The year 2016 was welcomed with both good and bad news.  Just a few days before 2015 ended, the whole world/universe witnessed our very own confidently beautiful Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach crowned Miss Universe 2015 (December 20). She started the winning streak of beautiful Filipinas in the international beauty pageants in 2016.

On the other hand, Philippine showbiz was not spared with a scandal to usher 2016. The Metro Manila Film Festival 2015 awards night was marred with controversy when the movie Honor Thy Father was disqualified from the Best Picture category but gave John Lloyd Cruz a nod as best actor nominee. It spawned some politicians to bring the case to congress  (led by former Laguna Congressman Dan Fernandez), hoping to avert this kind of incident in the future.

The beginning of 2016 saw the emergence of new players in the country’s political landscape as the campaign period for the national election was heating up. And the whole year, politics became the talk-of-the-town, with some elected officials and military officers have been link to the country’s drug menace. Drug lords and drug protectors became the grave threat to the current administration’s anti-drug war campaign, a promised made by Pres. Duterte during the election time that he would clean government bureaucracy from corruption and eliminate all illegal drugs in the country.

Aside from politics, showbiz became colorful as some of our films won accolades in some prestigious film festivals abroad, while some entertainers were implicated and involved in illegal drugs, and now in jail.

As 2016 is soon to end, here’s our

Top 8  Newsmakers of the year.         

On top of our list is former Davao City mayor, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, winning the presidential race last May and was proclaimed as the Philippines 16th president. Popularly known as Digong, he was the only presidential aspirant who never had a national position in public office but had a sweeping victory and clinched the highest post of the land.  In fulfilling his campaign promise, his anti-drug war brought him to international attention and controversy as deaths (extra judicial killings) related to the illegal drugs have been linked to his administration. Thus, he got the ire of the UN, EU and the U.S. of A.

But on the lighter side, Pres. Duterte won the support of Russia, China, Japan, most countries of the ASEAN region, US president-elect Donald Trump, the American business group, Canada, and other countries, regarding his anti-drug campaign. In fact, Forbes Magazine included him as one of the most Powerful Men of 2016, and was chosen Person of the Year for 2016 of a Chinese language magazine (Yazhou   Zhoukan), published in Hong Kong, for he changed the balance of power in Asia.

With President Duterte, one of his political nemesis comes next in our list, former DOJ secretary and now senator, Leila De Lima.  Allegedly called as the Drug Lord Protector Queen, she got the nod of both senate and congress to investigate her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade when her name was linked to several big time drug pushers presently jailed inside the Bilibid prison. During her term as the DOJ secretary, investigation shows the illegal drug trade inside Bilibid became rampant.

But what makes De Lima a newsmaker is her alleged illicit affair with some of her bodyguards and a driver. Allegedly, a sex video scandal of her and her former married lover bodyguard/driver named Dayan has been circulating in social media and pirated CDs in Quiapo.

The third in our list is the MMFF 2016 Screening Committee Big Change in their rules and requirements. With the ongoing investigation brought by last year’s MMFF controversy, a new exe-com was established to initiate change and revolutionize the selection process of this year’s Metro Manila Film Fest entries.  And true enough, quality films ruled than commercialism.

The fourth is the Miss Universe fever in the Philippines and other local beauty queens winning in the international pageants, most notably Kylie Versoza crowned as Miss International. And because of the effort made by our very own Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach and by some local businessmen, and with the help and support of the Department of Tourism, finally our country, after more than two decades, will host Miss Universe 2017 and the coronation night will be on January 30, 2017. It’s another venue for the whole world to take notice on us and help boost our tourism industry.

In the entertainment arena, Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa took center stage at the Cannes Film Festival 2016 when our very own Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress. Not only that, Ma. Isabel Lopez became the talk of the festival among fashion gurus when she flaunted her Albert Andrada green creation. Ang Babaeng Humayo came next at it won Best film at the Venice International Film Festival. It was the comeback film of Ms. Charo Santos after years of hiatus from the movies. Also included here are the other films which won other international recognitions like Die Beautiful in Tokyo Film Festival (Best Film and Best Actor for Paulo Ballesteros), and Lav Diaz’s Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis which won Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

On the seventh place, the most-talked about burial of the former strongman, President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The anti-Marcos group tried to stop the burial by filing a petition in the Supreme Court, but after few days of delay in their decision, the highest court decided to dismiss the complaint.

Image: Trixie Dauz

And on the eighth spot, is Sunday Beauty Queen  winning Best Picture in this year’s MMFF. The first documentary film to win in the said category.  Indeed, this is a monumental sign that change is coming in the Philippines.

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