Rappler Newscast | July 17, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- 82% of Metro Manila and 65% of Meralco franchise areas now have power.
- A new Tropical Depression to enter the Philippines Friday.
- Think tank Pew Research says among Asians, Filipinos are most worried about military conflict with China.
#GLENDAPH: POWER BACK FOR 82% OF METRO MANILA, AT LEAST 38 DEAD
Many provinces and cities in the Philippines still have no power.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla says power will be fully restored in Metro Manila and the rest of power distributor Meralco’s franchise area by 10 pm Friday.
As of Thursday morning Meralco says 82% of Metro Manila and 65% of its franchise areas have power.
Meralco implements a 3-hour rotating brownout due to the shortage.
Portions of Manila, Makati City, Quezon City, Pasay City and Bulacan are affected.
Petilla said full restoration of power for areas outside Meralco’s franchise might take two weeks.
These areas include Quezon province, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon.
As of the latest count, Typhoon Rammasun or Glenda leaves behind at least 38 dead.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRM on Thursday says at least 10 are injured and 8 missing in the wake of Typhoon Glenda.
Most of the deaths were caused by fallen trees and debris.
Glenda left the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday afternoon.
State weather bureau PAGASA says Glenda at its peak sustained winds up to 140 km/h near the center and gusts up to 170 km/h.
The typhoon passed through Metro Manila and the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte Quezon, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, Bulacan and Pampanga.
The storm is already over the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
7 of those provinces are under a state of calamity.
Metro Manila and parts of Cavite showed minimal damage, while Quezon seemed to have suffered the most damage.
NDRRMC chief Alexander Pama says Glenda passed through the entire length of the province.
As of Thursday, 99% of Quezon is without electricity.
Under a state of calamity, a 60-day price freeze is imposed on prices of basic goods.
It also allows the local government to tap into emergency funds.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION EAST OF MINDANAO
Typhoon out, tropical depression in.
As Typhoon Glenda leaves the Philippines, a new weather disturbance enters the country.
State weather bureau PAGASA says it spotted a new tropical depression 990 kilometers east of northern Mindanao.
If the system develops into a storm, it’s international codename will be Matmo.
Once it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be called Henry.
#GLENDAPH CAUSES P2.3B AGRI, FISHERIES DAMAGE
The Agriculture Department estimates Typhoon Glenda’s damage to crops and fisheries may reach P2.3 billion or $53.3 million.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala says rice production suffered the most at P512.7 million or $11.8 million.
The report covered 15 provinces and 4 regions including hardest-hit areas Quezon and Bicol.
The NDRRMC pegs typhoon damage to the agricultural sector amounting to over P668 million in the Bicol region alone.
Alcala says initial inventories show the damage will not significantly affect the country's food supply saying there’s buffer stock in every region.
He adds, most of the affected crops are in their vegetative stage and are likely to survive.
The Agriculture Department adds prices of crop commodities are likely to be stable since sellers still have their supplies of crops before the typhoon came.
Alcala assures the department is ready for the next storm, which PAGASA says may happen in a few days' time.
#RELIEFPH: HELP TYPHOON GLENDA VICTIMS
Rappler's civic engagement arm MovePH, in cooperation with BlogWatch's citizen advocates, is compiling
a list of relief and volunteer efforts initiated by groups and individuals to help those affected by the typhoon.
Share this with your friends, families, and networks, and encourage them to extend help to those in need.
Do you know of an open relief operations center?
Help us create this public list by visiting rplr.co/glendarelief.
PALACE TO ‘YELLOW RIBBON’ CRITICS: LIGHTEN UP
President Aquino’s Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma tells critics to “lighten up.”
This comes as most of Filipinos on social media thumbed down Aquino’s call to the public to wear a “yellow ribbon” as a show of support.
Coloma asks critics to look at this as an opportunity to unite amidst diverse opinions on the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP.
Non-supporters threatened to wear other ribbons and even a pin of the Philippine flag to show where their loyalty lies.
Coloma said the President was not joking when he made the request, but it should also not be taken too seriously.
Aquino made the request as his approval ratings dip against the backdrop of the Palace’s spending scheme controversy.
THE DAP AND THE WAR OF THE BRANCHES
A combative president vs a defiant co-equal branch of government.
A governance expert says the Executive’s war with the Supreme Court over a spending controversy highlights the need for checks and balances in the country’s democracy.
Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña says he was bothered by the president’s speech Monday.
He says it sounded like President Aquino was calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court justices.
TONY LA VIÑA, DEAN, ATENEO SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: I was bothered by that statement because the only leading interpretation you can make is about a 3rd branch intervening is that of impeachment.
The next day he gave a speech with the World Bank head there in the Department of Budget and Management. I thought that was a more circumspect speech
La Viña says everyone, the President included, can criticize the Supreme Court, but compliance is a must.
He adds, giving the president the privilege to stretch the limits of the law allows him to exercise good governance.
TONY LA VIÑA, DEAN, ATENEO SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: In governance you have to stretch the limits of the law because you have to solve problems directly and another colleague of mine pointed out very well that ultimately the President is responsible for this country. It's not the Supreme Court, it's not the legislature. So therefore you have to give the President wide latitude. But you cannot give, never give the president unrestricted latitude, right? Because if you do that, that's a dictatorship.
And who sets those boundaries? It has to be the Supreme Court. That's law. So governance is expanding those boundaries, stretching it, and law is actually telling you, you stretched it enough.
La Viña says the dictatorial regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos is historical proof there’s a need for a final arbiter that will keep the President’s power in check.
TONY LA VIÑA, DEAN, ATENEO SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: This was the Marcos experience. If you can guarantee me that there will never be a Marcos again in this country, that the President will always be as good as President Aquino, that the president will always be as sincere – if you can guarantee me that, let's take away the power from the Supreme Court. But if you can't guarantee me that, then we're better off having a Supreme Court that makes mistakes, but is the final arbiter for disputes.
MAKATI DOCTORS TARGET OF NEW TAX AD
The Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR turns its attention back to doctors after focusing on local governments.
This time the BIR hits doctors in Makati City.
In an advertisement released Thursday, the BIR says one out of 9 doctors in Makati filed income taxes “less than the average public school teacher” in 2012.
The BIR cites a certain doctor in Makati who earns a gross income of P3.7 million or over $85,000 in 2012 but only declared an income tax of P2,000 or almost $46.
The ad reads, “When you don’t pay your taxes, you’re a burden to those who do.”
The BIR zeroes in on self-employed and professionals -- part of its name-and-shame campaign aimed at increasing tax compliance.
One of the BIR’s controversial ads showed a doctor riding piggyback on a teacher which angered the Philippine Medical Association or PMA.
A word war ensued between the camps.
The BIR slapped then PMA head Leo Olarte with tax evasion charges soon after.
FILIPINOS MOST WORRIED ABOUT CONFLICT WITH CHINA – STUDY
US-based think tank Pew Research Center says among Asians, Filipinos are the most worried about military conflict with China.
The 2014 Spring Pew Global Attitudes Survey shows 93% of Filipinos fear “territorial disputes between China and neighboring countries could lead to a military conflict.”
Filipinos are most worried about this compared to other countries in conflict with China like Japan at 85%, Vietnam at 84%, and India at 72%.
The Philippines is the only country that dared to bring China to court over its South China Sea claim.
It also has one of Asia's weakest militaries.
THAI JUNTA ALLOWS DEPOSED PM YINGLUCK TO LEAVE COUNTRY
Thailand's military junta gives permission to ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to leave the country for the first time since the May 22 coup.
Yingluck is expected to travel to Paris next week to attend the 65th birthday party of elder brother, fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
An army spokesperson says her request was approved because she stayed out of politics since the military seized power and kept a low profile.
But even as Yingluck travels, she must still tell Thai authorities
where she is through overseas embassies.
Yingluck was removed from office in a controversial court ruling shortly before the army toppled what was left of her elected government.
She was among hundreds of people summoned and temporarily detained by the junta afterwards.
Her brother Thaksin was ousted in an earlier coup in 2006 and fled Thailand to avoid prison for a corruption conviction.
Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power after nearly seven months
of political street rallies and violence that left 28 people dead and paralyzed Yingluck's government.
GAZA KIDS KILLED IN AIR STRIKE; ISRAEL, HAMAS AGREE AID TRUCE
Israel and Hamas agree to the United Nations’ request to stop hostilities for five hours on humanitarian grounds Thursday while efforts continue to broker a longer-term truce.
Hamas earlier rejected initial Egyptian efforts for a full ceasefire, saying it had not been included in the discussions but agreed to the temporary ceasefire.
The sides announced the temporary lull in fighting across the Gaza border after an Israeli strike killed four children on a beach in the coastal strip Wednesday.
For the past 10 days the Israeli offensive has killed 223 Palestinians with a Gaza-based human rights group saying over 80 percent of the dead were civilians.
SINGAPORE BANS ARCHIE COMICS FEATURING GAY MARRIAGE
Singapore’s media watchdog bans a volume of the long-running Archie comic series because its portrayal of same-sex marriage was against local "social norms.”
The Media Development Authority or MDA says the volume Archie: The Married Life Book Three was banned March after a reader’s complaint triggered a content review.
The comic features the marriage of Archie’s openly gay friend Kevin Keller to his African American boyfriend Clay Walker.
News of the ban first surfaced when a local comic artist blogged about it Wednesday.
The comic book ban comes in the face of rising tensions between Singapore's religious conservatives and its growing gay-rights lobby.
Earlier Wednesday, judges of a top literary prize quit over the national library's plans to destroy three children's books with homosexual themes.
Nearly 400 people gathered on Sunday in protest, while local writers also condemned the move as an exercise in "book burning" and censorship.
Sex between men is illegal in Singapore and punishable by up to two years in jail under a provision in the penal code dating back to British colonial rule.
THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
AIDS WIPED OUT BY 2030?
Can AIDS be wiped out by 2030?
Gauging from trends, there is a chance, says the United Nations.
Global AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections fell by over a third in a decade.
It's the sharpest annual decline since the epidemic's peak in 2004 and 2005, marking a 35% drop from the 2.4 million deaths seen in both those years.
New infections also fell to 2.1 million last year, down 38% compared to the 3.4 million in 2001.
But with more than half of the 35 million people living with HIV unaware they are infected, the battle is far from over.
COPS NAB 660 PEDOPHILES IN UK
British police arrest 660 suspected pedophiles in a 6-month operation.
They include doctors, teachers and care workers who allegedly downloaded and distributed child abuse images.
The country-wide investigation identify 431 children in the "care, custody or control" of the suspects, including 127 deemed at immediate risk of harm.
Britain’s been rocked by a series of pedophile scandals in the past 2 years since revelations of late BBC television host Jimmy Savile being a serial sex offender.
For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’
ANNE CURTIS AMONG TIME'S '50 SMARTEST' STARS ON TWITTER
Time Magazine lists Philippine actress Anne Curtis among its "50 Smartest Celebrities on Twitter."
Curtis, who is the most followed celebrity in the Philippines with 6.67 million followers is number 28 on the list,
which includes Billboard-chart toppers Usher, and Ludacris.
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette top the list.
Time says the list was based on a reading comprehension test known as Simple Measure of Gobbledygook or SMOG.
The report says SMOG “measures the number of three syllable words used in a text to calculate the years of education required to understand it.”
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