Rappler Newscast | November 6, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Typhoon Haiyan could be strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.
- More on the Disbursement Acceleration Program: a former congressman asks the Supreme Court to gag the President.
- Saudi Arabia bans the return of deported foreign workers.
Story 1: PROVINCES, AGENCIES ON ALERT FOR YOLANDA
Local government units are on alert for what may be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.
Agencies in the Visayas, northern Mindanao and southern Luzon are now deploying personnel and equipment as typhoon Haiyan nears the Philippines.
The typhoon is moving west northwest at 30 km/h, with maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h and gusts of up to 210 km/h.
State weather bureau Pagasa says it is located 1,221 km east of Mindanao.
Once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility, it will take the name Yolanda.
Forecast tracks show the typhoon will make landfall in the Samar-Leyte area Friday afternoon.
Its effects can be felt in the Visayas, northern parts of Mindanao, and southern parts of Luzon.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma says provincial and municipal disaster councils are preparing to move residents out of flood-prone areas.
Coloma says rescue boats, emergency relief and medical supplies have been spread out to strategic areas.
Bicol is now on red alert, with its six provincial disaster councils advised to start preemptive evacuations Thursday.
Local officials in Region 7 -- the area hit by the magnitude 7.2 quake last October -- are also preparing for the typhoon.
Classes are suspended in all levels on Thursday and Friday in Cebu.
Tacloban City will start preemptive evacuations for around 1,000 residents Wednesday night.
Story 2: PROJECT DINA: IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE
In disaster-prone Philippines, the right information can save lives. A newly launched government web site aims to help prevent casualties during disasters.
On Wednesday, the Office of Civil Defense launches its Disaster Information for Nationwide Awareness website or Project DINA – a one-stop shop for Filipinos to learn critical information on imminent disasters.
The website has video clips of tips on what to do before, during, and after disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, typhoons and floods.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says the informational videos will be shown in public places.
Story 3: SC URGED: GAG AQUINO, CABINET ON DAP
Former Iloilo Rep Augusto Syjuco Jr asks the Supreme Court to stop President Benigno Aquino and his officials from making public comments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP while a case is pending before the High Court.
Syjuco is one of the petitioners asking the Court to declare the government’s spending program unconstitutional.
There are at least 8 petitions against DAP.
Oral arguments are set on November 11.
In his manifestation, Syjuco says Aquino’s primetime TV address defending the DAP is a “clear violation of the sub judice rule."
Citing jurisprudence, Syjuco says the sub judice rule bars parties to a case from commenting on judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice.
Syjuco says Aquino was --quote-- “subtly exerting pressure on the Supreme Court” by making the speech defending DAP.
Syjuco adds, “To ask the sentiment and approval of the public on the constitutionality of the DAP by presenting the alleged benefits derived from it makes his speech in utter violation of the sub judice rule.”
In his speech, Aquino says DAP was legal and helped disaster preparedness, livelihood and scholarship programs.
The government says DAP was sourced from savings and was meant to boost government spending.
But legal experts criticize the DAP, saying it is unconstitutional and undermined Congress’ power of the purse.
Story 4: 'EVEN JANITOR CAN HANDLE SENATOR'S PDAF'
Statements of pork barrel scam whistleblowers and former heads of implementing agencies show senators’ staff members were closely involved in the release of lawmakers’ pork barrel.
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy says aides served as the link of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to some senators.
Lawyer Rodolfo Noel Quimbo says each senator has his own internal arrangement for staff handling the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
While the chief of staff and political officers are usually in charge of the PDAF, Quimbo says this is not a requirement.
He adds, “Theoretically, even the janitor can be made in charge of the PDAF. It depends on trust.”
The Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office or LBRMO screens PDAF documents to check if the senators’ proposed projects comply with the guidelines of the budget department.
Luy says that in the scam, Napoles employees draft the listing and the staff they connived with would edit the documents and submit to the LBRMO.
A Senate staff member who spoke with Rappler says it is usually their principals who sign the letter addressed to the LBRMO.
Story 5: PH, US BASES ACCESS TALKS REACH 'IMPASSE'
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin says negotiations to grant the United States more access to Philippine military bases reach an impasse.
The Philippine panel opposes the US panel's condition limiting the access of Filipino troops to temporary facilities that American troops will be building once the access deal is signed.
Gazmin says, “It should not be limited to them. We want equal opportunity and equal access.”
The military-to-military agreement is expected to boost the defense capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino says the 4th round of talks on October 3 was a difficult round because of disagreements on what he called "critical provisions.”
The setback is expected to delay the agreement.
Batino says the two panels narrowed down the framework agreement to 5 key provisions: scope, agreed installations, prepositioning of defense equipment, ownership, and security.
The panels have yet to agree on the timeframe of the agreement.
Similar agreements typically last 20 years, but the Philippines wants a shorter timeframe.
Story 6: WHISTLEBLOWER SOUGHT ON SAUDI 'ABUSE'
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs or DFA says it wants to consult the woman who exposed the alleged abuse of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
In a press briefing, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says government teams made the rounds of detention cells and police stations in Saudi Arabia, but did not see abuses against Filipinos.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY: There is no report as articulated by a lady who has come home, to say that they were crowded in a detention cell and they were actually chained. We did not see that, and that's why we are looking to talk to this lady. We are seeking her out, so she can provide us information, and we can validate it.
Overseas workers' group Migrante urges the government "to study the filing of a diplomatic protest" over the allegations.
On Monday, Filipino workers expelled from Saudi Arabia said they were abused after a crackdown on illegal workers there.
A report by Agence France-Presse quotes at least two women who said police rounded them up and placed them in a crowded cell for 4 days.
Saudi Arabia began a crackdown on illegal workers after an extended grace period lapsed last Sunday.
Story 7: SAUDI ARABIA BANS RETURN OF DEPORTED OFWs
Saudi Arabia issues new rules banning the return of deported foreigners.
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh published the rules Monday, after Saudi Arabia's deadline for workers to legalize their status.
These rules will affect thousands of illegal workers in Saudi Arabia, the country with the highest number of overseas Filipino workers.
The Philippine government says it repatriated 4,587 illegal workers in Saudi Arabia.
That is only 49% of the 9,000 Filipinos who originally sought repatriation.
Citing Philippine statistics in 2012, the International Organization for Migration says 24.4% of OFWs work in Saudi Arabia.
The Philippine Embassy urges Filipinos “to familiarize themselves with the new rules.”
Starting Sunday, illegal workers face up to two years in prison and fines of at least 100,000 riyal or $27,000.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, the Philippines will adopt Japan’s digital TV standard over Europe’s rival version as it shifts from analog to digital television.
The National Telecommunications Commission says the Philippines will soon use Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial standard.
The system has the technology to alert viewers during disasters or emergencies. It can also send alerts to mobile phones.
Major TV networks spent billions to prepare for the shift to digital TV, with ABS-CBN shelling out P2 billion; GMA, almost P1 billion; and TV5, P500 million.
At number 6, Interpol is waiting for evidence from Dutch authorities after a children’s rights group identified 1,000 pedophiles by offering online sex with a computer-generated 10-year-old girl.
On Monday, the group Terre des Hommes says it deployed a computer-generated Filipina they named Sweetie – to snare web predators on Internet chat rooms.
Within 10 weeks, over 20,000 predators from 71 countries approached Sweetie.
The group wants to raise the alarm about a new form of child exploitation known as webcam child sex tourism.
And at number 7, previously unknown masterpieces stolen by the Nazis are recovered in a flat in Munich.
The art works by modernist painters Marc Chagall and Otto Dix are found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of a prominent Nazi-era art dealer who acquired the paintings in the 1930s and 1940s.
1,285 unframed and 121 framed paintings, sketches and prints -- some dating back to the 16th century -- were found in the flat.
The estimated value of the treasure trove: $1.3 billion.
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|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|