Rappler Newscast | July 26, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Another Rappler exclusive on the pork barrel scam: favored NGOs corner almost half of development funds.
- Credit rating agency Moody’s puts the Philippines on review for upgrade to investment grade status.
- Facebook surprises Wall Street by showing it can make money from folks on smartphones and tablets.
Hello, we are coming to you LIVE from Marco Polo hotel in Davao City, one of the most beautiful and largest cities, located in the the Southern Philippines-- Mindanao.
With a population of over 1.4 million, Davao is one of the fastest growing in the world.
One of the most popular attractions of Davao City is the Kadayawan Festival, celebrated every year in the 3rd week of August, just 4 weeks away.
Kadayawan is a festival of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest of flowers and fruits.
Story 1: ALMOST HALF OF PDAF GOES TO FAVORED NGOs
In a continuing study of audit reports on the National Agri-Business Corporation or Nabcor from 2007 to 2011, Rappler uncovers non-governmental organizations with interlocking interests repeatedly getting lawmakers’ funds despite unfavorable findings by state auditors.
Of the 26 NGOs that got the Priority Development Assistance Funds or PDAF through Nabcor, 7 NGOs shared incorporators and officers with others in the list.
The Commission on Audit report says the 7 NGOs got P611 million – almost half of the P1.35 billion 26 NGOs cornered and misused.
Of these 7, two NGOs have whistleblower Benhur Luy as an incorporator and officer, indicating its link to alleged public fund syndicate head Janet Lim-Napoles.
In all, Napoles’ 4 NGOs got 12 PDAF releases through Nabcor totalling P405 million.
These make up 30% of the total released to questionable NGOs.
As early as its 2008 audit report, COA found “there were no list of beneficiaries” provided by 17 NGOs that received the pork barrel that year. Despite these deficiencies, 8 NGOs continued to get money in 2009 and 2010.
In its 2011 report, COA issued a “notice of suspension” to all the NGOs covered in the 2009-2010 audit.
This after Nabcor and the NGOs failed to address the deficiencies found by COA.
Story 2: ENRILE BLOC WILL ACCEPT COMMITTEES
The minority bloc of Sen Juan Ponce Enrile will meet on the 5 committee chairmanships that Senate President Franklin Drilon offered.
The minority initially said it was thinking of not accepting committee chairmanships, but Sen Gringo Honasan now says it’s likely the group will accept.
Honasan says, “We decided as a matter of principle that we will not appear to be sour-graping...People might say we just don’t want to work if we don’t accept committees.”
Assistant Minority Leader Tito Sotto says the group will meet next week to discuss the committee chairmanships for economic affairs, agrarian reform, social justice, welfare and rural development, housing and resettlement, and labor, employment and human resource development.
Drilon describes the committees he offered to the minority as “major and relevant” despite the perception these are minor or leftover panels.
Story 3: LEAVE POSTS, PORT COLLECTORS ORDERED
A revamp is underway at the Bureau of Customs.
In an attempt to address President Benigno Aquino’s scathing criticism of the agency, Customs chief Ruffy Biazon orders at least 17 port collectors nationwide to leave their posts so they can be reassigned.
Biazon's announcement comes 3 days after Aquino slams the bureau for its --quote-- incompetent personnel.
Biazon and his two deputies - Danilo Lim and Juan Lorenzo Tañada - offered to resign after the SONA.
But Malacañang says the President has yet to decide on whether or not to retain them.
Biazon says his order does not mean the port collectors are at fault.
He adds, "I'm not saying it starts with them but they have the authority to institute reforms.”
Story 4: VITUG VLOGS: FIXING THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS
Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug says the Bureau of Customs can look to its past to find ways to fix the troubled agency.
Here’s her video blog.
The Bureau of Customs has a long history of corruption.
Various presidents have dealt with this problem.
Ferdinand Marcos purged the agency of hundreds of senior officials when he declared martial law in 1972.
Corazon Aquino did the same but met strong resistance, leading to legal battles up to the Supreme Court.
This took attention away from the mission to reform the bureau.
Corruption was reduced during Fidel Ramos’s time, thanks to a strategic leader who headed the bureau long enough to install reforms; and the support of the president, who insulated the bureau from political pressure.
Guillermo Parayno Jr., a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, zeroed in on “re-engineering” the environment.
He reduced the opportunities for corruption by using technology to automate processes and minimize human intervention.
History can guide Ruffy Biazon.
This is Marites Vitug for VitugVlogs.
Story 5: COURT DENIES BAIL FOR PALPARAN'S CO-ACCUSED
A local court denies the application for bail of the two co-accused of fugitive retired Major General Jovito Palparan in the alleged kidnapping of two UP students.
A July 12 order by the Malolos regional trial court says Army Colonel Felipe Anotado and Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio were unable to present strong evidence that would favor their application for bail.
The court says--quote-- "the prosecution thus far had shown that evidence of guilt against the accused for said crimes is strong."
Palparan and the two are charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the disappearance of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, the two University of the Philippines students are missing for 7 years now.
They were kidnapped by armed men in Hagonoy, Bulacan, on June 26, 2006 at the height of the Arroyo administration's campaign against suspected communist guerrillas.
Story 6: DFA WARNS OFWS IN SAUDI ARSON ATTEMPT
Five undocumented Filipinos in Saudi Arabia allegedly attempt to burn the Philippine consulate in Jeddah out of frustration over their delayed repatriation.
In a press briefing Friday, Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says the Filipinos are suspected of “preparing to do damage to the Consulate General in Jeddah."
Saudi police apprehended the Filipinos and later released them.
Hernandez says, “Allegedly, the attempt was really to dramatize the situation they are in and to compel both the consulate general and the Saudi government to repatriate them as soon as possible.”
Hernandez warns the group, violence won’t solve the problem and may delay their repatriation.
The Saudi government is implementing a crackdown on undocumented workers.
The deadline for workers to legalize their status is November 3.
The Saudi Arabia government initially set the deadline July 3.
Story 7: INVESTMENT GRADE FROM MOODY'S 'COMING SOON'
Moody's Investors Service puts the Philippines on review for upgrade to investment grade status.
Two other major credit rating agencies already upgraded the Philippines to investment grade this year.
In a statement, the US ratings agency cites the country’s robust economic growth and political stability.
The next-highest rating on the scale is "BAA3," the lowest in the investment-grade ranks.
The agency says the country’s economic performance exceeded Moody’s expectations.
It credits the improvement to the reform agenda of the Aquino administration.
Moody’s also says an upgrade could come if there is evidence the government's debt burden will decrease and investment spending will increase.
Story 8: CURRENCY WOES WIDEN PHILEX PETROLEUM LOSSES IN H1
The net losses of oil and gas company Philex Petroleum Corp. widens to P225.2 million in the first 6 months of 2013 from P80.5 million a year ago.
In a disclosure Friday, the company says the increase in net loss is due to foreign currency conversion losses.
The Manuel V. Pangilinan-led company says it incurred charges of P118.86 million, of which P99.15 million were foreign exchange losses.
Philex Petroleum is 64.7% owned by Philex Mining Corp, the Philippines' biggest gold producer.
Story 9: PRINCE HARRY PROMISES TO BE A FUN UNCLE
Britain's Prince Harry promises to be a fun uncle to his nephew George.
The prince says he met and cuddled his brother William's new baby George Alexander Louis, who was born Monday at London’s St Mary’s Hospital.
The 28-year-old Harry jokes his babysitting services won’t come cheap.
When asked about his duties as an uncle, Harry says, “To make sure he has a good upbringing, keep him out of harm's way and make sure he has fun. "
He adds, "I only hope my brother knows how expensive my babysitting charges are.”
The royal baby, who will be known as Prince George of Cambridge, is now 3rd in line to the throne.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, Speeding is seen as the main reason for the rail disaster in Spain that killed 80 people and left more than 140 injured.
One of the drivers tell railway officials the train took the bend at 190 kilometers an hour -- more than the 80 kilometers per hour speed limit.
The train derails Wednesday as it was about to enter Santiago de Compostela station in the northwestern region of Galicia, causing carriages to pile into each other and overturn.
But the International Union of Railways says it’s likely other factors played a role in the crash.
At number 7, Scientists warn a massive leak of methane from thawing shoreline in the Arctic could devastate the world's climate and economy.
Tons of the greenhouse gas are locked in the frozen shelf of the Arctic Ocean, which warms when summer sea ice retreats.
One scientist describes the threat as an "invisible time bomb".
The damage to the climate system could be reflected in worse floods, droughts, storms and heat stress.
Researchers say 80% of the effects would occur in poorer economies in Africa, Asia and South America.
And at number 8, Facebook surprises Wall Street by showing it can make money from folks on smartphones and tablets.
Following the beating it took after its initial public offering, the social network’s stock prices skyrocket following its latest financial report.
In the quarter that ended June 30, revenue climbs to $1.81 billion, up 53% from the same period a year earlier.
Facebook says 41% of its ad revenues come from mobile.
Facebook is looking at mobile services as lifestyles increasingly revolve around accessing the Internet from mobile devices.
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|