Jun Golfer takes Rotary Title

Paolo de Leon, a 14 year-old student at St. John’s Institute in Bacolod City, was the overall champion of last weekend’s Rotary ‘Golf for a Cause’ tournament held at the Negros Golf and Country Club in Bata Subdivision.

Rotary Golf champion Paolo de Leon flanked by Marapara Rotary president Jojo Montinola (r) and president-elect and tournament director, Al Picardal (l)

Rotary Golf champion Paolo de Leon flanked by Marapara Rotary president Jojo Montinola (r) and president-elect and tournament director, Al Picardal (l)

Paolo, who has been playing golf since the age of six, had a net score of 85 points under the Stableford scoring system.  He has a handicap of 10.

“I was surprised, but thrilled to take the title”,  he said. “It’s a real boost to my confidence and a strong motivator for me to do even better in the future.”

Other winners were: Class A: Boy Manaloto (hcp 10) 77 points; Class B: Fidel Fuentes (hcp 16) 81 points; Class C: Rudy Pranga (hcp 22) 83 points. Friendship Division: J J Coscolluela 72 points. Overall gross champion was Francis Gaston (hcp 4) with 70 points.

This was the 12th Rotary ‘Golf for a Cause’ tournament, said Jojo Montinola, president of the Rotary Club of Bacolod Marapara, organizers of the event.

“The tournament was a great success with an excellent turnout of players”, he said.

“Not only is the event a lot of fun, it raises vital funds which enables our club to continue its community programs, especially medical missions for the less fortunate in our society.

“I’d like to thank all the players, sponsors and volunteers for their participation, with a special mention of our main sponsors Coca-Cola, the City of Talisay, Shangri La’s Mactan Resort and Spa and Philippine Airlines.”

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Fall of Saigon Lensman Dies

By Robert Harland
Hugh van Es' most famous photograph - the evacuation of  US citizens from Saigon in 1975

Hugh van Es' most famous photograph - the evacuation of US citizens from Saigon in 1975

Hubert Van Es, a Dutch photographer, who captured some of the most memorable images of the Vietnam War, has died in  Hong Kong after suffering a brain haemorrhage. He was 67.

His most famous picture, taken during the fall of Saigon in 1975, showed a group of US citizens scaling a ladder to a CIA helicopter on a rooftop during the city’s evacuation.

As North Vietnamese forces approached Saigon, hundreds of Vietnamese joined Americans fleeing the country, mostly by helicopters from the U.S. Embassy roof.

Hugh van Es in Macau in 1969

Hugh van Es in Macau in 1969

A few blocks away, others climbed a ladder on the roof of an apartment building that housed CIA officials and families, hoping to escape aboard a UH-1 Huey helicopter owned by Air America, the CIA-run airline.

From his vantage point on a balcony at the United Press International (UPI) office nearby, Van Es recorded the scene. The picture became a striking emblem of America’s failure in Vietnam.

According to his widow, Annie Van Es, he earned no royalties from the photograph other than a one-time bonus of $150 from UPI.

2008 photo of Hugh Van Es in Hong Kong

2008 photo of Hugh Van Es in Hong Kong

Van Es was born in Hilversum, in the Netherlands  He was known variously in his working life as ‘Hu’, the Anglicized ‘Hugh’ and the nickname ‘Vanes’.

He arrived in Hong Kong in 1967 and worked first as a freelancer and then moved to the colony’s South China Morning Post as chief photographer. He joined the Associated Press photo staff in Saigon in 1969 and covered the last three years of the war from 1972-75 for UPI.

He returned to Hong Kong after the war, and lived there for the rest of his life while photographing news events across Asia.

He covered the Moro rebellion in the Philippines and was among the journalists who flew into Kabul to cover the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Having evaded efforts to make him join an airlift out of Kabul, and arrest by Afghan police, Van Es was one of the first to photograph the invasion of Soviet tanks.

He was a stalwart of Hong Kong’s famous Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC). Sadly, I saw him at the FCC bar only a month ago.

He was regarded by colleagues to be fearless and resourceful. “He will always be remembered as one of the great witnesses of one of the enormous dramas in the second half of the 20th century,” said Ernst Herb, president of the FCC.

“He really captured the spirit of foreign reporting. He was quite an inspiration.”

Serge Velez to Defend Rotary Title

Serge Velez, winner of the 2008 Rotary ‘Golf for a Cause’ tournament, is to defend his

Defending Rotary champion Serge Velez

Defending Rotary champion Serge Velez

crown in this year’s event to be held at the Negros Golf and Country Club, Bacolod City, Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17.

Velez, a 40 year-old Bacolod businessman, was last year’s champion with a net score of 42 points under the Stableford scoring system.  He has a handicap of 10.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to defend my title and it’s gratifying to know that all the proceeds from this fun event are going to help the less fortunate in our community,” said Velez.

The tournament is organized by the Rotary Club of Bacolod Marapara. Benefiting from the proceeds will be the many needy people especially in rural areas, who can take advantage of the Club’s numerous medical missions each year.

“This event is a crucial part of our annual fund raising activities”, said club president Jojo Montinola. “It’s always a terrific occasion, but most important, it raises much-needed funds which enables us to carry out our community programs.”

The tournament has once again attracted major sponsors including Coca-Cola, the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Philippine Airlines and the Talisay City Government. There are prizes galore this year including a round-trip plane ticket, hotel accommodation and free entry to this year’s Philip Morris Open at Wack Wack.

Players can sign up on the first day of the event at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.  Registration is Php 1,500 which includes green fees, the awards dinner, mulligans and gimmes.  The tournament director is incoming club president Al Picardal.

Shoe-Thrower is a Hero

By Robert Harland

It’s not just Imelda Marcos who is famous for shoes.

National hero Muntadhar al-Zaidi

National hero Muntadhar al-Zaidi

Iraqi TV journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush at a press conference in Baghdad last December, has become a national hero.

As the 28 year-old journalist threw his shoes, he yelled: “This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq. This is a farewell kiss, you dog.”

To celebrate the famous incident, a sculpture of one of the shoes was recently erected in Iraq.  The bronze-colored fiberglass shoe was displayed in the grounds of an orphanage in Tikrit, hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

The artist, Laith al-Amari, said the sculpture should be a “source of pride for all Iraqis.”

The 'Bush' shoe sculpture

The 'Bush' shoe sculpture

But, it was quickly removed from the site on the orders of the local authorities and destroyed.

The deputy governor Salaheddin province, Abdullah Jabra, said: “We will not allow anyone to use government facilities and buildings for political motives.”

After the incident at the press conference, 2008 al-Zaidi was arrested. According to witnesses, he was “severely beaten” by security officers. A “large blood trail” could be seen on the carpet where al-Zaidi had been dragged by security agents.

As the man’s screaming could be heard outside, Bush said “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves.”

Al-Zaidi was interrogated by Iraqi and U.S. agents to ascertain whether anyone paid him to throw his shoes at Bush.

In an interview with the BBC, al-Zaidi’s brother, Durgham, reported that al-Zaidi suffered a broken hand, broken ribs, internal bleeding and an eye injury.

At his trail on March 12, thousands of Iraqis demanded his release calling for the “hero” to be freed from custody.

Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state during an official visit. His attorneys appealed the sentence and on April 7 it was reduced to one year.

Judge Abdul Sattar al-Beeraqdar, spokesman for Iraq’s Higher Judicial Council, said the court reduced al-Zaidi’s sentence because he is young and had no previous criminal record.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki argued al-Zaidi could have faced 15 years in jail or even execution for insulting a visiting head of state.

Maliki also took exception with an opinion poll of Iraqis which found 62 percent regarded al-Zaidi as a “national hero”.