Rappler Newscast | February 14, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- President Aquino slams opposition United Nationalist Alliance for downplaying the administration’s economic gains.
- Election citizen arm PPCRV says vote buying has gone wholesale.
- The Malaysian government says its security forces surround suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf in Sabah.
Story 1: AQUINO TO UNA: STOP DOWNPLAYING OUR GAINS
President Benigno Aquino responds to criticism from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance after Vice President Jejomar Binay says the country's economic growth is only beneficial to the rich.
In a press conference in Laguna on Thursday, Aquino says the trickle down effect of economic growth takes time.
He says instead of slamming his reforms, they should offer solutions.
He adds, "I can't blame them for downplaying our achievement, so they could say that if they were in power, it would be even better."
The President is with Team PNoy in Laguna for its second stop on the campaign trail.
Of the three common candidates of Team PNoy and UNA, only Grace Poe is present.
Senators Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda are absent, a day after Binay threatened to drop all 3 for not attending their sorties.
Aquino says of the three candidates, "We endorse them because we believe in them. Whatever the other group decides, we have no say how they run their campaign."
Story 2: PPCRV FEARS POLL DELAYS
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV on Thursday, says the group fears election preparations will be delayed because --quote “there are more stakeholders involved than there were in 2010.”
PPCRV communications director Ana de Villa-Singson says the Comelec decided to unbundle the services for the 2013 elections, unlike in 2010 where the poll body only had one major project manager in charge of election services which was Smartmatic.
ANA DE VILLA-SINGSON, PPCRV COMMUNICATIONS HEAD: Right now instead of having one cook orchestrate the entire thing, you have several cooks doing many, many different things. I think the strength is that it hopefully allays fears that there's something like a bit fishy because everything is consolidated with one group. No manipulation. The hard thing though is, you're hoping that they're orchestrating to the same tune and to the same schedule.
The PPCRV communications head says there’s one challenge that her group faces every elections: the rampant vote-buying which she says has evolved from retail to wholesale.
ANA DE VILLA-SINGSON, PPCRV COMMUNICATIONS HEAD: Maria, in 2010 it moved from retail vote-buying, as in tingi-tingi, to families. Wholesale paradigm shift. They would buy families from Php2,500 to Php5,000 and now even more alarming, they are buying entire barangays.
MARIA RESSA: How do you verify that?
ANA DE VILLA-SINGSON: That's very hard. I'll be honest. That's very hard. We know it's happening. We know money is exchanged.
Singson says the only way to combat vote-buying is for people to place a premium on their vote and scrutinize the candidates.
ANA DE VILLA-SINGSON, PPCRV COMMUNICATIONS HEAD: In the end it's examination of conscience and use of, hopefully, value-driven selection. Pili para sa Pilipinas. It's in the word, right? It's in our country's name so think about your country when you're choosing.
Story 3: 'ABSENTEE' MEDIA CAN VOTE
Media personnel who will not be able to vote on May 13 because of work will now be allowed to vote ahead of election day.
Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez on Thursday says the poll body finalized its rules for media absentee voting.
In Resolution No. 9637, Comelec says the media can vote from April 28 to 30.
They may only vote for senator and party-list representative.
Among those who can avail of absentee voting are journalists working in print, television, radio, online news, documentary makers, photojournalists and TV and radio production staff.
Story 4: LACSON: MIRIAM CAN'T INVOKE 'IMMUNITY BY INSANITY'
Senator Panfilo Lacson responds to Senator Miriam Santiago's threats, a day after she said she will use "parliamentary immunity” to expose Lacson's quote-"sins and sexuality" in the next Congress.
Citing a Supreme Court decision, Lacson says "parliamentary immunity" is not absolute.
He also says Santiago's insinuation that he is gay is "below the belt."
VOICE OF PANFILO LACSON, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Unang-una, hindi totoo. Kasi kung totoo, uso naman ngayon ang aminan. Bakit ako aamin kung hindi totoo. Kung ako bakla, baka wala nang macho sa mundo.
Lacson adds, somebody must stand up to Santiago to "defend the honor of the Senate."
VOICE OF PANFILO LACSON, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: She should not be allowed to get away with it. Because she tends to abuse it. She thinks she can always invoke immunity by insanity.
Lacson says he sent documents to the Office of the Ombudsman showing proof that Santiago misused funds allocated to her office.
But Santiago defends her use of these funds, saying it had the approval of the Senate Secretary.
Story 5: 5 KILLED, 13 TRAPPED IN SEMIRARA LANDSLIDE
A landslide at the country's biggest coal mine site in Caluya, Antique leaves at least 5 dead, 13 trapped and 5 miners missing.
Western Visayas police director Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr says incessant rains may have triggered the accident at the Panian mine of Semirara Mining Corp.
Police say 3 people are rescued in the landslide, which happened when a section of the Panian mine’s wall caved in at 11:55 pm Wednesday.
Semirara says it stopped mining operations for the safety of its personnel.
Rescue operations for the missing miners are ongoing.
This is the 3rd mine accident reported in the last 6 months, following the Philex Padcal mine spill in August and the Citinickel silt spill in November.
Story 6: MALAYSIA, FILIPINO GUNMEN IN STANDOFF
Malaysia's government says Thursday its security forces surrounded dozens of suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf in a remote area.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says about 80-100 gunmen are cornered in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island but says the situation is under control.
He says, "To my knowledge, no Malaysian citizens are being held hostage or for ransom."
He declines to confirm that the gunmen are from the Philippines but says Philippine authorities --quote "Will have to be involved in the operations."
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says they are still trying to verify information from the incident.
He did not say if the gunmen are in fact Filipinos.
Story 7: BENEDICT XVI TO RETIRE TO A MONASTERY
What happens when a pope resigns?
The Vatican says Pope Benedict the 16th will lose his papal infallibility -- his supreme authority in Church matters -- when he steps down on February 28.
Emblems of authority like the papal ring will also be destroyed, as if a pope had died.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi says the retiring Pope will live in a monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens.
He says Pope Benedict’s decision to live there should not reflect on his successor.
Lombardi adds, “The pope will surely say absolutely nothing about the process of the election.”
The pope's brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, says Benedict plans to stay out of the public eye and will probably even stop writing.
The Pope meets with Rome parish priests Thursday and calls for a "real renewal" in the Catholic Church in the spirit of the reformist Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
And this just in: the Vatican confirms the Pope hit his head during Mexico-Cuba trip, but denies it had role in his resignation. Log on to rappler.com for more on that story.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, US President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday is the lowest-rated since 2000, according to Nielsen ratings.
33.5 million Americans watched Obama's address, a significant decline from the second-term speeches of his predecessors.
39.4 million viewers watched President George W. Bush's second-term address, while President Bill Clinton's January 1997 address drew 41.1 million.
In general, viewership for Obama's address has declined.
At number 8, Fans hit DC comics for hiring an anti-gay Mormon writer for a new Superman comic book to be launched this year.
DC commissions Orson Scott Card to write the first two installments of a new digital-first comic, Adventures of Superman.
Card has been vocal about his anti-gay views.
In 2004, he wrote an essay where he said gay people were not "normal."
Fans question the decision of a company which in the past is seen as progressive with its editorial decision.
An online petition aims to push DC to drop the story lines written by Card.
And at number 9, The French and Italians may be famous for romance, but a global love survey says Filipinos get the most love.
Bloomberg reports a Gallup Organization survey, conducted in 136 countries, asked the question: “Did you experience love for a lot of the day yesterday?”
The Philippines came first at 93%, Rwanda second at 92%, Puerto Rico third at 90%.
Story 9: IS THE NBA COMING TO PH?
Big things are coming.
The official Twitter account of Mall of Asia Arena teases an NBA game could be played on Philippine soil this year.
The SM group has been working on bringing NBA teams to the country since last year.
An ESPN writer tweeted about this last week saying the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors will play games in China while the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers will play in Taipei and the Philippines.
If it pushes through, Filipino hoop fans will witness live NBA All Stars James Harden and Paul George and the player that sparked last season's Linsanity, Jeremy Lin.
Story 10: SOCIAL STIGMA LEADS TO LOW CONDOM USE
Passing the reproductive health law brings sexual health issues front and center.
But social stigma is still a barrier for serious discussions.
Devon Wong reports.
Sex is a favorite topic among Red Dela Cruz’s girlfriends.
RED DELA CRUZ, MODEL: They just want to talk about what they your boyfriend is doing with you, and how to do this and that… because I learn a lot from them because we’re always talking about sex and my friend is also a bit naughty.
Despite this, serious discussions on sexual health is still taboo.
But it’s the silence that allows misconceptions to, well, reproduce.
RED DELA CRUZ: But some girls buy condoms because they think that when you put your condom into your wallet it’s a lucky charm, that’s what I heard from them. Really, that’s what I heard from them, my friends. Not to get buntis.
Red has made it her career to sell sexy in order to promote safe sex as a brand ambassador.
RED DELA CRUZ: It’s very, very easy to get a disease without using condoms. Tell your boyfriend to use condom for sex.
The law is no longer a barrier to buying condoms in the Philippines, but the fear of standing in line with a pack might be.
This condom company has been marketing condoms to Filipinos for over twenty years and says social stigma still plays a huge role in low condom use.
NORMAN CAMPOY, DKT PRODUCT MANAGER: I hope that someday people would realize that it’s a product that’s there to protect them. We’re not here to promote sex, but we are acknowledging the fact that more people are doing it.
Whether more people are ‘doing it’, they’re certainly not talking about it.
GRETCHEN, AGE 27: Stigma associated with it is ‘you’re loose’. You’re promiscuous, you’re loose. You don’t have morals. That’s the stigma associated with buying condoms.
Norman insists the problem is not access, but the fear of being judged.
NORMAN CAMPOY: Here in the Philippines women are judged unfairly if they buy condoms and I think that they are the ones who will suffer from the consequences if they get pregnant. So women should learn how to buy condoms.
Fear of judgment keeps many girls behind closed doors and looking to the web for answers, but this has its complications.
GRETCHEN: There’s a danger. There’s a danger because no one actually moderates the information that you get.
With the passage of the RH bill in the Philippines, the next step is changing attitudes and transcending inhibitions.
Reproductive health advocates say it’s now time for sex education to take centerfold.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Manila.
Story 11: THE BUSINESS OF LOVE MOTELS
Valentine’s Day spells a profitable time for restaurants and hotels.
Sales are up for love motels, and the industry is growing.
Aya Lowe reports.
Love is in the air and businesses are enjoying the profits.
One industry that’s reaping the benefits are the short stay hotels or ‘love motels.’
JORGE SAGUINSIN, ATENEO GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: When you go to the motel in the States they are motor hotels unlike hotels they don’t have a room boy or restaurant. All you need is a place to sleep. … In the Philippines motels have different connotations they are not places for sleeping, baths for something else. They are in far off secret places.
As new motels launch, the industry gets increasingly competitive.
HOTEL Sogo Ed Las says the most important things are visibility and location.
Train commuters can’t miss the bright red Sogo hotel signs that loom above train tracks across Manila.
ED LAS, CEO, SOGO HOTEL: It depends on where you’re located. If you build a walk in or drive in a proper location then you make money.
Sogo’s market is mostly 20-40 year old unmarried couples using the hotels for a few hours at a time.
Sales are up by 30% in the four days before and after Valentines Day.
Surprisingly that’s not the busiest time.
ED LAS, CEO, SOGO HOTEL: February is second compared to December. It’s not only 1 week it’s the whole month.
Long-term industry player, Victoria Court Motel is one company that’s changing the game.
IAN KING, VICTORIA COURT MOTEL: The normal connotation for a hotel is that it’s dark, dirty, sleazy everything that a description of a motel used to be in the Philippines. We’re the only one that’s trying to change the image.
With their new thematic rooms, Victoria Court is moving away from the short-term market and opening up to partygoers.
IAN KING: A lot of the products we’re pushing this year are the super thematic rooms and we feel that it give a sense of fantasy or experience to the normal individual that we don’t see on the normal basis. It sort of lightens their day.
By doing so it places itself in the high end motel market.
IAN KING: Right now we’re about 40-60% higher than our competitor. We cannot raise our prices anymore we’re at the price ceiling. Anymore and our markets will say ouch. What’s happening in this day and age is that all the costs are coming up so what’s happening is that just have to absorb everything.
While most motels are found in Manila, companies are looking to other major cities.
ED LAS, CEO, SOGO HOTEL: We’re moving out of Metro Manila but we’re building in the key cities- Pampanga, Tarlac, Cagayan de Oro.
The growth in the industry shows motels are here to stay.
As well as its ‘sinful’ connotations.
ED LAS: We are on the basic needs, they have to eat, wear clothes and make love.
Aya Lowe, Rappler, Manila.
|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|