The wRap


Your World in 10 - April 23 2013 Edition

Income Inequality

1. Top 20% PH families earn 8x the income of bottom 20%



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Despite its general economic gains, the Philippines still faces stark poverty and, with it, income inequality. According to official statistics released on April 23, the total income of top 20% families is 8 times the total income of bottom 20% families in the first 6 months of 2012. The bottom 30% only accounted for 6% of the country's national income. During the period, poverty incidence stood at 27.9%, virtually unchanged from the same period in 2006 and 2009. The government considers a Filipino poor if he or she earns less than the poverty threshold. In the 1st semester of 2012, poverty threshold for a family of 5 was at P5,458 per month to meet basic food needs, or P7,821 to include non-food needs, such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, and education expenses, among others.


Read more on Rappler




Terrorism Across Borders

2. From YouTube to Boston: How boys become bombers



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The YouTube channel of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, provides a hint about his online radicalization, likely leading to his role in planting the bombs that killed and hurt people in the Boston marathon a week ago. His "playlist of hate" shows his support of fundamentalism and violent jihad, and includes a song called “I Dedicate My Life to Jihad,” as well as deleted links to extremist groups in Chechnya where his family is originally from. Terrorism expert and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa said the Internet is another wild card in how extremist groups radicalize and recruit across borders, resulting in the indiscriminate killing of civilians.


Read or watch the report on Rappler




Election Violence

3. Who rules? Not the rebels, says Aquino



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President Benigno Aquino III and the Guingona family shrugged off the claim of communist rebels that the weekend attack against the convoy of Ruthie Guingona, wife of former vice president Teofisto Guingona, was only an act of "self-defense." Ruthie, the outgoing mayor of the remote and mountainous Gingoog town in Mindanao, survived the ambush but two of her staff members, who were among those that the guerillas claimed fired at their checkpoint, were killed. After initially asking for forgiveness from the Guingona family, the rebel group New Peoples Army flip-flopped and insisted that their checkpoint operations will proceed as the elections draw near. The military has accused the communist guerrillas of extorting money from politicians in exchange for letting them campaign.


Read more on Rappler here and here




No More Labor Woes?

4. After 15 years and a raise, PAL and flight attendants seal deal



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One of the expectations when diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. took over control of legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) in 2012 is coming true. Long-time watchers of PAL's labor woes under tycoon Lucio Tan had hoped that San Miguel could better manage the restive unions. On April 22, officials of San Miguel and Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines (FASAP) shook hands and sealed a collective bargaining deal that may end a 15-year legal saga following PAL's move to retrench employees in 1998. The 1,600 FASAP members were given a raise and granted more benefits for services rendered between 2010 and 2015. This cements a fresh start for the new management and the flight crew.



Read more on Rappler




Vote Of Confidence

5. French, Swiss, Korean, other foreign firms vie for Cebu airport



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Eight of the Philippines' richest and most powerful, and 7 of their foreign partners from 3 continents were among the trimmed down list of participants in the auction for the P17.5 billion Mactan-Cebu International Expansion project, the country's 2nd busiest. Groups led by Gokongwei, Manuel Pangilinan, Ayala, Aboitiz, Gotianun, Tan, Sy, and Lopez families have teamed up with foreign firms from France, US, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, India and Switzerland that have expertise in airport projects. Bidding for this key infrastructure project under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme faced numerous delays, but the Aquino government wants it finished by 2016.


Read more on Rappler




Expansion Plans

6. Wanted: Myanmar



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Top Philippine conglomerates continue to pursue investment opportunities in Myanmar, a former hermit kingdom that is now opening up. The Ayalas are looking into real estate, banking and telco opportunities in this market, which company officials described as "the last piece of Asean puzzle." Businesses led by Manuel V. Pangilinan are focusing on adding Myanmar in the Asian footprint of its infrastructure, energy, water, and telco portfolio. The Gokongwei group, too, is considering putting up manufacturing facilities there to sell locally or export elsewhere. Another Filipino entrepreneur who has gone to Myanmar way back in 1999 may teach them a strategy or two. Carlos Chan, the man behind the wildly successful Oishi snack food brand, boldly entered the Myanmar market after successfully penetrating China and Vietnam.


Read more about Ayala's Myanmar ventures on Rappler
Read more about Gokongwei's Myanmar plans on Rappler
Read more about Pangilinan-led groups' telco bids in Myanmar on Rappler
Read more about Oishi's Asian portfolio here

Image via Shutterstock




Economic Immigrants

7. Spain's population shrinks amid economic crisis



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Nearly 216,000 left Spain in 2012, causing the troubled country's population to shrink for the first time since the 1990's. The drop to 47.1 million was largely attributed to foreign immigrants, led by Ecuadorians, Columbians, Romanians and Moroccans, who flee Spain as unemployment soared to about 25%, making Spain a less attractive destination for economic immigrants. The economy of Spain, eurozone's 4th largest economy, shrank by 1.37% in 2012 as it continued to feel the effects of the collapse of a decade-long property boom in 2008.


Read more on Rappler




Online Witch Hunt

8. Reddit joins 'sorry' chorus on wrong Boston bombing reports



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The general manager of San Francisco-based news-sharing platform Reddit issued a public apology on April 22 for being a rallying point for amateur sleuths who used it to inadvertently expose the wrong people behind the bombing at the Boston Marathon. "Though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on Reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties," Erik Martin said in a blog post. Reddit along with some of its users and moderators apologized privately to the family of a missing college student wrongly implicated during a quest to use crowd-sourcing to identify who was behind the bombing. Reddit traffic hit a peak of about 272,000 users when reports hit that a second suspect was captured.

Several news organizations that also erred in reporting have owned up to their mistake.


Read more on Rappler




Sporting Event

9. Palarong Pambansa 2013: Disabled athletes compete, inspire



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Thousands of young Filipino athletes gather in Dumaguete for the week-long Palarong Pambansa 2013, the country's largest sporting event.

Among them is John Paul Cabido, an 11-year-old gymnast from General Santos City. His right arm was amputated due to an infection when he was 5 years old. Yet he is able to do stellar routines, using just one arm when doing the vault. Another is Jomar Maalam, a young swimmer from Zamboanga del Sur. He has no legs, but he has been swimming all his life since he lives by the sea and surrounded by fishermen.


Read or watch about Jomar Maalam on Rappler
Read about John Paul Cabido on Rappler

For more inspiring stories of triumph and faith, check the Palarong Pambansa 2013 microsite




Lonely Planet No More

10. Now available: One way ticket to Mars



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Mars One, a Dutch start-up, has announced a casting call for travelers to Mars starting in 2022 -- and who will never return back to Earth but will live and start a colony on the Red Planet. The colony's budget comes in at "about $6 billion," more than the $2.5 billion mission of NASA's rover Curiosity, the most advanced and biggest robot to ever traverse Mars. Every two years, a new crew would join the first batch of volunteer astronauts. Each flight will carry two men and two women, so reproduction on Mars would be feasible but not intended. The company said it has received over 10,000 e-mails from interested would-be spacefarers.



Read more on CNN