Rappler Newscast | July 2, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Saudi Arabia extends the deadline for illegal foreign workers to legalize their status.
- Justice Secretary de Lima confirms 3 other cases involving embassy officials in an alleged sex-for-flight scheme.
- The backhoe operator in the Maguindanao massacre reveals details of the burial of the victims.
Watch the newscast on this page at 9pm.
Story 1: SAUDI EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR ILLEGAL WORKERS
The government of Saudi Arabia extends to November the deadline for illegal foreign workers to legalize their status.
The Philippine Foreign Affairs department says Saudi Arabia moves the July 3 deadline to November 3.
The announcement comes after countries with workers in Saudi, including the Philippines, asked for an extension of the grace period.
The amnesty period allows illegal workers to stay or to return to their home countries without prosecution.
Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says undocumented Filipino workers are advised to take advantage of the extension for the repatriation or regularization of their status.
In a statement, Vice President Jejomar Binay thanks the Saudi government for the extension.
He adds, 15 more Filipinos from Saudi Arabia will return to the Philippines, bringing the number of repatriates to 815.
Story 2: DE LIMA: 3 MORE CASES IN 'SEX-FOR-FLIGHT' SCHEME
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirms 3 other cases involving embassy officials who allegedly sexually abused overseas Filipino workers abroad.
De Lima says the National Bureau of Investigation has already been investigating these 3 cases prior to the June 18 exposé of Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello on the "sex-for-flight" scheme.
De Lima says, “There are 2 or 3 cases being investigated but I cannot disclose the identity of the victims.”
De Lima adds the second case involves an “alleged rape” while the third involves a supposed suicide at a halfway house which show indications of foul play.
De Lima does not disclose details of the first case.
De Lima confirms she met Bello on Monday to discuss the role of the justice department and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in the ongoing probes.
Last month, Bello said embassy officials in the Middle East allegedly promised victims they will be prioritized in repatriation in exchange for sexual favors.
Story 3: AQUINO FIRES NIA HEAD FOR POOR PERFORMANCE
President Benigno Aquino says he doesn’t plan to renew the contract of National Irrigation Administration head Antonio Nangel because of his poor performance.
This comes about a week after Aquino scolded the agency at their 50th anniversary for missing their targets for the past two years.
When asked about his plans for Nangel, Aquino says --quote--, "Unless I get amnesia, I have no plans to renew his contract."
Aquino says he asked the Budget Department to investigate NIA's funds.
The Budget department says it gives the full 100% of budget to NIA every year for 23 years.
But the NIA only achieved 60% of their target every time.
Aquino also asks for a separate probe on the excuses Nangel gave to explain the agency's subpar performance.
Nangel says they failed to meet their targets because of typhoon Pablo.
He also says the water supply of working projects will be compromised if the agency started with other projects.
The NIA is responsible for irrigation development and management, and is mandated to provide farmers a sustainable irrigation service.
Story 4: AQUINO DISTRIBUTES 22,000 PISTOLS TO PNP
President Benigno Aquino distributes 22,000 Glock pistols, part of efforts to upgrade the equipment of the Philippine police.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
One gun per policeman. This is the goal of the Philippine National Police.
The PNP is one step closer to a 1 is to 1 police-gun ratio, an unprecedented feat.
Aquino hands out the 1st tranche of new guns bought by the government.
The P1.2-B procurement is part of the PNP's Capability Enhancement program, which aims to upgrade the 148,000-strong police force's capability to fight crime.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Katumbas ang pagpapaunlad natin sa inyong kapasidad, ang pag-aangat natin sa kalidad ng inyong serbisyo sa sambayanan. Isipin n’yo, wala man bibit na baril o kakulangan man sa armas, nagagawa pa rin ninyong magpakitang gilas. Paano pa kaya kung mayroon nang sapat at modernong kagamitan ang inyong hanay? The improvement of your capabilities is equivalent to the increased quality of your service to the people. Imagine, even when you didn't carry any guns or even when there was a shortage, you were still able to show what you can do. What more when you have the appropriate and modern equipment?)
Aquino says this is just the beginning of reforms for the police, which includes buying rifles, patrol cars, communications and laboratory equipment.
It also includes hiring 15,000 civilians to take over PNP's administrative jobs to send out more cops into the streets.
The construction of government housing for soldiers and police are also underway.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Tapos na po ang panahon ng pang-aapi sa ating kapulisan. Magpakatotoo po tayo sa ating mga boss. At ako na ho ang bahalang maniguradong talaga namang damang-dama n’yo ang pag-aaruga at pagmamahal ng nagpapasalamat na sambayanan. (The time of taking our police for granted is over. Let's be true our bosses. And I promise I will make sure you feel the gratefulness of the nation.)
He commends two police officers for catching criminals even without a gun and orders Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP Chef Alan Purisima to promote them.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Mar at Alan, parang hindi ko napansin doon sa report ng ating dalawang nabanggit na sila ay na-promote. ‘Yong mga ganyang gandang gilas palagay ko naman ay talagang naman yan ang definition ng meritorious promotion, see to it that these two are promoted. (Mar and Alan, I don't think the report mentioned any promotion for these two. Those who show such impressive ability, I think they define meritorious promotion.)
With the reforms, Aquino aims to boost the morale of a police force that has lost the people's trust.
Aquino has 3 years to fulfill his promise to modernize the PNP, improve their capability, and change the way Filipinos view their cops.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila.
Story 5: BACKHOE MAN DESCRIBES PHILIPPINE MASSACRE BURIAL
A backhoe driver describes in detail how he used an excavator to bury the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
In a video aired by GMA Network Tuesday, Bong Andal says he dug a big hole to bury the victims, shot by the Ampatuan clan in the Philippines’ worst political massacre.
The Ampatuan clan allegedly ordered the massacre to stop a political rival from running against one of its members for governor of Maguindanao.
Describing the scene, Andal says, "Some of the vehicles had dead people inside, so I just closed my eyes out of fright and got on with it."
The Ampatuan patriarch, two sons and several family members are on trial for the murder.
The backhoe driver was arrested last November, while more than 90 other suspects remain at large.
Story 6: EXPERTS PROBE DEADLY ARIZONA BLAZE, AS BODIES REMOVED
At least 19 firefighters are killed Sunday in America's deadliest wildfire in 80 years, fighting a blaze that broke out in Arizona Friday.
Sunday was the deadliest day for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, which killed 340 firefighters in the ashes of the Twin Towers in New York.
CNN reports about 400 ground personnel are working to control the fire in Yarnell Hill.
Officials say the fire, which rips through more than 3,200 hectares, destroys at least 250 homes.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 1, Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s spokesmen and cabinet quit Tuesday as the embattled leader continues to ignore the Egyptian military's ultimatum.
Military leaders are calling on Morsi to --quote-- "meet the demands of the people" or the army will step in to restore order.
The threat of coup comes as Morsi's opponents camp out in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The groups are demanding he step down.
At number 4, a US study says one in 10 people around the world will live in climate-damaged areas in 2100.
These so-called climate "hotspots" will be widespread in the southern Amazon, with "severe changes" in water availability, yields and ecosystems and in southern Europe, where water shortages and crop failures would lead to hardships for the population.
And at number 10, about 70% of Facebook members in the United States are connected to a friend who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual at the social network.
Facebook's Alex Walker and Robert D'Onofrio says this is likely why the social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined a San Francisco Gay Pride Parade that drew more than a million people.
Taking part for the 3rd year, Zuckerberg led Facebook employees in support of gay rights.
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|