Today on Rappler.
Story 1: HUGE CUTS IN BETS' TV, RADIO AD MINUTES
The Commission on Elections cuts down advertising minutes of candidates running in the 2013 polls.
Based on a Comelec resolution Tuesday, candidates for senator and party-list may run 120 minutes TV advertising in all networks.
The limit is 180 minutes for radio.
Comelec will begin counting the minutes on February 12, the start of the official campaign period, up to May 11.
The Fair Election Act limited TV advertising to 120 minutes but does not say whether the limit applies to individual networks or across all TV stations.
In the 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections, Comelec declared the 120-minute limit applied to each TV network.
For the 2013 polls, the limit applies to all networks.
Based on Rappler’s computation, the revised rule gives each candidate two 15-second ads per day per network.
The question is how will Comelec enforce its new rules.
In the 2010 presidential campaign, President Benigno Aquino and rival Senator Manny Villar exceeded their allowable time two months before the elections.
His wife Cynthia Villar, who is running for senator in the 2013 elections, says the revised rule is --quote “limiting” but they have to live with it.
CYNTHIA VILLAR, LP SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Very limiting, in some ways, for the newcomers but for the re-electionists it’s not that bad. But for me, I can live with that. You have more leeway if it’s per network. This will be very limiting. But it’s life, you just adjust to what is the ruling. We cannot go against it.
Story 2: PNOY ON UNA ADS: THEY HAVE MORE TO PROVE
President Benigno Aquino takes a swipe at opposition United Nationalist Alliance, saying UNA launched TV ads and sorties earlier because it has “more to prove.”
The President attends a Liberal Party event in Cebu where he comments on UNA's early TV ads.
He says, We need to understand the other side that they have more to prove than we do.
He adds, So they have to catch up, hence the need to have all of these sorties at this point in time.
Aquino also responds to criticism that LP is engaging in -quote “political persecution,” referring to the 6-month suspension of UNA leader Governor Gwen Garcia.
Aquino defends his party from the charge, saying they ensured all processes comply with the law.
Story 3: AFTER EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW, MIRIAM BURSTS BLOOD VESSEL
Sen Miriam Santiago’s blood vessel in the eye bursts from hypertension after her TV interview on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Santiago appears on ANC Headstart's Hot Copy with Karen Davila on Wednesday.
The senator talks about her criticism of Enrile for selectively giving out Senate funds, excluding her and 3 other critics.
During the interview, Santiago glares at the camera as she responds to Enrile's statement that she should leave to start her job as judge in the International Criminal Court.
She says, "I address this to my political enemy. Since you are a lawyer, read the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."
Santiago explains a newly-elected judge needs to wait until a retired judge has finished all his cases.
She adds, "This is a non-issue, but it is being used against me because he just wants to get rid of me."
Story 4: WORLD BANK SEES OVER 6% PH GROWTH FROM 2013 TO 2015
The World Bank says the Philippines is expected to post an average growth of 6.3% from 2013 to 2015.
In a report released Wednesday, the bank says strong domestic demand is expected to continue driving the Philippine economy.
the Philippines is expected to have the third fastest growth rate in the East Asia after China and Indonesia in the Pacific region.
But the World Bank warns the region's openness makes it vulnerable to global risks.
It says the region will shed off 1% of its GDP this year if the eurozone debt crisis spills over.
A 1.1% cut is also possible if the US fails to resolve its fiscal issues.
Story 5: WANT TO OWN A GUN? HERE'S HOW EASY IT IS
A series of shootings in January push calls for stricter gun control.
But as Natashya Gutierrez shows, there are short cuts to owning a gun.
How easy is it to buy a gun in the Philippines?
I walked into a reputable gun store in Quezon City to find out for myself.
Clueless, I said I wanted to buy a gun.
This is what I picked: a .45 caliber Beretta -- 39,000 thousand pesos.
The salesman assured me it could kill.
When I said I wanted it, he handed me this paper.
These are my requirements to obtain a gun license.
Just a police clearance and some employment information.
This, along with some forms I had to sign.
The rest? No problem.
He said the store would clear my drug test, my neuro psychiatric exam and my gun seminar for me.
All I had to pay was 5,500 pesos.
This is not how the Philippine National Police describes the gun procurement and licensing process.
Supt. Lounell Fabia of the licensing division says the PNP has strict requirements before granting licenses.
He says they regulate gun stores.
SUPT LOUNELL FABIA, PNP, LICENSING DIVISION: We issue licenses to dealers, and they are required to submit reports on how they sell, whom they sell and the manner they sell firearms.
It is clear that the policies of the PNP are not followed or that they are not enough.
This is a problem.
PNP records show there are 1.6 million licensed firearms in the Philippines.
Only a third of all licensed guns belong to the military and police.
There are nearly 600,000 loose or unregistered firearms.
The clamor to control guns intensifies with the death of 7-year old Nicole from a stray bullet and a shooting rampage in Cavite that left 8 dead.
But President Benigno Aquino, a gun enthusiast, doesn't think a total gun ban, but better implementation, is what's needed.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Magandang headline: total gun ban. Pero knee-jerk reaction. Maghanap tayo ng paraan na talagang maso-solve iyong isyu at hindi nagpapacute lang.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government says they are currently reviewing the licensing requirements for firearms, and will recommend improvements to the President.
Public officials acknowledged the need for stricter gun control, but it is not yet clear what these changes are.
I just wish it weren't so easy to own one.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila.
Story 6: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, Facebook announces a new service called “Graph Search” - which allows users to search through friend connections to find data like locations, likes, comments, photos, places and interests.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls this the 3rd pillar of the Facebook ecosystem alongside the News Feed and Timeline.
Facebook updates the blue top bar where users can type in search phrases like “people who live in Quezon City that like Rappler”.
The service is privacy aware, which means you only get results based on what you have access to.
Graph Search is still in beta and will roll out to users in the following weeks.
At number 3, 82 people are killed and over 150 wounded after twin blasts rip through a university in the Syrian city of Aleppo Tuesday.
Most of those affected are students.
Opposition activists say government jets carried out an air strike while a military official says rebels fired ground-to-air missiles.
The state news agency says the blast occurred on the first day of exams.
The education minister calls for a nationwide "day of mourning."
At number 4, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce a “concrete proposal" to reduce gun violence.
White House Spokesman Jay Carney says Obama "intends to make a comprehensive approach."
Obama will push for a measure to ban high capacity magazine clips and an effort to close loopholes in the background check system.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will present the proposal at a White House event attended by children who wrote the President over their concerns about gun violence.
And at number 5, New York passes what supporters call the toughest gun ownership law in the country, becoming the first US state to impose restrictions after last month’s elementary school massacre in Connecticut.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in the lower house of the State Assembly vote 104-43 in favor of the measure.
The upper house approves it in a 43-18 vote late Monday.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo welcomes the assembly's "bold statement...to meet the challenges that face our state."
Story 7: RIDING IN TANDEM WITH A 4-YEAR-OLD DOG
He’s super cool with his jacket, aviator sunglasses and helmet.
Man’s best friend is also this man’s scooter passenger.
Katherine Visconti reports.
Here's a dog who always has his owner's back.
The 4 year old Azkal perfectly balances behind his owner, even on sharp turns.
GILBERT DELOS REYES, DOG OWNER: I decided to get a dog so I have someone to be with everyday and someone to protect me.
The dog has never fallen off the motorcycle.
But once in traffic, he leapt off to tackle thugs trying to steal his owner's gold necklace.
Gilbert says there's no secret behind their double act. It's about focused training and starting early.
When the puppy was a month old, Gilbert bought him at a wet market for one hundred pesos.
At 2 months he trains Bogie to fetch.
At 4 months to shake hands.
And at 7 months to sit still on a motorcycle.
At a year Bogie learns how to bark on command.
His owner can leave for hours and depend on Bogie to stand watch.
But Bogie has become more than a guard dog.
Bogie is well traveled too! Gilbert brings him on family vacations to Ilocos, Baguio and even Boracay.
He doesn't miss out on the fun when Gilbert takes a zipline.
These two may look like the epitome of cool but they have another side.
On long rides they listen to love songs. Gilbert crafted a special helmet outfitted with head phones.
And this dog is not going to be arrested for violating the helmet law either. The helmet which Gilbert molded specially to the dog's head is certified.
Driving around Manila, keep an eye out for super canine.
The signature helmet, the tailored Ferarri jacket and tinted aviators.
Riding in tandem has never been this cute!
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 8: CULINARY THERAPY IN VAN GOGH IS BIPOLAR
A restaurant owner’s therapy for his bipolar disorder turns out to be a culinary adventure.
Devon Wong tells that story.
Jetro Rafael embraces his disorder.
It’s not just the artwork, eccentric furnishings or travel souvenirs throughout his home.
Jetro is clinically diagnosed as bipolar.
But it wasn’t always easy.
Jetro will tell you that the version of him you meet today was born of a series of accidental discoveries.
He believes he was born crazy, but wasn’t certain until he was clinically diagnosed.
JETRO RAFAEL, VAN GOGH IS BIPOLAR OWNER: I felt shame, lots of anger and resentment.
Jetro began researching alternative remedies for his condition.
Then he realized that he could cook.
JETRO RAFAEL: And so, I discovered all these different types of food that are known for their mood altering properties. And then I started designing my own diets, which I call ‘the Cuckoo diet.’
Friends encouraged Jetro to share his culinary talent, and Van Gogh is Bipolar was born.
Jetro runs the restaurant all on his own.
He greets, cooks, serves, and happily entertains all his guests with his many stories.
It may seem strange that guests are asked to follow a list of house rules when they arrive, but for Jetro, this is quite literally his home.
JETRO RAFAEL: This is my home, my sanctuary. And I always say, this is an accidental restaurant.
It’s not just the food or intimate hospitality that keeps his loyal customers returning.
His diners support his mission to raise mental health awareness in the Philippines.
This small scale operation has already received international notice but Jetro maintains it’s less about the food and more about the therapy.
JETRO RAFAEL: It’s healing me. So it’s my best way to share whatever gift and experience I’ve had in this place. Cooking is part of my psychotherapy.
Jetro expects to keep running and making more accidental discoveries that hopefully his guests will find delicious.
JETRO RAFAEL: I see my condition now as a gift, more than a doomed curse. It’s a gift. It just so happens that I’m different.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Quezon City.
Newscast production staff