Rappler Newscast | December 26, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- A survey says Filipinos think President Aquino did a ‘very good’ job in 2013.
- Aquino rejects the resignation of Energy Secretary Petilla.
- In Thailand, a fresh wave of violence: police clash with protesters anew.
Story 1: SWS: AQUINO GETS 'VERY GOOD' GRADE IN 2013
Filipinos give President Benigno Aquino a "very good" grade of 55 points for his performance this year.
A survey by the Social Weather Stations says his ratings for 2013 are even slightly higher than his 53 points in 2011 and 2012.
He got his highest ratings in 2010 - his first year in office - at 62 points.
Government's slow response to typhoon Yolanda International name Haiyan did not pull down Aquino's ratings.
For the 4th quarter survey conducted December 11-16, he got "good" ratings at 48%.
Aquino started the year with 64 points in the first quarter.
But this dropped to 59% in the second quarter, 49% in the 3rd quarter and 48% in the 4th quarter.
The average for 2013 is 55%.
The President was off to a good start in 2013, routing the opposition in the senatorial May polls.
Things turned sour in the 3rd quarter with revelations of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The last quarter was dominated by natural disasters.
The 4th quarter survey was conducted after the government stumbled - unable to respond quickly to the massive disaster caused by typhoon Yolanda.
Story 2: AQUINO REJECTS PETILLA RESIGNATION
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla will keep his job after all.
In a statement, Malacañang says, "The President did not accept the resignation of Petilla."
Petilla earlier said he will quit after failing on his promise to restore power to Yolanda-hit areas.
The statement adds the President is "cognizant of the fact that according to original estimates it would take 3-6 months to restore power in town centers.”
The President says Petilla's post-Yolanda performance is "excellent."
"First, from his original target of six months he was able to restore power in roughly 40 days.
Second, within that period, Secretary Petilla was able to energize 317 out of 320 affected towns leaving 0.93% still to accomplish."
A party mate of Aquino, Petilla is former governor of Leyte, which was badly hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
He was named energy secretary in 2012.
Story 3: PETILLA WARNS OF MASSIVE BROWNOUTS
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla meets with officials of power distributor Meralco and its suppliers to hammer out a compromise on delayed payments.
Petilla says the power suppliers should allow Meralco to defer payments after the Supreme Court’s order stopping the company from implementing its P4.15-per-kilowatt-hour rate increase.
Petilla says, “Nobody took into consideration the effects of the suspension of the rate hike collection on Meralco.
What happens if Meralco fails to settle its obligations to the power suppliers and the suppliers stop supplying power to Meralco?
This might result in massive brownouts.
Petilla says the Department of Energy has to step in to ask the power generators "not to collect from Meralco."
Meralco, the biggest power distributor in the country, has some 3.2 million customers, distributing power to most parts of Luzon.
The company says it was forced to source power from plants that uses more expensive diesel following the shutdown of the Malampaya gas field.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes says this forces the power company to collect P9.7 billion from its customers.
Story 4: PH ARRESTS 3 LINKED TO MEXICO DRUG CARTEL
Anti-drug police say they arrested three people connected to Mexico's feared Sinaloa drug cartel while they were storing narcotics.
The two Filipinos and one Filipino-Chinese were arrested in a raid on Wednesday in Lipa City after weeks of intelligence operations by Filipino and US anti-narcotics personnel.
Officials say 84 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as "ice" or "shabu", as well as two firearms were seized in the raid.
But Senior Supt Bartolome Tobias says the actual members of the Mexican cartel were not there.
"We had reports the Mexicans are here and this is the first time we have confirmed that.”
Tobias did not say how they knew the Sinaloa cartel was involved.
The Sinaloa cartel is reputed to be the largest source of illegal drugs to the United States.
Its main leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.
He is now America's most wanted drug trafficker.
Story 5: ABU SAYYAF MEMBER ARRESTED ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Police arrest an an Abu Sayyaf member allegedly behind the kidnapping of two European birdwatchers from Tawi-Tawi.
Philippine National Police spokesperson Reuben Theodore Sindac said Aik Asgali aka Abu Aswad was arrested during a joint operation with the military around 5 pm Wednesday.
Abu Aswad is said to be a trusted operative of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron.
Sources earlier told Rappler Sahiron coordinated with Moro National Liberation Front commander Tahil Sali to transfer the two Europeans from Tawi-Tawi to Patikul, Sulu.
The Europeans – Ewold Horn, from the Netherlands, and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, from Switzerland – were kidnapped while birdwatching in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.
A third colleague, Filipino guide and photographer Ivan Sarenas, managed to escape.
Story 6: THAI POLICE CLASH WITH PROTESTERS AT POLL VENUE
Thai policemen fire tear gas Thursday as they clash with opposition protesters, who stormed a sports stadium in the capital.
The protesters are trying to prevent political parties registering for elections.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faced weeks of mass street rallies seeking to curb her family's political dominance and install an unelected "people's council" to oversee electoral reforms.
Officials say demonstrators use a truck to smash through the gates of a stadium where representatives of about 30 political parties were signing up for the February 2 election.
The Deputy prime minister says, "Protesters are not peaceful and unarmed as they claimed."
He adds, "They are intimidating officials and trespassing in government buildings."
Thailand is going through rounds of political turmoil since Yingluck's older brother Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted as premier in a military coup in 2006.
Story 7: JAPAN PM ABE VISITS YASUKUNI WAR SHRINE
Nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pays an inflammatory visit to the Yasukuni war shrine Thursday.
The visit angers China which accuses Japan of whitewashing a history of warmongering and says it must "bear the consequences".
Seoul also blasts the "anachronistic" move and Tokyo's chief ally the United States declares itself "disappointed" with an act that will "exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors".
Yasukuni Shrine is the believed repository of around 2.5 million souls of Japan's war dead, most of them common soldiers, but also including several high-level officials executed for war crimes after World War II.
Abe describes his visit as a pledge against war.
He says, "It is not my intention at all to hurt the feelings of the Chinese and Korean people.
It is my wish to respect each other's character, protect freedom and democracy and build friendship with China and Korea with respect."
The visit comes exactly a year after he took power a period in which he has yet to formally meet China's President Xi Jinping, or Korea's President Park Geun-Hye.
Ties with Beijing were bad before Abe took office, with the two countries crossing diplomatic swords over the ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
Story 8: The wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.
At number 4, The United Nations on Wednesday says aid agencies will need US$166 million over the next 3 months to help South Sudan.
The newest democracy in the world is caught in violence between two warring ethnic groups.
Thousands were killed since December 15 after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president Riek Machar of trying to overthrow him in a coup.
Machar counters by accusing the President of purging his rivals.
The violence displaced at least 90,000 people in the past 10 days.
At number 6, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reshuffles nearly half his cabinet after a graft scandal forced the resignation of ministers and threatened his hold on power.
Investigations into the alleged corruption focuses on bribes involving construction projects and the illegal smuggling of gold into Iran.
Erdogan says the corruption scandal was part of a conspiracy plotted by “international powers” and insisted that his party has a clean record.
At number 7, the Egyptian government declares The Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
The group supported the presidential candidacy of Mohammed Morsi who was ousted in July.
This came after a suicide bombing attack on police headquarters killed 15 and wounded more than a hundred.
The Brotherhood denies responsibility for the attack.
A leader of the group who is in exile in London says the decision of the military-backed interim government was “illegitimate” and protests would continue.
And at number 9, Chinese authorities discover a tunnel in Shenzhen that runs under a river and ends in Hong Kong.
Believed to be built by smugglers, it was discovered after a woman complained about drilling noises.
A man was arrested and the tunnel destroyed on December 24.
Story 9: DUBAI PROMISES RECORD-BREAKING NEW YEAR'S EVE FIREWORK SHOW
Dubai promises to celebrate New Year's Eve with a record-breaking extravaganza featuring more than 400,000 fireworks - what it says is the largest display the world has ever seen.
The United Arab Emirates city state, home to the world's tallest tower will "break the Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Firework Display'."
The six-minute show will be overseen by 200 pyrotechnicians launched from 400 locations.
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|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|