excessive heat

[Rappler Investigates] It’s too darn hot!

Chay F. Hofileña

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Rappler Investigates] It’s too darn hot!

Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

'Man-made and non-climate-related factors tend to exacerbate the excessive physical heat'

I need not tell you about the physical heat that we’re all experiencing – it’s debilitating and exhausting, and we all wish it would go away soon. 

But there are other recent man-made and non-climate-related factors that tend to exacerbate it. I’ll list three of them here that we’ve reported on and let me know if you agree:

  1. Continuing fraud at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), which still maintains two registration systems
  2. Class suspensions due to the heat
  3. Conflict of interest involving top cop Alden Delvo

LTO WOES. If you think about it, these are recurring issues that have not been decisively addressed, which make them all the more exasperating. For decades now, especially for those who need to renew vehicle registrations or driver’s licenses, doing business with the LTO has been synonymous with long waiting hours, inefficiencies, and under-the-table deals. There have been some improvements, yes, such as computerization of certain processes and transactions, and even online tests for drivers. But old habits die hard.

Business reporter Lance Spencer Yu, who has been writing about transportation, infrastructure, and finance, among other issues, found it strange, for example, that two disparate companies – Stradcom Corporation and Dermalog – co-exist and manage the data of millions of motorists and their vehicles. There should be no issue if their systems complemented each other, or if the old system (Stradcom) were transitioning to the new one (a joint venture led by German company Dermalog). 

You would imagine that given Metro Manila’s transport and mobility travails (in 2022, according to Statista data, there were over half a million registered cars in Metro Manila alone), it could be super messy if registration data were misplaced or dropped in between the two separate systems. The imagination can run wild especially if you remember how two ultralux vehicles, Bugatti Chirons, slipped past the LTO system. They each cost oh just about P165 million, according to Lance’s March report, How smuggled ultraluxury Bugatti Chirons expose flaws in LTO, and they’re such a rarity. But, still, they found their way to the Philippines.

This was already symptomatic of persistent problems in the LTO but, well, just like the heat, they refuse to go away. So we’re still stuck with Stradcom, the old system that allowed the Bugattis to skirt regulations. Read related stories from our archives, which prove my point about this long-running, unsolved anomaly:

So many things have happened under the old Stradcom system that the LTO has been unable to break free from. Electronic trails, which the Land Transportation Management System provided by Dermalog provides, make it easy to track irregularities, such as manipulated test results, smuggling, and other forms of fraud and corruption. Computerization and other technological advances may have glitches here and there, but when they are deterrents to corruption and inefficiencies, those who oppose them open themselves to suspicion. 

If you have inside information about “magical moments” and other questionable deals and transactions, even networks inside the LTO, do pass them on to investigative@rappler.com and I’ll be sure to see them. We will pursue.

NO ON-SITE CLASSES AGAIN. Too much heat = no classes/remote learning = less learning. I know that remote learning is the next best thing to having no classes at all. Yet, as a teacher myself, I also know that students, even at the undergraduate level, are able to absorb more during face-to-face classes. Home conditions are uneven, unpredictable, and could even be less ideal for online classes. The pandemic already taught us this, and forecasters and climate advocates alike had already warned of worsening temperatures and other deteriorating weather events. We knew that summer this year would be worse and we also knew that class suspensions would be inevitable. We should also know by now that, post-summer, rain and flooding could be worse yet again. We know. We should know. And we should no longer be caught off-guard.

But, as Bonz Magsambol, who reports on education issues, found out, the education system still has not adequately prepared for adverse weather conditions. Quoting educational psychologist and University of the Philippines professor Lizamarie Olegario, Bonz wrote in his story, In Philippine classrooms, weather’s too hot to handle, that “we need to retrofit our classrooms to be climate-resilient. This should be done as soon as possible, especially during the break before the next school year.”

This is imperative most especially for the basic education level, considering that the Philippines continues to suffer from learning poverty that has resulted in students aged 10 struggling to read basic text. Have learning modules been adjusted, taking into consideration the reality of students using mobile phones for their online classes? Is the Vice President, who happens to be education secretary too, on top of the situation? Is there no sense of urgency at all? We sense only reactionary, rather than proactive and more deliberate thinking and implementation of what should be well-thought-out plans on the part of government.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST. We came across the name of Alden Delvo years back in an affidavit of whistleblower and former Davao Death Squad insider Arturo Lascañas submitted to the International Criminal Court. We wrote about this affidavit back in 2021. 

Before his retirement last week (Delvo turned 56 and shares the same April 25 birthday as Kingdom of Jesus Christ leader Apollo Quiboloy), the top cop was appointed regional director of the Davao Region in March 2023. On his shoulders fell the task of implementing warrants of arrest against Quiboloy issued by courts in Davao City, Pasig City, and the Senate itself, but the mission remains unaccomplished to this day. Since the general is now retired, the task is no longer his.

Understanding why those warrants would never have been served under his watch simply entails connecting the dots in Delvo’s circle. Consider the following disclosures from the Lascañas affidavit: Delvo was senior aide of former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (both have close ties to former president Rodrigo Duterte); he had links to killings carried out by the notorious Davao Death Squad; Delvo had asked Lascañas about quotas of killings in connection with Duterte’s drug war as he had been given a quota of “10 killings per day nationwide.” Delvo was also reported to have admitted attending past birthday celebrations of Quiboloy, his birthdaymate.

Truly a dangerous combination, the 3Ds: Duterte, Dela Rosa, Delvo. Will Quiboloy ever be arrested? For now, that’s a rhetorical question. Recommended for reading too: EDITORIAL: Bakit hindi mahuli-huli si Apollo Quiboloy? – Rappler.com

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Chay F. Hofileña

Chay Hofileña is editor of Rappler's investigative and in-depth section, Newsbreak. Among Rappler’s senior founders and editors, she is also in charge of training. She obtained her graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York.