Today on Rappler.
Story 1: HIGH COURT ASKED TO STRIKE DOWN RH LAW
Only 12 days after its signing, a family questions the reproductive health law before the Supreme Court, saying it - quote - ‘mocks the nation’s culture and values.’
On Tuesday, James Imbong, along with his wife Lovely, file a petition before the Supreme Court on behalf of their children.
Imbong says Republic Act 10354 - quote - ‘mocks the nation's Filipino culture - noble and lofty in its values...and holdings on life, motherhood and family life.’
They also ask the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the law, which includes a controversial provision that promotes the use of artificial contraception.
James Imbong is the son of Jo Imbong, the legal counsel of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines.
The CBCP is one of the staunchest critics of the law.
On December 21, President Aquino signs the RH bill into law after 14 years in Congress.
Story 2: MALACAÑANG: HUNT FOR MARCOS WEALTH CONTINUES
Malacanang says efforts to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family will continue as it downplays a proposal to terminate the Presidential Commission on Good Government or PCGG.
On Tuesday, PCGG chair Andres Bautista revives a proposal he originally raises in 2011 that the government end the quest to recover Marcos’ assets.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the report is - quote - ‘not something new’ but adds the PCGG recommendations have not been brought up with the President.
Sources tell Rappler that, sometime in January 2011, a meeting was called by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to discuss possible alternatives to dissolving the PCGG.
Among the options considered at the time was to repurpose the PCGG as the executive branch’s anti-graft and corruption body.
Malacanang did not take any other action following the meeting.
The PCGG was established in 1986 by former President Cory Aquino in her first executive order after toppling the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
Story 3: 413 INJURIES AND 2 DEATHS ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
Despite one of the lowest records of firecracker and gun-related injuries in recent years, tragedy strikes two families in Metro Manila on the first day of 2013.
On New Year's Eve, a stray bullet kills 4-year-old Ranjelo Nemor outside his home in Mandaluyong, and seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella is hit by a bullet on New Year’s day in Caloocan City while watching fireworks outside her home.
She is rushed to the hospital but dies on Wednesday because of severe head injuries.
Malacanang expresses deep sympathy for the death of Ella and says the burden is on the Filipino people to make sure the tragedy is not repeated.
On Tuesday, the department announces a total of 413 injuries recorded as of 6am, with 227 cases of firework-related incidents on New Year's eve alone.
Of the 413 cases, 8 people are hit by stray bullets.
In a press conference, Health Secretary Enrique Ona says this year's number of firework-related incidents is 17% lower than last year's record.
498 cases were reported in the same period one year ago.
Metro Manila accounts for more than half of the total number of injuries recorded.
Story 4: CPP TERMINATES CEASEFIRE
The Communist Party of the Philippines ends a holiday ceasefire and orders the New People’s Army to return to offensive mode.
The government and the communist party traditionally enter into a temporary truce during the Christmas holidays.
But in a memorandum, the CPP says the government did not comply with an agreement to extend the ceasefire until January 15.
The group adds, it is terminating its ceasefire ahead of the originally agreed date to protect its guerilla units.
Story 5: US CONGRESS PASSES DEAL TO AVERT 'FISCAL CLIFF'
Members of the US Congress strike an eleventh-hour deal to avert the ‘fiscal cliff,’ with President Obama calling the deal a - quote - ‘promise kept’ to those who re-elected him in November.
On Monday, the US Senate - voting 89 to 8 - approves a package that raises income taxes for households earning more than 450,000 US dollars annually.
But the Republican-led House of Representatives fails to come to a vote on New Year’s Eve, as House conservatives attempt to add additional spending reductions.
On Tuesday, New Year’s Day, the House votes 257 to 167 to pass the Senate version of the bill.
President Obama hails its passage despite the measure falling short of his expectations.
BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could have sent the economy back into recession and obviously had a severe impact on families all across America….But I think we all recognize this law is just one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy and broaden opportunity for everybody. The fact is the deficit is still too high, and we're still investing too little in the things that we need for the economy to grow as fast as it should.
If Congress did not pass the measure by January 1, pre-programmed tax hikes and spending cuts would automatically kick-in, further crippling the US economy.
House speaker John Boehner says they will now focus on tightening the budget, promising significant spending cuts and reforms to the social welfare programs that are - quote - ‘driving the US deeper and deeper into debt.’
Story 6: TENS OF THOUSANDS MARCH AGAINST HONG KONG LEADER
Thousands of protesters march in Hong Kong Tuesday, demanding the resignation of the city's head and greater democracy for the autonomous region.
Organizers of two protests against Beijing-backed chief executive Leung Chun-ying claim a combined turnout of 140,000.
Leung's popularity ratings drop since taking office in July, 2012.
In December, Leung survives a no-confidence vote in the legislature over illegal structures at his luxury home.
Hong Kong’s chief executive is elected by a 1,200-member committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites.
Protesters are calling for universal suffrage in electing Hong Kong’s leader - which runs counter to the electoral system of China’s communist government.
Story 7: SYRIA USHERS IN NEW YEAR WITH MORE VIOLENCE
Syrians wake up to air strikes near Damascus on New Year's Day and the closure of Aleppo airport after repeated rebel attacks.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 69 people are killed across Syria, putting the death toll at more than 46,000 during the 21-month conflict.
On Monday, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi says the government would respond to initiatives that would solve the crisis ‘through dialogue and peaceful means.’
But the opposition insists Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go before any dialogue can take place.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, in Ivory Coast, New Year celebrations turn into tragedy.
At least 60 people - many of them children - are crushed to death and dozens more injured in a stampede Tuesday after a fireworks show in Abidjan.
The fireworks are meant to celebrate the country’s renewal under President Alassane Ouattara after the violent post-election year crisis from 2010 to 2011.
The government declares three days of national mourning.
At number 5, local stocks welcome 2013 with a bang after taking a cue from world markets buoyant from the US Congress’ last-minute budget deal.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index reaches a new all-time high on the first trading day of the year, rising 48.26 points to 5,860.99 from its December 28 close of 5,812.73.
At number 6, The growth of the Singapore economy in the fourth quarter of 2012 allows it to escape technical recession.
The services industry gets a boost, according to government data published Wednesday.
The prospects for 2013 remain gloomy.
And at number 7, After they raped her, they tried to run over her.
More details emerge of last month’s grisly gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student in New Delhi.
Her story fuels already simmering anger on the prevalence of sex crimes in India.
Six suspects in custody are charged with the crimes of murder and rape.
But Indian lawyers refuse to defend the suspects.
Story 9: THE HEROES OF CHARLIE COMPANY
It’s been one month since Typhoon Pablo swept across large parts of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley leaving interrupted lives in its wake.
Out of the destruction and despair, tales of unsung heroism and great sacrifice can now be told.
Patricia Evangelista is in Andap, Compostela Valley to listen to their stories.
On December 27, 21 Charlie Company soldiers were awarded with the Bronze Cross Medal for acts of heroism.
For the full documentary and to help with the recovery effort visit Rappler.com.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|