July 19, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. Hefty budget for 3 departments

    LONG TALKS. President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañang Palace on Monday, July 8. Malacañang Photo Bureau

    The Aquino government, now on its last 3 years, intends to spend the most on education, infrastructure, and local governments in 2014. If both chambers of Congress — dominated by the ruling coalition — approve the proposed 2014 budget, the top 3 departments that will get the bulk are the Department of Education, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). It took longer than usual for President Benigno Aquino III and his Cabinet to finish the total proposal: P2.268-trillion, 13.06% or P262 billion higher than this year’s budget allocation. Opposition lawmakers vow to scrutinize every major allocation, especially since the DILG is now headed by Secretary Mar Roxas, who is gunning for the presidency in 2016.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  2. Whistle blower now in gov’t custody

    UNDER WPP. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says Benhur Luy, the whistle blower of the P10 billion pork barrel scam, agreed to be placed under the witness protection program. FILE/AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO

    The whistleblower in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam, Benhur Luy, is now under the government’s Witness Protection Program. Luy was behind a sensational expose that linked at least 5 senators and many House representatives to an alleged pork barrel scam that used fake NGOs as dummy recipients of government largesse. The National Bureau of Investigation received from Luy his affidavits as well as other documents and records related to the alleged scam. The scandal comes days before the opening of the 16th Congress on Monday, July 22. Various sectors have called on the President to push for changes in how pork barrel is utilized by lawmakers.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Exiled opposition leader comes home

     UNITED STATES, Washington : Cambodia's opposition leader Sam Rainsy poses for a portrait on May 9, 2013 during a visit to Washington, DC. The self-exiled Rainsy has asked Cambodian election to put off national elections scheduled for July 28, 2013, citing irregularities in voter registration and prohibiting of opposition parties to observe the ballot process. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI

    Cambodia’s newly pardoned opposition leader arrived home from exile on July 19, to help his party’s bid to end Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nearly 3 decades in power, the party said. Thousands of cheering supporters gathered outside Phnom Penh’s airport and lined the road to the city centre to welcome Sam Rainsy, waving flags and shouting “change change!” Cambodia is holding is national election on July 28. Rainsy faced an 11-year jail-sentence but recently received a pardon that allowed him to reenter the country. The ruling party has been accused of harassing the opposition. Election issues have strained relations with the United States, a longtime Philippine ally that has pivoted its foreign policy towards Asia. Cambodia is squarely in Beijing’s camp.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. China’s declining popularity

    Graphic by Rappler.com

    The Philippines overwhelmingly favors United States over China, with a majority of Filipinos seeing their long-time western ally in a positive light than their giant neighbor to the northwest, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. The survey showed 85% of Filipinos surveyed have a favorable view of the US, the highest rating among 38 nations included in the survey. The sentiment is shared, in varying degrees, by Asian neighbors, a number of which have territorial disputes with China. In all regions surveyed, except the Middle East, the US is regarded more favorably than China. But a majority of Filipinos disapprove of a major US policy: the use of drone strikes against suspected terrorists.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. 45-minute turnaround time for safety

    EXTENDED GROUND TIME. Government regulators want Cebu Pacific to extend to 45 minutes the time it spends offloading and loading passengers and inspecting its aircraft. Photo by AFP

    Airlines in the Philippines said they’re willing to comply with a government plan to increase turnaround time – the time between plane take-offs and landings — for domestic flights to enhance safety. On July 17, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officials met with the vice presidents for flight operations of airlines on the planned industry-wide increase in turnaround time to 45 minutes, and the consensus was “in the affirmative,” CAAP deputy director general John Andrews said. The regulator wants to increase turnaround time to boost safety following two landing mishaps involving Cebu Pacific planes in June. Andrews said they were supposed to impose this on Cebu Pacific alone, but felt it would be best to make it mandatory for other airlines.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Panasonic, Sanyo fined $56-M

    Graphic by Raffy De Guzman

    Japan’s Panasonic and its subsidiary Sanyo have each pleaded guilty to price fixing involving auto parts and battery cells, agreeing to pay US$56.5 million in fines, according to the US Justice Department. A third company, South Korea’s LG Chem LTD, also pleaded guilty and will pay a more than $1 million criminal fine for price fixing for its batteries. Between September 2003 and February 2010, Panasonic “participated in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of” car parts. The parts — which included steering wheel switches and steering angle sensors — were sold to Japanese auto giant Toyota in the United States and elsewhere, the Justice Department said. Starting in 1998, the company also engaged in price fixing for automotive HID ballasts to be sold to Honda, Mazda, and Nissan carmakers.

    Read the full story on Rappler

  7. Countdown to decongestion

    LESS CONGESTED. Metro Manila's choked roads will soon be eased by a plan to disallow provincial buses to enter the capital.

    The plan to disallow provincial buses and Asian Utility Vehicles (AUV) from plying the congested roads of Metro Manila, including main thoroughfare Edsa, is a step closer to implementation. On July 18, President Benigno Aquino III signed Administrative Order No. 40 establishing transport terminals north and south of Metro Manila. These facilities will be temporary until the planned integrated transport systems (ITS) project is fully operational by 2016. The previous target was 2015. The order covers the “loading and unloading of passengers by buses and AUVs plying provincial routes entering Metro Manila,” as well as “their efficient transfer to city buses and AUVs operating within Metro Manila.” Once implemented, the franchises and routes of public utility buses will be revised, particularly their end points. Provincial buses will only be allowed to go as far as their designated terminals when entering Metro Manila.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Tech giants align, call for transparency

    BETTER TRANSPARENCY. More than 60 companies and organizations have banded together to demand greater transparency in US government surveillance.

    At least 63 companies, investors, non-profit organizations, and trade groups are set to publicly demand greater transparency in US government surveillance. AllThingsD reports that the coalition letter wants US President Barack Obama and the leaders of the US congress to let Internet, telephone, and Internet-based service providers be more specific in reporting national security-related requests for information. The coalition wants to be allowed to report on a number of different national security-related issues regularly. The letter asserts that “Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations.” The coalition members include AOL, Apple,Digg, Dropbox, Evoca, Facebook and Google, among others.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. LeBron madness in Manila

    Lebron madness

    Just a few hours after tickets to the Nike Philippines event featuring NBA superstar LeBron James were distributed, scalpers began selling tickets — given away for free — online. A quick search on popular classified ads website sulit.com.ph reveals that tickets to the #WitnessHistory event are being sold from Php 1,000.00 to Php 10,000.00. The NBA’s hotshot is visiting this basketball-hungry country on Tuesday, July 23. Netizens took to Twitter to decry the online sale of “free tickets.” After all, thousands have braved the rain to line up for them. Some students told Rappler they had to endure 17 hours of wait at the Nike park in Taguig City, bringing tents for an overnight stay while eating meals as they sat on the line.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. ‘House of Cards’ makes history

    A FIRST. Netflix’s “House of Cards” becomes the first online-only series to get a nomination for a major Emmy award. Photo from House of Cards Facebook page

    The Netflix political drama “House of Cards” made television history on July 18, when it became the first online-only series ever to be nominated for a major Emmy award. “House of Cards,” starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as a shrewd US congressman, broke fresh Emmy ground, scoring 9 nominations including best drama and, for Spacey, best actor in a drama. Inspired by a BBC series from the early 1990s, “House of Cards” was made exclusively for Netflix, the online movie streaming website, which put all 13 episodes online in February in one fell swoop. This year’s Emmys come at a time of radical change in the TV industry, with more and more viewers “cutting the cable” and watching their favorite shows via the Internet on cellphones, tablets and so-called “smart TVs.” Original programming made exclusively for YouTube and other video streaming websites – sometimes with high production values, but at much lower cost – is also reshaping the business and finding an ever-growing audience.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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