March 26, 2014 Edition

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  1. Informants to get P11.2M for arrest of Tiamzons

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will give P11.2 million ($250,000) in reward money to two people who provided crucial information that led to the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, two high ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The AFP admitted on Tuesday, March 25 that it had two informants that provided leads on the whereabouts and identity of Tiamzon and his wife. Tiamzon is the alleged head of the CPP-NPA while his wife is the finance officer. On Monday, the couple questioned the validity of the inquest proceedings held at Camp Crame and not in Cebu, where they were arrested. Though the AFP believes the arrest will deal a big blow to the Communist Party, its founder, Jose Maria Sison, says others will take their place, citing the CPP’s “deep bench.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Malaysia draws flak for ‘text’ announcing jet crash

     File photo by AFP

    Malaysian officials spoke to the media on Tuesday, March 25 to defend the manner by which they informed the families of missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 of the plane’s final outcome. The Malaysian government and airline officials have received criticism from the families of the passengers and the public for sending SMS texts to the families that the plane likely crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysian authorities said this was done so that the families would receive the information from official sources instead of from the the media. Shortly after the texts were sent and some families were briefed at a Beijing hotel, the Malaysian Prime Minister went on live television to announce that the airplane most likely crashed into the sea. The announcement caused grief and shock to the family members of the passengers, many of whom are angry at the Malaysian government for its handling of the crisis. Search operations for possible aircraft debris were called off on Tuesday due to poor weather conditions.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Former Nabcor officials reveal P5-B in agri funds misuse

    Photo by Jay Directo/AFP

    Two former officials of state-owned National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) revealed to the Department of Justice what they knew about the alleged misuse of P5-billion in agriculture funds in 2009. Rhodora Mendoza and Vic Cacal met with DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday, March 25 and submitted 2 affidavits in relation to one of 9 projects where the misuse occurred. Among the anomalies in the DA that were cited were: overpricing, false quantities of products purchased, technical studies supposedly by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were never carried out and payments for which were deposited to a personal account. Officials at the Department of Agriculture at the time may have been involved in the misuse, according to the witness’ lawyer, Levito Baligod.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Close to 500 MILF members expected to visit Malacañang

     Photo by Rappler

    The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are set to sign a final peace agreement on Thursday in Malacañan Palace. It will be a historic moment, not the least because 500 MILF members are expected to witness the event inside the Palace itself. The event will also mark the second visit of MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim to the Palace. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Teresita Deles said Tuesday, March 25 that the traditional seat of power was chosen instead of doing the signing in Mindanao due to “logistical concerns.” At least 1,000 guests, including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, are expected to attend the event. Malaysia brokered the peace talks between the government and the MILF.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. OPAPP: MILF peace pact puts pressure on other armed groups

    File photo by Rappler

    Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Teresita Deles said Tuesday, March 25 that the peace pact between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will hopefully inspire the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to resume peace talks. “The signing of a peace agreement and the settlement of armed conflict with any other group in the same countries, certainly, exert certain pressures on any of the armed movement that is not yet moving along those lines,” said Deles. The government had offered a “special track” for the CPP-NPA-NDF, but the rebel group set difficult demands for the talks. Benito Tiamzon, one of those arrested, was said to have taken a hardline position against the peace process. Despite the setbacks, Deles said the government continues to keep the peace table open for the rebel group.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Chicago Museum asks public to help curate 10,000 PH artifacts

     Screengrab from

    The Chicago Field Museum, one of the largest natural history museums in the work, recently launched a campaign – 10,000 kwentos (10,000 stories) – to identify 10,000 Philippine artifacts in its possession. The campaign, in partnership with the Filipino-American community, will ask the public to “co-curate” the pieces housed in the museum. Among the collection are weapons, armor, hunting tools, pottery and rolls of old fabric. Community members are given the opportunity to photograph 8,000 artifacts from the collection. Images are then uploaded onto a custom web portal to allow the public to comment on collection items. The process will allow the curators of the collection co-curate information about the artifacts with the community. Chicago is home to over 100,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Business groups call for RH Law implementation

    Rappler file photo

    Four of the country’s biggest and most influential business groups reaffirmed their “strong support” for the Reproductive Health (RH) Law on Tuesday, March 25. The joint statement was signed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), the Makati Business Club (MBC), the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). The statement comes amidst ongoing discussions in the Supreme Court on the RH Law, where a decision on its constitutionality is expected by April 8. The business groups said the RH Law, once implemented, will contribute to more inclusive economic growth.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Korean telco firm says ‘sorry’ to customers, offers $33-million in compensation

    What do you do if you’re a major telecommunications provider with a computer glitch that causes a network failure? You apologize to your customers. That’s why South Korea’s largest telecommunications company, SK Telecom, did for a six-hour downtime last Thursday, March 20. But the company isn’t stopping at an apology. It will also compensate all of its 27.43 million subscribers the value of a day’s subscription, which could cost the company at least 33 billion won ($33 million). Under its subscriber contracts, the company is required to compensate users 6 times the cost of a basic monthly plan should they experience a blackout longer than 3 hours. Now, isn’t that something other telcos should emulate?

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. West Africa on high alert for possible Guinea Ebola outbreak

    Photo by Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC/AFP

    West Africa was on high alert Tuesday, March 25, after Sierra Leone warned an Ebola outbreak ravaging Guinea may have crossed its borders and five deaths in Liberia were being tested for the killer virus. More than 60 people have died of hemorrhagic fever in Guinea since the start of February, with the Ebola virus identified as the cause in 13 of 45 samples tested by scientists. In Sierra Leone, officials say that while there is no confirmed case of Ebola in the country, there are suspected cases which they are investigating. In a separate incident, a man from Canada suspected of carrying the virus tested negative. Ebola is a highly contagious virus that causes internal bleeding and massive organ failure.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow call it quits

    CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING. Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow end their 11-year marriage. File photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images/Agence France-Presse

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin have decided to separate after 10 years of marriage. The actress made the announcement in her lifestyle website, Goop. It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate,” the couple said in their statement. ”We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate.” The couple added that they remain friends and parents to their children, requesting for privacy and space. Paltrow and Martin were wed in December 2003 and have two children, a daughter aged 9 and a son aged 7.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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