Rappler Newscast | December 4, 2012

Typhoon Pablo -- international name Bopha -- kills at least 7 people and forces more than 53,000 to evacuate. | 31 Liberal Party members defy President Aquino and vote against the Reproductive Health bill. | President Aquino says the Philippine Stock Exchange may break the 6,000 level in 2012. For more visit www.rappler.com

Today on Rappler.

  • Typhoon Pablo — international name Bopha — kills at least 7 people and forces more than 53,000 to evacuate. 
  • 31 Liberal Party members defy President Aquino and vote against the Reproductive Health bill. 
  • President Aquino says the Philippine Stock Exchange may break the 6,000 level in 2012.

Typhoon “Pablo” — international name Bopha — kills at least 50 people and forces more than 53,000 out of their homes.
Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza says 43 people died in New Bataan, Compostela Valley because of flash floods.
At least 24 people are reported missing.
In its 5pm bulletin, state weather bureau Pagasa says the typhoon slightly accelerates as it moves toward Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
It is expected to be 140 km southwest of Coron, Palawan Wednesday afternoon.
Signal no. 3 is up over Northern Palawan including Calamian group of islands; Bohol, Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Negros Oriental, Southern Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Guimaras, Antique, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Norte.
Signal no. 2 is up over the rest of Palawan, Aklan, Capiz, rest of Cebu including Camotes Islands and the rest of Negros Occidental; Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur including Sibugay.
Signal no. 1 is up over Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Leyte including Biliran and Southern Leyte; Surigao del Norte including Siargao; Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says 53,441 people are in 94 evacuation centers in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Most evacuees are from Surigao del Sur.
More than 60 people are stranded after uprooted trees block a highway in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.
Three people, including a young mother and her baby, die after a landslide buries their house in the town of Compostela Tuesday morning.

A simple phrase makes some male senators uncomfortable – when the words “safe and satisfying sex life” is included in the definition of reproductive health.
During debates on the RH bill, five male senators led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile question the need to include the phrase in the bill.
But RH bill sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano stands her ground, with the Senate voting 6-11 to retain the definition.
Here are highlights from that episode.

FRANCIS ESCUDERO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: May I inquire from the proponent, my discomfort only arises from the phrase safe and satisfying sex life being included in the law. I’m just not too comfortable with the law saying safe and satisfying, if only that phrase is removed.
PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Is your problem with the safe or is your problem with the satisfying?
ESCUDERO: I like both. Problems with it being in the law…
CAYETANO: What would you like your wife or your daughter to have? Safe or satisfying sex life?
ESCUDERO: My daughter, safe.
CAYETANO: And your wife?
ESCUDERO: I wouldn’t know.
CAYETANO: My question is what would you want?
ESCUDERO: I wouldn’t know anymore, you should have asked me before.
CAYETANO: I’m speaking in a hypothetical, I assume you will have a wife again because I know that you are currently in love.
ESCUDERO: that’s a totally different matter, your honor. Is this the first time?
CAYETANO: I just want all the gentlemen laughing here now to know that in conferences all around the world, having a safe, satisfying sex life is not a laughing matter. it’s serious business. It was taken up in an international conference which we acceded to so for your information.

At least 31 of the 63 Liberal Party members in the House of Representatives defy President Benigno Aquino and vote against the Reproductive Health bill.
Based on Rappler’s count, the ruling Liberal Party was split despite President Benigno Aquino urging his party mates to put the bill to a vote this week.
The House voted 99 to 90 to reject a motion by anti-RH Palawan Rep Victorino Dennis Socrates asking for 10 minutes to speak about the supposedly railroaded substitution of the RH bill.
31 LP members voted in favor of Socrates.
Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II urges Aquino to certify the RH bill as urgent.

NEPTALI GONZALES II, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: He might be parsimonious but ako naman, I believe in my heart [that] to really give it a boost, it has to be certified. But of course I leave it to the President to certify.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council seizes P200 million in bank deposits of the Aman Futures Group.
AMLC Executive Director Vicente Aquino discloses this to a House committee on Tuesday.
In a committee hearing, lawmakers hit the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation for failing to anticipate the scam.
Cagayan de Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez says, “SEC has not been proactive but reactive.”
The P12-B Aman Futures scam duped 15,000 people in Visayas and Mindanao.
Key investors, including Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, have been charged with estafa over the scam.
More than 11,000 complaints are filed against the group.

President Benigno Aquino rallies industry captains to prove to investors that the Philippine economy is ‘not yet done’ and has ‘more to show,’ following another record close at the stock market.
Speaking at the Philippine Stock Exchange anniversary dinner Monday,
Aquino presents an optimistic picture of the country’s economic progress.

BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: The entire world has begun to train their spotlight on us. Let us prove to them: we are not yet done, we have more to show, and we will build even greater things on top of the foundations we have already laid down.

The President credits reforms of the Securities and Exchange Commission and challenges businessmen to sustain the interest of investors through corporate governance reforms.
Continued investor confidence, steady GDP growth, and a property market boom all contribute to the record-breaking performance of the stock market — — a performance the President believes is sustainable.

BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: The way things are going now, there is no reason to believe or not to believe that the stock exchange is going well and that we would be able to realize our dream, as promised by Eusebio Tanco, of breaking the 6,000 index perhaps in the next 28 days.

On Tuesday, the stock market closes at 5,706.28 points — its 34th record high for 2012.

The country’s first monorail system is being developed by the University of the Philippines.
The project aims to ease traffic congestion, a big problem in urban centers.
Voltaire Tupaz reports.

The two coaches of the first homegrown monorail in the Philippines are already up on the track.
This December, their stability, brake distance, and power will be tested along a track built inside the UP Diliman Campus.

VOLTAIRE TUPAZ, REPORTING: The construction of the test track of the first monorail system in the country is ongoing here in UP Diliman. It stands at an elevation of about 6 meters, and stretches from CP Garcia to Jacinto St near the College of Fine Arts, about 500 meters long.

A collaboration between the state university and the Department of Science and Technology developers hope it will jumpstart the development of the country’s stagnated railway system.

DR ELVIRA ZAMORA, UP SYSTEM VP FOR DEV’T: It is also one of the key projects of the PNoy administration. The objective is to develop and deploy a technology for mass transport that will be efficient and at the same time save money for the country.

Traffic congestion is a big problem in urban centers.
More than 900,000 passenger cars are registered nationwide.
Everyday, over 23,000 buses, 36,000 taxis, and 217,000 jeepneys provide public transport services to Filipinos, 80% of whom commute to work, school and other destinations.
These congest roads– the most dense in Southeast Asia except Singapore.
Traffics costs the country 2% of the GDP in lost opportunities.
But will the monorail address the worsening traffic problem?

DR. REGIN REGIDOR, NAT’L CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION  STUDIES: The capacity will not be the same as the EDSA MRT or the LRT2, yung mga existing systems natin dito. Kasi medyo malalaki yung capacity nung mga systems na yun. So may limitation. Ang tanong is saan ba siya lulugar? Definitely it has probably similar or better capacity than yung regular buses natin. So it should have better capacities than the jeepneys. If it’s implemented as a mode of public transportation.

But Regidor says the monorail may be the answer to problems in specific locations.

DR. REGIN REGIDOR: We can be hopeful, noh, pero siguro i-temper lang natin yung expectations natin kasi baka naman ang ine-expect mo parang bullet train ng Japan yung system mo; wag naman ganun, ‘di ba, baka sobra na yun. But for something na pwede nga natin magamit for airports, for CBD’s, I think very real yung possibility na itong system na ‘to ‘pag maayos na natin talaga, no.

The monorail is just a prototype for research.
If it works, it will be a major step towards an effective mass transit system.
Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Manila.

North Korea’s rocket set to launch this December will once again have a trajectory close to the Philippines.
According to the website North Korea Tech, a memorandum from the North Korean embassy in London indicates a path similar to the failed rocket launch last April.
The memo notes the rocket will launch between 8 am to 1pm Philippine time, on a date between December 10 to 22.
The first stage of the rocket will drop in waters southwest of South Korea.
The second stage will drop in an area 190 kilometers east of the Cagayan Valley region in the Philippines.

Republicans lay out a plan for closing the huge US deficit raising half the income proposed by President Barack Obama.
It also opposes a tax rate increase for the rich.
Calling Obama’s plan “neither balanced nor realistic,” Republicans propose $1.2 trillion in government spending cuts over 10 years.
The spending cuts will affect benefits in the huge Medicare health insurance program for seniors.
Their reply left the two sides far apart in negotiations 4 weeks before the onset of what’s been called the fiscal cliff – a sharp cut in budgets by January.
The White House quickly blasts the new plan, saying it “provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve.”
It says Obama is –quote “not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance.”

At number 5, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, are expecting a baby.
A spokesman says the duchess is admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London after acute morning sickness.
She is expected to be confined for several days.
The BBC reports the baby will be third in line and in direct succession to the throne.
The royal couple was married at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.
On Twitter, Prime Minister David Cameron says he is “delighted by the news,” adding that “they will make wonderful parents.”

At number 6, US President Barack Obama warns Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable.”
The statement was in apparent reaction to information that Syrian forces are preparing to use chemical weapons.
But a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman says it would “never, under any circumstances, use chemical weapons against its own people, if such weapons exist.”

And at number 9, Even Facebook wants a vote.
After severe criticism from privacy activists, the social network says it is asking its one billion members to vote on its privacy policies.
Referendum results will be binding only if 30% of its members, equivalent to 300 million, respond.
Among the proposed changes … the sharing of information with Instagram, Facebook’s newly-acquired photo-sharing service.
Privacy activists say the changes will make it easier for advertisers to send messages via Facebook, limiting control by users.
This privacy issue highlights Facebook’s dilemma over how to monetize data from its users by sharing information without compromising privacy.

Mars rover Curiosity may have stumbled on evidence that there was once life on the Red Planet.
Curiosity sends back its analysis of  martian soil sample and detects simple organic compounds. Water, sulfur, and other chlorine containing substances showed up in the samples.
But NASA’s researchers caution the traces of carbon could have come from meteorites or particles picked up prior to the launch from Earth.
They hope to find more evidence of organic compounds as Curiosity makes its way across the barren, windblown sands of Rocknest towards a slope of mountain called Mount Sharp.

– Rappler.com

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