NEWSCAST top story: Exportbank collapses
Exportbank closes affecting 50 thousand depositors. | A Social Weather Stations survey says the satisfaction rating of the Aquino administration drops. | Balikatan ends amid concerns for regional security and the Scarborough shoal stand-off with China.


Today on Rappler:

  • Exportbank closes affecting 50 thousand depositors. 
  • A Social Weather Stations survey says the satisfaction rating of the Aquino administration drops. 
  • And the Balikanta ends amid concerns for regional security and the Scarborough shoal stand-off with China.


Exportbank collapses – declaring a bank holiday after the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas ordered it placed under receivership.The BSP cites the “bank’s inability to meet obligations because of insufficient assets.” 

In 2001, Exportbank bought Urban Bankafter that bank collapsed. 

The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation takes over Exportbank Friday. It will start processing settlement of claims after an inventory of all banks assets and records.Beginning May 2, it will hold forums for some 50,000 depositors who have around P17 billion in deposits.

Last year, Banco de Oro, the country’s biggest bank, said it planned to acquire Exportbank but the deal never pushed through. 


Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima says the Philippines is poised to take advantage of the shift in global economics from the West to Asia. 

I believe we’re hitting some tipping points in terms of perceptions, it’s changing, in terms of people starting to have hope again, it’s changing.”


He blames previous governments for mismanaging the Philippine economy, and adds the current administration is mitigating “constraints” that hamper growth.

Q: What are the threeeconomic goals before the President’s term ends?
A: Fiscal sustainability. I think that’s a crucial foundation. We want to make sure that we expand the tax base, we reduce our deficit to 2% of our GDP so that our debt to GDP continues to go down.

Purisima says the Philippines is starting to reap the results of good governance, citing billions saved in infrastructure projects.

For the first time in 22 years, the Philippines will host an important Asian Development Bank meeting next week.  

Purisima calls it his nation’s “coming out party,” showcasing the Philippines’ economic gains.


Balikatan 2012 – 11 days of joint military exercises and humanitarian operations between the United States and the Philippines – ends today.Both countries pledge commitment to secure mutual interests in regional security.  

Rappler’s Katherine Visconti looks at this year’s war games within a global context, with  rising tensions between the Philippines and China.

(Video report runs.)

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – Philippine and American forces practice gunning down enemy targets and reclaiming hostile territory as part of the yearly military exercises called Balikatan.

But is it a show of friendship or a threat to would be enemies? 

The games happen to coincide with rising tensions in the Scarsborough shoal where Chinese and Philippine ships refuse to withdraw.

Chinese experts believe China is the imaginary target of the exercises. 

However the Philippine and US military say the timing of the joint trainings is purely coincidental. 

Balikatan has been going on for 28 years, it’s one of our allies in the pacific and one we continually try to maintain military to military relationships with. 

196th Infantry Brigade, US Army  

Still some Filipinos worry that their former colonizer is using the games as a pretense to re-establish permanent bases. 

However the 2 armed forces practice separately and with their own equipment to ensure operations can be sustained independently.

Filipino soldiers say their guns are more dated and they communicate on a lower frequency with older devices. 

So after the drills both sides craft communications strategies that work on a budget. 

We need to see what they have and how to use it and quick it because our problem is still defense budget and how we can maintain it.

50th Infantry Battalion,
 Philippine Army

Despite the stigma that the learning is only one way, US forces benefit from the Philippine forces adaptability and dexterity in the tropical terrain. 

They’re very ingenuitive, for example there was a shortage of blank adapters and they have definitely come up with a technique to still fire their weapons safely will a homemade type blank adapter. I’m very impressed by how they move in the woods at night. They’re very quite. They’re very direct, very quick.

100th Infantry Battalion, US Army

The practical exercises fit well in the U.S. Defense Department’s new 2012 strategy to strengthen key partnerships in the Asia-Pacific.

The China Daily reports that China is reinforcing its own partnership with Russia by staging joint navel drills.

While it may be just symbolic, Balikatan – which means standing shoulder to shoulder – suggests a willingness to join fists in a tense global climate.

Katherine Visconti, Rappler Nueva Ecija.


The military creates a special body to investigate an attack by New People’s Army rebels in Ifugao province Wednesday. 11 soldiers and a female civilian were killed.

86th Infantry Battalion Army Commander Eugene Batara says the soldiers were driving back to camp when their convoy was ambushed by rebels in the remote town of Tinoc. The driver of the lead vehicle was killed in the first volley of gunfire, overturning his truck. Batara says his troops were “shot like sitting ducks”.

The military probe will look into possible military security lapses.


A Social Weather Stations survey shows the satisfaction rating of the Aquino administration dropped.  

Conducted March 10 to 13 2012, the 4th week of the impeachment trial, the survey says net satisfaction went down by 10 points at +46 from the +56 rating in the last two quarters of 2011.Satisfaction dropped significantly in Metro Manila, Luzon, and the Visayas but was only a point lower in Mindanao.In terms of socioeconomic classes, the government maintained satisfaction in Class E, but took a dip in classes A, B, C, and D. 

Despite that, this administration still ranks higher than past governments.Dating back to the presidency of Cory Aquino, the next highest rating is former President Joseph Estrada’s with a +36 rating in November 2008.


Here’s an exclusive from Rappler. In a January 2011 letter, Vice President Jejomar Binay asked President Aquino to approve the plea bargain deal between the Ombusman and former military comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia.

Binay sent the letter, marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL, a month after the questionable deal was exposed.

Binay argued the government had a weak plunder case against Garcia, who was charged with acquiring P303-million worth of illegal wealth.The letter shows Binay’s position despite his refusal to publicly comment on the case.

The President, on the other hand, opposed the deal and wanted it revoked.

In his letter, the Vice President, who is a lawyer, cited supposed weak evidence — Clarita Garcia’s affidavit — which detailed her husband’s source of illegal wealth.Binay argued Clarita’s statement was hearsay and that her affidavit was inadmissible in court since it contained privileged information between spouses. 

The Sandiganbayan eventually approved the deal, which dropped the plunder suit, but Garcia remains in jail for another case filed by the military.

The biggest casualty of the deal was then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who was eventually impeached by the House of Representatives. Gutierrez quit before the Senate could try her.

Read more on that story on  


Vice President Jejomar Binay questions the timing and political motive behind the letter’s release. 

Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado says the leak comes “at a time when there are political realignments.” 

Salgado calls the story “unfair and irresponsible,” saying its headline – VP Binay lobbied for Gen. Garcia – imputed selfish motives behind the confidential memo. He also says “Rappler exaggerates big time” as the letter hardly qualifies as “lobbying” for Garcia.

Rappler stands behind its headline.


Residents of Silverio compound question the motive behind the demolition of their homes.On Monday, a bloody confrontation between police and informal settlers in Paranaque killed 1 and injured at least 6.

The Silverio compound was earmarked for a socialized housing project by the city government. Yet, two-thirds of the area is set aside for commercial buildings.Homeowners association leaders claim their homes were demolished to make way for business. 

Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe says the housing plan is legal, allowing the city to make money from its assets while providing housing for displaced residents.

Bernabe says Paranaque initially wanted SM Development Corp, the real estate firm of mall tycoon Henry Sy to develop the land.SMDC denies any involvement in the project.


Here’s a team to watch in the Palarong Pambansa! The Cordillera region aims to sweep all four taekwondo groups in this year’s games in Pangasinan.

This report from Rappler’s Natashya Gutierrez.

(Video report runs.)

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – In a small gym in the heart of Baguio City, dedicated athletes gather 6 days a week and work tirelessly to bring pride to their region.

It is home to some of the country’s brightest young stars in the sport of Taekwondo — the Cordillera Region’s representation for Palarong Pambansa.

They train under the watchful eye of the gym’s owner and winning coach Arnold Oglayon, the first-ever athlete to bring home a Palaro gold medal for the region in any sport.

Having competed in the games before, Oglayon understands the significance of Palaro.

Palarong Pambansa isa talaga sa competition na pinaghahandaan namin dito sa Pilipinas dahil isa siya sa pinakamataas rin. Makikita mo yung bata ginagawa niya yung best nila para manalo.


Ever since Oglayon took over coaching four years ago, car has had at least one taekwondo group finish on top in overall standings.

Oglayon aims to sweep all four this year — to be number one for elementary girls and boys, and high school girls and boys. 

His Palaro athletes, who range from aged 9 to 16, work hard to fulfill the dream.

One of them is Iza Quiambao.

The 12-year-old is excited for her first-ever games, which she expects to be difficult, but an experience to remember.

Masaya daw pag nanalo at pag natalo naman daw po okay lang basta ginawa naman daw po ang best nila.


The team also has Palaro veterans, like 14-year-old Tristan Cayag, who has competed and won in 2 Palaro games.

This year, his 8th year in the sport, Cayag wants to outdo past Palaro performances and snag three gold medals.

Cayag enjoys a scholarship because of his skills, and dreams of representing the country.

Dahil dito nakapag aral ako ng libre, scholar ganun po, pangarap ko po maging Philippine team po kahit sa college man lang.


The discipline needed to suceed in the sport is evident in the commitment shown by the team.

Their fate will be determined in Pangasinan, the venue for Palaro, come May.

Oglayon believes his kids have what it takes not just to win Palaro, but eventually, to make it to the world’s most prestigious sporting event, the Olympics.

The next Filipino Taekwondo athlete to qualify for future Olympics may very well be in this room. But to get there, they must first top one competition at a time, including the biggest one in the nation — the one they have all been waiting for, Palarong Pambansa.

Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler Baguio City.


Fans of American Idol contestant Jessica Sanchez breathe a sigh of relief. 

The singer, once saved by the judges, moves to the top 5. 

The 16 year old sang Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Luther Vandross’ Dance with my Father. While the judges didn’t seem thrilled with Bohemian Rhapsody, they praised her performance of Dance with My Father.  Jessica dedicated the song to her dad, a soldier to be deployed to Singapore.


Parents and experts debate the possible harmful effects of letting babies play with Ipadsusing “baby apps” like “Crazy Piano”, a music app and “Crayola Color Studio”, a digital coloring book.Experts say participating in the real world is still best for babies and children.Child psychiatrists are concerned technology may hamper babies’ understanding of three dimensional space. 

Baby George spends half an hour every week playing games on the ipad. His mother believes the ipad lets her baby learn about things that he doesn’t have access to in real life. She finds no harm in the moderate and controlled use of gadgets. 


Is it possible to tweet from outer space? Yes, it is!  With unique photos.

Astronaut André Kuipers, who is now above the earth and is expected to land on July 1,2012, tweeted a photo of San Francisco Bay. He also tweeted photos of Johannesburg and of the Grand Canyons in the US.