Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Goodbye Tricare Philippines

Comment from a reader on We Aren’t Complaining: Corruption will cause Tricare to go the way of the buffalo.

Agent Orange in Subic?

‘Blue water’ Navy veterans’ long waits often end in denials at VA

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Bob Bauman is waiting.

Bauman, of Baltimore, remembers the orange-striped barrels sitting on a pier off Subic Bay in the Philippines. He’s convinced that they were filled with Agent Orange that leaked into the water where he and his fellow sailors went swimming.

Now 65, Bauman has diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, colorectal cancer and essential tremor. He blames the orange-striped barrels, but he hasn’t received disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA grants benefits only to Agent Orange-exposed veterans who served on the ground or in the rivers of Vietnam. Bauman and his fellow sailors — known as blue water Navy veterans — served off the coast of Vietnam and aren’t covered.

 The fight between veterans such as Bauman and the VA has resulted in a cycle of denied claims and a lack of benefits for the majority of blue water veterans that can stretch several years, advocates say. Legislation to extend compensation to these veterans was introduced in the House of Representatives in February, but getting it through will be difficult: Five previous attempts to secure benefits have been unsuccessful.

“Fixing the VA is going to take more than this bill,” said John Wells, the director of legal and legislative affairs for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association. “Until the VA is purged of its bureaucratic resistance to facts, nothing’s going to get any better.”

Bauman receives some care from a VA medical center, but he’s counting on Agent Orange disability benefits to pay for his medications. His claims for benefits were denied twice because he didn’t have “boots on the ground,” meaning he didn’t step onto land or in inland rivers.

He then took his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which he won this past summer. Now the Board of Veterans’ Appeals is looking for proof that Bauman was directly exposed to Agent Orange during the war. If he eventually receives benefits, he said, that might set a precedent for other blue water veterans.

“It’s a bit frustrating, but at least it’s still going,” Bauman said. “I’m still fighting for it.”

Agent Orange contained the toxic chemical commonly known as dioxin, which has had harmful health effects on Vietnam veterans for decades. The World Health Organization said short-term exposure to dioxin could lead to skin lesions and long-term exposure could cause damage to the nervous, endocrine, immune and reproductive systems.

Blue water veterans were compensated under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, but in 2002 the VA started limiting coverage to those who’d served on land and inland waters after the agency’s general counsel recommended that it do so. The Agent Orange Equity Act to extend compensation was introduced yearly from 2008 to 2010 and twice in 2011, but it died in committee all five times.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association estimates that if the bill eventually does pass, about 50,000 to 60,000 blue water veterans will apply for benefits, said John Rossie, the association’s executive director. He said he was confident that funding for the legislation wouldn’t exceed $2 billion over 10 years.

The lack of official details of each veteran’s activity during the war makes formulating a concrete number of blue water Navy veterans impossible, especially when narrowing data to a very specific group of Navy veterans. Rossie estimates that about 100,000 or fewer veterans served in the blue water Navy.

“There was no one particular place that was required to keep track of it all,” Rossie said.

VA spokesman Randy Noller said he couldn’t comment on pending legislation and had no way of estimating projected costs and participants. The agency hasn’t responded to McClatchy Newspapers’ request for comment on cases of specific veterans’ claim denials.

Under VA policy, the department grants “presumption” in Agent Orange cases, meaning that it assumes veterans who served on land or in Vietnam’s inland waters were exposed to the chemical.

However, it lacks evidence that Agent Orange could have harmed the blue water veterans, who were at least a few miles offshore, said Jim Sampsel, an official in the VA disability division.

Several studies, including a 2011 report from the independent, nonprofit Institute of Medicine, have been unable to confirm that blue water Navy veterans were exposed.

The institute, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that Agent Orange was sprayed at low altitudes when the wind was blowing toward the shore to minimize contamination; any runoff would have been extremely diluted, Sampsel said. During the Vietnam War, the Navy refrained from using water for drinking or showering unless at least 10 miles offshore, Sampsel said.

Sampsel noted that Agent Orange isn’t always the cause of a Vietnam Veteran’s diabetes or cancer. Millions who didn’t serve in Vietnam also contract these diseases, especially as they age.

“There’s no evidence that it got anywhere offshore in any significant way,” Sampsel said.

There are 14 diseases that the VA assumes were caused by Agent Orange exposure, including Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer. In 2008, the Institute of Medicine recommended that three diseases be added to the list, which the VA did: ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and leukemia. The VA has paid nearly $4.3 billion to veterans who’d previously been denied benefits for those diseases or to their survivors, according to Sampsel.

Rossie said that most blue water veterans he knew had received at least some VA benefits for other illnesses, even if they hadn’t yet received Agent Orange compensation. Blue water veterans have their claims evaluated on a case-by-case basis and must prove that they were contaminated by Agent Orange, a process that can take years.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, which went to committee in the House on Feb. 6, would extend coverage by 12 miles to include those who served off the coast of Vietnam, Wells said.

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., sponsored the bill, which has bipartisan support from 81 co-sponsors as of March 19. Gibson, who’s an Army veteran, said he was optimistic that the bill would pass this time.

Lloyd Granaas, a blue water veteran who lives in Marion County, Fla., had sent in claims for diabetes, heart disease and neuropathy, but he didn’t receive compensation until he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year. For that, he received 100 percent disability, as the VA assumes that exposure to Agent Orange caused this type of cancer regardless of where the veteran served.

He said the VA’s logic of contamination frustrated him. Granaas, who’s now 71, sometimes was so close to shore that he could watch as a sailor on his ship walked onto land. That sailor would receive benefits. But as long as Granaas was on the ship, he wouldn’t receive benefits.

“I never knew Agent Orange was selective,” he said.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Great Day of Golf


Hi Bugle, We played in the FRA tournament at San Antonio and it was a first class affair. Had lots of fun. They gave out hats and sandwiches. Had a load of good caddies and umbrella girls. It was an international affair with locals, Europeans alike. Lots of camaraderie. The organizer and his team worked hard and made it a great event.

Why is the Bugle Anonymous?

Comment from a reader: I have enjoyed reading your blog lately...

However, I am curious why you don't use your name? I tried to look up your info and run into dead ends?

I think that it is not good practice to not use your name if you are reporting on local issues. You should be "public" so that people can respond to your posts and know that they are actually responding to a person not an email address. Using a blind email address makes it seem like you are hiding behind the internet?

Anyway, keep up the good work. Your site is a good read and I enjoy it very much.

From the Bugle: Thanks for your comment. If we identify ourselves and our readers then the blog will turn into a battle of personalities. The concept is that this is a forum for ideas and issues, not personalities. We have people in Subic who don't like each other but they agree with each others ideas when they are presented in an anonymous forum. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Who Cares if Old Lady Got Killed by the Jeepney


Comment from a reader on Jeepney driver doing what Jeepney drivers do best... ho hum,what was she doing in the middle of the road anyway? Seems pavements are just there for vendors to expand their business! 

From the Bugle: C'mon, let's not blame granny for getting hit by a jeep! It is true though that pedestrians in the Philippines do not look both ways before they walk into the street. It's odd that parents in the Philippines don't teach their children to look both ways before crossing the street. It seems like one of those basic parenting lessons. Driving in Manila is like playing that game Grand Theft Auto, where people wander and stumble into traffic constantly. Even professional people, pedestrians in business suits, wander into traffic without looking.

How Do I set up my own Bamboo Bugle?

From a reader: I like your blog.  How does one go about setting up something like you have?  Is it costly to run?  I am new to the Subic area and have time on my hands now and always had some ideas about having a blog of my own, however I don't know really how to go about it.

From the Bugle: Just go to blogger.com or wordpress.com and press the button that says "get started". It's free to start your own blog. The challenge is the work related to maintaining the blog and building readers. A lot of folks think they would like to be bloggers but they burn out after a while. You got to stick with it. Once you get your blog established, if it is about Subic send us the link and we'll promote it on the Bugle.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Bernie Madoffs in the Philppines

Comment from a reader on My Country is Better than Your Country: At least in the Philippines, the corruption is out in the open. You always know where you stand. There can never be a Bernie Madoff in the PI because nobody trusts anyone when it comes to money. Love it or leave it. 

From the Bugle: Sadly, you are incorrect. There are Bernie Madoffs in every country.  The recent Aman Futures scam was the Madoff scheme here. In Manila these days, licensed insurance companies are running a credit card scam where they offer prizes in order to obtain the credit card information of unwary shoppers and then they enroll them in auto-payment schemes for dodgy life insurance programs. Insurance companies, like Prudential Life, are essentially con artists licensed to scam the public by the Philippine government.

Another Bad Experience with Tricare in the Philippines

Comment from a reader on:  Tricare is a Benefit Not a Privilege: I have had two bad experiences with Tricare here in the Philippines. My first was required hand surgery I had at St Lukes in Manila. The bill was over $2,000. I paid it and filed a claim for reimbursement. Tricare sends me a check for $240, or 13% of what I had paid. I complained to Tricare and wrote my Senator. Tricare demanded I return the $240 and actually confiscated the $240 out of my next claims for meds prior to my allotted time to appeal being up. The reason for the entire claim being denied? I spent the night prior to surgery in the hospital on Doctors orders. My next major claim was the result of vehicle accident. They reimbursed 40% of my claim. It is a shame that our Vets are being treated they way they are by tricare. All they would have to do is reimburse at the 75% mandated, on all legit claims, and folks would be happy.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

There were no boiler rooms in Subic


Comment from a reader on Boiler Rooms Coming Back to Subic? : I don't think you have your facts correct especially for Subic. The only thing that was here from '94 to 2001 was a small group selling penny stocks over the phone. I don't know anything about Clark.

Clark Airport is the Meanest in the Philippines

When flying in our out of Clark, the motto is: "Sit down and shut up." 

Comment from a reader on: Clark Airport Immigration is a National Embarrassment:  I’m a European national and my Filipina wife were gonna travel to Europe together through Clark. My wife had a visa for 90 days and these damn airport Nazis ask her to take a course for Filipinas emigrating outside of Philippines which in her case is ridiculous! She's travelling there for temporary trip only. Even talking with the supervisor changed nothing. How dare they do this to us? I had to travel ahead alone to not waste my ticket. I had been living in Philippines for 2 years with her prior to that. Now her expensive ticket was wasted! What for? They were very rude and even questioned her being a registered nurse, what the **** does that got to do with travelling anyway? All sort of dumb questions. She had the paperwork to back it all up of course, but the course was a big question mark. Short term tourists are not required to take this course! She went to ask from the immigration in Davao afterwards and even they were shocked and said she definitely shouldn't have been asked for this course!

From the Bugle: Have you learned your lesson? Never fly in or out of Clark unless you are flying alone and prepared to battle the ignorant bureaucrats. It’s the meanest airport in the country to Filipinos and it is pretty rough on foreigners as well. 

Was the removal of US bases a matter of fees?

Comment from a reader on Senators Who Kicked Out Bases Wanted CashOn the issue of who is to blame for the loss of bases in the Philippines, why are we still beating this dead horse more than 20 years later? Just out of curiosity, my sources, way back when, indicated that the US was willing to give up Clark, but wanted to retain the deep water port at Subic. As the story goes, the Philippines wanted the same annual fee for Subic that had been paid for both bases, and that the US rejected the offer. Can the Bugle verify or debunk this version? 

From the Bugle: The 1987 constitution added the requirement that foreign military bases needed a treaty in order to operate in the country. By a narrow margin, the Philippine Senate rejected the treaty. That is the bottom line of why they are gone. But in general, the removal of US military bases from the Philippines cannot be boiled down to one simple reason. It was a complex series of events involving history, geopolitics, local politics, and many other things. An excellent overview can be found in: Subic Bay From Magellan To Pinatubo: The History Of The U.S. Naval Station, Subic Bay by Gerald R. Anderson. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Go Home Fat Bodies!

Comment from a reader on:  Impolite but Right: The biggest problem with the Philippines is all the bloated foreigners complaining about the Philippines. They waddle around like Penguins in their tank tops, earrings and tatooed fat bodies. They are cast off's of their own country and think they are kings and intellects in the Philippines. Go home na baboy. 

From the Bugle: Your comment is just as narrow minded and ignorant as the penguins you criticize.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If You Don't Like the Philippines Go Home!

Comment from a reader on:  Impolite but Right: Sick and tired of having to read Philippines haters. If you don’t like the p.i. get out! I wana read the good old bugle, ya know, what to do, places to go and eat.

From the Bugle: We are a reader driven forum. We run every comment. As a result sometimes the haters hijack the blog. Send in more community info, we'll run it all!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who is Ignorant?

Comment from a reader on:  I Hate Ignorant People: The reader should check the definition of ignorance. Great retort bugle.

From the Bugle:
· adj.
1 lacking knowledge or awareness in general. Ø (often ignorant of) uninformed about or unaware of a specific subject or fact.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tricare Claims Are Not Paid Correctly in the Philippines

Comment from a reader on:  Why Do You Live in the Philippines? Look, we do have the same benefits as those like us in the states? The problem is that our claims are not paid correctly when filed. There, got it? Your point about moving back to the states is a correct solution though, but not for the reason you stated.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Power to the People

Santa Monica subdivision, once the premiere location to live in the Barretto/Subic area suffered horrendous flooding in 2012. Water levels ran from one to three meters deep in most homes.

Local elections will be held May 11. Mayors and house representation are up for grabs. Banners have begun to appear around the Santa Monica and Santo Tomas areas asking people to elect people who will work to control flooding.  Urbanization, lax planning laws, illegal fish ponds, desforestation, inadequate storm drainage and lack of river dredging all contribute and cause flooding.

"All politics is local." U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil coined this phrase which encapsulates the principle that a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. "Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office." In this case flooding.

Subic's Useless Building Code


Comment from a reader on:  The Building Code in the Philippines is Not Enforced: We have a building code, but sad to say that it is not implemented.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Problem is Tricare

Comment from a reader on:  Why Do You Live in the Philippines?: The problem is not the medical care in the Philippines. The problem is the "Tricare Demonstration Project". Before Tricare and Global 24/ISOS started a conspiracy to commit fraud, medical care was inexpensive and of fairly decent quality. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Senators Who Kicked Out Bases Wanted Cash

Comment from a reader on:  It Wasn't Extortion: I think the extortion part was the Senators who shot the negotiations down WANTED CASH !!!!!!!!! Not Aid CASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So wonder which families that would have advantaged. 

From the Bugle: If it was that easy then the United States would have happily bribed those Senators to keep the bases. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Would Tricare Discriminate?

Comment from a reader on:  There is Plenty of Tricare Fraud in Other Countries As Well: OK--if that is true, then WHY would Tricare discriminate only or especially in the PHILS-- and HOW do they get away with it?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Everything in Japan is Better

Comment from a reader on:  The Tricare Situation in Japan: having been to Japan a number of times, I would point out that most everything is better there....medical, legal, infrastructure all work as advertised...clean, safe, honest, organized, intelligent, educated, high minded and hard working people...reserved and not "sweet" like Filipinos are alleged to be, but helpful, polite, respectful and they won't smile at you while plotting how to break in your house....they would be ashamed to lie, steal or throw their garbage in the street...more expensive than PI, you better have a job or money there, and the language is a bit daunting...some English in Tokyo but outside Tokyo its challenging to communicate...you need a working knowledge of the language to get by...but street signs and subway in English, easy to get around Tokyo...bullet trains and a tourist infrastructure, baseball and sumo and great restaurants, beautiful clean elegant women, lots to be truly proud of there...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Will Give the Bugle Loser a Job

Comment from a reader on:  Subic Dumping Scandal Was Manufactured: Blames the Philippines for his failures? I would be more than happy to meet and discuss my accomplishments with you...I might even offer you a job. You see, just because you chose to come here because you can't hack it in your own country, doesn't mean that's how the rest of us are. I'm sure you are just another one of the boys, who spends their life drinking in the bar everyday because you're too afraid to come out of your safe zone and try to make something for yourself. So lets meet up and discuss this like men, or you can continue to hide behind your blog / computer and continue to make false claims.

From the Bugle:  Meet to discuss your accomplishments? Whew that sounds like fun! With all your great accomplishments in the Philippines one would think that you might have some interesting insights. Instead, your comments are repetitive and tedious. Any thoughts ever go through your head other than blaming the Philippines for all your problems?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Subic Fire Traps Remain

Comment from a reader on:  Dryden Group to Change Their Name?: Typical businessman's solution. Change the name and pretend it never happened. So the next "poor lambs" can be led to the slaughter! Checked around locally re: fire regs and nothing has changed. Entertainment businesses still trading in what can only be described as unsafe conditions. This begs the question: is it "turn a blind eye" or are the powers that be ignorant of the fire regs and therefore unable to enforce them? 

From the Bugle: And we've never seen the official results of the investigation by the fire department into the Dryden fire. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Good Driving Schools Make Good Drivers

Comment from a reader on:  Philippine Driving Schools are Just License Mills: I completely agree with. If bad Filipino drivers enroll in a good driving school they will surely become responsible drivers.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Manila Won't Let Clark Have a Truly International Airport

Comment from a reader on:  Just Make Clark the Premier Airport of the Philippines and Stop the Debate: Too much money is being made in Manila on having the airport there...hotels, vested interests, local transportation, taxes, "entertainment", malls, jobs, lobbyists, politicians etc etc etc ...of course it makes practical sense to have another international airport in Clark, but it won't happen...not for years...naive to think otherwise....Manila doesn't want to lose half its tourists to Clark/Angeles/Subic/Baguio... 

Bugle: Thanks for the intelligent comment. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Philippine Defense Chief Floats Possibility of New US Bases in the Philippines

Interesting that local papers are no longer repeating the inaccurate information that the Philippine constitution bans foreign military bases. It never has done that. It requires a treaty and a referendum. Some have argued that the longtime Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippines is all that is needed under the current constitution to set up a US military base in the country. Though no opinion polls have been conducted recently, anecdotal evidence indicates that the US military remains well-liked in the Philippines with a small vocal group being the principal opposition. Gazmin's comments are a clear departure from previous statements, in which he said outright that bases are out of the question. And it should also be kept in mind that during the last major emergency in the United States, the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the United States opened a US military base in Zamboanga with about 500 troops and that base is still there and operational today.

Korea emergency: US may set up bases here if...
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - In case of extreme emergency resulting from the developing security crisis in the Korean peninsula, US troops may be allowed to set up bases in the Philippines, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said yesterday.

Gazmin noted that under the Constitution, foreign troops are barred from establishing a permanent presence in the country, a law that forced the shutdown of Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Subic Naval Base in Zambales – formerly the biggest military facilities outside the US.

“Right now our Constitution does not allow that but in cases of extreme emergency then there are extreme measures to be undertaken. Maybe this is one of them,” Gazmin said.

Gazmin made the statement in response to questions if the US would be allowed to set up their bases in the country in the event the Korean conflict turns into a full-blown war.

But Gazmin also pointed out the absence of US bases in the country is already being compensated by joint training and exercises as well as increased rotational presence.

At present 8,000 Filipino and US servicemen are conducting the annual joint Balikatan military drill in Central Luzon.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez, meanwhile, clarified the extreme emergency being referred to by Gazmin is a scenario where North Korea would launch a nuclear strike on South Korea, the US and its allies.

In a disaster forum held at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday, Gazmin said the country has already drawn up its own contingency plan.

“We have to be prepared. We should prepare for this contingency. Our number one concern is the evacuation of our countrymen in South Korea and those who are near the conflict zone. We are just hoping that we are not going to implement this contingency plan at all,” he said.

Gazmin earlier said the defense department, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), has placed on standby two of its C-130 Hercules planes and three transport ships of the Philippine Navy, ready to depart for South Korea to pick up and transport home the 40,000 Filipinos working and living there in case war breaks out.

However, under the country’s Nuclear Research Institute (NRI) designed three-level contingency plan, the current situation is still normal, Gazmin said.

The Bugle is Benedict Arnold!

Comment from a reader on:  Editorially and Ethically Dishonest: In my humble honest opinion YOU are way out of line Bugle Boy...the reader is NOT calling the US military Benedict Arnolds...I believe that opinion was directed at the editor...and those who (wrongfully on the facts) always criticize the US...he is right, editorially dishonest...seems like you are deliberately misconstruing his post, again...if the PHILS doesn't like the US, great, no problem, the US should abandon the PHILS...you too, editor...

From the Bugle: "It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." - W. C. Fields 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stick to Your Restaurant Reviews Mr. Philippines Apologist

Comment from a reader on: How Did the Philippines Help the US after 9/11? The Philippines stepped up and did its part? Oh really, Bugle? When did that ever happen? World War Two? MAYBE in 1944-45...What planet are you from? If it wasn't for the nexus with China's imperialistic aspirations and Abu Sayef/Al Qaeda elements in Mindanao, we--as in WE-- the US, not YOU Mr. Philippines apologist, would have ZERO interest in the Philippines, and it would sink back into its primeval corrupt swamp...deservedly so..."military ally", my ass...they will sell themselves to the highest bidder...they will turn on the US and revoke the VFA the minute the money spigot gets turned off....military ally...that would be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous...you should stick to restaurant reviews and leave the political chatter to the better informed... 

From the Bugle: I do like the ribs at Texas Joes and Xtremely Esspresso does its pizza crust well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boiler Rooms Coming Back to Subic?

Years ago, Subic and Clark were hot spots for boiler rooms - illegal high pressure telephone scams that bilked people out of their life savings. After enough elderly people lost their homes and were left destitute in the United States, Australia and Europe, authorities cracked down and ran the boiler rooms off.

Looks like they might be back...

Philippines accuses 16 Taiwanese of retiree scam

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Philippine authorities have arrested 16 Taiwanese in connection with an online scam that mostly targeted retirees living in China and Taiwan, an official said Wednesday.

The suspects pretended to be bank employees and persuaded victims to reveal their account numbers and ohther details, said Ronald Aguto, chief of the Computer Crimes Division of the Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation.

He said suspects called retirees and told them their accounts had been compromised and must be upgraded or changed. Others represented themselves as prosecutors and persuaded their victims to settle nonexistent complaints by depositing money to a syndicate's account, he said.

The suspects, 15 males and one female, were arrested Tuesday in three separate houses inside the Subic Bay Freeport, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Manila, Aguto said.

He said the group used Internet telephone connections and read from prepared scripts when talking to the victims.

"When they think they could not convince the person, they would say, 'Somebody will call you,' or, 'You can call this number of the prosecutor's office or another branch of government,' ... and they have another script for that," Aguto said.

He said his bureau was tipped off by a concerned citizen and the scam had been going on for two months. Agents recovered computers, telephones and fake credit cards, some of them still blank, he said.

Philippine police arrested and deported nearly 300 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals involved in a similar scam last year. Aguto said the syndicate continued to operate in small cells, including the one busted this week.

He said that the suspects face charges of illegal use of electronic access devices such as ATM and credit cards. A more comprehensive anti-cybercrime law is still under review by the Supreme Court.

If convicted, each suspect could face six to 20 years in prison. In last year's cases, however, the Philippine government sent Taiwanese suspects to their home country to face charges there, at Taiwan's request.

Subic Pizza Man Pleads Guilty

NY man dubbed No. 1 deadbeat parent pleads guilty

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man once dubbed by prosecutors as the government's most wanted deadbeat parent pleaded guilty Thursday to owing more than $1.2 million to three children from two failed marriages.

Robert Sand, 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on Long Island to two counts of failing to pay child support. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Bode said in court that the child support orders, which were issued on Long Island, have been in arrears since at least 2002.

The figure cited by Bode includes interest and penalties. The prosecutor declined to comment to reporters after the court proceeding.

Sand told the judge he fled first to Florida and then to Thailand Sand's attorney, Glenn Obedin, said his client had grown tired of living on the run and contacted authorities late last year.

Sand left Thailand, where he had worked in an assortment of odd jobs, and flew to the Philippines. He was arrested and then deported from the Philippines in November 2012 because he lacked proper identification, prosecutors said. He was sent to Los Angeles, where he was arrested by federal marshals, and then extradited to New York, where he has been held without bail since December.

"He had enough and wanted to come back and have the opportunity to make it right," Obedin told reporters after the court proceeding on Long Island.

Sand faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced in May.

"Neither court orders nor the familial bond meant anything to him as he fled to avoid his obligations," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

The two mothers of Sand's three children were not in the courtroom for Thursday's proceeding, but Obedin has said he has contacted them and claimed their priority is for Sand to be free to earn a living so he can repay his debt. As part of the plea agreement, Sand is required to make full restitution. He waived his right to appeal the guilty plea.

Obedin said Sand has worked in the past as a car salesman and has an offer to work in that field when he is released.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Subic Golf Sucked


Since this blog helps provide information for locals and visitors alike I wanted to comment on our recent golf experience at SBMA. That would be the formerly Binicatican Golf Course now named Subic Golf.

The golf cart was an antique that barely moved. We had to get out so it could manage any slight increase in elevation over the nine hole outing. (yeah we're overweight foreigners)

The caddies were dismal. After the first hole when we asked for the scorecard they had forgotten it. Over the next 8 holes they 1) forgot to take out or put back flags 2) forgot to remove balls from holes after putts 3) talked while golfers were putting 4) moved while golfers were putting. We used to complain about the caddies at San Antonio but those are Augusta quality compared to ours that day at Subic Golf.

All this for P1100 ea for the round, P500 for the cart and worst of all P300 for each caddie. On the bright side the course was in nice condition. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Never Forget

 Bataan Death March

"Their ferocity grew as we marched ... they were no longer content with mauling stragglers or pricking them with bayonet points. The thrusts were intended to kill."
- Capt. William Dyess, 21st Pursuit Squadron commander

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Angeles-style Executions Come to Subic

For years, we have seen execution style killings of expats, particularly bar managers and owners, in Angeles. That is part of the reason that so many bar owners and managers relocated to quieter, safer Subic. Looks like those days are over now...

From the Brisbane Times:

Man shot over private life, colleague claims

Paul Davy was a mystery man - a "lovely guy" but a "harsh boss"; a "bit of a loner" but also "a man about town".

One thing is for sure: the 53-year-old Australian had a complicated private life, one part of which caught up with him on Saturday night when he was shot in the head, execution style, at a beachside bar in the Philippines.

"When a .45 bullet enters your head, it's a nasty experience," said Mick Hay, owner of the Blue Rock Beach Resort in Olongapo, near Subic Bay, where the murder took place. "I can tell you, because I was sitting right next to [Paul] when he got shot."

Mr Davy had been working for the past 3½ years as the resort's general manager.

"He ran the place well," Mr Hay said. "He was strict but you have to be here."

The two men were talking in the restaurant when, about 7pm, a man in a blue shirt, baseball cap and glasses walked past Mr Hay, raised a pistol and fired a shot into Mr Davy's right temple.

"Paul collapsed on the ground and the [shooter] ran off," Mr Hay said. "He was still holding the gun so no one was game to tackle him. He then jumped on a scooter and took off." Mr Hay loaded Mr Davy into a van and raced to a hospital in Manila, where he survived for 40 minutes.

Senior Police Officer Nasser Abdulasul, from Olongapo Police, said police had interviewed staff at the resort where senior management had a reputation for harshness. "Some of the staff told us that there were some workers who had been laid off recently without compensation. So that is one motive."

But Mr Hay rejected this. "What happened to Paul had nothing to with Blue Rock. It has to do with his private life."

It is understood Mr Davy, who was from Toowoomba, had an estranged wife and adult daughter in Brisbane. He also had a partner in Angeles City, north of Olongapo. "He used to visit her every couple of weeks," Mr Hay said. "He had a little girl with her, a five-year-old. There was never a problem there. But Paul was what you would call a man about town. It was common knowledge. And so we're 90 per cent sure that his murder has to do with that."

Mr Hay said Mr Davy came to the Philippines seven years ago but that he had "no idea'' what he did before.

"In the Philippines it's a good idea not to ask too many questions,'' Mr Hay said.

Vote for Flood Control in Olongapo!

In a few short months Olongapo will be going through it's annual flood scare. We will repeatedly be on Typhoon 2000 or Weather Wunderground checking on storms and tides. 1997 and 2012 were brutal with entire barangays under water. That is what makes the May elections so important. Make the candidates aware of our needs. Vote for people who will provide funds for flood control. Candidates that will dredge the canals and rivers. Don't let the political clowns get away with their singing and dance routines. Demand action with your voice and your vote.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

National Highways are Not for Drying Rice!


The Department of Public Works and Highways is urging farmers and rice traders not to use the national highways as solar dryers to avoid road accidents.

“We have widened the national highways to facilitate smoother flow of traffic especially in major arterials roads and not to be used as solar dryers for palay or corn,” said Secretary of Public Works and Highways Rogelio L. Singson.

The DPWH has widened and improved the McArthur Highway or the Manila North Road going to the Ilocos Region; the Cagayan Valley Road going to the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Isabela; and the Manila South Road or Daang Maharlika going to Bicol and other national arterial roads in the country.

It is observed that farmers taking advantage of the good weather are drying up their palay or corn along the national highways and cordoning off road sections that were widened.

“To add trouble, these farmers put stones and barriers along the national highways to protect their palay from being overrun by vehicles. The presence of big stones or boulders poses danger to motorists,” said Singson.

The DPWH Chief also noted that tricycles and motorcycles are using the center lanes of these widened national roads. This practice hampers smoother flow of traffic or poses danger to motorists, particularly at night time.

“These tricycles and motorcycles are slow moving vehicles and often do not have appropriate tail lights that are visible during nighttime.” Said Singson.

He said that, “if they want to use the national roads, then, they should use the outer lanes to prevent accidents to happen. We are urging the LGUs to help put order along the national roads, particularly in poblaciones or market areas. We are experiencing heavy traffic on the approaches of these market areas or town centers because of the presence of tricycle terminals or parking areas encroaching on national roads.”

“We are also urging the LGUs and the Philippine National Police to strictly enforce the ‘no parking’ regulation or encroachments on national roads especially at the widened portion,” added Singson.

From: dpwh.gov.ph

Friday, April 5, 2013

Night Speed Traps on North Luzon Highway


From the North Luzon Expressway:

NLEX Night Eyes

Monitoring and apprehension of speeding vehicles at night is now a reality at the North Luzon Expressway.

Tollways Management Corporation (TMC) levels up in its efforts to ensure safe travel along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with its recent acquisition of state-of-the-art speed detection equipment called, "Pro Laser Video or PLVideo".

One of the unique features of the PLVideo is its capability to capture video footages of speeding vehicles at NIGHT. Unlike other night speed detection equipment which releases a flash in order to capture and illuminate images and identify speeding vehicles, the PLVideo emits infrared light with its 24 LED Infrared Reflectors which clearly captures the plate number of an incoming speeding vehicle. The infra red light cannot be seen by the naked eye and, thus, drivers of vehicles being monitored are not distracted compared to flash emitting night speed detection equipment. Night speed monitoring and detection is, thus, made even safer for drivers with the PLVideo.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eat Chili, Play Golf, Support the Community

From a Reader:
In conjunction with the Fleet Reserve Association's annual chili cook-off, a charity golf tournament will also be held. The proceeds will go entirely to their many charities that benefit local children. The tournament will be held on Friday April 5th at the Navy Golf Course in San Antonio. Sponsorship of the tournament is just P1000. Sponsor's names will be on all the posters and banners for a month. Anyone wishing a sponsorship please call or text 09399178593 before the end of February. We especially thank those already on board:

Texas Joe's * Arlene’s * Wild Orchid * Lorenzana Dental * By The Sea * Mango’s * Blue Rock * Johan’s * Voodoo * Dryden Group * Hot Zone  Harley’s * Sit n Bull * Treasure Island * The General’s * Dynamite Dicks * Palm Tree* Alley Cat * Porky’s BBQ Shack * Up The Alley
Trader Rick's * Jim & Kathy * Bar Barretto * Coffee Shop