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FACE OF THE NEWS: Dec. 23, 2018

/ 05:15 AM December 23, 2018

Illustration by RENE ELEVERA

Roy Cimatu

“This will perhaps be my best Christmas,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu told reporters on Thursday, visibly in high spirits after winning praises for the government’s “successful” rehabilitation of Boracay Island.

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As chair of the Boracay interagency task force, Cimatu oversaw the six-month closure and cleanup of the island.

The task force has since planned a series of rehabilitation work on the country’s other major tourist spots, such as El Nido in Palawan, Panglao in Bohol and Puerto Galera in Mindoro Oriental.

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This week, Cimatu announced an ambitious mission, one that past administrations have failed to do: clean up the Manila Bay.

“I am optimistic that this can be done. We can apply here the same strategy we used in Boracay,” he said.

Luis Antonio Tagle

Days before the bullying incident that involved two Ateneo junior high school students, a statement Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle made against people who use power to bully others made headlines.

The soft-spoken archbishop of Manila found himself at the center of a firestorm.

Tagle drew President Rodrigo Duterte’s ire when he condemned the abuse of power in a homily during the first “Misa de gallo” at Manila Cathedral.

Tagle did not mention names when he reminded the faithful not to bully anyone.

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“Don’t use your power as a license to be rude. Don’t use your power to coerce people,” he said.

The “most afraid and insecure” were the ones who use their power to belittle others, he added.

The Palace was quick to say that the President was not alluded to by Tagle.

Angela Ponce

In an emotional moment never before seen in the 66-year history of the Miss Universe tilt, Angela Ponce walked the runway alone, pumping her fist in the air, holding her sash close to her chest — as if she had already won the crown.

But the 27-year-old did not even make it to the top 20.

She was being honored for being the first transgender woman to join the beauty pageant.

Ponce’s road to the Bangkok stage on Monday last week was never easy.

She had to fight intolerance and bullying all her life while trying to put across a message of hope and inclusion.

Her appearance as Spain’s bet was not lost on everyone, dividing even the most rabid of pageant lovers.

It took all of six years since the pageant relaxed its rules to include transgender women.

Catriona Gray

She purred, and then she pounced — all the while sashaying down the runway in a Mayon volcano-inspired red dress that complemented her “lava walk.”

Catriona Gray did not just win the fourth Miss Universe title for the Philippines, she also managed to keep Manila’s roads free of bottlenecks even for a while on Monday.

Indeed, she raised the flag proudly for her countrymen in what was perhaps the most dramatic edition yet of the pageant.

But even though Gray had displayed Filipino symbols on her outfits since Day One, Australia reminded everyone that the beauty was born and raised in Cairns.

Splattered across a local paper was a description of Gray as “Miss Universe Philippines” — but the “Philippines” was crossed out  and “Queensland” was added.

George H.W. Bush

Only days after the death of former US President George H.W. Bush, the Christian charity Compassion International revealed that the American leader secretly sponsored a Filipino boy for 10 years.

Now married at 25 years old, Timothy Villalba recalled exchanging letters with the sponsor he knew only as “George Walker.”

Compassion International had copies of the letters and they reveal a side of Bush that was kept entirely secret from the public.

Timothy said he did not know that it was the President of the United States who was sending his monthly stipends.

Bush began sponsoring Timothy in 2002 with a monthly donation until his graduation from the charitable program in 2012.

“I [only] wish I had a chance to meet him while he was still alive,” he said.

Villalba is barangay secretary in his home village of Escopa 4 in Quezon City.

He also moonlights as a singer.

“I’m successful and happy,” Timothy said.

Terrence Romeo

Since his days with Far Eastern University, Terrence Romeo has been hounded by controversy.

Skillful and brash, Romeo refuses to back down from any challenge on the court.

But his attitude has rubbed teammates and coaches the wrong way.

And it has done so again now.

Romeo hit the headlines when seven high-profile players from TNT KaTropa demanded that management trade away the basketball star.

Their complaints, according to an official, ranged from Romeo picking fights with teammates whenever he gets banged up in hard practices to making everything on the team about himself.

In response, TNT dealt Romeo to San Miguel Beer, where he will have one last shot at redemption before his career dissolves into littered snapshots of his stubbornness.

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TAGS: Angela Ponce, Catriona Gray, Faces of the News, George H.W. Bush, Luis Antonio Tagle, Roy Cimatu, Terrence Romeo
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