Today on Rappler.
- Earthquake death toll rises to at least 78 in Central Visayas Cebu and Bohol now under a state of calamity.
- The magnitude 7.2 quake damages centuries-old churches and heritage sites.
- US Senate leaders close in on a deal to end the government shutdown.
Story 1: STATE OF CALAMITY IN CEBU, BOHOL AFTER 7.2 QUAKE
The provinces of Cebu and Bohol are under a state of calamity after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Central Visayas and leaves at least 78 dead.
The two provinces’ local governments declare the state of calamity hours after the quake destroyed buildings, bridges, and historic churches.
Placing a province under a state of calamity allows the government to use calamity funds and freeze the prices of basic goods.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or Phivolcs says the quake struck at 8:12 am, with its epicenter in the town of Carmen, Bohol.
More than 200 aftershocks followed the earthquake.
At least 78 people are killed, with Bohol reporting most of the casualties.
Bohol police chief Senior Supt Dennis Agustin says at least 68 people are confirmed dead in the province, while 200 are injured.
In Cebu, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reports at least 9 dead and at least 54 others injured.
One person also died in Siquijor while three others are injured.
The social welfare department also reports stampedes in Pinamungajan and Toledo City in Cebu during the distribution of payouts of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program.
One child died, and 15 others were injured in the two incidents.
Authorities are struggling to reach or contact damaged areas in the aftermath of the quake, with power lines and phone networks down.
Story 2: HEARTBREAKING: 10 ICONIC CHURCHES IN BOHOL, CEBU DAMAGED
Some of the oldest churches in the Philippines fall to the force of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
It shook Bohol, Cebu and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Heritage Conservation Society says the quake damaged at least 10 historic churches, including the famous Loboc Church in Bohol and Sto Nino Basilica in Cebu.
The Church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc is famous for being the second oldest church in Bohol.
Its intricate facade completely crumbled while its bell tower is now reduced to a stump, with its bell now lying on the ground.
Cebu’s Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is also heavily damaged.
Its belfry collapsed while cracks are found in the walls of the main structure.
The Heritage Conservation Society says the destruction of the iconic churches emphasizes the need to restore these national treasures.
It urges the government to fund periodic maintenance to protect the churches from similar incidents in the future.
Three cultural agencies — the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the National Museum — will lead efforts to rehabilitate the heritage structures.
Story 3: AQUINO SEES QUAKE AS CHANCE TO IMPROVE DISASTER RESPONSE
President Benigno Aquino says the earthquake that struck Central Visayas is a chance to improve the government’s disaster response.
Hours after the quake, Aquino acknowledges the challenge and difficulty of assessing damaged towns.
But he says the quake is a chance to improve how assessments are made.
Among other things, the President suggests closer coordination among authorities, refining geohazard maps, getting information from citizens, and moving informal settlers to communities that are –quote– “safer and more resilient with disasters.”
Aquino is set to visit Cebu and Bohol, the worst hit provinces, on Wednesday.
Agencies continue to monitor the aftermath of the earthquake.
The social welfare department allots P10 million for relief goods for the victims in Region 7.
The department says more than 340,000 families in Bohol and Cebu are affected by the quake.
Story 4: DRILON: 17 SENATORS TO PUSH FOR TOTAL ‘PORK’ ABOLITION
Senate President Franklin Drilon says senators will decide in a caucus whether to take an individual or collective stand to abolish the pork barrel in the 2014 budget.
In a television interview, Drilon says 17 senators including himself are in favor of totally scrapping the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
But he says the Senate must discuss how to go about it.
Drilon says the 17 senators can manifest to remove the P200 million allotted for each of them, or all 24 senators can decide as a body to scrap their PDAF, reducing the budget by P4.8 billion.
There are calls to abolish the PDAF following the pork barrel scam, where lawmakers allegedly channeled funds to fake non-governmental organizations.
The House of Representatives realigned P25.4 billion in PDAF to 6 executive departments in the 2014 budget, with lawmakers still allowed to recommend projects.
Critics though say this is still pork by another name.
Story 5: LP DISOWNS MAYOR, MUM ON DRILON-NAPOLES LINK
The Liberal Party denies links with a supposed associate of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles, but fails to answer questions about Napoles’ ties with Senate President Franklin Drilon.
In a statement, the LP denies fielding Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque as its official candidate in the 2013 polls.
The party says he is neither a member nor an official of the LP, contrary to claims of whistleblower Sandra Cam in a story of the Manila Standard Today.
In the story, Cam says Maglanque became the official LP candidate for Candaba mayor in May 2013.
But LP spokesman Erin Tañada says the LP has no hand in the selection of candidates in Candaba, and that Cam’s claims are “fuelled by malice and were full of inconsistencies.”
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone also refutes Cam’s claims, saying she is “lying through her teeth.”
The list of official candidates in the Commission on Elections website shows Maglanque ran as an independent candidate.
But in a story reported by state-run Philippine News Agency in June, Maglanque said he entered into a “strong alliance with the Liberal Party.”
A March report of Sun Star Pampanga also said Maglanque joined the Team PNoy senatorial candidates in a Pampanga sortie.
A photo Cam provided the Manila Standard shows Drilon standing beside Maglanque on the campaign stage with Team PNoy senatorial bets.
While the LP addresses Cam’s claims about Maglanque’s membership in the party, it’s silent about questions regarding Drilon’s ties with Napoles.
Cam says Drilon and Napoles knew each other as far back as 2005.
She also says Napoles is Drilon’s “biggest financier,” saying she gave P100 million for the campaign of the administration ticket Team PNoy.
But the LP statement says Drilon has –quote– “consistently denied any involvement with Napoles.”
After photos of him and Napoles circulated in September, Drilon admitted meeting Napoles in social gatherings “less than 10 times.”
But Drilon says none of his pork barrel funds went to Napoles’ fake NGOs.
Story 6: PHILHEALTH DEFIES COA, PAYS P1.45-B BONUSES
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or Philhealth defied warnings by the Commission on Audit or COA when it gave officials and employees bonuses and allowances that totalled P1.448 billion.
In a report released October 10, COA says Philhealth management ignored its repeated warnings to stop paying its personnel unauthorized stipends based on resolutions passed by its Board of Directors.
But the central and regional offices of PhilHealth tell auditors they would stop releasing allowances if the COA central office denied the appeal.
While Philhealth personnel enjoyed huge allowances, the agency’s reserved fund falls P3.8 billion short of the minimum required.
COA says personnel services and maintenance and other operating expenses went up by P410 million because of the –quote– “continuous granting of personnel benefits and allowances which were disallowed in audit due to lack of legal basis.”
Story 7: MUSLIM COMMUNITY CELEBRATES EID AL-ADHA
The Muslim community celebrates the Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice Tuesday.
Muslims celebrate the holiday to commemorate the story of Ibrahim’s trust in Allah and the proof of faith through sacrifice.
In the Philippines, Filipino Muslims pray at dawn at the grounds of Quirino grandstand.
The chair of the government panel in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front also says it’s –quote– “serendipity” that this year’s Eid al-Adha falls on the first anniversary of the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Panel chair Miriam Ferrer adds: “Perhaps we are being told that the delays and roadblocks are all part of the pilgrimage that we must endure in order to complete our tasks.”
The government and the MILF are two annexes away from signing a final peace pact.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the hajj, or the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Millions of Muslim pilgrims converge in Muzdalifah after a day of prayer on Mount Arafat.
Story 8: SENATE LEADERS APPEAR CLOSE TO US DEBT CEILING DEAL
US Senate leaders appear close to a deal that could end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a US default.
If Congress does not raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by Thursday, the US government will run out of money and could start defaulting on its obligations.
Senate Republicans will review a plan hammered out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Politico news organization says the deal would fund government through January 15 and raise the debt ceiling until February 7.
Both Reid and McConnell say they are optimistic they will reach a deal acceptable to both sides.
If the Democratic-led Senate reaches an agreement, Republican Speaker John Boehner will have to win the support from his conservative coalition in the House of Representatives to approve the measure and send it to President Barack Obama.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, Chinese brands struggle against big Western and Japanese rivals in the global contest for business.
Marketing consultancy Interbrand says no Chinese brand is part of the world’s top 100.
PR firm CEO Richard Edelman says, “Brand China has many problems – transparency, ethical practices, treatment of employees, the quality of the products.”
At number 7, A suspected bomb blast shakes a luxury hotel in Myanmar’s main city Yangon Tuesday, injuring one American guest.
The Traders Hotel, located at the heart of Myanmar’s commercial hub, is popular with tourists and visiting businessmen.
The incident is the latest in a series of bomb blasts by unknown perpetrators.
And at number 10, social news website BuzzFeed announces plans for French, Spanish and Portuguese editions in a bid to expand the website’s reach.
The international sites will use native speakers of French, Spanish and Portuguese who are learning English.
It will use the algorithmic translator of online language site Duolingo.
BuzzFeed claims to have some 80 million monthly unique viewers for its news site.
Story 10: BURBERRY CHIEF QUITS TO JOIN APPLE
Apple announces the hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts – the second fashion CEO to join the tech-giant in the last 3 months.
Last July, Apple hired former Yves-Saint Lauren CEO Paul Deneve as its Vice President for Special Projects.
Ahrendts takes on a newly created position as Senior VP of Retail and Online Stores.
Some industry watchers believe the move is related to the much speculated iWatch.
Apple has yet to confirm the existence of the device, but CEO Tim Cook says the field of wearable computing is “incredibly interesting.”
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|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|