In Photos: Music, Awards, and Charity on Wish 107.5’s Wish Awards

News, Events and Second Glances

One of the Philippines’ newest radio stations made wishes come true last night, as it celebrated an evening full of talented OPM artists, world-class musical performances, and most of all, genuine charity with Wish 107.5‘s first ever Wish Awards.

The event was held at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on 26 January 2016.

Winners of the awards show were able to donate PhP 100,000.00 each to the charities of their choice. The event benefitted organizations such as World Vision, which assists with the needs and rights of Filipino children, as well as Child Haus, a temporary refuge for children and adults undergoing cancer treatment in the country, to name a few.

Some of the night’s big winners were Yeng Constantino, Jason Dy, Jensen and the Flips, Morisette, Sponge Cola, among others. The night’s biggest winner, The Voice Kids 1st Runner-Up and Total Performer Darren Espanto, won five awards — a total of PhP 500,000.00 worth of donations — in just one amazing night!

For the complete list of winners, visit Wish 107.5’s official website. Follow their official Twitter and Facebook accounts for more photos and fun tidbits about the event.

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Total Performer Darren Espanto wins PhP 100,000.00 to his chosen charity as he is awarded the “Wish Young Artist of the Year” award.

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“I encourage you to use your talents wisely — and also, for the good of everyone.” – Mr. Larry Henares

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A “Darrenatic” raises a poster of Darren Espanto’s face as the artist wins the “Wischclusive Viral Video of the Year” award for his performance of “Chandelier.”

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Bright lights in different patterns accompany the goosebumps-inducing music for the evening.

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Darren Espanto thanks his supporters as he receives one of his five awards for the evening.

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(L-R) Marlo Mortel, Jason Fernandez, Brad Go and Nyoy Volante serenade the crowd with an acoustic medley of 90’s classics.

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Darren Espanto poses for a quick snapshot after winning the “Best Wish Cover” award for his song “In Love Ako Sa’yo”

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Love was heard in the airwaves as (L-R) Paolo Onesa, Beverly Caimen, Daryl Ong, Morisette, Lea Patricio and Maki Ricafort sang love songs in the evening’s most romantic duets medley.

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Morisette and Darren Espanto delivered a powerful rendition of Sia’s Chandelier to the delight and amazement of the crowd.

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(L-R) Lea Patricio and Beverly Caimen sang a medley of popular power ballads.

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“Wishpers of Love” jock D.J. Faye and Manila Standard Today Senior Entertainment Editor Mr. Isah Red presented the evening’s first round of winners.

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Jessica Reynoso and Maki Ricafort belt out Motown classics and R&B hits.

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(L-R) Lea Patricio and Beverly Caimen sang a medley of popular power ballads.

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Jason Dy’s winning the “Best Wishclusive Performance by a Male Artist” wins PhP 100,000.00 for his charity of choice — the Food for the Hungry Philippines.

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The Voysing sing wonderful classic tunes to the delight of the young and the young-at-heart.

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Morisette and Darren Espanto delivered a powerful rendition of Sia’s Chandelier to the delight and amazement of the crowd.

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The driving force behind the charitable endeavors and game-changing ideas of Wish 107.5 — Kuya Daniel Razon!

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Something to be proud of: MCGI’s Hapi Christians Adopt Gays in Golden Years

News, Events and Second Glances

The month of June marks the celebration of LGBT Pride in the USA. Here in New York, a whole week of vibrant, rainbow-colored rallies, parties and dances were organized to show that they are happy and proud to be members of the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, a group of proud gay Christians show the world their unique brand of gay pride – by being gay men that the world can truly be proud of.

On June 18, 2014 in celebration of Philippine public service channel UNTV’s 10th year anniversary with the theme of “Caring for the Elderly,” MCGI’s Hapi Christians extended help to the Home for the Golden Gays – by giving them a new home, in Novaliches, Philippines.

Atty. Imelda Roque (L) and Brgy. Chairwoman Mila Uy (R) cut the ribbon to mark the relocation of The Home for the Golden Gays at Novaliches, Philippines. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International 

Atty. Imelda Roque (L) and Brgy. Chairwoman Mila Uy (R) cut the ribbon to mark the relocation of The Home for the Golden Gays at Novaliches, Philippines. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

The Gift of Love for the Elderly Gay Community

“The Hapi Christians’ participation for UNTV’s 10th year anniversary is the establishment of the adoption house for the special elderly. We have chosen to welcome the golden gays into our home,” said Mr. Robi Lolin, PRO for the Hapi Christians.

“This is our way of showing our love, and this is under the guidance of our leaders, Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel,” Lolin added, referring to MCGI leaders Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon.

 

MCGI, UNTV and Hapi Christians gleefully welcome members of the Home for the Golden Gays to their new home. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

MCGI, UNTV and Hapi Christians gleefully welcome members of the Home for the Golden Gays to their new home. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

To make sure that the special elderly in the Home for the Golden Gays utilize their skills, talents and time, the Hapi Christians will also organize seminars and trainings for the elderly gays.

“Based on interviews that we conduct, we check what the elderly are still capable of doing, based on their age. We want them to be productive. Some of them have experience with being masseuses, and some of them know how to cut hair,” said Mr. Relin Gimena, Hapi Christians’ Business Manager.

“We are planning to organize ways on how to come up with services for them to generate income for themselves,” stated Gimena.

Mr. Ramon Busa, President of the Home for the Golden Gays, thanked the Hapi Christians organization for their help and support to the Golden Gays during the live telecast of the MOA signing at the UNTV building.

“We greatly thank the Hapi organization for their helping and welcoming the members of our organization,” remarked Mr. Busa.

“Yesterday, we were formally relocated and were welcomed by the Hapi organization in Barangay Talipapa. In fact, some of the members of the Home for the Golden Gays are already living there. Thank you very much,” stated Busa.

“We will not be able to carry on with this project if it weren’t for God’s help. It is through Him that we are able to do this,” replied Mr. Larry Espinosa, President of the Hapi Christians group.

“Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel [always] teach us that we must help those who are in need of it,” he added.

The Hapi Christians is the Christian gay community of the Members Church of God International, who are being taught to utilize their talents, skills and abilities for the glory of God. Read more about them here.

 

 

References:

1] Pascual, P. (2014). A moment for the sunset beauty queens. Retrieved from: http://outragemag.com/moment-sunset-beauty-queens/

2] UNTVKasangbahayMo. (2014, June 23). MOA Signing between BMPI, UNTV, Hapi Christians and Home for the Golden Gays. [Video file] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IogG3xmJ2sg

 

 

 

Uma Jornada para o Sul-Açaõ de Graças Internacional, Membros da Igreja de Deus Internacional (MIDI) na America do Sul

News, Events and Second Glances

Traduzido pelo Irmão Edson da Veiga

A Gênese de um Êxodo

 

Armado com um pouco de cafeína e um sistema cheio de adrenalina mais uma copiosa quantidade de ânimo, estamos preparados para enfrentar os céus com sacos pesados ​​- tanto em nossas mãos e olhos.

Éramos parte dos representantes da celebração da Ação de Graças a Deus Internacional da Igreja de Deus Internacional membros (MIDI) de Nova Yorque, e viajamos para a América do Sul pela primeira vez para testemunhar história bíblica se desdobrar.

A noite antes de nossa viagem tinha sido agitada; com os preparativos de última hora, não houve chance de deitar e descansar. Não que a gente quisesse. Na realidade, estávamos muito agitados para dormir, mesmo depois de um dia inteiro de trabalho.

Várias horas depois, eu nos encontrei sentados na área de espera do portão designado para nosso primeiro vôo. Ao meio dia, a menos de duas horas do nosso vôo, nos unimos a oração comunitária na Radio La Verdad da UNTV 37 via aplicativo móvel.

We joined the community prayer at 12 a.m. PHT via the UNTV radio app. Because we were taught to pray before each undertaking.

We joined the community prayer at 12 a.m. PHT via the UNTV radio app. Because we were taught to pray before each undertaking.

Um silêncio repentino caiu sobre cada canto e fresta do aeroporto com o início da oração. Pelo menos sobre minha amiga Eunice e eu.

 

Naquele momento, a pequena diferença de tempo entre enxugar as lágrimas quentes dos olhos fechados e dizer “amém” em minha mente – Eu sabia que a viagem tinha começado oficialmente – porque tudo o que levou a esta abençoada oportunidade tinha começado com uma oração.

 

E ao fechar meus olhos durante a decolagem, agradeci a Deus em silêncio. Eu perdi a conta de quantas vezes eu já proferi a minha gratidão a Ele, que tornou isso possível.

 

Porque é nada menos que um milagre dos dias modernos: uma menina relativamente sem dinheiro de Nova Yorque viajou milhares de quilômetros para estar com seu Ingkong mais uma vez.

 

Take off. Self-portrait. April 2014.

Take off. Self-portrait. April 2014.

Bogotá, Colômbia

A nossa viagem consistiu de uma estada de 12 horas, em Bogotá, Colômbia.

 

Chegamos nas primeiras horas da manhã.

Para passar o tempo, nós andamos por aí. Embora em um orçamento rigoroso, fomos capazes de comer e até mesmo beber um incrível café colombiano, porque felizmente, os preços na Colômbia não foram tão íngremes como em Nova Iorque. Nós cochilamos.

 

Nós ficamos sem coisas para fazer, e o tempo passava lentamente. Inúmeras vezes quisemos acelerá-lo um pouco para que pudéssemos chegar ao nosso destino especial mais rapidamente.

 

Colombian coffee. Bogota, Colombia. April 2014.

Colombian coffee. Bogota, Colombia. April 2014.

Um pouco mais de uma hora antes de sairmos Colômbia, encontramos um grupo de pessoas que nos fizeram repensar os nossos desejos sobre o tempo mesmo que por apenas alguns minutos.

 

Foi lá que nós conhecemos os representantes colombianos que foram acompanhados por obreiros filipinos da Igreja. Quis o destino que estivéssemos compartilhando o mesmo voo da Colômbia para o nosso destino final.

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Todos eles nos cumprimentaram com apertos de mão firmes e amigáveis e abraços calorosos. Na minha emoção, eu esqueci que tinha um problema de não saber espanhol suficiente para dizê-los o que eu estava sentindo naquele momento.

 

Eu queria que eles soubessem como fiquei entusiasmado em ver os colombianos nativos – não-Filipinos, que são os frutos do chamado de Deus naquela terra estrangeira.

 

Eu queria dizer-lhes que há milhares e milhares de irmãos filipinos que estariam em êxtase ao ver nossos fiéis de língua espanhola naquela parte do mundo.

 

Eu queria explicar as lágrimas de felicidade que embaçaram os óculos quadrados.

 

Mas tudo o que eu queria dizer parecia já ter sido dito de forma tácita após cada sorriso, aperto de mão, abraço que foram trocados. E por esta linguagem do amor, eu sou profundamente grato a Deus.

A little fun before boarding the plane. Bogota, Colombia. April 2014. Pol Arellano, PVI NY

A little fun before boarding the plane. Bogota, Colombia. April 2014. Pol Arellano, PVI NY

E como estávamos no nosso vôo final, tanto filipinos quanto colombianos, eu dormi com um sorriso gravado no meu rosto a milhares de pés nas nuvens.

 

Quando e onde sonhos se tornaram realidade

 

Ao fazermos o nosso caminho em direção à zona de chegadas do aeroporto, um grupo de irmãos de diferentes países como Omã, Emirados Árabes Unidos, Dubai e Filipinas já estavam lá, esperando por nós com sorrisos acolhedores. Todos nós viajamos juntos ao nosso destino final.

 

KNP Bro. Bong Bodeña welcomed the Colombian brethren and the rest of the delegates at the local airport.

Todos nós sentimos que estávamos finalmente perto do lugar dos nossos sonhos em comum.

 

E foi quando o ônibus finalmente parou que senti meu coração acelerar mais.

Almost there. South America. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Almost there. South America. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Os céus foram iluminados pela lua e numerosas estrelas quando eu coloquei o primeiro pé no local, e a realidade tirou o vento de mim, me deixando sem ar de alegria – eu estava realmente lá. Realmente estava acontecendo, pensei.

 

Enquanto esperava minha bagagem ser trazida para baixo do veículo, irmãos de vários países se apertaram ao meu redor. Liderados pelo ministério de jovens, vários irmãos cumprimentaram aqueles que chegaram de outros voos longos. Saudei a sensação de déjà vu.

 

Eu já vi isso antes e eu senti essa sensação peculiar, anos atrás, em um lugar chamado Apalit, Pampanga.

 

Graças a Deus

 

No primeiro dia da Ação de Graças Internacional, eu estava do lado esquerdo do palco segurando minha câmera que já tem 4 anos. No palco estavam os membros do coral de diferentes raças vestindo a mesma assinatura uniforme preto e branco. Abaixo deles, os membros do Teatro Kristiano da Igreja dançaram graciosamente e como um só.

The Teatro Kristiano danced their praise to God, as accompanied by the Church's international chorale members.

The Teatro Kristiano danced their praise to God, as accompanied by the Church’s international chorale members.

Membros do coral guiaram os fiéis cantando músicas tanto animadas quanto solenes em louvor a Deus, simultaneamente cantando músicas em tagalo e em português.

 

E pela primeira vez na história da Igreja, o solene hino número 50 foi cantado em Filipino, Espanhol, Inglês e Português tudo ao mesmo tempo.

 

A oração solene foi proferida em três línguas e foi acompanhado pelo som de choro impotente mas esperançoso por irmãos de diferentes nacionalidades.

 

Em seguida, uma explosão colorida de energia e emoção inundou o palco quando os diferentes representantes de vários países desfilaram na frente de toda a congregação. Isto foi apropriadamente chamado de Desfile de Cores.

 

E depois de bandeiras das diferentes nações terem sido levantadas e balançadas, o celebrante fez o seu caminho para o palco.

Após vários anos de sem ver o irmão Eli, à primeira vista dele de pé no meio de um mar de irmãos que viajaram de diferentes cantos do mundo para estar com ele, um sentimento de euforia indescritível tomou conta de mim. Eu senti luz, e, no momento, eu sabia o que era felicidade.

 

Com um sorriso animado e quente, o irmão Eli cumprimentou os irmãos no Brasil e em todas as partes do mundo. Ele foi recebido com sons de alegria ensurdecedores e aplausos.

 

O pregador internacional que havia sido exilado em uma terra estrangeira durante vários anos, não esteve na companhia de uma multidão de irmãos, especialmente os irmãos filipinos. Enquanto ele falava com os irmãos na América do Sul, naquele mesmo momento, a felicidade, o seu apreço e gratidão a Deus por este grande evento da Igreja era evidente em toda a sua pessoa.

 

O irmão Eli estava feliz em ver os irmãos mais uma vez. Lágrimas de alegria fez seu olhos brilharem ainda mais do que normalmente.

 

E quando as palavras de amor, de gratidão, não são suficientes, por vezes, uma canção apropriada faz justiça – a música certa fala de um coração desejoso por outro.

 

Dos corações agradecidos do irmão Eli e do Ministro Vice-Presidente Ministro irmão Daniel Razon, surgiu o desejo de cantar para a irmandade. Para expressar o seu amor por cada um dos membros, independentemente da língua ou cor.

 

Os líderes da Igreja cantaram Through the Years. E mesmo que, às vezes, suas vozes romperam com soluços e lágrimas que escaparam, a alegria em seus corações foi sentida por toda a congregação, que cantou junto com eles.

 

Olhando para os nossos irmãos de língua espanhola e de língua portuguesa que não entendiam muito de inglês, as lágrimas em seus olhos eram o suficiente para me dizer que mesmo que a canção foi cantada em inglês, o espírito da música transcende as barreiras linguísticas. Foi o suficiente para me deixar saber que eles entenderam o que nossos pregadores queriam expressar.

 

Bro. Eliseo Soriano sang Through the Years with Bro. Daniel Razon.

Bro. Eliseo Soriano sang Through the Years with Bro. Daniel Razon.

Irmão Eli:

 

Não me lembro quando você não estava lá

Quando eu não ligava para ninguém além de você

Juro que passamos tudo o que há

Não posso imaginar nada que perdemos

Não posso imaginar nada que nós dois não possamos fazer

 

Através dos anos

Você nunca me deixou na mão

Você mudou minha vida

Os dias mais doces que eu encontrei

Eu encontrei com você

Através dos anos

Eu nunca tive medo

Eu amei a vida que fizemos

E eu estou tão feliz que eu fiquei

Bem aqui com você

Através dos anos

 

Irmão Daniel:

 

Não me lembro o que eu costumava fazer

Quem eu confiei em quem, eu escutei antes

Eu juro que me ensinou tudo que eu sei

Não posso imaginar, precisar de alguém assim

Mas ao longo dos anos, me parece que

Eu preciso de você mais e mais

 

Através dos anos

Através de tudo de bom e mal

Eu sabia o quanto tivemos

Eu sempre fui tão feliz

De estar com você

Através dos anos

É melhor todos os dias

Você já beijou para passar minhas lágrimas

Enquanto estiver tudo bem

Eu vou ficar com você

Através dos anos

A música me atingiu bem no peito, e eu me vi chorando, com minha câmera sobre o meu quadril, com uma mistura violenta de emoções.

Após uma memorável canção de abertura, da maneira dos verdadeiros Membros Igreja do Deus Internacional, o dia foi preenchido com um tema baseado na Bíblia, entregue pelo irmão Eli e pelo irmão Daniel.

O dia passou voando tão rápido. E antes que eu percebesse, eu estava fazendo meu caminho para onde eu iria descansar um boa noite de sono depois de dizer graças a Ele que me deu o presente daquele dia maravilhoso.

E que concluiu o primeiro dia da Ação de Graças Internacional na América do Sul.

 

Prayer is the Answer: The Philippines’ Refuge against Typhoon Haiyan

News, Events and Second Glances

In one of the more popular coffee houses in New York, a Filipino man stood in line, waiting for his order. His eyes fall from the colorful displays to the shabby newspaper stand. He sees a photo on the front page of the New York Times depicting a frightening sight – uprooted trees, houses and buildings reduced to rubbles, and traumatized people stood still in one scene. This is what a town’s been reduced to after the fierce ravaging of Typhoon Haiyan.

The scene is set in Tacloban City, Philippines. After almost a week since one of the deadliest typhoons in history struck the country, the scene has not improved significantly.

If news stories are to be believed, days after the Typhoon, the situation in the typhoon-hit areas have not improved at all.

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The Destructive Force that is Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan, locally named Typhoon Yolanda, has managed to make a mark – rather, a painfully unforgettable dent – if you will, in Philippine history. Bringing with it brisk winds and a deadly storm surge as high as about 20 feet, the famous typhoon took the lives of about ten thousand Filipinos, and still counting.

If the unbelievable pain of tragically losing family members and friends isn’t bad enough, survivors also battle the hard-hitting realities of hunger, diseases, lack of shelter, lack of security, lack of a whole list of things that are ideally, the rights that each individual should have.

“Get international help to come here now – not tomorrow, now!” states one of Typhoon Yolanda’s survivors as interviewed by Anderson Cooper. Screen grab from CNN.com.

“Get international help to come here now – not tomorrow, now!” states one of Typhoon Yolanda’s survivors as interviewed by Anderson Cooper. Screen grab from CNN.com.

On broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper’s report on CNN, viewers see just how widespread the devastation is in the region of Visayas, Philippines, and just how badly the people seek the international community’s help – because the local and national government units are just not as effective in giving aid to people in the affected areas than expected.

The Surge of Problems after the Storm

With the surge of financial donations from private individuals, small and large companies, and even from various international organizations and countries, not to mention donations in kind hauled and repackaged in various makeshift centers, it is still a wonder how majority if not all news materials stemming from the region still feature the hungry, angry, homeless citizens of the nation.

Up until now, not all areas have been reached. And in the areas that have been reached, not all of the people have received help in any form.

With relief operations at a snail’s pace, the very hungry survivors are said to have no choice but to resort in looting and other similar acts, in order to live.

With the low security in local subdivisions and main streets, people fear that rebel groups and criminals will take advantage of the situation and cause trouble for the already troubled folks.

The bodies of those who did not make it after the super typhoon still lay on the roads, on main streets, and some, even inside barangay centers. Not all of the corpses identified, there are still an unknown number of dead people underneath the piles of debris in the streets of Tacloban and neighboring cities.

It would seem that attaining relief in situations as dire and as dismal as these, a question would inevitably dance inside a person’s mind – who can a person turn to? When the forces of nature overwhelm the combined forces of man, where can a person run to seek solace?

The Power of Prayer

Bro. Eliseo Soriano's take on the power of prayer. Image taken from MCGI.org.

Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s take on the power of prayer. Image taken from MCGI.org.

“A prayer is an act of humbling oneself before God! The reason we pray is that we are asking God to do something we cannot do,” writes Bro. Eliseo Soriano on his blog entitled A Prayer and a Wish, where he discusses the importance of prayers.

“In prayers we admit before His majesty that we are inferior and helpless! In prayers we thank and praise Him, realizing that what He is doing, He alone can,” adds Bro. Soriano. The international preacher and blogger is also the popular host of television show Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path).

Members Church of God International (MCGI) Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano has recently launched a Community Prayer service on UNTV 37 together with the Church’s Vice-Presiding Minister, Bro. Daniel Razon.

At a time when it could be considered to be right on spiritual cue, the UNTV Community Prayer aims to unite the country by promoting the Christian lifestyle of regularly calling upon God’s name in prayer.

And a nation that has been so badly beaten and bruised by one devastating calamity after the next needs the help of He who can do more than what any experienced medical practitioner or any generous millionaire can.

He can give us the strength to stand up after the storm, the wisdom to see through the hardships and the pain, and the hope that there will be perfect justice in God’s perfect time for those who do His will.

In times like these, the value of a solemn, heartfelt prayer is a little over the cost of being priceless.

  ————————————————————————

The man in the coffee house stared at the frightening image on the newspaper for a while without him realizing it, almost mesmerized by the destruction brought about by Typhoon Haiyan. For a moment he felt that everything had stopped in mid-air.

And it is in that moment when the man —  standing inside one of the more popular coffee houses in New York, in the middle of the coffee smells, bossa nova music, and people stating and taking coffee orders — that Filipino man closed his eyes to silently and secretly pray.

 References:

1] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/11/11/world/asia/typhoon-haiyan-photos.html?_r=1&

2]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/philippines/10448420/Typhoon-Haiyan-Philippines-government-on-defensive-over-slow-response.html

3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2507119/Philippines-Typhoon-Haiyan-UN-aid-chief-admits-response-slow.html

4] http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/12/21419678-typhoon-haiyans-hungry-survivors-we-are-not-looters?lite

5] http://www.mcgi.org/multimedia/downloads/

6] http://esoriano.wordpress.com/?s=power+of+prayer

7] http://www.mcgi.org/community-prayer-philippine-tv-launched/

When O stands for Objectionable, not OK: A Brief glimpse of Ostentatiously Opulent Scandals Trending in the Philippines

News, Events and Second Glances

Jenny holds her daughter tight inside the crowded makeshift evacuation center, both of them just two wet faces amidst a sea of relocated people due to Typhoon Maring. Her gaze is blank; her mind is lost between thinking about their small house flooded through and through, the streets of their barangay which are teeming with badly paved roads, their yet-to-be-paid-in-full TV set where she watches Ang Dating Daan on and her daughter, sleeping quietly while running a fever.

The television camera pans over her for half a second while she holds that gaze.

It is that gaze that a 23-year-old absently saw on the muted television set in one prominent hotel’s hip bar in the heart of the Metro. From a higher area of the country, where the typhoon’s strong presence can’t be felt, the seemingly rich young lady ordered a round of drinks for her friends with a wave of her bejeweled hands.  She swipes one of her many debit cards, which is one too many for a 23-year-old to have, fueled by money a 23-year-old could never have unless she’s Richie Rich’s sister.

But even Richie Rich’s hypothetical sister would probably have enough sense not to waste the fortune that her parents worked hard for. But then again, when your parents didn’t acquire the fortune you buy flashy stuff with fairly, who’s going to keep count, right?

Why, the Filipino people, of course.

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The above story may or may not be fictional but at the same time, to some, it may feel absolutely real.

Even with displacing thousands of Filipinos, causing high-level floods, disrupting schools and businesses, the anguish Typhoon Maring brings won’t be able to compare with the level of anguish some unbelievable scandals have brought to the Filipino consciousness.

A Scandal’s Theme: I Can Name The Truth in Four Notes

It’s not really hard to pinpoint what a scandal is. Especially when there’s a theme.

First up, we have the lady of the dismal hour, Ms. Janet Lim-Napoles.

Janet Lim-Napoles. Not even Typhoon Maring can drown her 10-B pork barrel scandal. File photo from rappler.com

Philippine authorities are currently hunting down businesswoman Napoles, allegedly the woman behind the 10-billion Pork Barrel scam.  All that money was supposed to have gone towards the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which could have gone to projects that would benefit taxpayers – like better flood-resistant roads for low-lying areas, benefiting both the poor and the rich alike.

But all that money that the Filipino people worked hard for seemed to have gone to personal bank accounts, her younger daughter’s spending sprees, real estates, and more.

If that wasn’t enough, word around town is that she funneled the funds to fraudulent non-governmental organizations, which was supposedly built under the guise of giving aid to the people. Ironically, instead, she stole from them.

Now, Napoloes is in hiding. But rumor has it that she will be hard to catch since allegedly, her politician friends who helped her with her grand scheme, got her back.

So to sum it up: an evil scheme, ruthless self-spending, an ironic twist and powerful connections.

Which brings to mind a lesser-known scandal of equally appalling misuse of funds. A few years back, a man named Daniel Veridiano did the exact same thing Napoles is now famous for – using money that wasn’t his in gut-wrenchingly opulent proportions.

Daniel “Puto” Veridiano. File photo from an article penned by Jane Abao entitled “Portrait of the ‘raped man’ for whom the Interpol would mobilize”

Not so long ago, one Daniel “Puto” Veridiano used one credit card of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) for his personal gain. By using a credit card that was supposed to have been used for purchasing broadcast equipment for the Church’s propagation efforts, Veridiano used millions of pesos to pamper himself with expensive things.

If stealing money wasn’t enough, Veridiano decided to file a false rape case against MCGI Presiding Minister Bro. Eliseo Soriano to get on a rival religious organization’s good side.  Ironically, he was the one who admitted to raping 14 young men who were his subordinates at the time when he was still a member of the Church. Here’s a video of Veridiano admitting to his misdeeds.

Now Veridiano is hiding in the wealthy bosom of his influential religious friends, as he betrayed MCGI for continued financial support from the company of those whom he said would be “like a quick jump to hell” if he ever joined.

After betraying Bro. Eli Soriano, the very man who helped him when he was ill, Veridiano became a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Screen capture from Youtube video.

After betraying Bro. Eli Soriano, the very man who helped him when he was ill, Veridiano became a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo for financial prosperity. Screen capture from Youtube video.

Like the rest of the thinking population of the Philippines, I can’t help but sense a theme here.

The Truth Comes Out of the Shopping Bag: What Scandal-Laden Money Can Buy

Money can buy lots of things.

For the Napoles clan, millions of dollars was spent on posh properties outside the Philippines. And that’s just the tip of the spending iceberg.

The family also owned several luxury cars that she and her family cruise the many beautiful places of the Philippines with.

“Sec. Leila Delima releases the list of vehicles reportedly owned,& possibly being used now by Janet Napoles. pic.twitter.com/a34rvPeGiC” from Nikolo Baua @Nikobaua. Screen capture from Mr. Baua’s Twitter account.

This famous list of cars, now retweeted and emailed by Filipinos for dissemination purposes, has a funny twin in satire form, originally posted on this blog:

Making light out of a very absurd situation: a list of the many absurd things one could probably get away with with the people’s money. Screen capture from “So, What’s News?” blog.

While the list contains things that might make you break into a chuckle, the social networking site of one of Napoles’ children can make you channel your inner 8-year-old and break into a tantrum.

Jeanne Napoles, daughter of Janet Naploes, lived a very lavish lifestyle and “flaunted” it for people to see.

On her Tumblr page, she posted photographs exhibiting the dilemma only a few young ladies face in today’s hard economic times:  Just what should a girl wear to the Grammy’s?

On her list: Purple Max Azria dress. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/5

On her list: Purple Max Azria dress. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/5

She probably wore these to the Grammy's. Christian Louboutin shoes. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/5

She probably wore these to the Grammy’s. Christian Louboutin shoes. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/5

The public's sneak peak: Finally, after days of deep thought and introspection, her Grammy's get-up. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/4

The public’s sneak peak: Finally, after days of deep thought and introspection, her Grammy’s get-up. Screen capture from: http://jeanenapoles.tumblr.com/page/4

This is on top of course of her numerous trips to various countries like Japan and London. You can see more of her photos here.

It’s not so much as her blogging about her life and what she owns and what she wore that’s the problem — every other teenager in the world who lives in the Me Millennium does this too. What’s extremely bothersome is that the young lady is reportedly unemployed, and that the money that funded all her lavish activities and belongings weren’t hers or her family’s. Her parents only made  Php 577,807.47 for 2011-2012.

Hence, that money is the Filipino people’s.

In the same light,  Daniel Veridiano, who doesn’t own any businesses or doesn’t belong to income-generating families had the bad habit of showering himself with expensive gifts.

In an expose article written by Jane Abao entitled “Portrait of the ‘raped man’ for whom the Interpol would mobilize,” she writes about how Daniel “Puto” used an extension credit card to support his opulent and highly unnecessary vices:

Puto loved jewelries so much like he has many hands and neck to adorn, but he appeared to be buying gifts for himself and for others too. The list of Puto for 2003 just for watches and jewelries showed the following in Philippine Pesos: Swatch, 800; Swatch, 3,500; Swatch, 13,600; Lucerne, 6,400; A. Rialto 39,697.00; Montre watch, 26,620; A. Rialto 18,800; A. Rialto 14,776; Venice jewelers, 40,000; and L. Heng Jeweller (Singapore) 79, 131. For 2003 alone, he spent a total of PHP 243,324.00.

For 2004, his list also showed the following just for watches and jewelries alone: Mossanite, 9,000; A. Rialto 23, 364; Multi Time, 446, 777; Gorriceta karat, 18, 801; A. Rialto, 14,750; and No Curfew, 23,940. For this year alone, and for these items, he incurred PHP 536, 632. In two years time, he bought several watches and fine jewelries from only a few thousands to enormous amounts to total PHP 779,956.

This is of course, aside from the many cash advances, posh clothes, town-to-town hops, pricey dermatology appointments, numerous gadgets and devices..

Veridiano on focus. One of Veridiano's shopping sprees caught on camera. Screen captures taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2DFrRsuOc

Veridiano on focus. One of Veridiano’s shopping sprees caught on camera. Screen captures taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2DFrRsuOc

And of course, to top it all off, a penis enlarger.

All of these, he spent lavishly on himself. And who paid for what amounted to  millions of pesos worth of self-serving damage? The very man who helped him get through his illness — Bro. Eliseo Soriano, or Bro. Eli for short.

Daniel "Puto" Veridiano talks about Bro. Eli Soriano, the man who took him in and helped him get through a serious illness. He would later accuse him of rape. Screen capture from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9zc0lf52Ms

Daniel “Puto” Veridiano talks about Bro. Eli Soriano, the man who took him in and helped him get through a serious illness. He would later accuse him of rape. Screen capture from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9zc0lf52Ms

And so what do we, the Filipino people, get from these cases of gross opulence on account of innocent people’s money?

We get to see very clear pictures of injustice.  If we think about it, these self-centered events have very cogent linkages to the very basic of what the rest of the populace should enjoy: the money they’ve squandered should’ve gone towards projects of goodwill and community betterment.

We as a country are used to being struck by numerous back-to-back typhoons. And we are proud to say that the Filipino nation is a country of fortitude and resilience: our streets may be flooded, but our hearts and spirits remain high and dry.

These heinous acts of opulence form just a small part of the corruption that strike the country from the highest levels of power, worse than any natural disaster we can ever encounter, weathering our country to the core. And it’s up to us if we let such ostentatious displays of opulence, greed and corruption happen again, and again, and again.

Or we can stand up, object, and do something about it. Let these folks and everyone in the world know, that this show of opulence on our expense is definitely not OK.

Show them that we truly are a resilient people. We do not just spring back at corruption, greed, and injustice.

We strike back by arming ourselves with the truth and holding on to it like it was all we have in life — holding it as tight as we would our only daughter, who has a fever in the midst of a typhoon.

It’s More Beneficial in the Philippines: A New Brand of Healthcare Reform Powered by UNTV’s Unique Public Service Firsts

News, Events and Second Glances

While democrats and republicans are still battling it out on the famous Obamacare, debating whether if it’s a good idea or otherwise, a man with a big heart somewhere in the small yet beautiful islands of the Philippines is busy bringing his own brand of healthcare reform in his homeland.

And for the thousands of Filipinos who will benefit from this landmark public service endeavor, this is more than just a good idea. It’s a great, lifesaving idea that has never before been attempted in the whole nation.

The man behind this is Daniel Razon, broadcast journalist and CEO of Breakthroughs and Milestones Productions, Inc and UNTV and he is bringing free healthcare to Filipinos who need it most – in all parts of the country. This is part of what was announced on the 9th anniversary of UNTV 37 on July 18, 2013.

UNTV 37's 9th year anniversary held on July 18, 2013 with the theme: Inspiring Change, Building Better Communities. Photo courtesy of UNTV 37'S Facebook Page

UNTV 37’s 9th year anniversary held on July 18, 2013 with the theme: Inspiring Change, Building Better Communities. Photo courtesy of UNTV 37’S Facebook Page

Sit back, stop arguing, and watch how it’s done, America:

 Free Healthcare In Manila and Nearby Regions..

The UNTV 37 station in Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines is the only station in the Philippines with a built-in clinic. This is where people get free medical services from Mondays through Fridays, as seen on the network’s morning show Good Morning, Kuya!:

  • General medicine consultation
  • Optometry
  • Dental
  • ENT
  • Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Dermatology
  • Dental
  • Orthopedic
  • Physical Therapy
  • Minor surgeries
  • Free medicines

Aside from this, another free clinic is situated in the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, ready to aid those in the area for free. UNTV ambulances are on standby 24/7 for emergency situations, ready to transport and give first aid to those in need without asking for a single penny.

…And to the rest of the Philippine Islands

Debuted just this July 18, UNTV Health Coupons will be distributed to those who are in far areas. Holders of UNTV Health Coupons may go to nearby affiliated hospitals in their area to avail of free medical services.

Kuya Daniel Razon, dubbed as Mr. Public Service, as he tells everyone of the new health services UNTV is offering for all Filipino indigents across the country.

Kuya Daniel Razon, dubbed as Mr. Public Service, as he tells everyone of the new health services UNTV is offering for all Filipino indigents across the country.

If that weren’t enough, UNTV is also giving away UNTV-sponsored PhilHealth insurance cards in all parts of the country for Filipino indigents. Those who will be eligible for these medical freebies will be determined in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units.

These are of course, in addition to the regular medical missions carried out by the network – which brings a team of medical professionals along with medical equipment and medicines to far-flung barrios and villages. As promised by Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel, the medical missions in partnership with the Members Church of God International, will be more extensive this year.

In partnership with MCGI, UNTV holds medical missions in provinces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of MCGI.org

In partnership with MCGI, UNTV holds medical missions in provinces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of MCGI.org

This just blows me away. Not only are these healthcare programs ingenious, but also, a budding network is behind them.

These health reform ideals are proof that the relatively small can create ginormous ideas for the good of all.

Living away from my country of origin, it makes me all the more proud to see how progressive Filipinos are in thinking of ways to help improve the plight of others.  UNTV 37 is one big, lifesaving reason why it’s more beneficial in the Philippines. And ultimately, just more fun.

Faith and Fireworks: Celebrating the International Thanksgiving to God in Sunny New York – Day 1

News, Events and Second Glances

July 4, 2013.

While people from all over New York go to Times Square to watch the yearly fireworks display for the Independence Day celebration, members of the Church of God International in New York enjoy a different kind of fireworks from inside one event hall in Queens, New York.

Six hours before the big event, I, together with two sister-friends boarded the Q17 bus to get to the Thanksgiving location. On a hot, humid day, people wore short shorts and sleeveless tops.

Our “outfit of the day” looked somewhat different, eliciting looks as we passed by residents and commuters alike. No matter, we were proud of what we were wearing: Teatro Kristiano uniform and the usual modest, Thanksgiving garb – like what we were taught in the Church.

The sun shone down and heated pavements at a high 88 degrees Fahrenheit as I checked my old phone’s clock. It proudly told me that it was 1:09 p.m. At last, after about an hour of traveling, we reached the venue – all set, waiting for everyone.

Group by group, brethren from Canada, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and even Oklahoma arrived – with suitcases, duffel bags, and their adorable kids in tow. Despite the long travel hours, they all had something in common – they all brandished excited smiles.

Before I knew it, it was 5:55 p.m., and the music ministry choir led the congregants in singing songs of praise in Apalit, Pampanga. In New York, the East Coast USA Choir led us in singing.  Finally, after three months of long wait, the International Thanksgiving to God has finally begun!

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Cheers resounded in the small hall where brethren are in Queens, as Bro. Eli, in his signature turtleneck and coat, spoke to brethren all over the world. Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding-Minister to MCGI welcomed the brethren on the first day of the ITG, immediately after the choir and teatro offered a song of praise to start off the event.

Two topics were discussed on the first day. Vice-Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Daniel Razon gave the first part of each topic, while Bro. Eli delivered each topic’s climax.

During the International Thanksgiving celebration, believers from our neck of the woods turn night into day so we could listen fervently to spiritual knowledge that we won’t be able to hear anywhere else.

While some of the brethren in the Philippines drank coffee because it is the morning time norm, the brethren in the Americas did too, at night, to keep awake and focused while listening to the wisdom being unfolded during the three-day spiritual feast.

To make sure that all are up in the wee hours of the night, each short break was used to eat and recharge with power naps. At midnight, while brethren in the Philippines took a break for lunch, we here in New York prepared to take a short nap.

Before I closed my eyes, at 1:09 a.m., I stole a glance out the window. A couple of hours ago, traces of green, red, and blue muted fireworks peppered the ebony sky.

The night turned into day, and with their notebooks and Bibles in hand, the brethren were still up with God’s help and mercy, listening to Bro. Eli up until the very last biblical wisdom shared for the day.

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Looking out the window, the sun was already high, and no trace of fireworks can no longer be seen from yesterday’s Independence Day celebration here in America. But inside the small hall in Queens, the fireworks are still very much alive.

The fireworks are the exuberant, excited glow of the brethren’s eyes. And as the International Thanksgiving is happening, the fireworks become stronger, more vibrant, and more extravagant. Never fading, never waning; despite the long travel, heat, and exhaustion, the fireworks don’t end.

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

These kind of fireworks may very well last forever.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL THANKSGIVING TO BELIEVERS IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD!

Blessings in Disguise: Behind the Exiles of Jose Rizal and Bro. Eliseo Soriano

News, Events and Second Glances

Photo linked from Bro. Eliseo Soriano's blog entitled

Photo linked from Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s blog entitled “The Lucky Person I Am: Most slandered me” Blog: http://esoriano.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-lucky-person-i-am-most-slandered-me/ on Esoriano.wordpress.com

Yesterday, June 19, Jose Rizal would have celebrated his 152nd birthday. Jose Rizal, the champion of the Malay race, died facing a firing squad when he was just 35 years old. It was then that the Philippines lost a doctor, poet, linguist, artist, author, revolutionist, philosopher, activist, professor, and hero.

Before his untimely death, he was exiled in Dapitan. And though he was far away from those whom he loved, his time was not used in vain.

In a website chronicling the life of the national hero, his time away was not time wasted – he spearheaded the construction of an easier water system, taught farmers how to operate modern agricultural devices, learned how to farm himself, practiced medicine, taught students, collected specimens for scientific research, and wrote a book and some poetry.

One could say that his stay in Dapitan was peaceful and at the same time, fruitful.

Fast forward to today’s time, wherein another Filipino gentleman lives in forced exile due to rampant death threats and invented lawsuits. The gentleman is Bro. Eliseo Soriano, a preacher who exposes biblical truth at all costs – even at the cost of his leaving the country to continue his crusade on letting the truth of the Bible be heard.

It was in the latter part of 2005, when Bro. Eli left the country. From then on, following God’s will, Bro. Eliseo Soriano has traveled various parts of the world to preach God’s words. More and more coordinating centers are being established in the western part of the globe, and more is to come, with God’s mercy. Jane Abao,PhD gives a detailed and colorful read on Bro. Eli’s exile here.

Like the late Jose Rizal, Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s exile is fruitful – spiritually fruitful – as evidenced by the many emails he receives on a daily basis asking for services, baptism schedules, and the establishment of nearby coordinating centers.

His Bible-based question and answer program Ang Dating Daan is now translated in various languages. He holds Spanish and Portuguese online Bible Expositions. He travels weekly to different locations to meet and tend to the spiritual needs of brethren and visitors.

He maintains a faith-based blog. He answers any and all spiritual questions on Twitter. He gives a weekly dose of spiritual knowledge to the congregation during Thanksgiving celebrations and answers questions on the spot. He responds to questions via his email. He runs businesses to support the ballooning costs of propagating God’s words in more and more places. He regularly cooks for his family and broadcast staff.

All these, and more, the Filipino preacher does on a regular basis at an age more advanced than Jose Rizal.

Though both were exiled, Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s exile is not as peaceful as the late hero’s. The preacher who’s reputation is continuously besmeared  wrote in his blog entitled “The lucky person I am: Most slandered me”:

I believe using mathematical and logical calculations that, I am the most slandered man in the history of Christianity. The defamations being thrown to my person “go beyond borders.” I mean beyond the borders of the land of my birth, the Philippines. By using the most efficient cyberspace technology that is however lenient in terms of charging responsibility and accountability, my detractors were able to popularize these lies beyond borders.

Both of these remarkable men managed to make the most out of a situation they did not choose to be in.  Both men were exiled, but still, were able to see the blessing behind being afar from those they love. Both remained doing what they do best.

The word “interesting” would be an understatement to describe a conversation between these two men if they met, somehow.

References:

http://esoriano.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-lucky-person-i-am-most-slandered-me/

http://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/thank-you-for-the-sorrows/

http://www.joserizal.ph/dp01.html

http://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/dr-jose-rizal%E2%80%99s-language-very-much-alive-in-bro-eli-soriano/

http://www.mcgi.org

http://www.mcgi.org/about/history/

http://joserizal.nhcp.gov.ph/Biography/man_and_martyr/chapter14.htm

A Big Heart for Big Talent: Kuya Daniel Razon Champions Special Olympics Philippines Team

News, Events and Second Glances
The talented athletes of Special Olympics Philippines Team. Screenshot taken from UNTVweb's YouTube Account.

The talented athletes of Special Olympics Philippines Team. Screenshot taken from UNTVweb’s YouTube Account.

It is very hard to be more awww-inducing than talented and adorable very special children of the Special Olympics Philippines Team, who are actively brightening up our world one great achievement at a time. But somehow, the big-hearted people who love and support them unconditionally are right up there in the awww-inducing spectrum. One of their champions is Kuya Daniel Razon, who gave his unwavering support as the Special Olympcs Philippines Team gave their best at the 2013 Special Olympics Singapore National Games.

Kuya Daniel was behind the team of special young men and women as they competed in Singapore this month. The Special Olympics Philippines Team played a rousing game of bocce, a ball sport. Though the game is not as well known in the country, the talented Filipino children of the team still managed to bag more than a dozen medals during the competition.

The talented athletes of Special Olympics Philippines Team meets and greets Kuya Daniel Razon. Screenshot taken from UNTVweb's YouTube Account.

The talented athletes of Special Olympics Philippines Team meets and greets Kuya Daniel Razon. Screenshot taken from UNTVweb’s YouTube Account.

Which is why this group of exceptionally talented young athletes, together with their parents, guardians and coaches, went to UNTV 37’s studio to show their gratitude to Kuya Daniel Razon, who greeted the be-medalled champs and those who love them with warmness and sincerity. As a token, the Special Olympics Philippines Team, headed by NCR North Chapter President Ms. Thelma Saldito, presented Kuya Daniel with a Plaque of Appreciation for his continued support to the young athletes.

Dr. Jocelyn Flores-Cabarles, a parent of one of the Special Olympics Philippines Team's athletes, expresses her gratitude to Kuya Daniel. Screenshot from UNTVweb's YouTube Account.

Dr. Jocelyn Flores-Cabarles, a parent of one of the Special Olympics Philippines Team’s athletes, expresses her gratitude to Kuya Daniel. Screenshot from UNTVweb’s YouTube Account.

The most heartfelt gift of appreciation comes from the grateful heart of a loving parent. “Kuya Daniel, thank you very much. Talagang from the deepest sa aming puso sa aming mga magulang. It’s difficult to find in today’s society such people who have great hearts to offer opportunities for the marginalized sector of the society. Thank you very much,” states Dr. Jocelyn Flores-Cabarles, a proud parent of one of the Special Olympics Philippines Team’s athletes.

Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel Razon congratulates the athletes and their parents and urges them to keep up the good work. Screenshot from UNTVweb's YouTube Account.

Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel Razon congratulates the athletes and their parents and urges them to keep up the good work. Screenshot from UNTVweb’s YouTube Account.

Supporting the talented special athletes of our country is one of Kuya Daniel’s advocacies. He has pioneered a slew of public service firsts in the country like the Libreng Sakay (Free Bus/Jeepney Rides), Free MRT rides for senior citizens, the first ever Transient Home in the heart of the metro, Home for Abandoned Babies, free college education, free clinic and law services. For all these and more unmentioned, he is aptly called “Mr. Public Service.”

Kudos to the wonderful athletes of the Special Olympics Philippines Team for a job well done! And for the parents, guardians, coaches and supporters of these fine young individuals, we give you a much-deserved standing ovation.  For continuing to support our country’s pride and joy, bravo to all of you! May God bless your big hearts!

Watch UNTV 37’s news report regarding these wonderful athletes here.

Something NY Cab Drivers Should Learn: UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada

News, Events and Second Glances
A driver is trained to help motorists in need in UNTV's Tulong Muna Bago Pasada

A driver is trained to help motorists in need in UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb’s Youtube Account

New York is famous for its yellow taxicabs running circles in Manhattan. All 13,237 of them are ready to bring Yankees and tourists to their destinations, except of course when it’s raining, when it’s almost next to impossible to hail a taxi. Now, what I, as a glorified commuter in this great state, wish would be impossible is to be a witness (or be part of) a road accident in the beautiful streets of the Empire State. So imagine if the estimated 42,000 New York City cab drivers took part in a program like UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada, another revolutionary public service effort from the Philippines’ prime Public Service network – UNTV 37, we would have lesser road accidents. We would have thousands of real-life superheroes. We would have more people on the side of good and justice and all things great and in vivid Technicolor.

Now wouldn’t New York be a safer place to live in if this happened?

UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada is a mouthful for those who aren’t Filipinos, and that’s fine and understandable. But what it translates to, in essence, is “Help First, Tansport Later.” Basically, this puts a greater deal of importance on human life than a cab fare. By learning to become more disciplined drivers and become certified first aid rescuers to give aid to those who need it in emergency situations, cab drivers are now the extension of our healthcare practitioners on the streets — where the action happens.

This public service endeavor has recently started in the Philippines, spearheaded by Kuya (That’s the Filipino term for “big brother”) Daniel Razon.  Tulong Muna Bago Pasada aims to educate cab drivers with first aid and BLS techniques. They are also trained based on real-life scenarios – they learn what to do first and who to call in case they witness a hit-and-run, a head-on collision, and other street emergencies requiring fast thinking and helping.  After they become well equipped with enough life-saving knowledge, they become certified. The intensive training that lasts for several days, like most of what UNTV’s projects, is absolutely free of charge for Filipino cab drivers.

Kuya Daniel Razon has concocted this one-of-a-kind public service project with the goal of hitting two public service goals with one unique project: making the streets safer for motorists, commuters, and pedestrians and increasing the number of Filipino public servants. The Tulong Muna Bago Pasada is an off-shoot to the Tulong Muna Bago Balita project of UNTV – which is the first of its kind in Philippine media, where reporters, cameramen, and drivers put helping first, before reporting; they are on-field rescuers primarily, valuing the lives of others than news reporting, and consequently, high ratings. Pure, unadulterated public service.

Kuya Daniel Razon spearheads another public service project - Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb's Youtube Account

Kuya Daniel Razon spearheads another public service project – Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb’s Youtube Account

Bringing this project in New York would be amazing and ideal. Not only will there be more public servants driving around the city, but since taxicabs are usually around at any given hour all year round, there will be trained cab drivers will be roaming the streets, ready to pull over and help out anyone in need. There will be a rebranding if you will, of our cab drivers’ reputation. They will become street superheroes.

Wouldn’t end-of-the-world movies find another place to sink rather than poor old Lady Liberty by Ellis Island? Instead of superheroes wreaking (unintentional, I guess) havoc in Manhattan, real ones would be driving all around it. Instead of a large lizard stomping all over the city, cab drivers will be actively on the look out for people in distress that they can help.  Once Tulong Muna Bago Pasada pushes through, I can’t guarantee that it will be easier to hail a taxicab, but hey, you’ll feel safer that the cab driver bringing you to your friend’s place can help you or other motorists in times of emergencies. So sit back, relax, and tip your cabbie well.

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/taxi-cab-statistics/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=exINwpNNuRQ#!