Rappler Newscast | January 9, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- Devotees of the Black Nazarene disrupt the Mass by Cardinal Tagle in a rush to get to the image.
- Sen Jinggoy Estrada says the plunder charge against him is an attack on the opposition.
- The Supreme Court orders energy regulators to explain why they approved Meralco’s rate hike.
Story 1: FEAST OF NAZARENE: DEVOTEES HIJACK MASS
Every January, millions of devotees go to Quiapo in Manila for the Feast Day of the Black Nazarene. The religious event draws barefoot followers in a procession honoring an ebony statue of Jesus Christ.
This year’s event takes a different turn.
Eager followers disrupt the Mass as they ram through security to get to the image.
Paterno Esmaquel reports.
The same scene year after year.
Until devotees hijack the Mass for the feast of the Black Nazarene.
Before the it ends, a group goes up the stage to take the miraculous image.
This is the first time devotees did this.
The parish priest of Quiapo Church says the devotees are more intense this year.
MSGR CLEMENTE IGNACIO, PARISH PRIEST, QUIAPO CHURCH: Ang suspetsa ko lang – I'm not the expert – eh grabe na ang kahirapan ng ating bayan, at saka 'yung pinagdaanan nating mga kalamidad. (My suspicion– I'm not the expert – is that poverty in our country has worsened, compounded by the recent calamities.)
Quiapo Church officials estimate, 12 million people pack the streets of Manila for the feast of the Black Nazarene.
Men and women, young and old try to climb the carriage that bears the centuries-old image.
Devotees risk life and limb.
This year, health workers report more than 1,000 emergencies.
Filipinos view the Black Nazarene as a symbol of their suffering.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle reminds the faithful to go beyond their personal needs.
He tells them to pray for disaster victims, including those affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE, MANILA ARCHBISHOP: Ang nakakaalala sa Diyos, makakaalala sa kapwa. (Those who remember God remember their neighbor.)
He also says Catholics should denounce corruption.
PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: Every year, the feast of the Black Nazarene shows millions that long to touch a savior. Now the question is, if this devotion makes us a better neighbor. Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila.
Story 2: THE DIRTY TRAIL OF THE BLACK NAZARENE PROCESSION
The Nazarene procession leaves behind a trail of trash in its wake.
Pia Ranada reports on the clean-up after the overflowing devotion.
There’s a plastics ban in the city of Manila.
Did it have any effect on the garbage collected on the feast of the Nazarene?
The MMDA seems to think so.
FRANCIS MARTINEZ, HEAD, MMDA METRO PARKWAY CLEARING GROUP: Malaking epekto. So far ang nakukuha lang namin dito mga styro, may mga konting plastic din pero less na unlike before na napakaraming plastic. (It had a big effect. So far, we've been getting only styrofoam. There's some plastic also but less unlike before when there was a lot of plastic.)
But it's a different story on the ground.
Despite the ban, vendors still use them.
CHARLOTTE CORPORAL, ICE WATER VENDOR: Kasi yung plastic marami nagagawa yung plastic katulad ng tubig yung tubig hindi mo malalagay yung tubig sa papel. (Because you can do a lot with plastic like as a water container. You can't put water in paper.)
They say they don't know it's illegal.
CHARLOTTE CORPORAL, ICE WATER VENDOR: Hindi. Hindi pa kami aware dun eh. (No, no we aren't aware of the ban.)
Some streetsweepers say they do not feel the effect of the ban.
ISAGANI STA MONICA, STREETSWEEPER: Pareho lang. Last year ganito rin, makalat rin. Ayan o ang dami o. Mga plastic, mga styrofoam, mga pinag-aanu ng mga vendors. (It's the same. Last year was like this, dirty also. See there's a lot. Plastic, styrofoam, the ones used by vendors.)
Q: Kuya alam niyo ba na may plastics ban ngayon sa Manila? [Q: Do you know about the plastics ban in Manila?]
Hindi ko alam eh. 'Di ko pa nabasa yung batas na yan eh. Sa 'yo ko nga lang nalaman eh. (No. I haven't read that ordinance. I only found out from you.)
The millions of barefoot devotees do not seem to mind the garbage.
A devotee for 6 years, Arjoe says it’s part of the sacrifice.
ARJOE HERMO, DEVOTEE: Bawal pala sumalang diyan nang nakasapatos. Iniisip ko kung bakit, yun pala si Hesus din pala, nagpaa. Kumbaga talagang nagsakripisyo siya. (You're not allowed to join the procession with shoes on. I wondered why. It's because Jesus was also barefoot. He really made a sacrifice.)
Garbage trucks and streetsweepers followed the procession as faithfully as the devotees, picking up their trash along the way.
Last year, the MMDA collected 32 truckloads of garbage.
This year, the MMDA expects less garbage because the city government confined vendors to designated areas.
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: The Black Nazarene is a procession not only of religious images and devotees but of a legion of garbage trucks and street sweepers. This year as in the past years, plastic bags, styrofoam cups and candy wrappers hound the heels of the procession. Where the devotees and vendors are, the trash is sure to follow.
It’s the time of the year when sanitation takes a back seat to religion.
And a long way to go when cleanliness will be next to godliness.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 3: 'NON-COMPLIANT' BUNKHOUSES BETTER THAN TENTS, TARPS
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson defends the bunkhouses his department commissioned for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda -- known internationally as Haiyan.
This follows criticism the temporary shelters do not comply with international standards.
Sphere, a widely recognized benchmark, says one shelter should provide 3.5 square meters per person.
But the government’s initial designs fall below this standard.
With the construction of permanent homes for millions of survivors expected to take years, Singson says the temporary shelters are better than tents or tarpaulins.
ROGELIO SINGSON, PUBLIC WORKS SECRETARY: The 3.5 [square meters] refers more to permanent shelters. This is temporary, this is an intermediary...our thinking was they are better off in these bunkhouses than staying in tents or tarpaulins, where they were. You've seen the Tacloban situation. Some people stay underneath tarpaulins. So we felt that this was a lot safer, a lot better option while waiting for the permanent shelter.
Responding to criticism that the bunkhouses fall short of humanitarian standards, Singson says it’s also an issue of economics.
ROGELIO SINGSON, PUBLIC WORKS SECRETARY: This is where the economics of it come in. Do we continue to build bunkhouses and until when, because I personally, if we can construct the permanent shelter tomorrow, we don't need the bunkhouses. Because it's temporary, and that's an additional expense. Especially now that they want us to construct bigger units in the bunkhouses. If we have to construct a 20-sqm bunkhouse, and it's P4,000 per sqm, that's already P120,000. You might as well build a permanent shelter.
Singson denies reports of overpriced bunkhouses, but says complying with the government’s building requirements may be a problem because of the lack of available materials.
ROGELIO SINGSON, PUBLIC WORKS SECRETARY: We have not paid any of these contractors. What we're doing now is we're sending our quality assurance units to inspect whether they in fact followed the specifications...I strongly feel that the charge of overpricing...if ever, it's more of underspecification, non-compliance with the specifications, because as I said the materials are not readily available, so if the contractor cannot find a 0.4 mm thickness, they'll probably settle for what is in the market which might be lower than that.
Story 4: JINGGOY: 'PORK' CHARGES PLOY VS OPPOSITION FOR 2016
Senator Jinggoy Estrada says the plunder complaint against him over the pork barrel scam is a --quote-- "high-level political ploy to undermine the opposition" for the 2016 polls.
In his counter-affidavit filed before the Ombudsman on Thursday, Estrada denies receiving millions from alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Estrada and two other senators face plunder complaints for allegedly siphoning their pork barrel to Napoles’ fake NGOs in exchange for kickbacks.
Estrada is a member of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.
He is reported to be eyeing the vice presidency in 2016.
In his response to the plunder complaint, Estrada downplays the gravity of the testimonies and documents against him.
He says the whistleblowers admitted having no personal knowledge of supposed transactions between him and Napoles.
Estrada also says the Commission on Audit and implementing agencies are responsible for checking endorsements made for the NGOs.
But in a budget hearing in November, COA chair Grace Pulido-Tan said all those involved in the disbursement of funds are responsible.
Tan said Estrada’s staff signed memoranda of agreement vouching for the legitimacy of the NGOs he recommended.
Story 5: SC TO GOV'T: EXPLAIN MERALCO RATE HIKE
The Supreme Court asks energy regulators to explain why they approved the rate hike of power distributor Manila Electric Co. or Meralco.
Various groups filed petitions against the hike, prompting the Court to issue a temporary restraining order on its implementation.
Meralco said it was forced to buy more expensive power because of the simultaneous outages of its power plant suppliers.
In a 5-page order released Thursday, the High Court also orders the inclusion of the operator of the electricity spot market and 6 other Meralco power suppliers in the petitions.
The Court denies the motion of the Office of the Solicitor General or OSG asking to be excused from filing a comment on the petitions on behalf of the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The OSG earlier said it’s Meralco’s duty to defend itself and the public respondents in the case.
Two petitions against the hike are set for oral arguments on January 21.
The power suppliers must file their comments on or before January 20, the OSG on January 17.
Story 6: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, while the United States is in a deep freeze, northern Europe enjoys pleasantly warm weather.
Meteorologists say December 2013 had one of the mildest temperatures in a century in the Nordic countries.
Oslo gets its warmest Christmas since 1937, while in Helsinki and southern Finland, the second half of the month was the mildest in 30 years.
The change in weather is caused by the same low-pressure area which plunged large parts of the US and Canada into an unprecedented freeze.
At number 7, the White House fights back against former Pentagon chief Robert Gates, who criticized President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in his new memoir.
Gates’ book sends political shockwaves through Washington with his critical assessments of the administration.
Gates accuses Biden of being wrong about every big foreign policy issue for decades and says Obama lost faith in his own troop surge strategy for the Afghan war.
The Gates memoir is remarkable because of the pedigree of the former defense secretary and his reputation of unruffled integrity.
And at number 10, former US professional basketball star Dennis Rodman sings a birthday song for Kim Jong-Un in a jampacked stadium in Pyongyang, Wednesday.
The North Korean leader watches the exhibition game between North Korean players and retired NBA teammates, with his wife Ri Sol-Ju, and other officials.
It’s Rodman’s 4th trip to North Korea in 12 months.
Rodman is criticized for failing to raise human rights issues or the case of jailed American Kenneth Bae during his visits.
The US government has distanced itself from Rodman.
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|
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
Take discussions to the next level with Rappler PLUS — your platform for deeper insights, closer collaboration, and meaningful action.
Sign up today and access exclusive content, events, and workshops curated especially for those who crave clarity and collaboration in an intelligent, action-oriented community.
As an added bonus, we’re also giving a free 1-year Booky Prime membership for the next 200 subscribers.
You can also support Rappler without a PLUS membership. Help us stay free and independent by making a donation: https://www.rappler.com/crowdfunding. Every contribution counts.