November 27, 2013 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Pacquiao: I’m being singled out

    WHY ME? Professional boxer and Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao cries foul over a Court of Tax Appeal order to freeze his bank accounts. File photo by Rappler

    Top boxer and Sarangani Rep Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao says he is being singled out by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in P2.2-billion tax evasion case. “This is harassment,” the former eight-division world champion said in a television interview, fresh from his victory over American boxer Brandon Rios in Macau. Pacquiao said the tax bureau ordered his bank accounts frozen, leaving him financially paralyzed. “The BIR claims I earned more than what I actually did, without any evidence to back it up. They ignored information given by Top Rank and HBO and insisted I earned more,” he said. “My lawyers have given them all the info that they want and they still refuse to believe. I really don’t know why I am being singled out.” Pacquiao asked the Court of Tax Appeals to lift the bank freeze, but the court has yet to rule on the petition, according to court papers. BIR chief Kim Henares confirmed that bank accounts of Pacquiao and his wife were frozen. However, she denied any harassment, saying only two bank accounts containing a total of P1.1 million were held.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Senate OKs P2.26-T budget for 2014

    'PDAF-LESS BUDGET.' Senate Finance Committee Chairman Francis Escudero says the Senate passed a version of the budget without the PDAF of the 15 senators and Vice President Binay who chose to forego it. The Senate though retained the PDAF the House realigned to line agencies. File photo by Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB

    The Senate approved the P2.2648 trillion national budget for 2014, allocating P100 billion for the calamity and rehabilitation fund. All 16 senators present on Tuesday, November 26, approved the budget on second, and third and final reading after days of marathon plenary debates. The amount is lower than the P2.268 trillion the House of Representatives approved in October, with the P3.2 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the 15 senators and Vice President Jejomar Binay who chose to forego the funds stricken off. This is the first budget the Senate approved in decades that excludes the PDAF. Last week, the Supreme Court struck down the PDAF as unconstitutional following the pork barrel scam, where lawmakers allegedly siphoned off the funds to fake non-governmental organizations in exchange for kickbacks. The Senate and the House will now reconcile their versions of the budget bill in the bicameral conference committee. Drilon told reporters the bicam may start next week, and Congress can send the budget to President Benigno Aquino III for approval on the second week of December.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Pope Francis wants reform of papal powers

    SUGGESTIONS? Pope Francis, in a document, says he's open to suggestions which will make his exercise of ministry

    Pope Francis called for reform to take powers from the Vatican and said Catholics should be more engaged in helping the needy, but ruled out allowing women priests in a key document released by the Vatican on Tuesday, November 26. The Catholic leader said he was seeking advice on how his role should change – using an informal style for his first “apostolic exhortation”, in which he outlined his vision for the future of the Roman Catholic Church. “It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it,” the pope wrote. Francis said it was time for “a conversion of the papacy”, adding that “excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life”.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Storm surge early warning system by 2014

    IN THE PATH OF A STORM SURGE. Project NOAH was able to predict a day before Typhoon Yolanda that Tacloban would experience a 4.5-meter (14.7 feet) storm surge. Screen shot from Facebook video of Karl Jake

    The government hopes to have a system to predict storm surge impacts by December 2014 or earlier, in response to the devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). This was the assurance given by Mahar Lagmay, executive director of Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), in a November 26 talk during Climate Change Consciousness Week. The Coastal Hazards and Storm Surge Assessment and Mitigation (CHASSAM) is a major component of Project NOAH, one specifically ordered by President Benigno Aquino III earlier this year. “Storm surge,” once a rarely used, esoteric term, made headlines during Yolanda when storm surges as high as 17 feet submerged coastal communinities in Eastern Visayas, notably in Leyte and Samar. Storm surge is a sudden rise in sea level due to strong winds which can cause sudden and devastating floods in lowlying areas. The complete CHASSAM will not only identify the location of the highest storm surge, but will also provide a high-resolution simulation of the inundation of localities. Anyone using the technology will see exactly which areas in their community will be reached by the storm surge and how deep the floods will be.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. UN, IOM set up emergency shelter for Haiyan survivors

    EMERGENCY SHELTER. Rows of tents are seen at an evacuation center in the super typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, 19 November 2013. EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

    With inflows of shelter aid arriving in communities severely affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), some survivors have begun to rise from the devastation to reconstruct their homes, and to rebuild their lives. When the super typhoon swept through the Visayas, it destroyed houses and infrastructure, displacing 3.43 million people and damaging an estimated 1.1 million houses as of Monday, November 25, according to government estimates. In Tacloban City and Guiuan, two of the hardest hit areas, some have begun rebuilding their houses, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) public information officer Vivian Tan. To help survivors in reconstruction and recovery, the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have delivered equipment, tools and other non-food supplies for setting up temporary shelter and repairing houses.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. US Amb Goldberg arrives in Manila

    NEXT US ENVOY TO PH. US Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg testifies before a full committee hearing on

    Philip Goldberg, the Ambassador Designate of the United States to the Philippines, arrived in Manila on Monday, November 25, saying he starts his new job at a “moment of great challenge” after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged large parts of the Visayas. In a video statement on Tuesday, Goldberg, who was sworn into office last Thursday, November 21 by US Secretary of State John Kerry, assured the Philippines of the US’ continued support in rebuilding the affected areas. During his swearing-in ceremony in Washington, Goldberg remarked, “If I’ve learned one thing from the Filipino friends I’ve made all around the world, and there are Filipinos all around the world, it’s that they’re warm, but they’re also tough and resilient.” Goldberg is set to present his credentials to President Aquino in the coming weeks. He is replacing Harry K. Thomas Jr., who served as the US Ambassador from 2010 to 2013.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Thai protesters occupy more ministries

    'NO OTHER DAY'. Thai anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally occupying the Finance Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, 26 November 2013. Photo by EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

    Thai opposition protesters besieged several more ministries in Bangkok on Tuesday, November 26, to try to topple the government, as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faced a no-confidence motion in parliament and warned against “mob rule.” Demonstrators surrounded the interior, agriculture, transport, and sports and tourism ministries, ordering officials inside to leave, a day after occupying the finance and foreign ministries. The leader of the protests, Suthep Thaugsuban, called on protestors to rally at the “remaining government ministries” and provincial offices nationwide on Wednesday, November 27.  The turmoil has caused international concern and raised fears of fresh street violence in a country that has been rocked by several episodes of political unrest since royalist generals overthrew Thaksin in a 2006 coup. It is the biggest street protests since 2010, when more than 90 people were killed in a military crackdown.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Fans protest death of Brian the dog in ‘Family Guy’

    RIP BRIAN. Fans mourn the fictional dog's unexpected demise. Screen grab from YouTube (JayBest98)

    Fans of hit US television show “Family Guy” launched a protest petition Monday, November 25, after Brian the dog, a main character since the series’ 1999 launch, was killed off. The unexpected plot twist in Sunday night’s episode, “Life of Brian,” triggered a flood of comments on social media, including at least 280,000 Likes for a Facebook page “RIP Brian Griffin from Family Guy.” “Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experience. He added a witty and sophisticated element to the show,” said a petition on the website, after the animated canine was run over by a car. In the latest episode of the animated show, Brian was run over by a car and died at the local vet’s office, surrounded by his family. He thanked them for giving him a wonderful life, before expiring.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. On iTunes: ’Songs for PH’ album

    Poster from the iTunes Facebook

    Top international musicians lend their voices to help survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) through “Songs for the Philippines,” a 39-track compilation available for download on iTunes. The anthology features the biggest names in the music industry mainly Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Adele, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, and Madonna, as well as famous bands U2, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Fray, Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, and Kings of Leon, among others.

    Read the full story and see the playlist on Rappler.

  10. San Beda, DLSU to play benefit game for Yolanda survivors

    CHAMPIONS FOR A CAUSE. DLSU head coach Juno Sauler (left) and San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez (right) will lead their two champion teams in an exhibition game to raise money for Yolanda victims. Photo by Jane Bracher/Rappler

    The country’s collegiate champions are helping their countrymen the best way they know how—by playing basketball, but for a far greater purpose this time. After the devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas region, UAAP Season 76 champions De La Salle Green Archers and NCAA Season 89 champions San Beda Red Lions are going head to head to raise money to aid in relief efforts for those ravaged by the typhoon. The charity game, aptly called “Champions For A Cause,” is a joint effort between the MVP Sports Foundation and FilOil Flying V Sports. The showdown featuring the top collegiate basketball squads is slated to happen on Saturday, December 7, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, and will be aired live by TV5. (See ticket prices below.) Proceeds will be split between the two schools and will be used for their respective relief efforts.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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