Today on Rappler.
- The death toll from typhoon Pablo, international name Bopha, rises to at least 274 people.
- President Aquino says the government’s priority is to rescue and care for evacuees in areas ravaged by typhoon Pablo.
- The Supreme Court says Zaldy Ampatuan is a suspect in the Maguindanao massacre.
Story 1: ‘PABLO:’ AT LEAST 274 DEAD IN DAVAO, COMVAL
The death toll from typhoon Pablo — international name Bopha — rises to at least 274 Wednesday, with hundreds still missing.
142 people died and 241 others are missing in the mountainous Mindanao town of New Bataan in Compostela Valley.
Eighty-one others are killed in the nearby province of Davao Oriental and 15 in other areas.
The typhoon weakens as it moves west northwest across northern Palawan.
It is is expected to be 510 km west of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro tomorrow afternoon.
Signal no. 3 is up over Northern Palawan, including Calamian Group of Islands.
Signal no. 2 is up over the rest of Palawan, while Signal no. 1 is up over Occidental Mindoro.
Story 2: FILIPINOS RESPOND BETTER TO TYPHOON PABLO
The strongest typhoon to hit the country this year claims hundreds of lives, despite government warnings and memories of tropical storm Sendong last year.
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
Pablo is the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year but officials say Filipinos had learned from previous disasters.
The wake-up call was Tropical Storm Sendong last year, which killed over 1,400 people in a region that rarely experiences storms.
Government data show that within a day after Pablo made landfall, at least eight out of ten affected residents moved to evacuation centers.
In the same period when Sendong struck Mindanao in 2011, only 3 out of 10 residents evacuated.
Disaster council chief Benito Ramos says Filipinos now know it can be fatal to ignore calls to evacuate.
BENITO RAMOS, HEAD, NDRRMC: Hindi lang sa gobyerno ito, ‘yung taumbayan. Kasi naturuan na sila ng kalikasan. ‘Pag evacuate tayo, evacuate tayo. Sumusunod na sila sa abiso ng gobyerno. Nasobrahan na ang trauma ng mga tao.
Ramos says government ran an extensive information campaign after Sendong last year.
But while urban residents were secured, Pablo killed 200 people in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
BONG CINGCO, RESIDENT: Nananawagan kami kay Mr Presidente para sa tubig, pagkain, at saka gamot, kasi mahirap dito ang tubig eh. Wala na kaming iniinom dito. Tubig ng niyog na lang, minsan wala pa eh.
Ramos admits in a sense, they have failed.
BENITO RAMOS: Hindi naman ako passing grade, dahil yung 95 casualties, apektado ako niyan dahil marami ito sa aking assessment, still marami. Siguro kung isa lang ang namatay, o mas maganda kung zero, I will be satisfied.
Experts say denuded forests caused the landslides and flash floods that took so many lives in Compostela.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: For instance yung army na unit. Bakit sila naka-base sa ganung flash flood. May report na evacuation center nadale din ng flashflood.
Officials say opening the people’s eyes to the dangers they face is half the battle.
The harder task ahead is ending illegal logging.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila.
Story 3: AQUINO: RESCUE, EVACUEES PRIORITY AFTER ‘PABLO’
President Benigno Aquino says the government’s priority is to rescue and care for evacuees after Typhoon “Pablo” strikes Davao and Compostela Valley, Tuesday.
Aquino names Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to oversee the response to the typhoon in Mindanao.
The President adds the government is also assessing why areas identified as less risky are now underwater.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT:There is at least 8 billion ready to take care of all of the expenses necessary here. Also the necessary infrastructure, mga roads that were closed, etc.,damages. There is sufficient funds at this point in time.
Story 4: IT’S FINAL: ZALDY AMPATUAN IS A SUSPECT IN MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE
The Supreme Court denies with finality the petition of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov Zaldy Ampatuan to be removed as a suspect in the Maguindanao massacre.
On November 14, the Supreme Court third division junked Ampatuan’s motion which questioned the Court’s earlier resolutions in June and August.
In its June resolution, the High Court upheld a Court of Appeals ruling which included Ampatuan as one of the suspects in the 2009 killing of 58 people.
Andal Ampatuan Sr. and Andal Ampatuan Jr are also charged with murder for the massacre.
Story 5: SC JUNKS CASE VS LACSON IN KURATONG BALELENG ‘RUBOUT’
The Supreme Court upholds a regional trial court ruling clearing Sen. Panfilo Lacson of murder charges in connection with the Kuratong Baleleng “rubout” case.
In a November 13 decision, the court affirms the ruling of Judge Ma. Theresa Yadao of the Quezon City regional trial court Branch 81.
In 2003, Yadao junked the murder case against Lacson and other police officials for lack of probable cause.
Lacson was head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force in 1995 when policemen under his command gunned down 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang in Quezon City.
Story 6: CASIGURAN LOCALS CONTINUE MARCH FOR LAND
120 residents from Casiguran, Aurora march to Manila to protest the Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport Authority.
Locals go through the 350 kilometer march hoping the government hears their plea.
Bea Cupin reports.
This is 8-year-old Norman, an Agta Dumagat from Casiguran, Aurora.
He lives along the shores of Barangay San Idelfonso in Casiguran.
But today his playground is this seminary in Cabanatuan City, 220 kilometers from home.
Norman is here with 118 other residents.
They are on the tenth day of a 350 kilometer march from Aurora to Malacanang.
They started marching on November 24 to protest the Aurora Pacific Economize Zone and Freeport Authority.
APECO is a 12-thousand hectare special economic zone that covers 5 barangays.
It is the brainchild of the Angaras of Aurora.
Senator Edgardo Angara, Aurora Rep Sonny Angara, and Governor Bellaflor Angara–say the ecozone will provide jobs for Aurora residents.
But marchers say it is “legalized land grabbing.”
EVELYN TORRES, SAN IDELFONSO RESIDENT: Dahil pinipilit niya pong bilhin sa amin ang lupa na aming sinasaka sa halagang P60,000 per hectare lang po. Ang sabi ko po ay hindi ko binebenta ang lupa namin kasi ang lupa ay buhay. Paano po kung kukunin nila sa amin yan? Para nanilang pinatay kami.
They are against the kind of development APECO will bring.
PIO TRESVALLES, FISHERMAN FROM BARANGAY ESTEVES: Sa aming mangingida nagkaroon kami ng agam-agam, pagkatakot dahil ang aming pangisdaan ay maaring ma-pollute gawa dun sa sa freeport na pinatayo nila.
The walk takes them across different terrain–from unpaved roads to steep mountainsides.
They have over 140 kilometers left in their march.
The march hasn’t been easy.
Despite all odds, spirits remain high.
ERLINDA BITIGAN, NONOY’S ‘INAY’: Yung una, nakaramdam ako ng takot, kaba. Pero noong pagdating ko sa kalsada, ay maraming pumalakpak… aba marami palang sumusuporta sa amin kaya naalis yung kaba ko.
The fisherfolk, farmers, and indigenous peoples of Casiguran are hopeful the march will be worth it.
After all, it’s about standing up for their land, their livelihood, and the future their children deserve.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Cabanatuan City.
Story 7: GSIS BENEFITS FROM SOARING PSE INDEX, PH ECONOMIC GAINS
The head of a state-run pension fund says the strong investment interest toward the Philippines is benefiting the Government Service Insurance System.
GSIS president and general manager Roberto Vergara says the record-breaking performance of the local stock market is trickling down to the beneficiaries of the pension and insurance funds that GSIS is managing for government employees and institutions.
He says, “There are a lot of investors who want to get in.”
“With the possibility of us getting investment grade next year, we can see a good run up.” The GSIS netted P46.4 billion in the first 7 months to July, reflecting a 14% increase from a year ago’s P40.7 billion.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, Egyptian riot police clash against thousands of protesters gathered outside the Presidential palace in Cairo, angry about what they say call a dictatorial rule by President Muhammed Morsi.
The President flees the palace through a side gate. The palace is now cordoned off with a barbed wire.
Last month, Morsi put in place a new law that would protect Presidential decrees from being overrun.
The law also protected a council that will draft a new constitution.
Morsi calls for a referendum on the draft constitution on December 15 but opponents say he is rushing the matter.
At number 5, Iran claims it captured a US drone that entered Iranian airspace over the Persian gulf.
A US defense official denies this, saying it’s accounted for all US Navy drones operating in the Middle East.
Iranian officials identify the drone as a Scan Eagle, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan of about 10 feet capable of flying for 24 hours without refueling.
It’s used in the military for surveillance operations.
At number 6, US President Barack Obama says he is willing to consider new options to avoid the fiscal cliff, but he says any deal should include higher taxes for the rich.
Republicans criticize a previous plan by the Obama administration, calling it a step backwards in terms of negotiations.
Obama criticizes a proposal by House Republicans that includes $800-B in additional tax revenues but didn’t raise tax rates on upper income Americans.
The President says he understands the need to be flexible, adding, “I’m not going to get 100%” but insisted a deal would have to include increased taxes for Americans that make over $250,000.
And at number 9, Texting celebrates its 20th birthday on Monday.
On Dec 3, 1991, British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first text, “Merry Christmas” to the mobile phone of Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis.
At that time it was intended as an easy way for staff within a company to send messages to each other.
One year later, Nokia introduced GSM handsets that supported the Short Message Service.
The rest as we know is history.
SMS usage continues to increase worldwide even as more smartphone owners use competing services like BlackBerry Messenger and Apple’s iMessage.