Rappler Newscast | April 17, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- US President Obama says the Boston explosions are an ‘act of terror.'
- North Korea bars a delivery of supplies to South Koreans in the Kaesong industrial zone.
- Chairman Sixto Brillantes says the Commission on Elections will ask the Supreme Court to resolve the case on airtime limits.
Story 1: OBAMA: BOSTON BLASTS AN 'ACT OF TERROR'
US President Barack Obama says the Boston bombings are an act of terror, but it's still unclear who was behind the attacks.
On Monday, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three and injuring at least 140.
In a statement, Obama says the motives and identity of those responsible remain unclear.
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror. What we don't yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.
On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In a press conference, FBI Special Agent Rick DesLauriers says, "The range of suspects and motives remains wide open."
DesLauriers says investigators recover items from both blast sites, including black nylon bags in which the bombs are believed to have been hidden.
He adds, "Fragments of BBs (ball bearings) and nails, possibly contained in a pressure-cooker device" are also recovered and sent to the FBI laboratory for analysis.
Story 2: NORTH KOREA BARS SOUTH 'HUMANITARIAN' DELEGATION
North Korea bars a delivery of supplies to South Koreans in the closed Kaesong joint industrial zone.
Ten businessmen representing the 123 South Korean firms in Kaesong applied for permission to visit the zone to bring food and supplies to their staff, two weeks after the North blocked all access to Kaesong.
North Korea denied the request for a visit.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok says, "It is very regrettable that the North has rejected the request and disallowed a humanitarian measure."
Around 200 South Koreans remain in Kaesong.
On April 8, the North withdrew its 53,000 workers in the industrial zone.
North Korea dismisses Seoul's offers of dialogue as a quote -- "crafty trick".
It says the South wanted to shift responsibility for Kaesong's closure, which Pyongyang insists is forced by Seoul's quote -- "war-mongering" statements.
Story 3: SENATE BETS: EXPECT 'UNLI ADS' WITH SC RULING
Some senatorial candidates oppose the Supreme Court decision stopping the Commission on Elections from implementing airtime limits on political ads.
Under Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes, national candidates only have 120 minutes on all TV networks and 180 minutes in all radio stations.
In a tweet, Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño says, "With its [order], the Supreme Court has allowed unli ads."
San Juan Rep JV Ejercito says, "The airtime limit set by the Comelec levels the playing fields among candidates. The SC decision prohibiting it is not for a fair campaign."
Zambales Rep Mitos Magsaysay questions the timing of the release of the court's decision, which comes less than a month before the May 13 polls.
But Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano hails the decision, saying it will let voters in rural areas have access to information about candidates.
In February, broadcast networks GMA-7, TV5, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas says the Comelec rule violates people’s right to information.
In past elections, the Comelec under chairman Benjamin Abalos imposed a more liberal interpretation of the law: 120 minutes per TV station, and 180 minutes per radio station.
Story 4: BRILLANTES BOUNCES BACK, READY TO FACE SC
Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes says the poll body will ask the Supreme Court to resolve the case on airtime limits, a day after he said he is considering resigning following a series of court decisions against the Comelec.
On Tuesday, Brillantes criticizes the Supreme Court for issuing a status quo ante order on its airtime rules, saying he expected a decision on the merits of the case two months after complaints against the rules.
For the May 2013 polls, the Comelec reverts to the original rule on airtime: national candidates only have 120 minutes on all TV networks and 180 minutes in all radio stations.
Brillantes criticizes the high court for its process in issuing temporary restraining orders and status quo ante orders.
SIXTO BRILLANTES JR, COMELEC CHAIRMAN: Kung mali kami, sasabihin nila may grave abuse of discretion. Yun ang authority ng Supreme Court under the Constitution. Eh kung walang grave abuse of discretion, at wala namang grave abuse kung TRO o status quo ang ini-issue, therefore wala kaming mali. Wala pa. Sabi ko, sabihin nyo na. Wag nyo na kaming ibitin pa na status quo, TRO. (If we are wrong, they will say there was grave abuse of discretion. That is the Supreme Court’s authority under the Constitution. But if there is no grave abuse of discretion, therefore we are not wrong. So I said, just tell us. Don’t leave us hanging with TROs or status quo ante orders.)
Story 5: LAKAS ENDORSES Bnil a, GORDON, VILLAR, VILLANUEVA
The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats endorses 4 more senatorial bets, bringing the number of candidates it supports at the national level to 10.
On Wednesday, the party announces it supports Nancy Binay and Richard Gordon of the United Nationalist Alliance, Cynthia Villar of Team PNoy, and Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas.
Last week, the party announced its endorsement of 6 other candidates --- 4 from UNA and 2 from Team PNoy.
Lakas president Leyte Rep Martin Romualdez says the last two slots will depend on the decision of Lakas-CMD members at the local level.
But the party --quote-- "strongly recommends" Sen Loren Legarda, Margarita Cojuangco, Ernesto Maceda and Miguel Zubiri for the last two slots.
Story 6: NULLIFY MINING ACT OR JUST THE DENR ORDER?
The Supreme Court holds oral arguments Tuesday on consolidated petitions seeking the nullification of sections 80 and 81 of the Mining Act of 1995.
Justices study the petitions on whether to strike down as unconstitutional the provisions on the profit-sharing agreement or amend the law’s department administrative order.
Petitioners Risa Hontiveros, Teddy Casiño, Erin Tañada and others - say Sections 80 and 81 put the government at a financial disadvantage.
They say section 80 limits the government’s share in the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement to excise taxes, while Section 81 limits the government's share to taxes, fees and royalties instead of allowing full control on the development of mineral resources.
They also say the DENR Order 07-12 results in the inequitable sharing of wealth.
Justice Antonio Carpio says prescribing the terms in the profit-sharing agreement is within the President’s discretion.
But Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr says it is better to amend the department order than nullify the provisions of the Mining Act.
Former Constitutional Commission member Christian Monsod says the profit-sharing agreement does not consider the "negative externalities" of the mining industry, such as displacement.
Story 7: DFA APPEALS TO OFWs IN JEDDAH CAMP SITE
The Foreign Affairs department appeals to overseas Filipinos workers camping outside the Philippine Consulate building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as the crackdown on illegal and overstaying migrant workers continues.
On Tuesday, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez says, "Please do not risk your health and safety by setting up camps and exposing yourselves to the elements."
Filipino migrant rights group Migrante says the number of Filipinos who set up camp surges to about 1,450 Filipinos in 6 days.
In a statement, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona warns the situation could lead to a quote-- "full-blown humanitarian crisis" if it is not resolved immediately.
Hernandez says the government is working at securing "no-objection certificates" for the Filipinos, which would entail payment of penalties based on their conditions.
The process could take "several weeks or even months.”
Saudi authorities will have to verify if the Filipinos have pending cases before their final exit visas are granted.
The labor department says at least 7,000 OFWs are seeking repatriation.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, a US drone fires two missiles into a Taliban training camp in Pakistan, destroying the compound and killing at least five militants.
Local officials say the attack occurs in the Baber Ghar area of the South Waziristan tribal district on the Afghan border, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Pakistan repeatedly denounces US drone strikes, criticizing them as a violation of sovereignty.
According to Britain's Bureau of Investigative Journalism, CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004, about 884 of them civilians.
At number 5, Taiwan stages its biggest live-fire drill since 2008 in an operation involving more than 7000 troops.
The operation, part of an exercise codenamed "Han Kuang 29" takes place in the Penghu Islands in the middle of the 180-kilometer strait separating Taiwan from the Chinese mainland.
The army, navy and air force perform drills to prepare for a defense of strategically important islands from a surprise Chinese attack.
President Ma Ying-jeou says the live-fire exercise is a reminder of China’s lingering threat.
And at number 7, thousands of Coldplay fans get the chance to be part of a Coldplay-endorsed music video made to show the injustice of land grabbing.
Produced jointly with British-based non-profit Oxfam, the video features pictures and video clips of people doing familiar things – like brushing their teeth, or eating – in abnormal settings, like train tracks or underwater.
Oxfam received nearly seven thousand submissions from 55 countries around the world.
The film was created by director Mat Whitecross to highlight the dislocation thousands of families experience because of land grabs.
Story 9: COMICS CREATORS, FANS FLOCK SUMMER KOMIKON 2013
Writers, artists, and comic book artists flock to this year’s Summer Komikon. But is this assembly enough to make the local comic industry thrive?
Jerald Uy reports.
Comics geeks, writers, illustrators and even superheroes assembled in this year's Summer Komikon.
This is Mark Rosario, who traveled all the way from Dagupan, Pangasinan to join the convention.
He is promoting his self-published autobiographical comics series, “My Wife is Pregnant.”
MARK ROSARIO, WRITER, ARTIST: During 'nung pregnancy ng wife ko, andaming funny experiences, so naisip ko gawan na lang nating komiks. And then supportive 'din siya sa idea namin, so itinuloy namin. Nandiyan 'din yung mga funny moments, drama moments, love story moments, so halo-halo na. (During my wife’s pregnancy, there were a lot of funny experiences. So I thought I’d make a comic series out of it. And my wife was supportive of the idea, so we went through with it. The funny moments, drama moments, love story moments, they’re all there.)
More than a hundred comics creators came to the comic convention, selling titles as low as P20.
But Summer Komikon organizer Jon Zamar still feels there is a lot of work to be done.
JON ZAMAR, ORGANIZER, SUMMER KOMIKON: Every year, from indie to distributors, laging maraming bagong creators na pumapasok, which is ideal naman pero ang talagang gusto naming mangyari, dumami yung publishers. Kasi as of now, andaming creators, pero yung mga nagpa-publish na mainstream, meaning may nationwide distribution, everything like that, wala pa rin. (Every year, from indie to distributors, there are always a lot of new creators that come in, which is ideal. But what we really want to happen is for there to be more publishers. As of now, there are a lot of creators but, there aren’t many comics that are published nationwide, have nationwide distribution, and everything like that.)
Zamar adds that creators should also focus on production and storytelling to improve the quality and entice publishers to print.
But while some chose to self-publish comics locally, others found luck abroad.
Stephen Segovia started as an artist for the newsstand staple “Funny Komiks.”
He wrote and drew “Tomas and Kulas,” a story about a talking cat and mouse.
After working for Funny Komiks, Segovia landed a job with Marvel comics, working on titles like Thor, X-Treme X-Men and Spider-man spin-off series Superior Carnage.
STEPHEN SEGOVIA, ARTIST, MARVEL COMICS: I decided to send my stuff to Marvel and to other indie publishers in US. And then fortunately, nabigyan ako ng mga gigs. (I was able to get gigs.) Keep on pushing, Keep on drawing, never stop drawing. Kasi once you stop, wala na eh. (Because once you stop, it’s gone.)
JERALD UY, REPORTING: Under the intense heat, it rained comics fans and creators in Summer Komikon, showing that the country overflows with talented and creative storytellers.
Jerald Uy, Rappler, Pasig City
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|