Rappler Newscast | November 30, 2012

President Aquino wants a vote on the Reproductive Health bill. Senator Santiago wants the Senate to pass a new version of the anti-cybercrime law. Syria is cut off from the Internet.

Today on Rappler.

  • President Aquino wants a vote on the Reproductive Health bill.
  • Senator Santiago wants the Senate to pass a new version of the anti-cybercrime law.
  • Syria is cut off from the Internet.

President Benigno Aquino III says he wants the Reproductive Health Bill to be put to a vote “either way.”
It’s still a conscience vote. But the President’s message when he meets with congressmen Monday is: I support the RH bill.
Speaking with reporters in Cebu, Aquino says, “I have stated publicly, I have a position. I’m pro Responsible Parenthood that this is a matter of conscience. “
The President hopes the meeting will break the deadlock on the bill.
But he adds, he’s not about to make the bill a priority measure.
He says, “It’s not an easy process for a bill to just become urgent.”
Malacañang worked with opponents and proponents of the measure from both Houses of Congress and the Catholic Church, in an informal Technical Working Group that produced the compromise version of the measure.

HIV is on the decline globally, but the Philippines bucks the trend, posting a 25% increase in cases in the last year alone.
To raise awareness, Paranaque City has a unique approach: dancing.
Devon Wong reports.

The Philippines is one of only seven countries where HIV continues to be on the rise and the City of Paranaque is tired of dancing around the subject of HIV.  
The City of Paranaque sponsors this zumba marathon to mark World AIDS Day.
They come out in numbers, big and small, young and old, to learn the dance moves of J.lo, Shakira and Psy.
Through high energy aerobics and educational talks, city leaders hope people will get the message: that AIDS is on the rise and awareness is the key.

OLGA VIRPUSIO, PARANAQUE CITY HEALTH OFFICER: So this is a continuing effort of awareness campaign really to emphasize the need for us to be more aware of HIV and its dangers, its risks towards getting and how it can be prevented.

While HIV all over the world is on the decline, the number of HIV cases in the Philippines is rising at an astounding rate.
There’s a 300% increase in the number of cases in the last five years and a 25% increase from the last year alone.
In 2000, there was a new report of HIV every three days. Today, one Filipino acquires HIV every 2 hours.
Experts believe that the number of undiagnosed cases is high because of the stigma associated with HIV testing.
Event organizer and city health officer Karen Galvan say increasing access to contraception will help contain the spread of HIV.

KAREN GALVAN, EVENT ORGANIZER: Just because this country is highly devoted to Catholicism, it prevents them from thinking scientifically to prevent diseases such as HIV.

Organizers urge participants to be pro-active with their sexual health, regardless of their religion, gender or sexual orientation.

KAREN GALVAN, EVENT ORGANIZER: We cannot know which of us have this disease, so the only thing they can do is have themselves tested against it.

The City of Paranaque hopes that fun events like this will make HIV a centre stage issue and encourage more people to get tested.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Manila

Senator Miriam Santiago wants the Senate to pass her new version of the anti-cybercrime law.
Santiago says the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom will define and penalize cybercrimes while protecting citizens’ rights.
In October, the Supreme Court stopped the implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The law drew protest because it allegedly violates freedom of expression.
Santiago says the new version ensures due process in the collection of real-time traffic data, removes the takedown clause, which allows government to block access to a website without a court order; and prohibits double jeopardy.
Santiago says the Magna Carta is the result of crowd sourcing and discussions on social media.

Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug talks about how the newest Supreme Court justice can use his knowledge of social media to reform the courts.
Here’s her video blog.

The newest justice in the Supreme Court used to be one of us in Facebook and Twitter.
He seemed to derive energy from the voices of the crowd, the diverse views and open exchanges.
He is a child of the new media, an avid user of the Internet and technology.
In the Court, Justice Leonen will experience drastic changes, the most visible of which is being invisible.
He will keep to himself and his colleagues — where confidentiality of deliberations is sacred.
But Justice Leonen can bring two things to the Supreme Court.
First, a great understanding of the need for transparency in the institution. This means that the Court should disclose information that is of public interest, including caseloads of each justice, pending cases that have impact on our lives, and how they spend their funds plus savings.
Second, a deep appreciation of the importance of technology in reforming the Court.
Most urgent is to decongest dockets by digitizing case files.
In doing so, progress of each case can be monitored quickly.
This can lead to speedy justice.
Surely, Justice Leonen is only one voice in the Court.
But he is an addition to the reform-minded justices.
We hope he does not disappoint.

Two US technology companies monitoring web traffic say Syria is cut off from the Internet.
On Thursday, tech firms Akamai and Renesys say their monitoring showed Syria’s international Internet connectivity shut down.
Renesys says, “All 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.”
The reports could mean the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has cut off the networks as he cracks down on rebels in the war-torn country.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress reject a White House plan to raise $1.6 trillion in new taxes over the next decade – one month before the US economy reaches a ‘fiscal cliff’.
The plan calls for new taxes in exchange for $400 billion in spending cuts.
House Speaker John Boehner says this is a rehash of President Obama’s budget request and that ‘no substantive progress has been made’ since negotiations began two weeks ago.
He adds, “I’m here seriously trying to resolve it. And I would hope the White House would get serious as well.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans have given no serious counter proposal.
Both the White House and the Republicans must reach an agreement by the end of the year, to lower the ballooning US deficit before automatic spending cuts and tax hikes kick in.

At number 1, Palestinians whistle and embrace each other after the UN General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member state.
Despite opposition from the US and Israel, the assembly votes 138 to 9 to enable the Palestinians to join UN agencies and sign international treaties. 41 countries abstained.
The vote lifts the status of the Palestinian Authority from an observer entity to a “non-member observer state” with the same status as the Vatican.
The Palestinian leadership says it wants to use the –quote “historic” vote as a launchpad for talks with Israel, which have been frozen for more than two years.

At number 2, a Chinese province grants its border patrol police the right to prevent foreign ships from entering disputed waters in the South China sea.
State-run Global Times reports the southern Chinese province of Hainan passes new regulations allowing local police to –quote “board, seize, and expel foreign ships illegally entering the province’s sea areas.”
Hainan province administers around two million square kilometers of ocean waters including the Spratly islands, which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
President Aquino says the Philippines will –quote “lodge a diplomatic note or a formal protest” if they prove the move is an order and not just a proposal.

At number 6, An inquiry created by the British government to look into the practices of British news media, concludes the British press has –quote “wreaked havoc” on the lives of people.
BBC reports the inquiry is calling for government regulation of media — a recommendation that divides the coalition of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The judge who heads the inquiry says the proposed new body to regulate the press should be backed by legislation.
The inquiry is prompted by scandals exposing British tabloids’ illegal activities – such as hacking phones – to obtain sensational stories.

And at number 9, From Mona Lisa to Mickey Mouse, a Philippine guesthouse owner pieces together over a thousand jigsaw puzzles. On Thursday, her collection is officially declared the world’s largest by Guinness World Records.
Gina Gil Lacuna, 61, says –quote “it was just a hobby at first.”
But the pastime, which she took up 26 years ago, turned into an obsession that has her collecting over 1,000 different puzzles, framed wall to wall at her two-story bed and breakfast.

Peping Cojuangco remains the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee as he wins by default after lone challenger Go Teng Kok backs out 2 days before the elections.
The POC election committee disqualifies Go after classifying him as persona non grata.
Go says he will challenge the decision, but surprisingly changes his mind in the last minute.
Cojuangco’s slate sweeps the elections, which gives him and his group four more years of control over the POC.

It’s do or die for the Azkals.
The Philippine National football team is coming off a crucial win against Vietnam, but is faced in a win-or-go-home situation against Myanmar.
The Azkals have to defeat the Myanmar White Angels for a sure slot in the semifinals of the 2012 Suzuki Cup.
You can follow updates of the match through Rappler’s liveblog.

– – Rappler.com

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