Reclassify Marijuana, as NOT a Dangerous Drug

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Environment, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , on June 14, 2012 by JJ Duque

Reclassify Marijuana, as NOT a Dangerous Drug.

Greetings,

I just signed the following petition addressed to: Honorable ANTONIO “BEBOT” VILLAR, JR. Chairman, Dangerous Drugs Board.

—————-
Reclassify Marijuana, as NOT a Dangerous Drug.

Section 93 of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” states that:

“Reclassification, Addition or Removal of Any Drug from the List of Dangerous Drugs. – The Board shall have the power to reclassify, add to or remove from the list of dangerous drugs. Proceedings to reclassify, add, or remove a drug or other substance may be initiated by the PDEA, the DOH, or by petition from any interested party, including the manufacturer of a drug, a medical society or association, a pharmacy association, a public interest group concerned with drug abuse, a national or local government agency, or an individual citizen. When a petition is received by the Board, it shall immediately begin its own investigation of the drug. The PDEA also may begin an investigation of a drug at any time based upon the information received from law enforcement laboratories, national and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies, or other sources of information.”

Based on the above Republic Act, we, the people of the Republic of the Philippines, would like to petition for the reclassification and decriminalization of Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Ruderalis, and derivative products of the said natural plant species. Herein, we will present you with the basic facts and sources of information from which you can then launch a thorough investigation into Cannabis’ many uses such as MEDICINE, PAPER, FUEL, FIBER, FOOD, and HOUSING.

First and foremost, Cannabis cannot be classified under the list of DANGEROUS drugs, as it poses no health threat to its users. The World Health Organization states that Tobacco kills nearly 6,000,000 people a year[1] and Alcohol results in 2,500,000 deaths each year. [2] Cannabis, on the other hand, has NO DIRECT RECORDED DEATHS attributed to it. If anything, the two prior drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol, should be topping your Dangerous Drugs list, as they kill more people per annum than all the dangerous drugs on your list – COMBINED.

Secondly, Cannabis IS MEDICINE, and has been for the past few thousand years. Currently, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide use Cannabis to relieve the symptoms of debilitating diseases. A 2002 review of medical literature by Franjo Grotenhermen states that medical cannabis has established effects in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, insomnia, and lack of appetite. Other “relatively well-confirmed” effects were in the treatment of “spasticity, painful conditions, especially neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, and glaucoma”.

Preliminary findings indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, and related conditions.
Medical cannabis has also been found to relieve certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries by exhibiting antispasmodic and muscle-relaxant properties as well as stimulating appetite.

Other studies state that cannabis or cannabinoids may be useful in treating alcohol abuse, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, collagen-induced arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, colorectal cancer, HIV-Associated Sensory Neuropathy depression, dystonia, epilepsy, digestive diseases, gliomas, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, leukemia, skin tumors, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Parkinson’s disease, pruritus, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psoriasis, sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea, and anorexia nervosa.

A study done by Craig Reinarman surveyed among why people in California used cannabis and it found many reasons why people had used cannabis. It was used to relieve pain, muscle spasms, headaches, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, depression, cramps, panic attacks, diarrhea, and itching. Others used cannabis to improve sleep, relaxation, appetite, concentration or focus, and energy. Some patients used it to prevent medication side effects, anger, involuntary movements, and seizures, while others used it as a substitute for other prescription medications and alcohol. [3]

Even the United States National Cancer Institute acknowledges Cannabis’ Antitumor, Appetite Stimulation, and Analgesic effects on its webpage. [4]

Aside from this, Harvard University published a study that concluded that the active ingredient in Cannabis cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread. [5]

Also, the American Medical Association cites Cannabis’ patient treatment and healing abilities in their “Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health “, and thus called for the rescheduling of the said drug. [6]

More information about Cannabis and how it may be used as a treatment for people with serious medical conditions can be found in this Medical Cannabis brochure:

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/cancer_brochure.pdf

Thirdly, one of the biggest positive impacts that the rescheduling of Cannabis would produce is the reintegration of hemp into our society, and more importantly in current times, our economy. Hemp is a plant that is grown for industrial use only; in fact, hemp contains less that 1% THC and causes no “high” when smoked.

From an INDUSTRIAL standpoint, hemp provides many advantages over a great deal of current resources that the Philippines utilizes. The most common use for hemp is in the production of textile based products. Hemp fibers are considerably strong so that makes it ideal for the production of many products like PAPER, FABRIC, and ROPE. Hemp produces a higher yield per acre than cotton and has a growing cycle of only 100 days instead of 160. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can produce four times as much paper from a hectare of Cannabis than a hectare of trees. Imagine all the forests we could save!

But perhaps the most important attribute of hemp is its ability to produce a substantial amount of CELLULOSE. Cellulose is a compound that, in more recent years, has been converted into a BIOFUEL called cellulostic ethanol. This biofuel can power everything that our fossil fuels currently does and is being produced most commonly in the form of “energy crops;” mostly corn and cotton. Hemp holds an advantage though, because it yields four times the amount of cellulose you can get from a corn stalk, plus it is carbon-negative, meaning it has already captured enough carbon during growth, in a process called carbon sequestration, to make up for the carbon that it releases when burned. In layman’s terms, it is ECO FRIENDLY.

Once rescheduled, Cannabis can also be used as FOOD. Technically a nut, hemp seed typically contains over 30% oil and about 25% protein, with considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hemp seed oil is over 80% in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and is an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3). The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (n6/n3) in hemp seed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. In addition, the biological metabolites of the two EFAs, gamma-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-6; ‘GLA’) and stearidonic acid (18:4 omega-3; ‘SDA’), are also present in hemp seed oil. The two main proteins in hemp seed are edestin and albumin. Both of these high-quality storage proteins are easily digested and contain nutritionally significant amounts of all essential amino acids. In addition, hemp seed has exceptionally high levels of the amino acid arginine. [7]
What does this mean? This means that Cannabis seeds’ amino acid profile is close to “complete” when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs.

Aside from the above, Cannabis can be used as a material to make HOUSES.
Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp hurds (shives) and lime (possibly including natural hydraulic lime, sand, pozzolans or cement) used as a material for construction and insulation. It is marketed under names like Hemcrete, Canobiote, Canosmose, and Isochanvre. Hempcrete is easier to work than traditional lime mixes and acts as an insulator and moisture regulator. It lacks the brittleness of concrete and consequently does not need expansion joints.

Honorable Villar, Cannabis laws, as they are now, cost tax payers millions of pesos a year. The taxpayers have to pay for every individual that is sent to prison for possession of Cannabis and nothing more. It’s time to face the facts — most Cannabis users are peaceful, well adjusted members of society. Their “crime” is nothing more than possessing and ingesting or smoking dried flowers from a non-toxic plant. The effects of their “crime” are usually nothing more than being hungry, laughing, enjoying chit-chat with friends, and watching TV. This is a VICTIMLESS crime, which should not be punished by the state. A democratic government has no right to tell its citizens — its employers — what they can or cannot ingest, eat, smoke, or drink. And a democratic government has no right to withhold a miracle plant from its citizens. Especially not one that can be used to the advantage of the citizens in creating more jobs, upping tourism, healing the sick, and helping the environment.

If Cannabis is not rescheduled, then we the people must ask for the basis of its illegality. We must be satisfied with facts, statistics, solid reasoning, and casualties. The burden of proof falls on the government’s hands.

1. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/index.html
2. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en/index.html
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis
4. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4
5. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm
6. http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/csaph-report3-i09.pdf
7. http://naihc.org/hemp_information/hemp_facts.html
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp

Philippine Entertainment: Philippine Movies Now Available At Facebook

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by JJ Duque

Just One Of Many Movies Available On Facebook

The popular mobile Internet messenger company Chikka is launching Chikka Cine via Facebook.

This service which links up social media and cinematic entertainment will provide Filipino Facebook users in North America the privilege to watch mainstream Filipino movies. This means no more missed shows because of location concerns.

With Chikka teaming-up with new company Mav Shack, the movie streaming feature gets a thrilling start with two recent blockbusters, namely, “In Your Eyes” and “Petrang Kabayo” up for screening. Facebook users can avail of this by simply hitting the “Like” button on Mav Shack’s Page.

The new media service offering will be free for the entire month of November. Both movies that respectively star multi-awarded actress Anne Curtis and current sensation Vice Ganda, belong to the talent stable of Viva Films, with which Mav Shack has tied up.

With the movie streaming over the USA and Canada territories, OFWs, Fil-Ams and Fil-Canadians in the region would “feel at home” with Chikka Cine’s entertainment offerings. As a bonus, viewers of the said movies would be instant participants in a raffle. Two winners get round trip tickets to the Philippines, including all-expense paid weekend to island paradise Boracay.

Chikka, which recently produced Chikka Live – a live video streaming service innovation that captivated thousands of viewers worldwide, is now available in multiple formats and browsers on all personal computers and handheld devices.

By developing fresh content that fuses social media, Chikka, as an instant messaging innovator, continuously helps its telco partners adapt to the new digital environment via more utilities for new-generation users.

Mav Shack, on the other hand, is an over-the-top service online that streams content such as movies, radio programs, and concerts over the Internet. Its service is available on desktops via its URL mavshack.com and Facebook page. A new application/widget will soon be ready for subscribers to see the selected movies from Smart Phones supported by Android and iOS, like iPhone and iPad.

While those films are already available, subscribers can expect more Filipino flicks from Viva Films through Chikka Cine and Mav Shack.

San Miguel Beer Consumer Report

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , on November 1, 2011 by JJ Duque

I am currently 40 years old, and I have been consuming San Miguel Beer products for over 20 years. I bought my first few cases of SMB Pale Pilsen at my 15th year old birthday party, and have been consistently been drinking beer since then.

At first, I used to drink every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, and maybe the occasional Sunday afternoon.  When I got into college at age 18, I began drinking San Miguel Beer on a near daily basis. And not just one bottle, but averaging around 8 to 10 bottles per day.

In the 90′s, Student organizations I was involved with in UP Diliman held events which featured San Miguel Beer. There was Upsilon Sigma Phi’s Polo-Singan event which featured smorgasbord of free beer and a Side-A concert at the Manila Polo Club. Then, there was UP JMA’s Heaven’s Door which was the first concert held at the Megatrade Hall. That time, you could see us lugging cases of beer from the grocery up the escalators. And there are still more events I’ve organized and attended, and always with a San Miguel beer in my hand to celebrate.

After college, San Miguel Beer and its by-products like Super Dry, Blue Ice (remember?), Red Horse, Cerveza Negra and San Mig Light have all passed through my palate and have contributed to my not-so-sexy but huggable beer belly. My choice for drinking San Miguel after all these years is based on a simple fact – there was no other beer around. Even with the current advent of imported beers like Coors, Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, Heineken, or even with the rise of competition from local beers like Colt45 of Asia Brewery – San Miguel Beer has still remained a favorite. It’s just something that I’m used to and certainly will not be disappointed with. In fact, I consider San Miguel Beer like an old friend.

As an old friend, I have been kind to San Miguel Beer. I have given him so much money over a decade or so.  At a rough average of P500 per week, or P26,000 a year for more than 10 years – well, that’s a lot of money. I’ve never really found the need to ask for anything in return. On its own, San Miguel Beer is fulfilling enough to provide a nice intoxication, a proud beer belly, and memorable moments celebrating with friends, and even in crying with friends.

But now – I do have something to ask from San Miguel.

I would like to ask San Miguel to stop advertising their beer, and instead spend their advertising budget for other worthwhile projects. San Miguel Beer does not need to spend millions upon millions on celebrity endorsements for their Christmas ads. San Miguel Beer does not need to spend useless expense for TVC slots, billboard ads, print ads or merchandising. Well – merchandising maybe.

San Miguel Beer is at the top of the beer food chain in the country, and even if they stopped advertising altogether for one year – they would probably increase their profits due to unnecessary advertising spending. Every day – all over the country – people drink San Miguel Beer (and their co-products). Whether they are sad or celebrating, SMB is on the menu. SMB can be found in almost every major store, grocery, restaurant, bar and sari-sari store. Their sales will never ever suffer because they are the number one demand in their market.

With that being said – I would wish for San Miguel Beer to focus on eliminating poverty by diverting advertising expense into socially responsible programs and projects. They can provide housing programs of their own without the need to tie up with NGOs. I’m not certain what other socially responsible programs San Miguel Beer engages in, but I’m very sure that they give support to charities and foundations, and do their best in actively pursuing their civic duties. However, imagine if the budget was bigger because they would divert advertising funds they don’t need.

But apart from San Miguel, all companies and products with a monopoly of sorts should also end all their ad campaigns. Smart and Globe need not spend on advertising because every day their product is used. They don’t need celebrity endorsements that cost millions, and they don’t need billboard ads or print ads. Because of their technology, they can directly send promotion packages and special offers direct to their customers. Text text lang iyan.

Anyway – cheers to San Miguel Beer. I just bought a case of Pale Pilsen in cans to fill my ref. And as an avid consumer for over 20 years. Please consider my humble advice.

Thank you.

Philippine News: New Vizconde Massacre Witness Surfaces After 20 Years

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , , , , on December 29, 2010 by JJ Duque
Senate Elections Nuisance Candidate Mel Chavez

Senate Elections Nuisance Candidate Mel Chavez

According to news reports by ABS-CBN, a new witness has surfaced for the Vizconde Massacre. A certain Melchor Gongora Chavez, who claims to be the national president of the Association of Commentators of the Philippines, has a new witness that can provide evidence to prove that Hubert Webb’s passport is fake, and that a certain “Edmond A” was the one who was allegedly asked to produce the fake passport for Hubert Webb.

Chavez has also acceded that the video clip of Hubert Webb frolicking in the snow in the United States was merely shot behind the Philippine International Convention Center, and the snow that fills the background is merely staged snow.

As much as I would want justice for Lauro Vizconde, father and patriarch of his slain family, I cannot believe that after all these years – only now will a witness emerge to shed light on this case. Why only now after so many years? Why only now after the Supreme Court has given its decision and cannot be reversed? Why only now when Hubert Webb cannot be tried again for the same crime?

If these witnesses and investigators were already wary that the Supreme Court could’ve overturned the ruling, then all these evidences against Hubert Webb should’ve been presented way beforehand to assure the victory of the prosecution. But they only come out of the woodwork now way past the Cinderella curfew. Sadly, it is not a good performance for the prosecution, who is now cramming the 20-year deadline on the Vizconde case.

What ever happened to star witness Jessica Alfaro? Isn’t there anything better that she can add in her testimony? Isn’t there a way for her to clear her name and petition that what she indeed did say under oath during the trial was the total truth? Where is she now? Why hasn’t she come forward and declare that justice has been blinded because her testimony was truth?

Now – this supposed national president of the Association of Commentators of the Philippines Melchor Chavez is stirring up a storm, and doing so in desperation without any real credibility. How can such a witness be believed? And why would the so-called witness appear through the hands of Melchor Chavez and not the investigators, or the Supreme Court itself? Well, maybe Melchor Chavez is just hoping for his 15 seconds of fame. Well, you got it. At the expense of making a mockery on justice for Lauro Vizconde, and instead of looking for the real perpetrators behind the massacre. Will the real slim shady from the prosecutor’s office please take a stand and do your proper legal job, and advise Melchor Chavez et al on how he can go about this, instead of tooting around his whistle around the media just to make headlines.

Besides, what the hell is the Association of Commentators of the Philippines? A search on Yahoo reveals that the only time they’ve ever come out is in the ABS-CBN article related to this. They don’t have a website or any prior mention? Are they even a real association? Is Sev Sarmenta and Quinito Henson members? What kind of commentators are they comprised of? Are they sports commentators, or are they just side-line comment-ers (as opposed to commentators) who comment on anything worth commenting for the sake of their two cents worth or their 15 second of fame. Maybe as a blogger, I can become a commentator too. But maybe next time – let’s wait until Melchor “the national ass president” Chavez sits down.

According to Wikipedia – Melchor Chavez was a Filipino radio and print journalist who tried to run for Philippine Senate several times. In 1992, the Supreme Court disqualified him for running for senator. In 1998, Comelec did not recognize his certificate of candidacy. In 2001, he ran under KBL and garnered a measley 2% of the total votes. In 2004, Comelec allowed him to run again, but petitions by Francisco Chavez (who also petitioned against him, thus leading to his disqualification  in 1992)  were favored by the Comelec. Melchor Chavez was then deemed as a nuisance candidate.

Now, Melchor Chavez is just being a nuisance.

Philippine News: Supreme Court To Decide On Hubert Webb Case

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine News on November 20, 2010 by JJ Duque
Free Hubert Webb

Free Hubert Webb

Hubert Webb was in the Paranaque City Jail since August 1995 when he was arrested as an alleged prime suspect on the Vizconde Massacre. After his conviction for murder five years later, he has since been in jail at the Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. It has now been 15 years that Hubert Webb has been in jail.

I personally got to visit Hubert Webb during the first day of his arraignment hearing, and maybe only visited him one other time in the Paranaque City Jail throughout those 15 years. Before all this happened, we were good friends from the same neighborhood of BF Homes, Paranaque. We played basketball on afternoons at the Phase 3 basketball court and even hung out afterwards for a beer or two or more along with other friends.

As much as I would like to personally vouch for the innocence of Hubert Webb, it is sad that the wheels of justice in the Philippines have not turned favorably for him.

The Perspective on Court of Appeals regarding the case against Hubert Webb eventually led to a Division of Five vote during the motion for reconsideration, and the justices voted 3-2 AGAINST the motion of Hubert Webb. Justices Rodrigo Cosico, Regalado Maambong and Normandie Pizarro were the voting majority who denied the motion for reconsideration.  Meanwhile, Justices Renato Dacudao and Lucenito Tagle voted in favor for Hubert Webb.

On the part of the majority vote by Cosico, Maambong and Pizarro – their primary reason for denying the motion rests largely on the evidence of government star witness Jessica Alfaro, a former drug addict, who pointed out Hubert Webb as the prime murder suspect in her testimony during the trial. That’s all they really had to go by.

Meanwhile, the reasons given by Dacudao and Tagle are such that:

According to Justice Dacudao, based on the highlights of the dissenting opinion in the motion for reconsideration, the case is clear and simple – Hubert Webb could not have committed the crime because he was not even at the scene of the crime, nor was he even in the country at that time. Dacudao also points out the valuable testimony of former presidential legal counsel Atty. Antonio Tirol Carpio, (who is now a member of the Supreme Court), who attested to a phone conversation with former Senator Freddie Webb on June 29, 1991 (some 12 hours before the crime was committed), who at that time was in Anaheim, California, along with his son.

Moreover, Justice Dacudao also puts a bad light on the testimony of Jessica Alfaro, which he suggests was filled with improbabilities and contradictions.

Justice Tagle‘s dissenting opinion talked clearly about the evidence presented by the defense as to Hubert Webb’s alibi, and these evidences included: (1) the departure and arrival stamp of Hubert Webb on his passport; (2) the US Immigration stamp on his passport; (3) and the testimony and certification of the US Immigration regarding the validity of the travel documents of Hubert Webb.

On the Justice For Hubert Webb Facebook page, the page administrators concede:

Despite all the strong documentary evidence to prove otherwise, Hubert Webb still languishes in jail due to the supposed “eyewitness” whose credibility is in question. The semen sample from the victim which can be used for DNA testing is conspicuously lost. Something has to be done with this travesty of justice.

We condemn the criminals who raped and murdered the Vizcondes but putting the jail innocent people for the crime they did not commit is not justice at all.

Please understand that we have given everything required to prove that hubert was in the U.S. when the crime occured.You name it, we gave it.

1. record of departure including ticket, ticket receipt,(with accompanying testimony from raja tours owner Bibay Nolasco), airline manifest (with accompanying testimony from a northwest airline official), passport with departure stamp from the Bureau of Immigration

2. record of entry which includes an F.B.I. report, a note verbal issued by the U.S. government signed by Secretary of State Madeline Albright stating that Hubert Webb was in the U.S. testified to by no less than both foriegn secretary Domingo Siazon and Consul General Leo Herrera Lim

3. records of his stay which includes: Videos – one in Disneyland (testified to by a complete stranger who saw Freddie Webb and decided to video him), one at Lake Tahoe and another at a cousins wedding wedding ceremony Records of employment in the form of several encashed checks in his name Hubert Jeffrrey Webb before and after the crime California Drivers License aquired during his stay, certified by the Department of Motor Vehicles California Dozens of eyewitness accounts all of which were excecuted by upstanding members of society all of which have much to lose had they perjured themselves in court, the most prominent of all being Entertainer Gary Valenciano. Supreme court justice Antonio Carpio also testified that he knew that Hubert was in the U.S, based on his conversations with my father who was in the U.S. right before the time of the incident.

4. records of his departure which includes again the certification from the U.S. stating his date of departure, airline manifest testified to by an authority from the Philippine Airlines, Passport showing entry into the Philippines We have givem everything humanly possible to prove he was in the United States four months before and fifteen months after the massacre occured. He only has one record of ever going to the U.S.A and it was only during the period we claim he was there.

Pease take note that: NOT A SINGLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE WE PRESENTED WAS EVER REFUTED OR PROVEN TO BE FALSE BY THE PROSECTION. THEY COULD HAVE EASILY ASKED THE UNITED STATES IF THE DOCUMENTS WE PRESENTED WERE FAKE BUT THEY DIDN’T. WHY? BECAUSE THEY KNEW OUR DOCUMENTS WERE REAL.THEY COULD HAVE EASILY CAUGHT HUBERT IF THEY ALLOWED DNA TESTING FROM THE BEGINNING BUT THEY OBJECTED TO IT. WHY? BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT IT WASN’T HUBERT’S SPERM BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT HE WAS IN THE UNITED STATES.

We have waited fifteen long years for some people to start believing. Due to a judge and prosecution without any concience, my brother has suffered much for a crime he very clearly did not do. All we pray is that he be set free so that he can pick up the pieces start to live what he has left of his life. Let truth prevail.

On November 23, 2010 – the Supreme Court will finally give their decision on this case. It is my hope as a friend of Hubert Webb, and as a believer in justice and truth, that he will be set free. I encourage everyone to pray that justice and truth be served.

You can see videos relating to this and other documents at the Justice For Hubert Webb Facebook page.

Philippine Events: Olive Magazine Launched At Ayala Museum

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Events, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by JJ Duque

I arrived late at the recent Olive magazine launch held at the Ayala Museum lobby just this week. I immediately greeted Bella Luce Publications big boss Nick Tuason, and gave my heartfelt congratulations for another magazine under his belt. So far, Bella Luce Publications has Wedding Belle, Digital Photographer, Lonely Planet Philippines, iCreate, Junior and now Olive!

Olive Magazine Now In The Philippines

Olive Magazine Now In The Philippines

Olive is a monthly magazine published in the UK by BBC Worldwide, and Bella Luce Publications have been able to get the license to open up a local version of Olive here in the Philippines.  Here in the Philippines, the magazine’s editor-in-chief is none other than Stephanie Zubiri, who earned her star in the culinary scene with the very reputable The Modern Epicurian Kitchen – an institution which is part cooking school-slash-catering business that promotes the fine art of living, and the process and results that are part of that palatable journey. Definitely, Olive is blessed to have someone like Stephanie Zubiri, who exudes a good energy and has a fresh perspective on the culinary scene in the Philippines and abroad.

While I didn’t get to congratulate Stephanie Zubiri personally that night (she was too busy being hounded by everyone else), I managed to pass along the message through her brother and old friend Senator Miguel Zubiri, who was with his beautiful wife Audrey. My congratulations also to the ever efficient people of Bella Luce Publications like Marta Luque-Araneta, Pilar Tuason and Madie Pfiffner-Dinglasan.

It was a fun night overall – and it was great to see friends like Audrey Carpio, Joanna DeOcampo, Jackie Verano, Jay Pou, Cay Rodriguez-Araneta, Fiona Lucas-Araneta, Pip Zorgani, RJ Ledesma and his wife Vanessa, and Ines Cabarrus, who will be having a second run of the annual Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards soon.

My only concern – I feel like I should be the one to say it – is that the open bar wasn’t running as optimal as I would’ve expected, considering that it was the launch of a culinary magazine. You just simply can’t serve warm beer over ice on a wine glass, nor can you serve wine on a margarita glass. The lack of glassware to match the cocktails was befuddling. I would’ve thought that the launch of a top culinary magazine would’ve hired a caterer equal to the task of serving Manila’s glitzy set. The caterer should’ve known to have chilled the beer earlier, and prepare the right glassware for the occassion. I mean – if it were the launch of an un-culinary magazine, then this faux pas could’ve been forgiven. I just had to say – not to bitch – but to raise constructive criticism for the caterer, or maybe just to the poor schmuck responsible for hiring them.

But then again, that’s just the open bar – and I’m sure that slight glitch won’t take away anything from the greatness of the magazine, which will certainly continue to have an impact on the Manila food and restaurant scene. There will be great articles in Olive, ranging from exciting recipes, restaurant reviews and so much more, and it comes at a great time in Philippine lifestyle history when our range of tastes and foods has started to expand.

Once upon a time, you would mention a handful of good restaurants when you mention Japanese cuisine or Chinese cuisine. Now – there are too many to mention because of the growth of the restaurant and food service industry throughout the country. The launching of Olive will certainly be a critical portal which will open many eyes to the wonders of the food scene in the Philippines as well as share articles from the mother publication of BBC Worldwide.

Needless to say – you should go find a copy of Olive soon.

Philippine Music: Comprehending The Idiocy Of A Platinum Album

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Entertainment, Philippine Music on October 13, 2010 by JJ Duque
Jovit Baldivino: Platinum Album Awardee

Jovit Baldivino: Platinum Album Awardee

Just recently, I read about how Pilipinas Got Talent winner Jovit Baldivino received a platinum status for his debut album entitled Faithfully. According to ABS-CBN news, because of Baldivino’s recent success in reaching platinum, ABS-CBN will now host a major concert featuring Jovit Baldivino at the Aliw Theater on November 13.

Performing with Jovit Baldivino are the likes of Yeng Constantino, Melai Cantiveros, Jason Francisco, Kim Chiu and Sam Milby as special guests.

OK – so what does a platinum album really mean in the Philippines? In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) declares an album reaches gold status when it has sold more than 500,000 copies. It reaches platinum status when the album has sold more than 1,000,000 copies. That’s in the United States.

Here in the Philippines, the equivalent body of the US RIAA is the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI). Now, the PARI has its own set of rules. The PARI awards a gold status to an album if it has sold 10,000 copies, and it awards platinum status if the album has sold 20,000 copies.

20,000 copies for a platinum album? That’s a far cry from the global standard of 1 million. Those 20,000 copies can be easily bought out by the recording company. In the case of Jovit Baldivino, it is plausible that the 20,000 copies were paid for and bought by ABS-CBN, and  were probably given for free during Wowowee or whatever noon time variety show they have. Of course, I merely allege.

ABS-CBN news does well to self-promote their own talent. After all, it is ABS-CBN who manages Jovit Baldivino as a talent, gave him his recording deal, and will be in charge of promoting his career further. They play his songs from the album regularly on their own radio stations (both AM and FM), and have him guest and sing on their TV shows, both for cable and the local nationwide broadcast.  As an added bonus , ABS-CBN has already cast Baldivino on different TV shows of the network to promote his versatile talent.  Then, there will be the articles to follow on ABS-CBN owned publications, websites and partner sites. We even haven’t tackled the other non-ABS-CBN media outlets who will also jump on this promotion from magazines to newspapers, and other internet and social media, like Yahoo, where I chanced upon it.

Clearly, there is some kind of bias in this kind of self-promotion that any average Filipino doesn’t see off the bat. You find the talent, hone  it and flex your muscles of self-promotion, covering it up with pretty ribbons and shiny gift wrapping. You throw around some money – and maybe even buy 20,000 copies of an album – and present the success to an estimated 90,000,000 Filipinos all over the country, plus some more from all over the world. What a promotional machinery! What a media giant!

However…

The truth of the matter is – the platinum status of Jovit Baldivino’s album (and of other ABS-CBN or Star Recording artists like Nina, Kris Aquino, Charice Pempengco, Sam Milby, Toni Gonzaga among others) are not platinum as the world knows it to be. And yet,  you can read about it on the Internet, at Yahoo, and it will give the false impression to the rest of the world that his album has made the same sales as big artists in the US who hit 1 million in record sales. Or maybe I just think it does.

I believe that whenever a Filipino artist hits platinum, there should be an asterisk that says he sold 20,000 copies only, so as not to mislead others to think that they follow the American trend of 1 million copies. That’s just my opinion. I think the colonial mental state when it comes to music is somehow US-shaped, and this could be a misleading thing. Or maybe it’s just me who doesn’t get it.

Of course, this platinum status varies in each country. In places like Peru, the platinum threshold is only at 6,000 albums sold. But that’s probably because only Peruvians can understand Peruvian songs and singers.

Anyway – I’m not out to rain on the parade on the success of artists like Jovit Baldivino. I’m not crab mentality-ing. In fact, it’s great that he’s hit the big leagues and is making something with his talent. At least I know he’s got talent. There are some artists who can’t even sing for shit. Did anyone say Willie Revillame, or did I hear Kris Aquino?

I guess what I’m really irked about is how networks like ABS-CBN put all sorts of spin on the issue, manipulating it from its inception to its perch in the glitzy havens of showbusiness. They throw around  their monopolizing media powers to deceive their audience into believing that they bring out greatness with whatever they bake in their oven – even if  just because the minority of 20,000 platinum-building Filipinos (of an estimated total of 90 million plus citizens) paid for it.

Maybe there’s just something wrong with the rules of PARI to think that sales of 20,000 albums are good for a platinum status, even if, in reality, it doesn’t even make up 1 percent of the total population. And yet, there are the media powers who make it sound BIG, albeit their selfish interests.

I might be  wrong, but there is something idiotic about it. And I think it might be that they’re the idiots, or maybe I am.

Note: I don’t work for GMA (the network or the former President).

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