Rappler Newscast | September 17, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- The Philippines delivers an impressive mid-year economic performance, but leaders say corruption remains a problem.
- Senator Legarda tops the senatorial race in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
- Pope Benedict the XVI asks leaders to work for peace after deadly protests over an anti-Islam film.
Story 1: PERCEPTION OF CORRUPTION A DRAG ON PH ECONOMY
The Philippines’ financial chiefs are happy over the country’s mid-year numbers.
This solidifies its position as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Katherine Visconti reports.
The country's top financial leaders smile and congratulate each other on a job well done.
It's the government's mid year economic briefing and they have a lot of success to trumpet.
The local economy is growing at a phenomenal pace at 6.3% in the first 3 months, and 5.9 in the next quarter.
The Philippines is now one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, and investors are taking notice.
Export zone chief Lila de Lima says foreign investments only grew by 11% in the first 6 months.
In the 2012 Global Competitiveness Index, businessmen say the biggest problem for doing business in the Philippines is still corruption, followed by inefficient government and poor infrastructure.
Economic managers explain the task of ridding the bureaucracy of wrongdoers is not easy and cannot be accomplished overnight.
FLORENCIO ABAD, BUDGET SECRETARY: The leadership from the top is good but some of the middle managers remain and that's where the problem is.
The highest ranking economic manager, Cesar Purisima says good governance is part of the message that the Philippines means business.
With investments and job-generating opportunities still low, the country still depends on other sources of growth, such as remittances from overseas workers.
Analysts say the Philippines had once been a promising tiger economy in the late 80’s, but failed to deliver on the promise.
The question is, will this time be different?
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 2: MIRIAM SNUBBING SENATE SESSION
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is still protesting what she calls a boycott of her probe on resigned Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno.
Santiago announces she will be absent from the Senate this week to show her resentment.
She says, “Tit for tat. If they snub my hearing, I will snub their session.”
Santiago is protesting the absence of 9 senators who are members of her Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws.
Some of the members say they had a prior engagement but Santiago claims there was a conspiracy between the lawmakers and Malacañang to snub her probe.
Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte denies there was a gag order from the president, or that there was a plan to boycott the hearing.
President Benigno Aquino defends his Cabinet saying they always cooperate.
He stresses, there is a procedure Santiago must follow as a lawmaker.
Story 3: PULSE ASIA: LEGARDA TOPS SENATORIAL RACE
Re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda comes out on top in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
67.3% say they will vote for Legarda in the 2013 elections.
In second place is Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero with 61.2%.
Sharing 3rd to 5th place are Sen Alan Peter Cayetano with 49.9%, San Juan Representative JV Ejercito also with 49.9%, and Cagayan Province Representative Jack Enrile with 47.4%.
Three other incumbent senators occupy the 6th to 10th slots.
They are Antonio Trillanes IV with 41.2%, Gregorio Honasan with 40.6%, and Koko Pimentel with 39.2%.
Sharing 6th to 11th places are Migz Zubiri with 37.4% and Sonny Angara with 35.9%.
Former Las Piñas representative Cynthia Villar now ranks 9th to 11th with 32.7%.
The 12th and last slot is being fought over by 4 people. They are Ma. Lourdes Nancy Binay with 27.4%, former senators Richard Gordon with 26.2%, Ramon Magsaysay Jr with 25.2%, and Jamby Madrigal with 23.2%.
Story 4: MALACAÑANG: US OFFICIALS IN MANILA ARE SAFE
Malacañang says officials of the American Embassy in Manila are safe, after reports of widespread attacks by Muslim protesters against US embassies in nearly 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte says the Muslim community in the Philippines has always conducted itself quote with goodwill and sobriety."
On September 14, Al-Qaeda group called for more attacks on American embassies to protest an anti-Islam film.
But the Philippines' largest Muslim insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, says it will observe its ceasefire pact with the government.
MILF chief political officer Ghazali Jaafar says, "We do not live in the dark ages. There are rules and laws that need to be followed."
Story 5: POPE CALLS ON MIDDLE EAST LEADERS TO WORK FOR PEACE
Pope Benedict XVI calls on Middle East leaders to work toward peace and reconciliation following deadly protests over an anti-Islam film.
An estimated 350,000 people gathered to join the Pope as he celebrates mass on the last day of his visit to Lebanon.
The 85-year-old pontiff urges Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims to forge a harmonious, pluralistic society.
He appeals to the international community to "propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, rights and religion of every human person."
Lebanon's Sunni spiritual leader, Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, says the events rocking the Arab world "bring Muslims and Christians a light that shows us the path to a better tomorrow."
Story 6: NEW RULES ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO SALN
The Office of the Ombudsman issues new rules relaxing public access to the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth.
Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan says Memorandum Circular No. 3 means "everything is open unless restricted."
He says this is an improvement from the old rule that "everything is secret unless allowed."
All elected officials except members of the Senate and the House of Representatives file their SALNs before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Accessing the SALNs of senators is easy, but not the SALNs of members of the House.
The House leadership banned the release of SALNs until they have finalized a new set of rules that would govern the release of the documents.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 6, foreign housemaids pray with Pope Benedict XVI as he celebrates Mass in Beirut Sunday.
Lebanon gained notoriety for mistreating domestic helpers.
The Philippines, along with Madagascar and Ethiopia, stopped sending citizens to work there.
Asians and Africans join Pope Benedict in celebrating the Mass.
Raymon, a Lebanese shopkeeper says, “Today, with the pope, we are all the same community.”
Mary, a Filipina married to a Lebanese, also says she came to see the pope to get his blessing.
At number 7, Burmese opposition leader and pro-democracy icon, Aung Sang Suu Kyi leaves for a historic 18-day trip to the US, following trips to Europe earlier this year.
She is expected to meet with US President Barack Obama, and will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Suu Kyi’s trip to the US comes a few days before the visit of Burmese President Thein Sein.
Some fear her visit could overshadow his and could pose diplomatic challenges.
At number 8, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will file criminal charges against the photographer who took topless photographs of the duchess and published on French magazine Closer.
A spokesperson for St. James’ Palace confirms “a criminal complaint is to be made to the French Prosecution Department.”
William and Kate are currently in the Solomon Islands as part of their Asia and Pacific tour.
The photos were taken while Kate was sunbathing during a vacation in France last week.
The couple’s legal team wants to stop further publication of the photos.
And at number 9, a week after the Taliban reveals plans to kill Prince Harry, Afghan insurgents dressed in US army uniforms carry out an attack on the NATO base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan where Britain’s 3rd in line is stationed.
Two US marines were killed and 9 others wounded during the attack Friday.
Six fighter jets were also destroyed.
The insurgents were able to penetrate the perimeter fence of the base.
Fourteen of the rebels were killed.
A Taliban spokesperson says “We stormed this one because Harry was there.”
A spokesperson for the NATO says Prince Harry, “was in no way in any danger.”
Story 8: MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AGREE TO LIFT VEIL BAN
Pilar College will soon lift its controversial ban on the Muslim veil or hijab, following dialogues between Christians and Muslims.
In a statement, the school and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos say the school will lift the ban after implementing “programs toward the voluntary wearing of hijab."
Sister Maria Fe Gerodias says students of other religions need to be prepared to study next to muslims wearing veils.
S. MARIA FE GERODIAS, RVM, REPRESENTATIVE, RVM SOUTHERN MINDANAO PROVINCE: The Christians do not really understand very well the value and the need for the hijab. That's why we need to conduct a formative program, educative program, for our Christian parents, to educate students and teachers.
The decision to lift the ban comes after protests from Muslim and women’s rights groups.