Rappler Newscast | February 4, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Two Filipinos freed by the Abu Sayyaf group say they don’t know if ransom was paid.
- The World Bank says the Philippines needs to create 14 million jobs until 2016.
- Machine and manual counts don’t match in the Commission on Elections’ mock polls.
Story 1: FREED ASG HOSTAGES: 'WE DON'T KNOW ANYTHING'
Two Filipinos freed by the Abu Sayyaf face media for the first time since they were released Saturday night in Sulu.
Ramilito Vela and Rolando Letreto are now in Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police.
The 2 were released by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Jolo.
In a press conference Monday, the two face media to recount their release.
They say the Abu Sayyaf Group gave them horses to ride down the mountains into the capital, Jolo.
Vela and Letrero then checked into a hotel and called authorities.
RAMILITO VELA, FREED ASG HOSTAGE: Wala kaming alam na perang negosasyon. Yung paglaya namin wala kaming alam na kami ay uuwi. Nagulat na lang kami na biglang. Kumbaga nabulaga ako bakit ako nasa bayan ng Sulu. Nagulat ako.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says the details surrounding the release remain unclear, but adds the two will undergo a debriefing.
Sitting in a wheelchair, Vela says they were guarded by about 400 Abu Sayyaf members who treated them well.
RAMILITO VELA, FREED ASG HOSTAGE: Ang trato sa amin din parang anak. Mahusay ang alaga sa amin. Di kami sinaktan. Kung anong kinakain nila, kakainin namin. Kung anong gusto naming kainin na prutas pwede kami kumuha basta magpapaalam lang kami sa kanila.
Vela and Letreto were kidnapped in June 2012 together with Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani.
The crew intended to interview the Abu Sayyaf, but they were prevented from leaving the camp.
Atyani is still with the ASG.
Story 2: 37 KILLED IN SULU, SAYS MNLF
Fierce fighting between members of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf subsides late Monday in Sulu.
The death toll from both sides reaches nearly 40.
MNLF Islamic Command Council chief Habib Mujahab Hashim says about 20 MNLF members die in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu.
Hashim says 17 Abu Sayyaf members are also killed.
The fighting began Saturday night following the release of two Filipinos in the jungles of Patikul.
Story 3: PH NEEDS TO CREATE 14-M JOBS TILL 2016
The World Bank says the Philippines needs to create 14.6 million jobs until 2016 to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
In a statement Monday, World Bank Philippines Country Director Motoo Konishi says informal sector jobs in the Philippines and overseas employment opportunities are not enough to absorb the country's growing labor force.
Motoo says 10 million Filipinos are either unemployed or underemployed.
He adds that with 1.1 million Filipinos entering the labor force every year, a total of 14.6 million jobs need to be created until 2016.
Motoo says agribusiness and agriculture must contribute more significantly to address joblessness and reduce poverty.
The latest Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office shows there are 7.2 million underemployed...
and 2.8 million unemployed Filipinos in October 2012.
Story 4: PCOS, MANUAL COUNT DON'T MATCH
The Commission on Elections tests the voting system for the country’s second automated elections.
But Saturday’s mock polls see low voter turn out and counts that don’t match.
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
The Comelec calls the mock elections a success.
But the machine and manual counts don’t match.
A committee finds 15 discrepancies between the PCOs count and the manual audit.
In a resolution, Comelec allows a margin of error of only 10 votes.
Despite the contradicting results, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez refuses to call the mock elections a failure.
He says he wouldn't discount error on the part of auditors.
JAMES JIMENEZ, COMELEC SPOKESMAN: Kasi personally again, may nakita nga kami kung saan yung balota...meron siyang markang alam namin na hindi babasahin ng makina, pero minark down ng auditor as a valid mark. And then there are other instances like that, errors, you know, people were working for more than four hours straight. So medyo yung iba sa kanila, pagod na.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting chairman Tita de Villa, heads the random manual audit committee.
In a phone interview with Rappler, De Villa admits there will always be a mismatch between the automated count and the manual audit.
She says “They can never tally, it's really impossible.
But as much as possible, what we wanted to do is to improve on the 2010 random manual audit.
Aside from these discrepancies, the mock elections encounter some glitches.
Ballot-counting machines in UP reject the first 3 ballots.
The Comelec ends up using a back-up machine.
Few voters join the mock elections.
At UP, less than a fifth of registered voters participate.
The turnout is also low at the Ponciano Bernardo High School in Crame, one of the two biggest precincts for the activity.
PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: There were very few voters here this morning, a measly four percent of the expected voter turnout at the Ponciano Bernardo High School in Crame. But as we can see here now, there are lots of voters arriving at 2 pm. They were reportedly brought here by a vehicle by a barangay kagawad. It says a lot about a voting system that sometimes has to force – or even pay – its people to vote.
But for voters who arrived, the mock elections train them well for D-Day.
MIKE AGCAOILI, FIRST-TIME VOTER: Karapatan din naman naming bumoto para sa kabataan ding ano. Dahan-dahan lang naming sinasanay ang sarili namin habang dumarating tayo sa edad na ano.
BERNARDINA RUELO, 66 YEARS OLD: Bakit matatakot? Hindi naman nakakatakot. Mas madali nga ngayon eh. Noong araw, sinusulatan ang mga balota. Ngayon, shine-shadean mo lang ang mga bilog doon.
One thing this activity shows: getting the count right on May 13 will not depend entirely on the machines.
It’s also about the people who run it and the voting public.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila
Story 5: OMBUDSMAN: GWEN GARCIA, 5 OTHERS GUILTY OF GRAVE MISCONDUCT
The Ombudsman declares suspended Cebu Gov Gwen Garcia and 5 other officials guilty of grave misconduct over the 2008 purchase of the Balili Estate.
The Ombudsman signs the 26-page decision on January 25.
The case is based on the city government's irregular purchase of the 98.9 million-peso property in Tina-an, Naga, Cebu.
The Ombudsman says part of the property is submerged in water.
It adds, the provincial government at the time had no available funds for the purchase, diverting P50 million from the province’s Site Development and Housing Program to partly pay for the property.
Garcia is currently serving a suspension over a different case investigated by the Interior Department and the Office of the President.
She was suspended in December for grave abuse of authority.
Story 6: US TO COMPENSATE PH FOR TUBBATAHA CRASH
The American embassy says the US government will pay the Philippines ---quote "appropriate compensation" for the grounding of its ship in Tubbataha Reef Natural Park.
The amount of the compensation will be determined only after the vessel is fully pulled out and an extensive damage assessment of the reef is finalized.
The US government also plans to hold --quote-- "activities which will underscore its commitment to Tubbataha's recovery."
The minesweeper ran aground on January 17 inside the protected area of the marine park.
The vessel is waiting for the Coast Guard to approve the US Navy's salvage plan of cutting the ship up into pieces before transferring the sections to a barge in order to minimize further damage to the reef.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousufzai is reported in stable condition at a British hospital Sunday after a 5-hour surgery to repair her skull.
Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham attach a titanium plate and cochlear implant to partially restore hearing in Malala’s left ear.
The plate is needed to replace a section of her skull.
The 15-year-old Malala was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen in October last year because she publicly advocated education for Pakistani girls.
Now a symbol of empowerment, Malala will remain hospitalized until she is well enough to be discharged.
At number 7, Farmers in the Philippines will soon be planting golden rice, a genetically modified crop to boost vitamin A levels, reduce blindness, and counter diseases.
Golden rice was first developed in 1999.
The Guardian says the crop’s development is opposed by protesters who say “its introduction in the developing world would make farmers dependent on Western industry.”
But scientists say it’s a way to alleviate real health problems in the developing world.
The crop is genetically modified to make beta-carotene, a key chemical used by the body to make vitamin A.
At number 9, The White House on Saturday releases a photo of President Barack Obama shooting skeet in Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
The photo backs up Obama’s claim that he was a skeet shooter, after critics question this in an interview where the president was asked whether he had fired a gun before.
The photo shows Obama in jeans, wearing sunglasses, and firing a shotgun wedged against his left shoulder.
Skeet shooting, or clay target shooting, originated early 20th century as a sport for hunters to practice their marksmanship.
Obama is set to rally public support for his agenda to tighten gun laws.
And at number 10, Beyonce’s Super Bowl half-time performance on Sunday is winning raves for the 31 yr singer.
After using a recorded track when she sang at President Barack Obama’s inauguration early this month, many wondered whether she would do the same in the much-anticipated football championship game.
Instead Beyonce gives an explosive performance that featured a reunion with her Destiny’s Child bandmates at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
She begins with an a capella version of “Love in Top,” followed by “Crazy in Love” and “Halo.”
Story 8: RAVENS SURVIVE 49ERS' CHARGE TO WIN SUPERBOWL
The Baltimore Ravens win sports spectacle Superbowl, 34-31 over the San Francisco 49ers.
Joe Flacco throws three touchdown passes and Jacoby Jones returns a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown to spark the Ravens over the 49ers.
2-time defensive player of the year Ray Lewis, who was involved in a murder controversy in 2000, ends his 17-year football career with a Superbowl victory.
Lewis played for the Ravens since entering the league.
The National Football League championship match at the Louisiana Superdome was interrupted when the lights literally went out - a power outage that lasted for 35 minutes.
The NFL says --quote "stadium authorities are investigating the cause of the power outage."
The league promises to provide more information when available.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|