Rappler Newscast | March 8, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Syrian rebels are willing to release 21 Filipino peacekeepers, under one condition.
- Tawi-tawi prepares for the return of 100 Filipinos from Sabah.
- 4 schools of thought may clash over the kind of Pope the Catholic Church needs.
Story 1: ONE CONDITION FOR PINOYS' RELEASE
Syria's opposition leader says rebels will free 21 Filipino troops seized in the Golan Heights on one condition.
Syrian opposition coalition president Moaz al-Khatib claims the rebels detained the United Nations peacekeepers for their own safety.
Al-Khatib says --quote "The Red Cross should come and pick them up, and also the Red Cross should evacuate the injured, innocent civilians.”
Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says they expected the peacekeepers' release Friday morning, but it did not happen.
Hernandez says he does not know of any other conditions.
He adds the Philippine government is --quote "trying to intensify" negotiations.
Story 2: FORMER PEACEKEEPER: KEEP SOLDIERS IN CONFLICT ZONE
The former head of the Golan Heights mission tells Rappler, despite the kidnapping of 21 Filipino peacekeepers the country should keep its soldiers in the conflict zone.
Katherine Visconti reports.
Peacekeepers jobs in conflict zones are dangerous by nature.
Here in the mountainous Golan Heights they face the threat of land
mines, unfriendly fire and abduction.
RET MAJ GEN NATALIO C. ECARMA III, HEAD OF MISSION AND FORCE COMMANDER, UNDOF: It's dangerous there...
On Wednesday the threat becomes a reality when Syrian rebels seize 21 Filipino troops.
In a video clip posted online the detained soldiers
say they are still safe.
A former peace keeper in Golan Heights recognizes the speaker in the
video as his friend, Major Mangahas, a military nurse.
CAPTAIN FRANK SAYSON, FORMER PEACEKEEPER, AFP CIVIL RELATIONS SERVICE:I could tell by his voice he was safe….
For decades Syria and Israel have been engaged in a tug of war over
sandwiched between the two warring countries.
it not only offers access to fresh water in the arid region,
it’s a vantage point for launching attacks.
The retired commander says kidnappings in Golan Heights have been
mounting since the Arab Spring.
Canada and Japan consider the situation too dangerous and pulled out
CAPTAIN FRANK SAYSON, FORMER PEACEKEEPER, AFP CIVIL RELATIONS SERVICE: They are cautious by nature, it's more dangerous to be stationed
in the Philippines etc.
The armed forces are confident the peacekeepers will be released for
first The Filipino peacekeepers have a reputation for being friendly and are well-liked.
Second, the rebels would risk losing international support.
CAPTAIN FRANK SAYSON, FORMER PEACEKEEPER, AFP CIVIL RELATIONS SERVICE: Big black mark on their efforts to ensure the rest of
the world supports them.
Still Ecarma admits he fears for their safety.
The rebels have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda forces who don't support the peace effort.
President Aquino says there is a need to review deployment to these
Ecarma says the soldiers should stay and he insists rumors Philippine troops will pull out are not true.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila
Story 2: FILIPINOS COME HOME FROM SABAH
Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP Sultan Kudarat intercepts about 100 Filipino refugees coming home from Sabah.
The Filipinos will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development or DSWD.
The evacuees are expected to arrive in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi Friday night.
Seven elementary schools in Bongao will serve as temporary homes for the evacuees.
Thursday evening, at least 55 Filipinos from Sabah arrived in the town of Siasi, Sulu.
Of the 55-- 36 are adults and 19 are children.
DSWD -Siasi says two of them are confined in a hospital.
The local DSWD also says most of the displaced families are from Sandakan, Sabah.
Story 3: RAZAK: SABAH WILL REMAIN PART OF MALAYSIA
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says the status of Sabah is not open to discussion and the region will continue to be a state within the Federation of Malaysia.
In a press conference, Razak says --quote, "Let not anyone underestimate Malaysia's commitment to have Sabah within Malaysia forever. No one can dispute this, from within and outside the country."
At least 60 people -- 52 Filipinos and 8 local police officers - died in clashes since March 1st.
Self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III announced a unilateral ceasefire, Thursday, which was rejected by Malaysia.
It says the "intruders" must surrender unconditionally.
Story 4: VITUG VLOGS: WHAT NEXT IN SABAH?
The entry of Filipinos into Sabah claiming it as their own escalates into a stand-off, incurs Malaysia’s retaliation and now the triggers the exodus of Filipinos from the area.
Rappler’s editor-at-large Marites Vitug asks, What’s next?
Here’s her video blog.
There are 2 ways the crisis in Sabah could end: violently or peacefully.
The followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III could wage a prolonged guerrilla war—they can slip into the homes of the villagers and blend with the locals—or they can pull out and return to Mindanao.
The first scenario is deadly.
The gains in Philippine-Malaysia relations built up through 2 decades will be eroded.
A crack in consensus-driven Asean will be created—which can set back the momentum for a borderless economic community in 2015.
This will also delay the peace process being forged with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The second scenario can happen if President Aquino meets with Kiram and assures him of government attention to their proprietary claim to Sabah.
The sultan’s call for a unilateral ceasefire is a signal for dialogue.
What then is the next step?
Start negotiations with Kuala Lumpur to settle the Kirams’ claim. After all, they are not starting from scratch.
This is Marites Vitug for VitugVlogs.
Story 5: THE wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.
At number 3, The UN Security Council on Thursday imposes new sanctions against North Korea.
Tensions escalate in recent days as the North threatens to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US.
The council unanimously passed a resolution, agreed on by the US and China, adding new names to the UN sanctions blacklis.
It also tightened restrictions on the North's financial dealings, notably its "bulk cash" transfers.
North Korea announces it will void non-aggression pacts with South Korea and severe a hotline with Seoul.
At number 8, Facebook announces a redesigned version of its News Feed - the section of the social networking site where you get updates about posts from people and pages you follow.
The focus of the redesign is to --quote “reduce clutter” so users can focus more on stories and content they care about.
In the new look, photos, news articles and even maps get top billing.
And at number 9, The RIA Novosti news agency reports Russian scientists believe they have found a new type of bacteria in the mysterious subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica.
The genetics laboratory at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics says the samples obtained from the underground lake in May 2012 contained a bacteria which bore no resemblance to existing types.
Story 6: WHO WILL BE THE NEXT POPE?
The Vatican says it will soon announce the start of the conclave.
The presence of Cardinal electors in the Holy See heightens anticipation for the next leader of the Catholic Church.
How will the Cardinals vote?
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
In closed-door meetings, cardinals discuss the kind of pope the Church needs.
For veteran Vatican watcher John Allen, four schools of thought will likely clash in the conclave.
Those from the “governance camp” wants a pope...
who can reform the Vatican's internal offices, to end controversies like Vatileaks.
Some cardinals from the “pastoral camp”...
want a pope who will be hands-on with problematic priests and Catholics.
The “Third World camp”...
wants a pope from growing Catholic populations outside Europe.
Others come from the “evangelical camp”...
they want an intellectual who can popularize Church teachings.
Seven of the most popular contenders may get the support of 1 or more of these camps.
The archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola has the intellect of Benedict.
But journalists say unlike the pope emeritus...
Scola is more media savvy... a trait the evangelical camp desires.
Like Scola, New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan is an intellectual.
Described as a “great communicator”...
Dolan also keeps a frequently updated Twitter account.
Another popular bet is Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi...
who heads the powerful Pontifical Council for Culture, which assists the pope on issues of faith and culture.
While Ravasi is an insider, observers say the Vatican bureaucracy hasn't eaten him up... a plus for the governance camp.
Four of the most popular bets come from the Third World.
Supporters say African Cardinal Peter Turkson...
will smoothen relations with Islam.
In 2012, Turkson says: “For me to attack Islam would be to attack my own family. I come from a family which has an Islamic component.”
The Archbishop Emeritus of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Oullet...
heads the pontifical commission for Latin America.
Pundits say the well-traveled cardinal can bridge the First and Third World.
Like Oullet, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer can also boost Church's presence in developing countries.
Scherer is archbishop of Sao Paulo in Brazil...
the biggest diocese in the world's biggest Catholic country – where the number of Catholics are on the decline.
CNN, BBC and the Washington Post mentions 55-year-old Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle...
from the Philippines, a country of 80 million Catholics.
Allen calls Tagle the “great Asian hope.”
Vatican watchers compare him to the late John Paul II.
His standout trait: empathy for the poor... a trait of a pastoral pope.
He also advocates an aggressive stance on erring priests.
But leading theologian Fr Catalino Arevalo says his young age makes him a remote possibility.
FR CATALINO AREVALO, THEOLOGIAN: All Filipinos would become happy if he became pope, but at this moment, humanly speaking, we say that it does not look like he will be the one elected pope. But again, we don't know what the Holy Spirit will do.
Which will prevail in the conclave – the governance, the pastoral, the Third World, or the evangelical camp?
Whoever the pope will be, he inherits a Church mired in scandal in an increasingly skeptical world.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila
We leave you with images from the Women’s Day rally in the streets of Manila by Katerina Francisco.
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|