Rappler Newscast | February 11, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Pope Benedict XVI announces he will resign because of health reasons.
- President Aquino launches a basic services program in a historic visit to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
- The Philippines’ economic planning agency says a power crisis will be inevitable if economic growth continues at its present pace.
Story 1: POPE TO RESIGN FEB 28, SAYS SPOKESMAN
Pope Benedict XVI announces he will resign on February 28, making him the first pope to do so in centuries.
A Vatican spokesman makes the announcement Monday.
In his resignation letter, the 85-year-old Pope cites old age and declining health as his reasons for the decision to leave the papacy.
He adds, “Strength...has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
His resignation paves the way for the College of Cardinals to elect a new Supreme Pontiff.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle will participate in the papal conclave, after being appointed cardinal October last year.
Tagle is eligible to vote for the new pope or be elected as pope.
In May 2012, there were reports the pope will step down over the arrest of his butler, who was accused of leaking confidential Vatican documents.
The pope's spokesman denied the reports, saying these are "baseless creations of some journalists, which have no foundation in reality."
Story 2: AQUINO MAKES HISTORIC VISIT TO MILF CAMP
In a historic visit, President Benigno Aquino meets the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to launch the government’s basic services program.
This comes as the government and the MILF hammer out details to complete a peace pact by March.
Angela Casuay reports.
There is music and dancing as President Benigno Aquino III walks into the stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
No other Philippine president has gone here before during peace time.
Just as he rejected all advice when he went to meet MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Japan, Aquino flew to Sultan Kudarat despite apprehension from his own camp.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Kahapon, ang dami hong nagsasabi sa akin na good luck sa pagdalaw ko sa inyo. Sabi ho nila sa akin, magingat ako. ‘Yung isa ho sabi, “Kailangan bang pumunta ka diyan?” Ang sabi ko, ganito na lang ho: Kung magiging tulay ako, sulit na yata iyong sakripisyo ng isang Noynoy kapalit ng napakarami nating mga kababayan.
He is here to lead the launch of the government’s basic services program – Sajahatra Bangsamoro.
The one-year program will provide about 12,000 MILF combatants and their families access to Philheath services and scholarships.
It’s a festive affair and the heat of the noontime sun only radiates the warmth extended to the president.
But for the MILF, jubilation is not complete without a comprehensive peace pact assuring lasting peace.
AL HAJ MURAD EBRAHIM, MILF CHAIRMAN: Mr President, I shall be candid. We welcome the initial development, initial partnership between the MILF and the GPH. Indeed, as a Muslim and a revolutionary we dream of the dawning of peace.
But while we indeed welcome this sincere gesture…we caution all not to lose sight of the imperative and the challenges of the work ahead. That of achieving in the soonest possible the signing of a comprehensive compact between the MILF and the GPH.
The government and the MILF are in the final stages of talks for the annexes on power-sharIng, wealth-sharing and normalization that will complement the Framework Agreement signed in October 2012.
It's a pact that may end up granting huge powers to the MILF, short of independence.
Both parties hope to sign a final peace pact by March.
More work lies ahead. But for now, it is peace time. The challenge for tomorrow is to make it last.
Angela Casuay, Rappler, Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat.
Story 3: TEAM PNOY ALL SET FOR PROCLAMATION RALLY
President Benigno Aquino’s senatorial slate will kick off the campaign period Tuesday in a grand event.
Team PNoy will hold its proclamation rally at the Plaza Miranda on February 12, the first day of the official campaign period for national candidates.
All 12 candidates of Aquino's slate are expected to speak on Tuesday's rally.
Aquino will deliver his message to the 8,000 supporters expected to attend.
Coalition spokesperson Miro Quimbo says the administration ticket is backed by Aquino's all-out support.
Quimbo adds, "The President is calling the shots...because he really wants to ensure that what he has done in the past 3 years, he will be able to sustain and continue."
After Tuesday's launch, the coalition is expected to visit Batangas on Wednesday and Laguna on Thursday.
Quimbo says Aquino will join his candidates in some sorties on the campaign trail.
Team PNoy has 3 candidates also endorsed by the opposition United Nationalist Alliance: Senators Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero, and former censors chief Grace Poe.
Quimbo says there has "already been a specific agreement that the team needs to work as a united team."
He adds, the three are part of Team PNoy and only adopted by UNA.
Story 4: NANCY BINAY ON UNA: WE SHARE TEAM PNOY GOAL
Opposition United Nationalist Alliance prepares to go head to head with the administration slate in Tuesday’s proclamation rally.
But for UNA senatorial bet Nancy Binay, the two coalitions are not that different.
She says their enemies are poverty and lack of jobs, not the Liberal Party.
Ayee Macaraig files this video blog from Cebu.
Rain or shine, preparations are underway here at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu for the opening salvo of the United Nationalist Alliance for the campaign period.
Tomorrow, Vice President Jejomar Binay, former president Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will climb this stage to endorse their senatorial candidates.
The goal? To court the votes of 2.5 million cebuanos. all the candidates' banners, posters and streamers are here. What won't be here are the 3 common candidates UNA shares with LP. Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Grace Poe Llamanzares plan to send only proxies to the UNA event.
A big question for UNA is why Cebu. Cebu is the country's most vote-rich province. UNA leaders hailing from Luzon plan to expand their political base here in Central Visayas.
The message is to present an alternative to the administration by ensuring that economic gains trickle down to the masses and problems like poverty and unemployment are addressed.
But analysts are quick to point out there's not much difference between UNA and the administration. This they say means there's no real choice between the two. but it's the voters who will decide that come May 13.
Ayee Macaraig, Rappler Cebu
Story 5: COMELEC: 'EPALS' NOW, CRIMINALS TOMORROW
The Commission on Elections vows to get back at "epals" or attention-grabbing politicians on Tuesday - the start of the official campaign period.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez says, "If you're an epal now, tomorrow you become a criminal."
Jimenez is referring to publicity-hungry politicians who advertise their candidacies long before the start of the campaign period.
A Supreme Court ruling decriminalized premature campaigning and Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes says the most Comelec can do is to strictly implement its campaign rules starting Tuesday.
Brillantes will appear on TV ads where he will urge the public to report campaign violations to Comelec.
The poll body will accept reports on campaign violation through the following: @Comelec on Twitter, Facebook.com/PCOSdemo2013, Comelec hotlines, and a feedback form on mycomelec.tv.
Story 6: JUN LOZADA SURRENDERS TO POLICE
NBN-ZTE whistleblower Jun Lozada surrenders to police Monday after the Sandiganbayan ordered his arrest last February 6.
Lozada faces two counts of graft for alleged irregularities in the lease of government lands when he was president of the Philippine Forest Corporation.
He was staying with a group of nuns in an undisclosed location since last week, after he claimed armed men came to his home several times to threaten him.
Story 7: PH MAY FACE POWER CRISIS IN 2 YEARS
The National Economic and Development Authority says if economic growth continues at its current pace, the country could face a power crisis in 2 to 3 years.
The Philippines grows 6.6% in 2012.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan says this is the reason why the government must invest heavily in power.
He adds economic growth and electricity demand traditionally go hand-in-hand.
Balisacan says putting up new power plants and other energy sources take a long time to put into place.
He also stresses the need to create sustainable power supply in Mindanao.
Story 8: TUBBATAHA SALVAGING DELAYED AT LEAST A WEEK
The salvage operation for the US ship stuck in Tubbataha Reef is delayed because of the rough seas.
An official says it will not start until a 2nd floating crane arrives next week.
Philippine Coast Guard Palawan commander Efren Evangelista says unfavorable sea conditions have not allowed...
the 1st crane ship, SMIT Borneo, to anchor away from the reef.
For the past 5 days the SMIT Borneo has been looking for a spot to drop its anchor in deep water to minimize further damage to the coral.
PCG and US Navy personnel will continue to clear the ship of any objects that can be removed without a crane.
The USS Guardian ran aground on January 17 inside the protected area of the marine park.
Story 9: REPORT: JAPAN PLANS TO GIVE PATROL BOATS TO PH
A Japanese newspaper says Japan plans to donate patrol boats to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China's maritime activity in disputed waters.
The Nikkei business daily reports the Japanese government plans to allot 2.5 billion yen in its fiscal 2013 budget.
Each patrol boat costs $11 million.
Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China.
Japan and China both claim a group of islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China.
The Philippines is one of several Southeast Asian countries disputing China's claim to parts of the South China Sea.
Last month, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visited Manila and called for stronger ties with the Philippines to help ensure regional peace.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, The northeast United States crawls out this weekend from under a monster blizzard that kills at least 9 and paralyzes the region with high winds and vast drifts of snow.
Nearly 300,000 customers are still without power in the wake of the storm that dumped three feet of snow across New England before battering three Canadian provinces.
New York area airports LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark, which stopped all flights at the height of the storm, resumed service Saturday with some delays.
At number 3, Reports say at least 36 people died in a deadly stampede at a railway station near India's giant Kumbh Mela festival.
Dozens more are injured in the crush, which marked a tragic end to the 55-day festival in northern India.
The festival draws a record 30 million people to the banks of the river Ganges.
Local officials say the railings on a bridge at the station gave way.
Eyewitnesses tell local media the police baton-charged the crowd.
At number 4, After a United Nations report, Afghan President Hamid Karzai says an official probe over torture in Afghan prisons reveals widespread abuse.
The report says 326 of 635 prisoners, including 80 minors, say they had been abused.
Karzai says, "Half of the prisoners interviewed complained of mistreatment, harassment and even torture during their detention."
And at number 5,The Washington Post reports America is the target of a massive cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening its competitiveness.
Citing unnamed US intelligence officials, the newspaper says a classified report identifies China as the country most aggressively seeking to penetrate US computer systems to gain access to data that could be used for economic gain.
The administration of President Barack Obama is trying to counter the electronic theft of trade secrets by lodging protests, expelling diplomatic personnel, and imposing travel and visa restrictions.
Story 11: FUN., GOTYE WIN BIG AT GRAMMY'S
Stars young and old attend the 55th Grammy Awards.
The big winners are Gotye with 3 awards, and band .fun with two awards.
Performances by Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake entertain the crowd.
Other major awardees are Frank Ocean, Beyonce, and Adele.
Story 12: TIMELESS CHINESE-FILIPINO PRACTICES FOR NEW YEAR
Binondo comes alive with fireworks and dragon dances to celebrate the Year of the Water Snake.
The Chinese-Filipino community bring in the new year with prayers, festivities, and talismans.
Pia Ranada reports.
Every Chinese New Year, the dragon lions come out to dance in the streets of Chinatown in Binondo, Manila.
Their sinuous bodies unfurl to welcome the Year of the Watersnake.
All over the historic town, Chinese-Filipinos offer their prayers for a prosperous new year.
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: Behind me you will see an altar commemorating both Buddhist and catholic beliefs, showing how Chinese in Chinatown blend the two religions together.
Twenty-year-old Mariel Fang has lived in Chinatown all her and has experienced more Chinese New Year celebrations than she can remember.
MARIEL FANG, RESIDENT, BINONDO: For some people it’s not gonna be a good year for money, to supplement that they’re gonna buy charms like the infinity coin, maybe the cat to invite people inside their stores.
The lucky symbolism of wealth hidden in a pouch is seen in charms like “ang pao.”
Any food that is wrapped and looks like pouches of money or circles or things like that, those also represent money.
Food takes the metaphor to a whole new level.
Some traditional Chinese New Year talismans are
meant for the continued wellness of the family.
SAM, EMPLOYEE, 138 SUNRISE STORE: This is what you call a “prosperity basket” which is used every Chinese New Year. This is to enhance luck in the family.
Others are for driving out negative energy.
There are even special charms for the prosperity of businesses.
MARIEL FANG: In front of stores when they want to invite customers, there’s always this cat doing this, that’s waving like this, what it means is they’re inviting good luck in, inviting people to enter their stores.
But in the midst of all the loud festivities, busy shopping and packed streets stands a sanctuary of spirituality and calm that all Chinatown residents make a point to visit.
In the Seng Guan temple, believers of all ages light incense sticks, and pray in front of the golden Buddha statue.
Chinese New Year in the Philippines breaths a life of its own.
For Mariel, its all about shared blessings and togetherness.
MARIEL FANG: Honestly its just the time of the year that you come together as a family. There’s a saying that shared joy is double joy. With all these festivities, we just want to share that joy with everyone.
Come new year’s eve, families couples and friends gather for the evening show.
Finally at midnight, the New Year is welcomed with noise and fiery show, giving a glow to faces, happy to spend the night with those they love.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 13: TEENAGE COSPLAYER SAVES STREET CATS
Firecrackers can hurt animals just as much as it does humans.
A teenage cosplayer who loves cats makes a plea to Chinese New Year merry makers.
Devon Wong reports.
With the Chinese New Year just winding up, we heard a lot of this.
But you might have missed the sound of this.
Firecrackers injure hundreds of people each year.
And animal welfare groups are jumpstarting the new awareness.
Cats and dogs are a common sight in Manila.
Yi’ze Yen sees them every day, and opens her door to many cats she’s rescued from the streets.
To say she’s a cat-lover is a bit of an understatement.
YI’ZE YEN, CAT OWNER: In all, I’ve handled 77 cats. Yes, not all ended good but most of them have a sweet home with a owner who loves them.
Yi’ze runs an unofficial cat shelter from her home in Quezon City.
Her reputation as cat lady has grown-- even neighbours drop off stray cats in boxes on her doorstep.
But she’s says it’s no superhero feat.
Originally from China, Yi’ze knows that plenty of firecrackers means both accidental and intentional stress for street animals.
YI'ZE: Kids or teens around, they’re torturing animals … and they’re having fun. And it’s very cruel and inhumane. It’s like, what if someone did that to you just because of fun? What would you think about that?
She says she hopes people will be not light firecrackers in alleyways--which may host some unsuspecting four-legged victim.
YI'ZE: I hope that they light firecrackers in an open space, not in some very narrow streets, and there’s stray cats and dogs all around and they don’t know what’s going on. Then they often get hurt in that situation. And please don’t have fun torturing animals with firecrackers.
When asked if street cats are still better off in Manila than in Shanghai, her response: It’s better here because no one eats cats.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Manila.
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|