Rappler Newscast | August 12, 2013

Typhoon Labuyo leaving Luzon, gains strength. Gilas Pilipinas makes it to the 2014 FIBA World Cup. PH, US start talks on bases access

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Today on Rappler.

  • Typhoon Labuyo, international name Utor, intensifies as it moves out of the Philippines.
  • The Philippine national basketball team earns a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
  • The Philippines and the United States begin talks on a new bases agreement.

Typhoon Labuyo — international name Utor — gains strength as it moves out of the Philippine area of responsibility.
State weather bureau Pagasa says the typhoon is located 230 km northwest of Baguio City, or 200 km west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur.
The eye of the typhoon is now over the West Philippine Sea.
Storm signal number 2 is up over Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, La Union, and Pangasinan.
Signal number 1 is up over Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Isabela, Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Bataan, and Zambales.
One person died and at least 23 are missing as the typhoon sweeps across Northern Luzon.

The Philippine National basketball team is going to Spain to compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup — and they did it with drama.
It has been 35 years since the Philippines competed in the world basketball championships.
Gilas Pilipinas secured a spot in the FIBA World Cup after defeating long-time tormentor South Korea in the semifinals.
They played without naturalized center Marcus Douthit who suffered a knee injury in the second round game against Qatar.
The Philippines has a history of being beaten by the Koreans in basketball.
Gilas head coach Chot Reyes says their main goal is to make the Philippines proud.
He dedicates the win to former coaches and players of the National team.
He says –quote– This was for Jong, for Olsen, for Rajko, for all the tough times against Korea.
Reyes is referring to 2002 National team head coach Jong Uichico, former player Olsen Racela and 2011 Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman who all suffered heartbreaking losses to Seoul.
In the championship round, Gilas faced Iran led by the 7-feet, 2-inches tall Hamed Haddadi.
Gilas trailed by only one point at halftime, but was overwhelmed by the inside presence of Haddadi in the second half.
Iran would go on to win the FIBA Asia title, 85 to 71.
Jayson Castro, the Philippines’ second leading scorer, is named to the mythical five.
He earns the distinction of being the best point guard in Asia.
Reyes admits they were overmatched from the start, but they found ways to win because they did not want to disappoint the crowd.
Gilas team captain Jimmy Alapag treasures the experience.
He says –quote– “It’s always an honor to represent our country. I couldn’t be prouder to be Filipino.”

Oil company Petron apologizes for the Friday oil spill in Manila Bay after the Philippine Coast Guard confirms it was caused by a leaking submerged pipeline owned by the company.
In a statement, Petron president Lubin Nepomuceno says, “We sincerely apologize and assure all the communities affected that we will strive to resolve the situation at the soonest possible time.”
Because of the leak, 500,000 liters of diesel oil spread to coastal villages in the towns of Rosario, Tanza, and Naic in Cavite.
It affected thousands of fishermen who depend on the sea for a living.

The Philippines and the United States will start negotiations on an agreement that grants the US access to Philippine bases.
What does this mean for the Philippines?
Carmela Fonbuena reports.

VOLTAIRE GAZMIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: President Benigno S Aquino III has given us permission to commence consultations and negotiations regarding an agreement that will provide a framework for U.S. increased rotational presence in the Philippines.

The Philippines and the U.S. begin formal negotiations on a new bases agreement.
It will give the US wider access to Philippine military bases and increase the presence of US troops in the Philippines.
It aims to boost the country’s maritime security amid tensions in the South China Sea.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO, DFA SECRETARY: Deterrence can be enhanced even before modernisation. Maritime security and maritime domain awareness will be given a boost even before we have ships and aircraft we need. And even before we have the advanced and sophisticated hardware we wish for, we will know how to operate and maintain them.

The Philippine panel members are Foreign affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta, Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, Defense Assistant Secreretary Raymund Jose Quilop, and Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan.
The US panel is led by senior military diplomat Eric John.
There used to be tens of thousands of US troops in the Philippines before the Senate junked the RP-US Bases Treaty in 1991.
The Visiting Forces Agreement opened the doors once again on the condition that their stay is temporary.
The Philippine panel struggles to explain how the new agreement is going to change existing arrangements under the VFA.
Will the Americans will bring in, for example, fighter aircrafts or surveillance planes? They say it’s a possibility.

PIO LORENZO BATINO, USEC, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE: One of the possible benefits for the Philippine government and the DND and AFP particularly is the possibility of these temporarily deployed equipment to be used by the Philippine government for key mission areas such as maritime security, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Congress has been notified about the talks, but the new deal is meant to be an executive agreement that will not require the approval of the Philippine Senate.

CARMELA FONBUENA, REPORTING: The Philippine panel dismisses constitutional and legal questions raised against expanding US access to the Philippine military bases. But while members guarantee they will be transparent, they can only give buzz words for now.  
What they mean by “high impact and high value exercises” and “modalities for increased rotational presence” remain to be seen.

Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler, Camp Aguinaldo.

More bombings hit Cotabato, adding to the series of attacks in various parts of Mindanao the past two weeks.
On Monday, an explosion hits the Kabacan, North Cotabato office of the Commission on Elections, hours after police defuse a powerful homemade bomb outside the Cotabato City Hall.
On Saturday, Malacañang says it launched investigations to –quote– “determine and punish” people or groups behind the bombings.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte says, “If you notice, these blasts, they have random targets. It’s not about religion, it’s not about your affiliation but it’s being done randomly. The operations are ongoing.”
Monday’s incidents add to earlier attacks the past 2 weeks.
On July 26, a Cagayan de Oro explosion killed 8 and injured 46 others.
Another deadly blast on August 5 killed 8 in Cotabato.
On Wednesday, 3 more bombings occurred – 2 in Maguindanao and one in North Cotabato.

A suspected New People’s Army member who led an ambush in April on then Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona is arrested Sunday.
Reynaldo Agcopra Gundaya is wanted for the April 20 ambush, which left the 70-year-old Guingona injured and two of her aides killed.
Guingona is the wife of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr and mother of Sen TG Guingona.
The government condemned the attack.
The NPA apologized for hurting Guingona, claiming they were acting in self defense.

Three properties in California worth up to $9.5-million or P415.1-million are linked to the family of alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles.
Based on the California Secretary of State website, there are two businesses owned by Reynald Luy Lim, Napoles’ brother and her alleged partner in the multi-million pork barrel scam.
Napoles’ cousin, whistleblower Benhur Luy, says the US properties were bought from 2006-2007, about 3 years from the time the scheme started.
The years match the testimony of a source who previously told Rappler the lifestyle of Napoles’ daughter got more and more lavish after 2005, based on her posts on social media networks.
The site’s records show Lim as the listed owner of Western Investment Corp and Western Ventures Management Inc, but tax certificates for both companies also list Napoles’ children, James and Jo Christine Napoles as owners.
The two companies have 3 different properties attached to their names:
1. Anaheim property, sold September 2006 for $7 million. Its assessed value today is $7.2 million or P313.9-M.
2. Covina property, sold June 2007 for $1.2 million. Its assessed value today is $1.3 million or P55.7-M.
3. Irvine property, sold July 2007 for $1.4 million. Its assessed value today is $1.04 million or P45.5-M.
The assessed value of their 3 properties combined stands at $9.5 million or P415.1-M.
This amount excludes the estimated P80-M Ritz Carlton LA apartment owned by Janet’s youngest daughter, Jeane.
Lim and Napoles are under investigation for allegedly pocketing pork barrel money obtained from politicians for ghost projects.

At number 7, Asiana Airlines offers $10,000 initial compensation payment to all surviving passengers on board the plane that crash landed last month in San Francisco.
The crash killed 3 people and left 180 injured.
Asiana offers the cash to help the 288 surviving passengers meet urgent medical expenses before final compensation amounts are decided later.

At number 9, Online tech magazine AllThingsD reports Apple will unveil its next iPhone at a special event on September 10.
Reported leaks of new plastic iPhone cases spread online, with the secretive company neither confirming nor denying a possible mass-market iPhone.
There is speculation Apple will use the event to push a cheaper version of the iPhone or devices with larger screens.
The company will most probably release its new iOS7 and OS Mavericks operating systems.

And at number 10, Glee star Lea Michele wins the Choice TV Comedy Actress award at Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards.
In her acceptance speech, the actress tears up and dedicates the award to her boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died from a fatal overdose of heroin and alcohol on July 13.
Michele and the Glee cast and crew gathered July 26 for a private memorial for Monteith.

NBA star Kobe Bryant makes a return trip to the Philippines for the 6th time.
In an event called #walangiwanan arranged by Lenovo mobile, fans get the chance to ask the 5-time NBA Champion some questions.
Kobe was supposed to be at the Mall of Asia Arena 10AM, but his flight is delayed because of typhoon Labuyo.
During the press conference, Kobe talks about his goals before he can retire.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA STAR: I would say getting the sixth championship is number 1, then I would say getting a sixth championship is number 2, and getting a sixth championship is number 3.

Kobe talks about social media.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA STAR: The most important thing about social media is transparency. You can’t shy away from addressing tough issues, you can’t shy away from being vulnerable. You have to allow the people to see exactly what’s going on inside your head and inside your heart.

The 2-time NBA most valuable player also talks about Philippine basketball and gives advice to Gilas Pilipinas.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA STAR: The passion, I think that the passion that they have for the game of basketball is the thing that drives me the most. I love being around that energy. You just continue to play together. It’s not the strength of the individual in team sports but it’s how well those individuals blend together as a team. When that happens you can accomplish something truly special. But you have to be able to do it as a team.

– Rappler.com

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