Rappler Newscast | November 15, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Sen. Cayetano says she may move for a vote to close the period of amendments on the Reproductive Health bill.
- 4 columnists with near identical anti-sin tax articles are branded lobby propagandists.
- Xi Jinping leads China's new seven-man council.
Story 1: CAYETANO TO FORCE SENATE VOTE ON RH
Sen Pia Cayetano says she may move for a vote to close the period of amendments if critics of the Reproductive Health continue to delay it.
Cayetano says she will give Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto, and Senator Ralph Recto until next week to introduce amendments.
On Tuesday, Cayetano and Enrile clash after Cayetano called on the Senate to fast-track the discussion of amendments.
PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: May I know when the Senate president be ready? Because during the caucus, his honor informed me that he will be ready and so I was hoping…
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE PRESIDENT: I do not know, Madame Senator, when I’m ready.
Cayetano says if Sotto and Enrile are still not be ready, she will invoke Senate rules that state a majority can vote to close the period of amendments.
PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Everyday that I patiently wait is one more day that this bill will be delayed...I think every senator should be held accountable for the vote that they make for the future of every Filipina in this country.
Story 2: UNITED NATIONS: CONTRACEPTION A HUMAN RIGHT
The United Nations says billions of dollars will boost the world economy if all women had access to contraception.
According to its annual State of World Population report, inadequate family planning in developing countries significantly contributes to poverty and illness.
It notes, $5.7 billion dollars could be saved by preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
The director of UN Population fund says, "Family planning is not a privilege, but a right."
The agency says women with access to family planning contribute enormously to economic development.
Story 3: SIN TAX BY MONDAY? MARCOS DOUBTS IT
Sen. Bongbong Marcos says he doubts the sin tax bill will be passed on November 19, Senate Ways and Means Committee acting chair Senator Franklin Drilon’s target date.
Marcos says he and several senators still plan to introduce amendments to the measure.
Drilon’s bill aims to raise an additional P40 billion in revenues from tobacco and alcoholic products.
The figure is higher than the P15 billion to P20 billion in the version proposed by Senator Ralph Recto, and closer to the P60 billion target of the executive branch.
Marcos says the Drilon version is not realistic, will harm tobacco farmers and cause a spike in smuggling.
Story 4: 4 COLUMNISTS EXPOSED FOR SIMILAR SIN TAX ARTICLES
4 columnists come under fire for posting similar content and ideas on the sin tax bill.
All 4 were critical of Sen Franklin Drilon and his push for higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.
The columnists are Alex Magno and Mary Ann Reyes of the Philippine Star; Ducky Paredes of Malaya Business Insight, and Jojo Robles of Manila Standard Today.
Bearing similar lines and ideas, the 4 columns portrayed Drilon as an ill-prepared and incompetent chairman compared to Recto.
The columns spark online outrage, with netizens saying the 4 are being used by anti-sin tax lobbyists.
Read the full story on Rappler.com: 4 columnists exposed for similar sin tax articles.
Story 5: PH ENVOY TO KUWAIT RECALLED TO MANILA
The Philippine ambassador to Kuwait is recalled to Manila.
His former domestic helper accuses him of human trafficking and sexual molestation.
Carlos Santamaria reports.
About a year ago, a young woman from Leyte went to Kuwait to work as a domestic helper.
She ran away after being allegedly abused by her employer, ended up in a shelter until she was hired by the Philippine ambassador, Shulan Primavera.
A few months later the woman returned to the Philippines.
She accuses the ambassador of paying her half the minimum wage and sexual misconduct.
ATTY. REYNALDO REYES, LAWYER: She doesn't want this to happen to other OFWs who may be asked to work for the ambassador.
The woman claims that on three separate occasions, Ambassador Primavera tried to engage in sexual relations with her, and even exposed himself to her.
DR. SUSAN OPLE, PRESIDENT, BLAS F. OPLE CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY: At times she was emotional, and obviously what transpired in the residence of the ambassador, based on her allegations, whatever it was, really struck a nerve. It was a painful experience for her. She felt compelled to come forward because she felt she was being belittled because of her status as a household worker. That was the driving force behind her decision to seek justice.
Primavera denies the allegations and says they are part of a demolition job by his predecessor to tarnish his reputation.
The diplomat has been recalled from Kuwait for the probe.
Under the Foreign Service Act, if Primavera is found guilty, he will be removed from his post.
CARLOS SANTAMARIA, REPORTING: If the administrative case fails, the complainant can also file criminal charges against Primavera, who may be still be prosecuted in local courts. The ambassador's residence in Kuwait is considered Philippine sovereign territory by international law.
Carlos Santamaria, Rappler, Manila
Story 6: OFW REMITTANCES RISE NEARLY 6% TO $17.3-B IN JAN-SEPT
Remittances from Filipinos working overseas grow in September despite economic challenges in the Philippines' labor markets.
Personal remittances -- the cash and non-cash items sent through formal and informal channels -- rose 6% in September from a year ago to $2 billion.
This brings the 9-month remittance tally to $17.3 billion, up 5.7% year on year.
Cash remittances also rise, amounting to $15.6 billion for the first 9 months.
Story 7: ROXAS RELIEVES POLICE CHIEFS OVER MONEY SCAM
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas dismisses two police chiefs for their failure to stop an investment scam.
The Aman Futures Investment scam reportedly collected P12 billion from 15,000 people in Pagadian City and parts of Mindanao.
Roxas says he relieved 2 police officials in Zamboanga del Sur and Pagadian City to avoid a cover-up in the ongoing probe.
Story 8: LORD DAVID TRIMBLE: NEGOTIATING PEACE
Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord David Trimble talks about the Northern Ireland peace process and its similarities to the Philippines’ peace efforts.
The Aquino government resumes peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front following the creation of a Framework Agreement.
He says Northern Ireland and the Philippines faced similar situations: the presence of a terrorist threat and the involvement of religion.
Trimble says decommissioning is important, but a commitment to peace remains the bigger issue.
LORD DAVID TRIMBLE, 1998 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE AWARDEE: The focus of attention was on the decommissioning of weapons but in fact behind that stood a bigger, more important issue. The big issue was whether the various groups that have previously been involved in violence were going to give up violence permanently for good and commit themselves to democratic peaceful means of pursuing their objectives. That was the big issue.
Story 9: SWISS EXPERTS TO CLEAR UNEXPLODED BOMBS IN MINDANAO
Following the peace pact signed by Muslim rebels and the Philippine government, the European Union says Swiss experts will soon begin clearing unexploded bombs in Mindanao.
EU's ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux says dozens have been killed or maimed by unexploded devices on Mindanao.
800,000 residents could not farm their land because of mine hazards.
Story 10: 'RAPPING JIHADI,' ABU SAYYAF LEADER IN FBI TERROR WANTED LIST
The FBI adds to its list of most wanted terrorists, the American 'Rapping Jihadi,' an insurgent for Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab who uses rap as a propaganda tool.
Omar Shafik Hammami, born in Alabama but reportedly lives in Somalia, is believed to be a senior leader of the Shebab rebels.
He has been releasing rap songs in English on the Internet since 2009.
FBI also adds to its list Filipino Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, wanted for his role in the kidnapping of an American in the Philippines in 1993.
He led the group that kidnapped reporter Ces Drilon and her crew in 2008.
Today he is holding captive 2 Europeans, a Japanese, a Jordanian and 2 Filipinos.
Story 11: XI JINPING LEADS NEW CHINESE LEADERS
China's Communist Party unveils a new seven-man leadership council Thursday to take command of the world's number two economy for the next decade.
Xi Jinping is the party's new general-secretary, succeeding President Hu Jintao.
In his first address to the nation Thursday, Xi vows to build "a better life" for the country's 1.3 billion people.
He says the Communist Party must solve many pressing problems, including graft and corruption and "being divorced from the people."
In second place in the new line-up is current Vice Premier Li Keqiang, whose promotion puts him in line to be appointed the country's premier in March.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs says...
the Philippine government is looking forward to a "positive, peaceful and stable" relationship with China.
The Philippines is in a long-standing dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea.
Story 12: SUU KYI: MYANMAR UNREST AN 'INTERNATIONAL TRAGEDY'
Aung San Suu Kyi describes the violence in west Myanmar between Buddhists and Muslims as a ---quote "huge international tragedy."
She says illegal migration from Bangladesh has to be stopped to end the problem.
Suu Kyi says she declined to speak out on behalf of stateless Rohingya Muslims who live on both sides of the border because she wants to promote reconciliation.
Myanmar's 80,000 Rohingya are seen by the government and many in the country as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Story 13: OBAMA STANDS FIRM ON TAXES IN FISCAL CLIFF SHOWDOWN
US President Barack Obama tells Republicans they would have to accept tax increases for the rich if the US is to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff refers to what will happen next when automatic massive spending cuts kick in, which could shrink the US economy and push unemployment up.
Obama says he wants to extend tax cuts set to expire at year-end for 98 percent of Americans to mitigate the impact of the cliff.
But he says any agreement could not include extending tax breaks for the wealthier two percent of Americans, a position most Republicans reject.
Obama says if the Republicans accept his plan, legislation could be passed within weeks to avert the tax increases scheduled to hit on January 1.
Story 14: THE wRAP: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, workers in Greece, Spain and Portugal protest in coordinated strikes against budget cuts encouraged by the European Union.
Organizers say this was the widest, union-led challenge to euro crisis austerity measures since it began in 2008.
The demonstration in Madrid turned violent when police charged with clubs even as large factories shut down production in Spain.
Are they effective? Not really, say analysts.
After four years of economic woes, the leaders of the countries have grown used to these protests.
At number 6, The New York Times reveals more details about the investigation which led to the discovery of the extramarital affair between CIA director David Petraus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
It reveals the name of the FBI agent who delved into the chain of email messages which eventually led to Petraus’ resignation.
The agent, Frederick W. Humphries, II, 47, is described as a “’hard-charging’ veteran counterterrorism investigator who played a major role in the foiled millennium terrorist plot in 1999.”
The Wall Street Journal says Jill Kelley, the woman who triggered Humphries' investigation tried "to get the FBI to drop the matter."
And at number 9, Israel kills a Hamas military chief in an air strike in Gaza Wednesday.
Palestinian militants warn it had opened "the gates of hell."
Egypt says it would recall its ambassador.
Ahmed Jaabari and his bodyguard were killed when a strike hit the car they were riding in Gaza City. Violence continues Thursday.