Rappler Newscast | January 27, 2014

Rappler.com
Historic firearms deal paves way for peace. Soldiers attack MILF breakaway units. Ukraine eyes state of emergency

Today on Rappler.

  • After 16 years, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front sign the final annex in the talks paving the way for signing a peace agreement.
  • Soldiers attack breakaway units of the MILF hours after the firearms deal is signed.
  • Protesters occupy the justice ministry in Ukraine.
 

Story 1: HISTORIC FIREARMS DEAL PAVES WAY FOR PEACE
After 16 years, a peace agreement to end decades of fighting in Mindanao is a signature away.
On Saturday, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front end the 43rd round of talks in Malaysia with a firearms deal – the final annex in the peace talks, and one of the most sensitive issues that needed to be addressed before a peace agreement can be signed.
Both sides now enter the crucial phase of moving from the negotiating table to ground implementation.
Angela Casauay reports.  

16 years.
That’s how long it took the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to close the peace talks that aim to end 4 decades of Muslim insurgency in Mindanao.
On the 43rd round of formal negotiations, both sides sign a historic firearms deal that paves the way for the signing of a final peace agreement.

MOHAGHER IQBAL, MILF CHIEF NEGOTIATOR: All the agreements are all substantive and important and very very hard but the issue of normalization is the most sensitive, emotional and as far as I know it entails a lot of sacrifices on the part of the MILF because to build real peace in Mindanao, we have to decommission our forces.

The event is marked by joyous celebration by former foes.

MOHAGHER IQBAL, MILF CHIEF NEGOTIATOR: The most difficult part of negotiations… was getting my counterpart to agree with me.

MIRIAM CORONEL FERRER, GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL CHAIR: Thankfully we agreed with each other.

Under the annex on normalization, the MILF will decommission its forces and put them “beyond use.”
Where will rebel firearms go? How many troops and arms will be decommissioned?
The deal does not specify for now.
A separate Independent Decommissioning Body will be convened to conduct an inventory of MILF arms and troops as well as recommend the most appropriate way of dealing with rebel firearms.
The agreement also grants amnesty to MILF troops.
But the path to lasting peace in Mindanao does not end here.

MIRIAM CORONEL FERRER, GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL CHAIR: It marks the end of a process, which is the formal negotiations – the effective end of course with some more finishing touches necessary but it also marks the challenge of a bigger challenge ahead, which is the challenge of implementation.

As peace in Mindanao spreads, the government will also fulfill its commitment to pullout troops and disband private armed groups.
Both sides acknowledge, peace in Mindanao will not be achieved overnight.
The next challenge is to pass the Basic Law that would provide the legal framework for the new political entity and to hold a plebiscite, where provinces in Mindanao would choose whether to be included in the Bangsamoro or not.
We now have to wait and see whether they will meet their target to install the new Bangsamoro government by 2016, before President Aquino steps down from office. Angela Casauay, Rappler, Kuala Lumpur.

Story 2: WHAT HAPPENS TO MILF AFTER PEACE DEAL?
With a landmark firearms deal signed, how is the MILF preparing for a post-war environment?
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal says once a peace deal is signed, the MILF will cease to exist as an armed group and start positioning itself as a “social movement.”
Iqbal says the group will “no longer use the force of arms to achieve its objective, as it gets more democratic.”
As part of the normalization process, several rebel camps will be transformed into “peaceful and productive” communities.
Socio-economic programs will also be made available to help former rebels.
The government will also grant amnesty to MILF troops charged with or convicted of crimes connected to the armed conflict in Mindanao.
To oversee the normalization process, several coordinating bodies composed of government and MILF representatives will be created.
The timetable of the process will be released upon the signing of the comprehensive agreement on the Bangamoro.

Story 3: SOLDIERS ATTACK MILF BREAKAWAY UNITS
Hours after the government and the MILF signed the normalization annex, fighting erupts in Maguindanao between soldiers and members of MILF breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama says one of their units was attacked by Army troops in Sultan Sa Barongis town around 10 am Sunday.
Regional military spokesman Dickson Hermoso says the MILF is helping the military run after the BIFF.
Led by Ameril Umra Kato, the BIFF splintered from the MILF after serious disagreements about the peace negotiations with the government.
After the signing of the normalization annex, the military promised to stop what it calls “spoilers” of the peace process – groups staging violent attacks to oppose the agreement.
These include MILF rival group Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, particularly the faction led by founder Nur Misuari.
The MNLF rejects the agreement between the government and the MILF, calling it a “political charade.”
MNLF spokesperson Emmanuel Fontanilla says the group will continue its fight for independence through “peaceful means.”
In September last year, hundreds of MNLF fighters tried to hoist their flag of independence in Zamboanga City, leading to a bloody three-week standoff.

Story 4: GOV’T CAN’T PUNISH ERRING HAIYAN CONTRACTORS
Rehabilitation secretary Ping Lacson says the government can’t punish the contractors who built substandard bunkhouses for survivors of Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan.
At a briefing in Malacanang Monday, Lacson denies earlier reports the bunkhouses were overpriced, but says some contractors did not follow specifications for the temporary houses.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson says the government cannot suspend these contractors, but it can ask them to make repairs.
Withholding payment is the best punishment the government can legally do for now, because Republic Act 9184 protects contractors from criminal charges by
allowing them a 60-day period to make repairs.
Lacson says he and Singson have discussed the possibility of doing away with the bunkhouses and instead give construction materials to victims who want to repair their old homes.

Story 5: MIRIAM FOI ‘BLOCKBUSTER:’ DISCLOSE POLITICOS’ TOTAL INCOME
Senator Miriam Santiago proposes an amendment to the Freedom of Information or FOI bill, requiring public officials to disclose all the sources of their income.
During her interpellation at the Senate Monday, Santiago alludes to the controversy over the so-called Christmas bonuses or additional Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses or MOOE that then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile gave his favored colleagues in December 2012.
Santiago was one of 4 Enrile critics who did not receive the additional funds.
She says senators earn P1.5 million a month, with allowances and MOOE adding to their income.

MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Bakit ang yaman-yaman ng mga senador? Ang basic salary lang pala nila is P90,000 a month. (Why are senators so rich? Their basic salary is P90,000 a month.) My chief of staff receives almost P80,000 a month. Maniwala ka, na P10,000 only separates me from my chief of staff? (Would you believe that only P10,000 separates me from my chief of staff?) Of course not! That’s because I have so many other sources of legitimate income provided by my own agency. So let the public in. Let’s allow the sunlight to penetrate this dark recesses. So people will know how much we’re actually receiving. And during election time, people will know whether the person has the qualifications of a certain candidate that deserves to receive that kind of a salary…Anyway, let’s get rid of all these whispering and innuendoes about the income of senators, congressmen, Cabinet members, heads of government corporations. Even our Christmas bonuses, let’s call them Christmas bonuses instead of additional MOOE. That is mental dishonesty.

Santiago also asks Senator Grace Poe if the provisions of the FOI bill can be reconciled with the 1987 Constitution, the Data Privacy Act and other laws.
Santiago also proposes specifying information “of public concern.”
Poe says these issues will be clarified in the period of amendments.
The FOI bill aims to promote transparency by allowing access to government records.
It is under deliberation in the Senate plenary and is expected to be passed in the chamber by March.

Story 6: VHONG NAVARRO DENIES ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATION
Was local actor Vhong Navarro attacked because he tried to rape a girl or was he the victim of extortion?
Three days after the story broke, primetime television and social media can’t get enough of the two parties as they trade accusations.
The actor and his lawyers deny allegations of attempted rape and insist a group of men set him up for extortion and brutally beat him.
22 year-old model Deniece Cornejo claims Navarro tried to rape her in her own condominium.
Her friends who allegedly came to her rescue say he was injured as they tried to subdue him and bring him to the police station.
A police blotter report obtained by media supports Cornejo’s version.
The actor says the armed men threatened him with a gun and asked him to pay P1 million.
He also says he was videotaped and made to say that he raped a friend.
Navarro says he was then taken to the police station, where he signed the blotter that narrated the attempted rape.
In a TV interview Sunday, the actor says, “I am not a rapist, I couldn’t do that. I’m God-fearing.”
On Monday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the incident merits an investigation.

Story 7: UKRAINE EYES STATE OF EMERGENCY AS MINISTRY SEIZED
Ukraine’s justice minister threatens to impose a state of emergency after protesters occupy the justice ministry.
The opposition demands the president’s resignation despite a power-sharing offer.
The unrest in Kiev has turned into an all-out bid to oust President Viktor Yanukovych from power since two months ago over his rejection of a European Union pact.
Tensions remain high in Kiev as protesters seize control of the justice ministry late Sunday, smashing windows and erecting barricades outside.
On Saturday, Yanukovych offered his opponents government positions, but they reject the offer.
Justice Minister Olena Lukash, who is taking part in negotiations between the opposition and Yanukovych, says she would ask for the talks to be broken off if the justice ministry is not freed.

Story 8: GOOGLE, SAMSUNG SIGN 10-YEAR PATENT SHARING PARTNERSHIP
While the patent battle between Apple and Samsung continues, the South Korean tech giant announces a long-term cooperative partnership with Google.
The agreement gives both companies access to each other’s patent portfolios, including existing patents and succeeding ones to be filed over the next 10 years.
Google’s smartphone operating system Android powers Samsung’s line of Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
Samsung says the partnership will “pave the way for deeper collaboration” on research and development.
In a subtle dig at Apple, Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center Head says the tech industry will benefit more from working together.
He says, “Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”

Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, A Thai opposition leader is shot dead on Sunday, as protesters disrupt the advance voting in Bangkok ahead of next weekend’s controversial polls.
Embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called the February 2 polls to calm rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests.
Suthin Tharathin, a leader of the Dharma Army, was the 10th person to be killed during nearly 3 months of rallies.
At number 6, The official news agency of North Korea says the relatives of Jang Song-thaek, the once-powerful slain uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, have also been executed.
Quoting multiple sources, Yonhap News reports those executed included Jang’s sister, children, brothers-in-law and nephews.
News reports say they were recalled to Pyongyang in early December.

And at number 10, music celebrates its biggest night at the 2014 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California.
French electro music duo Daft Punk wins the record of the year Grammy for their hit song “Get Lucky.”
American singer Bruno Mars wins Best Pop Vocal Album for “Unorthodox Jukebox”
and 17-year-old Lorde wins Best Pop Solo Performance for “Royals.”
Music’s A-listers grace the event, including former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and music power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Story 10: WAWRINKA WINS AUSTRALIAN OPEN
In tennis, there is a new Grand Slam titleholder.
Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka wins the Australian Open Sunday against Rafael Nadal, who suffers from a back injury.
This is Wawrinka’s first major win, and first win against world number one Nadal.
The Swiss has never won a single set against Nadal prior to this match.
Earlier in the tournament, Wawrinka eliminated Australian Open defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Wawrinka says his Grand Slam title is one of the – quote – “more emotional tournaments” of his career.


– Rappler.com

Newscast Production Staff

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER Lilibeth Frondoso
DIRECTOR Rupert Ambil
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER Rodneil Quiteles
  Dindin Reyes
HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER Katerina Francisco
MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK Vicente Roxas
  Exxon Ruebe
  Jom Tolentino
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN Charlie Salazar
  Adrian Portugal
  Francis Lopez
  Naoki Mengua
GRAPHICS Jessica Lazaro
  Matthew Hebrona
3D GRAPHICS Sten Bautista