Rappler Newscast | June 19, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- The PH Department of Foreign Affairs orders 3 officials allegedly prostituting Filipino workers to return to the Philippines.
- The Aquino government plans to relocate 20,000 families living near waterways to control floods.
- The World Bank warns the devastating effects of global warming could be felt in 20 to 30 years.
Story 1: DFA ORDERS EMBASSY STAFF TO COME HOME
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario orders the 3 embassy officials allegedly abusing Filipino workers in the Middle East to come home and face an investigation.
This comes after Akbayan Rep Walden Bello identifies the officials Tuesday, saying he discovered the incidents while investigating "sex-for-flight" schemes in the Middle East.
After a meeting with Bello Wednesday, Del Rosario orders the heads of the diplomatic posts in Kuwait, Damascus, and Jordan to come home.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO, FOREIGN SECRETARY: We have asked the heads of posts of Kuwait, of Damascus, of Jordan to come home immediately so they can provide us all the necessary information for us to be able to pursue this case…We have also asked the persons named to come home so that they can also explain their side...The reports, if true, can be considered as criminal.
Calling them "predators," Bello identifies the officials allegedly prostituting distressed OFWs as Mario Antonio, an assistant labor attaché in Jordan; Blas Marquez of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait; and a "Kim," from the Foreign Affairs department in Syria.
Story 2: GOV'T PEACE PANEL HEAD WANTS OUT
After 3 years heading the government panel negotiating with the communist movement, Alexander Padilla wants out of the peace process, saying he is --quote-- “frustrated and disappointed.”
Padilla says, “Maybe I have done as far as where I can go, as far as the peace process is concerned.
In October 2010, Aquino named Padilla head of the government panel to hold talks with leaders of the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
The NPA has been waging a four-decade-old insurgency, the longest in Asia.
Negotiations between the government and the NPA deadlock after NDF chair Jose Maria Sison backtracked from a --quote-- “special track” he proposed in December 2012.
Sison asked to return to the “regular track of negotiations,” but the government rejected the proposal.
Padilla says, “They probably didn’t realize we would start to put our foot down. They probably thought we would keep on talking for the sake of talking.”
On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino appointed Padilla as CEO and president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
Story 3: AQUINO FLOOD PLAN: MOVE 20,000 FAMILIES THIS YEAR
The national government plans to move 20,000 families living near waterways in Metro Manila as part of its flood control master plan.
In a press briefing Wednesday, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson says the government started the relocation but adds it isn’t easy to move the families to resettlement sites.
The 8 major waterways which need to be cleared are San Juan River, Tullahan River, Manggahan Floodway, Maricaban Creek, Estero Tripa de Gallina, Pasig River, Estero de Sunog Apog and Estero de Paco.
The 20,000 families are part of about 100,000 families living near waterways that the government plans to relocate in the long-term.
Singson says relocation was delayed because some local officials requested to delay them because of elections.
He adds, “Now they want to delay it again because of the barangay elections but we will no longer allow that.”
Singson and Palace Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang say the government will hold local officials liable if the relocated families return to the areas.
Singson says the government’s -- quote -- “high-impact, high priority projects” to address flooding include the cleaning of waterways, drainage improvement, upgrading the 12 major pumping stations in Metro Manila, and dike construction for low-lying communities.
Story 4: UPGRADES IN WEATHER BUREAU EQUIPMENT NOT ENOUGH
The Philippines’ weather bureau is modernizing its ability to accurately predict the weather.
But as KD Suarez reports, the upgrades aren’t enough.
This Radar station in Catanduanes is the weather bureau's watchdog in Bicol and the Samar, the pathway of storms.
EUFRONIO GARCIA, CHIEF PAGASA VIRAC STATION: Ang main na ano nitong Doppler radar na ito ay nakukuha ang velocity, motion. Yung precipitation or rain amount ay nakukuha na namin ang actual measurement. (The main function of this Doppler radar is to measure velocity, motion. It’s able to get the actual measurement of precipitation or the amount of rain.)
After a series of natural and public relations disasters, President Benigno Aquino increased the budget.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Our people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake here, and it is the government’s responsibility to do everything in its power to be ready for these natural disasters.
The PAGASA Modernization Bill was drafted to address the bureau's problems.
But the bill failed to pass the Senate last June.
KD SUAREZ, REPORTING: The PAGASA radar station here in Buenavista, Bato, Catanduanes was inaugurated by no less than President Benigno Aquino III late last year. Despite the high profile opening, the station, behind me, one of the most advanced in the PAGASA systems, still needs a lot of improvement.
Despite the modern equipment, the job is daunting.
At the heart of the station's operations, only 3 computers process weather data.
Forecasters use a prepaid USB dongle to connect to the internet.
They rely on generators due to the power shortage in the island.
But the biggest problem is the lack of personnel.
The result: scientists cannot focus on their main job -- monitoring the weather.
EUFRONIO GARCIA, CHIEF PAGASA VIRAC STATION: Eh kung mag-bog-down ang ibang equipment diyan, tulad ng generator, aircon, computer? Mas maayos ang trabaho namin dito na hindi mapuna ng tao kung kumpleto siguro ang personnel na nagtatrabaho dito. (If our other equipment gets bogged down, like our generator, aircon, computer? Our work would probably be better. People wouldn’t be able to guess if the personnel was lacking.)
For now, the scientists at the Virac Radar Station will do whatever it takes to keep an eye on the weather.
KD Suarez, Rappler, Bato, Catanduanes.
Story 5: WORLD BANK WARNS GLOBAL WARMING WOES CLOSING IN
The World Bank warns the devastating effects of global warming could be felt within a generation.
Citing reports from scientists, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says if the world's temperature rises by 2 degrees centigrade in 20 to 30 years, it will --quote-- "cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat waves, and more intense cyclones."
In an update of the World Bank's climate report, scientists focus on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia, home to some of the world's poorest people.
Extreme heat would cut crop production and cause widespread food shortages.
Many regions would also see 20% decline in water availability.
The United Nations wants to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, after a climate research institute warned warming will reach 4 degrees Celsius this century.
Story 6: UN: REFUGEES, DISPLACED AT 20-YEAR HIGH
The United Nations’ refugee agency says the number of people forcibly displaced reaches a two-decade high of 45.2 million.
The agency says war and other crises drove one person from their home every 4.1 seconds in 2012.
The total figure of 45.2 million included 28.8 million internally displaced people, 15.4 million border-crossing refugees, and 937,000 asylum seekers.
Overall, Afghanistan remains the world's top producer of refugees.
UN high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres says the number of refugees rose to a level unseen since 1994, a year marked by the Rwandan genocide and bloodshed in former Yugoslavia.
Story 7: NSA CHIEF: AT LEAST 50 PLOTS FOILED BY US SPY PROGRAMS
Defending the US government’s secret surveillance program, National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander says the programs stopped more than 50 terror plots since 2001.
On Tuesday, Alexander describes 4 foiled plots, including a planned bomb attack on the New York Stock Exchange and a plot to attack the New York subway, which Alexander calls "the first core Al-Qaeda plot since 9/11, directed from Pakistan."
Alexander and other security officials defend the surveillance programs, saying these provided the US government with critical leads to prevent more than 50 potential terrorist events.
The controversy over the spying programs came after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details to media earlier this month.
Story 8: UN SOURCES: 3 FOREIGNERS KILLED IN UN SOMALIA ATTACK
Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked al-Shebab insurgents attack a United Nations compound in the capital Mogadishu Wednesday.
UN sources say at least three civilians are killed outside the compound as Somali and African Union troops force their way into the complex.
Government-run Radio Mogadishu says the attack started after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of the complex.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 7, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory over anti-government protesters Tuesday after a heavy crackdown.
Police arrest dozens of demonstrators in a bid to stamp out nearly three weeks of unrest.
As the protests appear to lose their intensity, Erdogan says he won over the crisis, seen as the biggest challenge yet to his Islamist-rooted government's decade-long rule.
At number 9, G8 leaders on Tuesday endorse calls for a peace conference to be held in Geneva on the Syria conflict "as soon as possible."
At the end of a summit in Northern Ireland, the leaders also call for an agreement on a Syrian transitional government "formed by mutual consent."
Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier met with British prime minister David Cameron to talk about Syria.
Although both leaders say they agree on the need for a peaceful resolution, they disagree on how to deal with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
And at number 10, Archeologists uncover hidden details of the vast urban structure in the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia.
Using airborne laser scanning called Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), they are able to penetrate the dense tropical vegetation that overruns the complex.
The study reveals new canals, temples, and unidentified manmade features.
This confirms theories Angkor Wat was at the center of a large metropolitan area that housed thousands of people.
Story 10: HEAT STAYS ALIVE AFTER OUTLASTING SPURS IN OT
The Miami Heat comes alive in overtime of Game 6 of the NBA Finals to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 103 to 100.
Spurs big man Tim Duncan tallies 30 points and 17 rebounds but most of it came in the first half.
NBA MVP LeBron James stars in the 4th quarter, curiously after losing his headband.
But it's veteran shooter Ray Allen who sends the game into overtime after knocking down a three-pointer from the corner.
Allen and James continue their stellar play in the extra period to help Miami tie the series at 3 games apiece.
The winner-take-all game 7 will be played Thursday night in Miami -- that's Friday morning in the Philippines.
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|