Today on Rappler.
- A Chinese general calls the Philippines a ‘troublemaker’ for challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea.
- The Philippine government embarks on an ambitious plan: to lift 10 million people out of poverty.
- The Vatican announces Pope John Paul II and John XXIII will soon become saints.
Story 1: CHINESE GENERAL SAYS PH A ‘TROUBLEMAKER’
A Chinese general calls the Philippines a ‘troublemaker’ for its moves to challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea.
In an interview with reporters in Beijing Thursday, Major General Luo Yan says, “The role of the Philippines in the South China Sea is actually, in my view, a troublemaker.”
He also hits the United States for being “biased” and “[adding] fuel to the fire” by cooperating with Manila in the maritime dispute.
In response, the Philippine foreign affairs department says, “We refuse to dignify the statements by the Chinese general.”
The statements come after Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario invited Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Manila, following –quote– “testy exchanges” between the two at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Brunei.
Del Rosario says he will not deny reports he broke –quote– “diplomatic niceties” to defend the Philippines.
Del Rosario says he wants a “constructive discussion on all issues.”
China also says it’s open to discussing a peaceful resolution of South China Sea disputes.
Story 2: STOP SAVING DRUG MULES ABROAD, GOV’T TOLD
Two legislators urge the government to adopt a “hands-off” policy on drug mules abroad after the government fails to save a 35-year-old Filipina executed Wednesday for drug trafficking.
Western Samar Rep Mel Senen Sarmiento and Iloilo Rep Jerry Treñas say pulling all stops to save those who committed serious crimes abroad sends the wrong message.
Sarmiento says, “ We must stop protecting those who are behind this scourge even if they are Filipinos. They are an embarrassment to all of us and they do not deserve our sympathy.”
Story 3: PH EXTENDS STAY OF GOLAN PEACEKEEPERS
The Philippines decides to extend the stay of Filipino troops in the United Nations peacekeeping force in conflict-stricken Golan Heights.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says President Benigno Aquino agreed to keep the 340 contingents until August 11 — 8 days more than the initial commitment of until August 3.
Del Rosario says the Philippines is also prepared to continue its participation in the peacekeeping force as long as the Filipinos’ safety is ensured.
Aquino earlier threatened to withdraw Philippine troops unless they receive anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and protection from chemical arms.
Japan and Croatia withdrew their troops because of increasing violence from the Syrian civil war.
In March, rebels kidnapped 21 Filipino peacekeepers.
Story 4: GRAFT CHARGES VS CHAVIT, SAVELLANO
The Ombudsman orders the filing of graft charges against two ex-governors of Ilocos Sur for alleged misuse of more than P26 million of the province’s share in the tobacco excise tax 12 years ago.
The Ombudsman says Chavit Singson and Deogracias Victor Savellano violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The chair of the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance Foundation, who filed the complaint with the Ombudsman, alleges a total of P26,060,500 was released as financial assistance to Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc (MFPII) during the terms of the two governors.
MFPII, a private entity, was not qualified to receive assistance from the tobacco fund.
The Ombudsman says Singson and Savellano entered into several agreements with MFPII and released funds without inspecting the projects.
A Newsbreak special report shows the provincial government under the two ex-governors either misused, misappropriated, or failed to account for at least P1.3 billion of its tobacco fund from 1999 to 2005.
Story 5: PH PLANS TO LIFT MILLIONS OUT OF POVERTY
The Philippine government aims to lift more than 10 million people out of poverty in less than two years.
Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan says the government wants to cut down the number of people living in poverty to 16.6% by the end of 2015.
The government’s goal comes after the country’s stunning economic growth fails to make a dent on crushing poverty.
In 2012, about 27.9% of the country was classified as living in poverty compared to 28.6% in 2009 and 28.8% in 2006.
That means more than 25 million currently live in poverty.
Balisacan says the government plans to increase spending on infrastructure to create immediate jobs and make areas more attractive for investment.
Story 6: PH OCEANS IN CRISIS
Fishermen are the poorest sector in the country, with dwindling incomes due to polluted oceans.
Buena Bernal talks to a fisherfolk family in Batangas.
Maricel Gacela relies on the sea for her family’s living.
A single parent with 2 kids, she comes from a family of fishermen in Calatagan, Batangas.
The family never earns enough, always living by the day.
MARICEL GACELA, BATANGAS FISHERMAN: Yung kinikita ng tatay ko noon ay minsan sa loob ng isang araw na pagpalaot niya, kumikita siya ng P800 to P1000 a day. Pero ngayon, yung kinikita ko ay salamat pa na makakita ako ng P250. At talagang hindi siya kakasya sa pang araw-araw na pangangailangan namin, dahil pumapasok na yung dalawa kong anak. (My father used to earn in a day he goes fishing around P800 to P1000 a day. But now, with what I earn, I would be grateful to get P250.It really doesn’t suffice, since my two sons are already going to school. )
Data shows the incomes of fishing vessels are on a steady decline since the 1950s.
The volume of catch no longer compensates for the cost of fishing.
Advocate Vince Cinches says the Philippine oceans are in crisis.
VINCE CINCHES, GREENPEACE OCEANS CAMPAIGNER: Kung titignan mo lang sa Manila Bay, based on the recent data, 70% of the waste in Manila Bay are plastics…” 1:30-1:53 “… Ang nangyayari diyan ang basura, yung gravity niya, pinapatay niya yung mga major na mga marineecosystems dito sa Manila Bay. Manila Bay actually mirrors what is happening all over the country.So malaki yung… malaking-malaki yung impact niya tsaka yung reach ng pollution tsaka ng garbage sa atin. (If you will look at Manila Bay, based on the recent data, 70% of the waste in Manila Bay are plastics. What happens there – the gravity – it kills major marine ecosystems here in Manila Bay. Manily Bay actually mirrors what is happening all over the country. The impact of pollution and garbage is big.)
Water samples from Manila Bay in 2007 show human waste bacteria and heavy metal particles go beyond the environmental standard.
Maricel is among 2 million Filipino fishermen whose incomes plummeted due to the deteriorating state of the Philippine seas.
Government data says fishermen are the poorest among the 9 basic sectors.
Against the odds, Maricel hopes the next day’s catch will be better.
She talks of dreams and how she doesn’t think they will ever come true.
MARICEL GACELA, BATANGAS FISHERMAN: Siyempre, mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan, mapapag-aral, mapapag-tapos hangang kolehiyo. Pero papaano ko maibibigay sa kanila yun kung ngayon pa lamang ay wala na akong mahuling isda na sya yung pangunahing hanapbuhay namin dito? (Of course, to give them a good future, to send them to school for them to finish college. But how can I give that to them if there are no fishes where we get our primary income?)
Buena Bernal, Rappler, Calatagan, Batangas.
Story 7: EGYPT INTERIM PRESIDENT LOOKS FORWARD TO NEW GOVT
As protesters celebrate in Cairo over the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian police round up members of Morsi’s group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The brotherhood, banned under former president Hosni Mubarak, catapulted to power after the 2011 uprising.
The New York Times calls the change of power a military coup wrapped in a popular revolt, a power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the security apparatus built up by Mubarak.
Supreme Constitutional Court chief justice Adly Mansour is sworn in as interim president.
He says he looks forward to parliamentary and presidential elections that would express the “true will of the people.”
It is still unclear what political structure will emerge from the power-grab.
Morsi’s government crumbles Wednesday after a 48-hour ultimatum from the army, in the face of massive protests against his leadership.
Morsi’s opponents say he failed the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in the hands of his Brotherhood.
Story 8: VATICAN: JOHN PAUL II, JOHN XXIII TO BECOME SAINTS
Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will soon become saints.
On Friday, the Vatican says Pope Francis approves the canonization of the two, but does not specify when the canonizations will happen.
John Paul II was hugely popular through his 27-year papacy.
At his funeral in 2005, crowds of mourners cried “Santo Subito!” which roughly translates to “Sainthood Now!”
John XXIII, nicknamed “The Good Pope,” reigned from 1958 to 1963 and convened the historic Second Vatican Council.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, Human Rights Watch says there is an “epidemic” of violence against women in Egypt, with mobs assaulting and raping at least 91 women during the demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
The Egyptian group Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault and the women’s rights group Nazra for Feminist Studies confirm 51 of these attacks.
In a video posted on the website, one 30-year-old victim says 15 men attacked her and ripped her clothes.
Human Rights Watch Middle East’s Joe Stork says the “horrific levels of sexual violence” are “holding women back from participating fully in the public life.”
He adds, “Impunity for sexual violence against women in the public sphere in Egypt is the norm.”
At number 9, Japanese researchers use human stem cells to create tiny rudimentary livers that can make human liver proteins.
The liver buds, as they are called, didn’t turn into complete livers, but experts say the method holds promise in a field that’s seen many failed attempts.
When a team of Japanese scientists transplanted the cells into mice, the little organs grew and metabolized drugs as human livers do.
Scientists say the findings are still basic research and studies on humans are years away.
And at number 10, a report from the Inspector General shows the US State Department spent $630,000 to earn more “likes” on its Facebook pages, in an effort to reach its target audience.
The results though weren’t so good, prompting a report from the Inspector General in May.
The report reads, “Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as ‘buying fans’ who may have once clicked on an ad or ‘liked’ a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further.”
The spending resulted in an increase in Facebook likes, but the Inspector General says the bureau’s target audience is older, more influential people — not the kind who spend hours liking government Facebook pages.
Story 10: OFFICERS DO THE ‘COPWALK’ TO SHOW PNP’S NEW UNIFORMS
Policemen in the Philippines are bent on reinventing their image– from bumbling cops to respected public servants.
How will they do it? It starts with a fashion show.
Cops on the catwalk.
The Philippine National Police ditches its guns for a night and takes on the ramp in an event aptly called Copwalk.
The fashion show features prospective new uniform designs for the PNP.
So who better to model them than policemen and women?
NAPOLEON ESTILLES, DIRECTORATE FOR PLANS: The PNP leadership initiated the catwalk so we could offer the police officers a more comfortable set of uniforms that will be of great help to them whatever conditions they may be.
The PNP has had the same uniform for 17 years.
Complaints from the police triggered the shift.
They say the present uniform is too hot and uncomfortable.
A NAPOLCOM resolution allows the PNP to change their uniform every 10 years.
So Directorate for Research and Development head Gil Hitosis started doing research on the best material and design to use by consulting fashion designers.
PNP Chief Alan Purisima supported the idea to change the uniform and the idea of a fashion show.
GIL HITOSIS, DIRECTORATE FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: Ang ating mga tauhan sa field ay nagcocomplain narin na yung dati nating uniform na 100% polyester masaydong mainit, kung pinawisan ka makati, it does not afford them comfort. (Our policemen have complained that the old uniform, the 100% polyester, is too hot. If you sweat its itchy, it does not afford them comfort.)
Copwalk showcases 10 different designs.
The event even asks audience members to text their design choice.
Top fashion designers Rene Salud, Eddie Badeo and former politician TingTing Cojuangco also help choose the winner.
In the end, designer Jacky Claire Ponte wins, but The Uniform and Equipment Standardized Board will approve the final design.
The uniform is part of a sweeping overhaul of the police force under the Aquino administration.
Along with modern equipment and new guns, policemen will now enjoy a comfortable new uniform and hopefully find renewed pride and dignity in protecting the public.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|