Rappler Newscast | July 10, 2013

Sen Cayetano: RH law debate reflects PH society’s “political immaturity.” Iqbal: GPH & MILF still looking for compromise on wealth sharing. EU lifts ban on PAL.

Today on Rappler.

  • Sen Cayetano says the debate on the reproductive health law reflects Philippine society’s –quote– “political immaturity.” 
  • The Muslim rebels’ negotiator for peace talks with the government says both sides are still looking for a compromise on wealth sharing.
  • The European Union lifts a ban on Philippine Airlines.
Editor’s Note: In this voice report, we say that Ramadan happens on the 8th month of the lunar calendar, when it actually occurs on the 9th month. We regret and apologize for the error.

Reproductive health law advocate Sen Pia Cayetano says the continuing debate on the controversial RH law reflects Philippine society’s –quote– “political immaturity.”
On Tuesday, Supreme Court justices grill critics of the RH law in oral arguments as the High Tribunal studies a petition questioning its constitutionality.
Anti-RH advocates say the law promotes abortion and violates a constitutional right to life.
But Cayetano says the law’s critics are taking a Catholic position.

PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: But what I feel is a reflection of our political immaturity is the fact that we cannot comprehend the meaning of separation of church and state. Clearly these are church issues…This is a Catholic position and they want the Catholic definition of what is allowed, what a married couple can use as contraceptives, they want that written into the law. That’s what it is. And I have no hesitations saying that because it is my job as a lawyer, it is my job as a lawmaker to detach my personal views from my job.

Maria Concepcion Noche, lawyer for the petitioners, faced tough questions from the justices as she defended the basis of her opposition to the law: that life begins at conception.
But Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Marvic Leonen tell Noche they are not in the best position to decide on matters of faith and medical science.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno adds, the Supreme Court “may not be the best forum” for questions on the controversial law.
Cayetano says there was a previous attempt in the Senate to define when life begins, but it was voted down.

PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: We actually voted on a provision that defines when does life begin and it was voted down because, I made it very clear as a sponsor of the measure, we have no business defining when life begins. We are not scientists, we are not doctors, we are not God. So why will we define this?

During the oral arguments, Sereno asks Noche if a person using contraceptives is violating the Constitution, to which Noche says yes.
Noche says there are natural family planning methods that will not harm the life of the unborn.
Cayetano says the implementation of the RH law gives women the freedom to choose their options for family planning.

PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: What does this usher into? It makes us more responsible parents, it provides women with the means now to plan their families. As the Chief Justice had mentioned, what is the main mode of…I don’t know if she said what is the main mode of contraceptives but she basically said what happens when a woman goes home, it’s the tulak system, push your husband away. And I’m telling you a man or any woman who denies that this is the reality for many women do not know what they’re talking about.

One day to go before talks end between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal says both sides are still struggling on how to share wealth from the country’s natural resources.
Iqbal says, “For most issues, there have been suggestions from both sides but overall it’s still an upward struggle.”
Delegations from the government and the MILF flew to Malaysia hoping to sign the annex on wealth sharing — one of the 4 annexes that will complement the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro before the final peace pact can be signed.
The closed-door discussions are described as “tense,” “rigorous” and at times emotional, but still “very congenial.”
There’s pressure from both sides to finish at least one annex this week, with growing frustration on the ground and increased violence in parts of Mindanao.
Despite the time constraints, Iqbal says they won’t just sign anything on the table.
He adds, “We are in a hurry but we are still cautious. We will not just agree to anything because this is about our life.”

Muslims in most parts of Asia begin celebrating the holy month of Ramadan Wednesday.
Ramadan begins when the new crescent moon is sighted.
Millions in the Muslim world fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable during the month, which ends with the Eid holiday.
But the start of Islam’s holiest month begins with a bomb blast in war-torn Afghanistan, with 3 civilians killed and 2 wounded in a Taliban roadside bombing in the southern province of Helmand.
In the Philippines, at least 31 Muslim rebels and 5 soldiers are killed in clashes over the weekend.
On Tuesday, 5 people are hurt in a twin explosion in Cotabato City.

Two Muslims share their stories and talk about their faith as they celebrate Ramadan.
David Lozada reports.

The night before Ramadan, Mustafa Samur leads the prayer meeting or taraweeh.
A Turkish Muslim living in the Philippines for the past five years, he prepares for Ramadan with his Muslim brothers in a poor community.
Mustafa says Ramadan is more vibrant in the Philippines.

MUSTAFA SAMUR, IMAM: I like to be here in the Philippines because I love the Filipino culture and I love the Filipino style of life. And of course Muslims here are also more friendly and also all aspects of society…is more fun in the Philippines. When I see people of the Philippines, I say, this must be the country that I should stay. I should help people.

The holy month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims worldwide, the eighth month of the Muslim lunar calendar Hijrah.

Editors Note: We earlier said that Ramadan happens on the 8th month of the lunar calendar, when it actually occurs on the 9th month. We regret and apologize for the error.

DAVID LOZADA, REPORTING: Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During this season, Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset. They also abstain from doing evil deeds and evil thoughts.

New convert Ayan Salva says Islam changed his life.

AYAN SALVA, MUSLIM CONVERT: Kasi naniniwala ako na yung fasting meron siyang good effects sa sarili. Sa Ramadan naman, ito yung total na pag-renew ng commitment mo sa taas na…sa whole year hindi ka safe sa kasalanan eh so kailangan mo i-wash out yung ganun. (I believe that fasting has good effects to me. Ramadan is a renewal of commitment to Allah. We sin a lot every year so we need to wash it out.)

Though he recently underwent an operation, Ayan will still obey the teachings of Muhammad. He will still fast this Ramadan.
He is also thankful his family welcomed his conversion.
They say he is a changed man.
Mustafa says Ramadan teaches empathy for the less fortunate, generosity and charity– the way Muhammad, the last Prophet lived.

MUSTAFA SAMUR, IMAM: It was the time the Almighty Allah showered his blessings to the people. This is like a festival for all believers.

Mustafa and Ayan pray for Muslims around the world, for the strength and faith to endure the next thirty days.
David Lozada, Rappler, Quezon City.

Editor’s note: In our voice report, we say that Ramadan happens on the 8th month of the lunar calendar, when it actually occurs on the 9th month. We regret and apologize for the error.

Saudi Arabia threatens to expel non-Muslim expatriates who eat, drink, or smoke in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
An interior ministry statement published in the Saudi Press Agency says –quote– “Non-Muslim residents in the kingdom must not eat or drink in public during Ramadan in respect to the holiness of Ramadan and the feelings of Muslims.”
It adds, foreigners caught breaking the fast in public will be subject to deterrent measures that include terminating their employment contracts and expelling them from the kingdom.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict version of sharia Islamic law, is home to eight million foreigners, mostly Asians.

State weather bureau Pagasa says Typhoon Huaning, international name Soulik, maintains its strength and continues to move west-northwest.
It has maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kilometers per hour.
Public storm warning signal number one is up over Batanes Group of islands.
The estimated amount of rainfall is from heavy to intense within the 800 kilometer-diameter of the typhoon.
Pagasa expects the typhoon to be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility Saturday afternoon.

The Philippine government says it can’t help all 16,000 overseas Filipino workers who lost their jobs in Taiwan.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office chairman Amadeo Perez says –quote– “Our hands are tied because of the freeze order issued by the Taiwanese government and we have no means of providing or giving them additional work.”
The labor department says only one option is left, at least for now: Find other jobs abroad.
Up to 16,000 OFWs lost their jobs after Taiwan banned the hiring of new Filipino workers and refused to renew thousands of contracts.
Taiwan imposed these sanctions after the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in the Philippines triggered a diplomatic row.
Perez says 10,000 affected OFWs had existing contracts that Taiwan refused to renew.
He describes 6,000 as “new contract workers” to whom Taiwan didn’t issue visas.
The labor department says it offered –quote– “alternate jobs overseas” for affected OFWs.

The European Union allows Philippine Airlines or PAL to fly in the 28-nation bloc, partially lifting a ban imposed against the Philippines in 2010.
In a press briefing, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux cites the Philippines’ efforts in addressing serious air safety concerns.
Other Philippine carriers like budget airline Cebu Pacific are still barred from entering European airspace.
In June, a Cebu Pacific plane skidded off the Davao airport runway.
In 2010, EU blacklisted Philippine carriers after the International Civil Aviation Organization classified the Philippine aviation industry as a “significant safety concern.”
Aviation regulator Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines failed to meet safety standards the EU required.
In March, ICAO announced the Philippines had complied with international safety standards.
CAAP and PAL appealed the ban before the EU committee in Brussels in April and again in the committee’s meeting on June 26.
Cebu Pacific says it chose not to participate in the meeting, but hoped to make a representation in the next meeting in December.

Egypt’s main coalition, which backed the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, denounces a roadmap granting the interim president extensive powers ahead of new elections.
The National Salvation Front rejects the constitutional decree and timetable laid out by interim president Adly Mansour.
This comes after Mansour appointed economist Hazem al-Beblawi as interim premier and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which insists on the ousted president’s reinstatement, also rejects the interim charter and timetable.
Morsi’s ouster last week pushes the divided country into even more violence, with 2 people killed early Wednesday when militants struck the police and army with mortar rounds and grenades.

At number 1, The International Monetary Fund cuts its global economic growth forecast, citing a deeper recession in the eurozone.
The IMF projects the world’s economy will grow 3.1% in 2013, down from its April estimate of 3.3%.
IMF warns China and other emerging economic powers now face new risks including –quote– “the possibility of a longer growth slowdown.”
The global lender increased financial market volatility and rising interest rates in advanced economies affect growth.

At number 2, a Russian lawmaker says US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden agreed to Venezuela’s offer of political asylum.
Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov says on Twitter says –quote–, “As was expected, Snowden agreed to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s offer of political asylum.”
He deleted it minutes after the announcement.
Pushkov’s announcement comes after the leftist governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua offered Snowden asylum.

And at number 10, The next robotic rover to explore Mars in 2020 will focus on searching for signs of past life.
NASA’s science definition team says it will scour the surface of the red planet to determine if life once existed on the planet.
The mission will use microscopic analysis to collect rock samples for possible return to Earth and test ways to use resources on site for a future human trip.
The Mars 2020 mission will build on the work being done by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
Curiosity has been exploring the red planet since August 2012 and it’s already found evidence of potentially habitable environments.

– Rappler.com

Newscast production staff

DIRECTOR Rupert Ambil
  Dindin Reyes
HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER Katerina Francisco
  Exxon Ruebe
  Adrian Portugal
  Francis Lopez
  Naoki Mengua
GRAPHICS Jessica Lazaro
  Matthew Hebrona

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