Rappler Newscast | July 19, 2012

Rappler.com
TOP STORY: A Philippine mayor in the Spratly Islands says his town is "no match" for China's new city in the disputed South China Sea.

Today on Rappler.

  • A Philippine mayor in the Spratly Islands says his town is “no match” for China’s new city in the disputed South China Sea.
  • Southeast Asian analyst Zachary Abuza says Cambodia is not fit to lead ASEAN.
  • The Ombudsman files graft charges against Gwen Garcia, a senatorial candidate of opposition alliance UNA.

Story 1: PH TOWN ‘NO MATCH’ VS NEW CHINESE CITY
The Mayor of Kalayaan, a Palawan municipality in the Spratly Islands, says his town is “no match” for China’s new city that supposedly governs disputed areas in the South China Sea.
In fact, Kalayaan is on land also claimed by China’s Sansha City.
Mayor Eduardo Bito-onon says Kalayaan is a fifth-class municipality, while Sansha Island has the budget of a prefectural-level city.
Kalayaan thrives on an annual Internal Revenue Allotment of 37 million pesos.
It also receives an 8 million peso annual development fund for basic services.
The budget is big for the town’s population of 114.
But it’s also of strategic importance to the Philippines, given China’s show of force in the South China Sea.
By comparison, Sansha City built hotels, restaurants, and even 3G spots.
In February alone, the Chinese city spent 2.2-million yuan or 14.3-million pesos to build diesel oil power regulators.

Story 2: INDONESIAN DIPLOMAT: ASEAN NEAR CONSENSUS ON SEA ROW
Indonesia’s top diplomat says Southeast Asian nations are “on the cusp” of agreeing on a statement of unity on the South China Sea dispute.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa took on the role of mediator after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations failed to issue a joint statement in Phnom Penh last week.
Natalegawa says Asean remains united.
He says he is working to identify “basic Asean positions on the South China Sea” which would dispel the perception that the 10-member group is divided.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong says the bloc’s joint position may be announced Friday, pending “approval from all Asean foreign ministers.”
Divisions over members’ territorial disputes with Beijing prevented Asean from issuing its joint statement for the first time in 45 years.

Story 3: SEA EXPERT: CAMBODIA NOT FIT TO LEAD ASEAN
Southeast Asian expert Professor Zachary Abuza says Cambodia’s move to block a consensus on Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea proves Cambodia is not fit to be a member of Asean, much less lead it.
Abuza notes the impasse in Phnom Penh broke a 45-year long tradition of “patient diplomacy”.

ZACHARY ABUZA, SOUTHEAST ASIA EXPERT: ASEAN has a lot of faults as an organization, many people derived it as a ‘talkshop’. But the reality is, it is the diplomatic vehicle for critically important economic geostrategic region. And, Cambodia has proven that it is not only unfit to be a member of ASEAN, but certainly unfit to lead it.

Abuza adds, ultimately, the answer to the Philippines’ security problems will lie with a unified Asean– by forging closer diplomatic ties and vigorous back channeling with Vietnam and Malaysia.
He recalls how a unified Asean repulsed Chinese incursions into Philippine contested areas in 1993.
Abuza says the Chinese are terrified of multilateral action and insists on bilateral engagement.

ZACHARY ABUZA, SOUTHEAST ASIA EXPERT: You know, we have Chinese frigates running a ground 60 miles off Palawan. The Philippines has very good reason to be concerned. This is, in some ways, the Chinese aggression is very good for the Philippines. They’ve done more to galvanize Philippines nationalism than anything in the past few years. But more importantly, I think the Philippines has now realize that their ultimate security is going to be based on ASEAN. And, you see much closer diplomatic ties right now and communications and back channeling with Vietnam, with Malaysia, with other countries The future of Philippine security is going to be in a very unified ASEAN.

Story 4: UNA SENATORIAL BET CHARGED WITH GRAFT
The Ombudsman files graft charges against Cebu governor Gwen Garcia for the allegedly anomalous purchase of land by the provincial government.
Garcia is also a senatorial candidate of opposition group United Nationalist Alliance.
Under Garcia, Cebu purchased a 24.92-hectare land in Naga, Cebu in 2008.
The Ombudsman discovered that a third of the area is underwater.
Garcia says the Ombudsman’s move brings up suspicion of possible political harassment.
Cebu is the country’s biggest voting province, with nearly 2.5 million registered voters.

Story 5: IS CHIZ JOINING UNA?
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero will join Vice President Jejomar Binay’s UNA but will campaign alone.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile says he thinks Escudero will be part of UNA.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE PRESIDENT: I think Chiz is going to join the ticket. But you know, Chiz has his own way of campaigning. He can campaign alone. He does not have to ascend the stage of any rally if he does not want.

But UNA says it stands by its policy for candidates to campaign exclusively with the group.
Binay’s party is considering 7 to 8 personalities for the remaining slots. The candidates they named so far are Joey De Venecia, Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile, Jr., San Juan Representative JV Ejercito, Senator Gregorio Honasan II, resigned senator Migs Zubiri, Zambales representative Mitos Magsaysay, and Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia.
Enrile also says on the proposed ‘super coalition’ between UNA and LP and calls it ‘unrealistic.’

Story 6: FILIPINOS SHOPPING LESS, BUT BUYING MORE OFTEN
A Nielsen shopper trend report shows Filipinos visiting grocery stores more often last year, but buying fewer items.
45 percent of Filipinos went to supermarkets weekly in 2011, up from 30% in 2010.
The average frequency of trips to stores increased to 2.6 visits per month last year from 2.2 visits in 2010.
Nielsen Philippines says consumers shop only when they need to.
Shoppers bought fewer items thrice a month in 2011, up from once a month in 2010.
Jamieson says the impact of the global economic crisis makes consumers shop more frequently but buy fewer items.

Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 1, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Syria is “rapidly spinning out of control”.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns his northern neighbor was on the brink of civil war and that its large stash of chemical weapons could fall into al-Qaeda hands.
The battle for the capital reaches its fifth straight day, after a bomb killed President Bashar al-Assad’s key security aides Wednesday.

At number 3, tensions rise in the Middle East after Israel accused Iran of orchestrating the bombing of a bus with Israeli tourists in a resort town Wednesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 30 others.
“All signs point to Iran,” says Israeli Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding “Israel will react strongly to Iran’s terror.”  
The US and Israel blames Iran and the Iranian-backed militia, Hezbollah, for a series of attacks since the beginning of the year.

At number 5, Education is key to building the next generation, particularly in today’s fast-changing landscape.
The Aquino administration prioritizes education in its proposed budget for next year. If approved by Congress, the 2013 budget increases the budget of state universities and colleges by almost 50% – from P25.85 billion in 2012 to P37.12 billion in 2013.

At number 6, Online courses from expensive Ivy League universities in the United States are now open to everyone– for free.
This week, a dozen highly ranked universities, including Princeton, Stanford and University of the Pennyslvania signed on with Coursera, a new venture offering free classes online.
Ivy Leagues going online started last fall.

Sales of e-books more than doubled in 2011 to bring in some $2.07 billion for the US publishing industry, more than double 2010’s $869 million.
Last year, e-books only accounted for 6% of overall publishing revenues. There’s more room for growth though because traditional hardcover or paperback still represents the bulk of publishers’ net revenue.

The crescent moon on Thursday, July 19 will signal the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the time of fasting, cleansing and renewal.
Moon-sighting committees in Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Cotabato will be watching the night skies closely and – for the first time ever, the Philippines will synchronize the start of Ramadan throughout the country.
In the past, western Mindanao started Ramadan ahead of other Muslim areas.

Story 8: WHO, DOH INVESTIGATING CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN BICOL
The World Health Organization and the Department of Health are investigating a cholera outbreak in Catanduanes, Bicol.
Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag says this started January 2012.
A total of 2,046 cholera cases were monitored in Catanduanes’ 11 towns.
Most cases are in Virac, San Andres and Pandan.
Contaminated water is usually the cause of a cholera outbreak in the Philippines.

Story 9: LONDON 2012 TECH TEAM READY FOR THE GAMES
While athletes compete in the London Olympics, thousands of technicians will run the most connected Games in history while dealing with the threat of cyber attacks.
Technology company Atos leads a group of six firms dealing with the Olympics.
The IT company says “The London Games will be the most connected games in history.”
8 billion devices, including smartphones and tablets, are expected to be online during the games which means a huge amount of data will be processed.

Story 10: PREGNANT YAHOO! CEO STIRS DEBATE ON WORKING MOMS
New Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer announces she’s pregnant on Twitter, ramping up an ongoing debate about working moms.
On July 17, Mayer tweets to say she’s expecting a baby boy but says she’ll work through her maternity leave, seeming to reassure Yahoo! shareholders that motherhood won’t get in the way of her new role.
Actress Mia Farrow tweets, “Let’s hope she inspires corporations to create better options for all working moms.”
Princeton University professor Anne-Marie Slaughter congratulates Mayer and says she will inspire countless women in technology, but says making it to the CEO position isn’t realistic for most women and men.
Slaughter, who quit a State Department job to spend more time with her family, stirred up a furor with an essay asking if it was possible for working mothers “to have it all.”
Only 19 companies on the Fortune 500 roster of top US corporations are run by women.

– Rappler.com