counter at any GSIS office and will be issued a temporary eCard. Eligible members may loan up to P20,000 payable in 36 equal monthly installments.
Another available loan option is the Pag-IBIG Calamity Loan Program. Eligibility would require the member to live within the area under the state of calamity, to have at least 24 monthly contributions, and to be an active member of the Pag-ibig program—having made five contributions within the last six months prior to the application. A member may loan up to 80% of one’s total accumulated value (TAV) with an interest rate of 5.95% per annum. The loan is payable up to 24 months—three months reprieve and would start payments on the fourth month.
The Civil Service Commission also reiterates its issuance of the Special Emergency Leave through the Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular (CSC MC) No. 2, s. 2012. This shall be granted to employees directly affected by typhoon Maring and the habagat monsoon. Those living in areas declared under the state of calamity, or were gravely affected based on proof and evidence are the requirements for eligibility. The emergency leave will be a maximum of five days in a year. Availing of it should be within 30 days from the actual occurrence of the natural calamity/disaster. Any extensions made would be under the discretion of the agency.

Cherry Mobile Cosmos X quad-core phone, Specifications and Philippines Price

Cherry Mobile Cosmos X
Specs of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X 
1.2GHz MediaTek 6589 quad-core processor
4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD (on-cell) screen - Gorilla Glass 2 | 5-point
HSPA+ | 3G | Wi-Fi b/g/n | Bluetooth | GPS
Dual-SIM (1 standard SIM and 1 microSIM)
18-megapixel BSI rear camera with flash | 8-megapixel BSI front camera
4GB ROM | 1 GB RAM (microSD up to 32GB)
1,800mAh battery
135 x 69.7 x 7.9mm
Android Jelly Bean 4.2

Price: P9,999 

Nokia Lumia 925, Successor to the Lumia 920, Specifications and Price

Nokia Lumia 925Specs of the Nokia Lumia 925 (Price: P23,500):  
LTE
Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset
1.5GHz dual-core CPU
Adreno 225 GPU
1GB RAM
16GB internal storage
4.5-inch AMOLED display with ClearBlack technology, Corning Gorilla Glass 2 (768 x 1,280 resolution)
8.7-megapixel PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED flash
1.2-megapixel front camera
129 x 70.6 x 8.5mm
139 grams
Windows Phone 8.1   

BlackBerry BB Q5 at P18,690 in the Philippines and Specifications

Specs of the BlackBerry Q5 : P18,690

LTE support
Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset
1.2GHz dual-core Krait CPU
2GB RAM
Adreno 225 GPU
8GB internal storage microSD card slot up to 64GB
3.1-inch IPS touch display (720 x 720 resolution)
5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
2-megapixel front camera
2,180mAh battery
BlackBerry 10 OS
As expected, BlackBerry has released its newest "value" smartphonethe third handset running BB 10in the Philippines, the BlackBerry Q5. 
Powerful, compact, and sleek, with several trendy color options to choose from and a QWERTY keypad in tow, the latest addition to the BlackBerry family has all the makings of a device that would appeal to a young audience. This is most especially true to BlackBerry Curve owners in emerging markets. 
The BlackBerry Q5 is priced at P18,690; it doesn't have a full touchscreen; and it's up against a wide selection of fast Android phones at half the cost.

DOST-PAGASA to coordinate with Metro Mayors on weather, flood warnings

Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Manuel Roxas II on Thursday called on the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to work closely with the 17 Metro Manila mayors on weather and flood warnings to enable them to make sound decisions on flood-related problems.
“We must be able to come up with a working protocol for direct information transfer from the DOST-PAGASA to the Metro mayors who will be the ultimate decision-makers in times of flood-related problems,” Roxas said.
As vice-chair for preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Roxas called a command conference at the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame to tackle and assess the levels of preparedness of each city in Metro Manila.
Roxas asked PAGASA to make a directory of personal and hotline numbers of all the 17 mayors to facilitate the exchange of information between the weather bureau and the local chief executives. The mayors and their city administrators and local DRMMC heads attending the conference made the request for this information exchange.
“Nais lang natin masiguro na hindi tayo magtuturuan later on. Ngayon pa lang habang wala pang ulan at baha, plantsahin na natin ito,” Roxas said.
“It would be up to the mayors to evaluate the information. What is important is that they can start the process in coming out with decisions regarding incoming weather disturbance,” he added.
Later, the DOST-PAGASA provided Metro mayors and their representatives in the conference with cellular phone SIM cards the local chief executives could use in directly calling for weather updates.
The DOST provided updates on Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) and a PowerPoint presentation of the Metro Manila flood situation.
Renato Brion, DILG NCR director, gave an update on the state of flood preparedness of LGUs in the National Capital Region while Allan Tabel of DILG discussed the topic of ‘Enhancing Local Flood Forecasting Capacities.”
Richie Van Angeles of Pasig City and Hector Reyes of Makati City presented the concept of “Mutual Aid Response Mechanism” wherein every Metro Manila LGU should share its equipment, manpower and resources in aiding nearby localities that are in need of help and support during a crisis.
PAGASA and local mayorsAmong the Metro mayors present at the conference were Herbert Baustista of Quezon City; Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela; Jaime Medina of Pateros; Maria Laarni Cayetano of Taguig; Edwin Olivarez of Paranaque; Benhur Abalos of Mandaluyong; Antonio Calixto of Pasay; and Vergel Aguilar of Las Pinas. Other mayors like Manila and Makati sent their representatives.
Other attendees included representatives from the Department of Social and Welfare and Development, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.

Statement of DOTC on the bidding for LRT-1 Cavite extension

Construction will proceed as scheduled on the LRT1 Cavite extension project. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) made this statement after only one bidder submitted a qualified offer for the project on August 15, 2013.
Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the bids and awards committee is looking at the possibility of extending the bidding process and reevaluating the existing terms to further address the commercial issues raised by the pre-qualified bidders.
lrt1 map cavite extensionAbaya added that the evaluation would be completed in a week, after which next steps in the bidding process will be announced. The goal of the evaluation and the next steps is to ensure that the construction of the LRT1 Cavite extension will proceed in the second half of 2014, as scheduled.

Younghusband brothers, James and Phil, to attend Lakas-Sipa sa Batang Malaya football clinic

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she will join on Monday the Younghusband brothers, James and Phil, together with International Labor Organization-Manila Office Director Jeff Lawrence Johnson, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, and other civil society partners in a football clinic for child laborers recently freed from the scourge of child labor.
Lakas-Sipa para sa Batang Malaya, a football clinic for child laborers, which the ILO will spearhead, will be launched on Monday, August 19, 2013, at the Emperador Stadium, McKinley Hill, Taguig City. “I will be there. I urge anti-child labor advocates, even football sports fanatics to join us in this event,” Baldoz happily announced.
“The government earnest campaign against child labor gets an upgrade with this football clinic. The DOLE, together with the International Labor Organization-International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC), in partnership with the Younghusband Football Academy and Chelsea Football Club Soccer School Philippines will give a strong kick to the anti-child labor campaign with the holding of the Lakas-Sipa sa Batang Malaya football clinic,” Baldoz added.
Over 250 child laborers will join the football clinic, along with sponsors, volunteers and media partners. The teams formed during the football clinic will compete in a tournament to be held on October 19, 2013.
Batang Malaya: Child Labor Free Philippines serves as a venue to bring government agencies, members of the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), employers’ and workers’ organizations, civil society, and former child laborers to unite and call for an end to the worst forms of child labor.
In 2012, the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III launched the H.E.L.P. M.E. Convergence Program to intensify the government’s campaign to end the worst forms of child labor by 2016. H.E.L.P. M.E. stands for health, education, livelihood, and prevention, protection, prosecution, monitoring and evaluation.
The H.E.L.P. ME Convergence program is envisioned to contribute to the realization of the country’s ultimate Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty through decent work by 2016.
The DOLE is also strongly implementing its Child Labor-Free Barangay Project, a barangay-based strategy to lick child labor by providing parents of child laborers with livelihood assistance so they may keep their children in schools where they belong.
“This is DOLE’s way of helping each family start anew and for their children to live free, happy, and healthy in a safe environment,” said Baldoz who, herself, had visited 30 barangays all over the country last year to jumpstart the project.
The Lakas-Sipa para sa Batang Malaya event will start with the parade of football teams and march against child labor. This will be followed by the symbolic kick “No to Child Labor” by Secretary Baldoz, Ambassador Goldberg, and Director Johnson.
Football superstars James and Phil Younghusband, together with players/trainers of the Chelsea Football Club Soccer School Philippines, will teach the child laborers the basic of football.
Child labor is a serious offense. It deprives children of the chance to play, to study and to live a life with dignity, echoed Baldoz.
ILO member States, including the Philippines, have set the goal of ending the worst forms of child labor by 2016.
In response, the NCLC, with the support of the ILO, initiated the Batang Malaya: Child Labour Free Philippines in 2012 to highlight the plight of child laborers.
This year, the ILO has chosen the “red card “call for support against child labor and raise awareness on hazardous work of children all over the world. In football, a “red card” means a serious offense and the player has to be expelled from the game.
The Lakas-Sipa para sa Batang Malaya event is sponsored by the Landbank of the Philippines, Consuelo Foundation, Wang Videography, Imagine Nation Photography, the Younghusband Football Academy, DOLE Philippines, Inc., SM Cares, SM Supermalls, Accel, ABS-CBN, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Molten, Globe Telecom, Kettle Food Corporation, Megaworld, St. Luke’s Medical Center, United Football League, Gatorade, ILO Manila Staff Union, St. Scholastica’s College, DMCI Homes, University of the Philippines Alpha Sigma Fraternity, International School Manila, San Miguel Foundation, Gardenia, and Amspec.

New Toyota Hybrid-R Technical Specifications

The Hybrid-R will boast a motor with no less than 400hp, based on the same technology used in the Toyota TS030, which competed in the latest Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The Japanese manufacturer reports that its new concept car is based on a hybrid system, pairing a high-powered fuel engine with several electric motors and achieving a total horsepower of over 400.

The Hybrid-R concept car is based on a technology similar to that of the Toyota TS030, which was driven in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This time, however, the technology has been upgraded with a dual mode control ensuring optimal effectiveness for driving on the road and at the racetrack.

Motorola Moto X smartphone specifications

Motorola announced its new 4.7-inch Moto X smartphone, which comes equipped with a number of impressive features like a 720p AMOLED Display, Touchless Control via Google Now integration, multiple customization options, and unique camera controls. The phone has been described as Google and Motorola's flagship iPhone competitor. 

The Moto X is the first phone where Google is in control of both the hardware and the software, giving the company greater control over the end user experience. Google's Moto X does not utilize a skin like other Android smartphones, but Google does allow carriers to add pre-loaded apps and other software. There will, however, be a Google Play edition available for users who prefer a stock Android experience. 

The phone includes the Motorola X8 Computing System, with a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 1.7Ghz dual-core Krait CPU and quad-core Adreno 320 GPU. It offers 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 10-megapixel rear camera, and a 2,200mAh battery that offers up to 24 hours of battery life. 


To support its Touchless Control feature, the phone includes a dedicated processor that listens for voice commands while preserving battery life. This feature allows users to obtain weather information, directions, and more with hands-free controls. 

Motorola's Moto X also offers a unique "Quick Capture" camera functionality, opening the camera app with a wrist flick. Once open, a picture can be snapped by touching anywhere on the screen. 

Though the Moto X is available through multiple carriers, customers purchasing an AT&T version of the phone will be able to customize it, choosing a black or white faceplate with sixteen different back case color options and accents.


Maserati V8 now in Philippines

Autostrada Motore Inc., the country’s official distributor of Maserati ultra-luxury high performance vehicles unveiled its all-new V8 twin turbo Quattroporte. It is the fastest four-door Maserati built to date. Six generations and exactly fifty years later, Maserati’s flagship car is now larger, even lighter and more luxurious than its predecessor. Considered as the pioneer of the luxury sports sedan, the first generation Quattroporte was created and pattered after a one-off Maserati in 1963 after Prince Karim Aga Khan ordered a special unit dubbed as the “5000 WP” designed by Pietro Frua.

The all-new direct-injection 3.8-litre V8 twin turbocharged engine was designed by Maserati Powertrain and assembled by Ferrari at Maranello. It goes from zero to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, on to a top speed of 307km/h. Despite this, Maserati managed to lower both its fuel consumption and emissions by 20 percent over the previous Quattroporte model. It is mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission compared with the 6-speed version of the previous model. Its hydraulic gearbox is assisted by auto-adaptive software, which is now a standard on all Maserati models. There are five operating modes, selected using the buttons by the gear lever: Auto Normal, Auto Sport, Manual Normal, Manual Sport and the new I.C.E. (Increased Control Efficiency).

Maserati’s traditional values of providing artisan handcrafted detailing continues in the new Quattroporte’s cabin but is paired with new technology as well. Modern tech features like the Maserati Touch Control screen, adjustable pedals (left hand drive only), reversing cameras, WLAN-based wifi, and the optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system offer high-fidelity on-board entertainment and easy driving.