Items filtered by date: Friday, 13 October 2017

WATCH: What are millennials fighting for?

YOUTH POWER. Millennials troop to Rizal Park on September 21, 2017, to join the multi-sectoral protest marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – What are the millennials fighting for?

On Thursday, September 21, thousands trooped to Rizal Park in Manila to remember the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Many of those who attended were millennials who were not yet born during the Martial Law era, which is considered one of the darkest chapters in the country's history.

Despite rains, the crowd reached a peak of 8,000, according to Manila police. But organizers, who initially said that the protest would be President Rodrigo Duterte's "baptism of fire," claimed a much higher estimate of 30,000 attendees.

The youth played an important role in the protest as they brought the fight not just to the streets, but also to social media. (READ: VIRAL: UP student studying biology while in protest

MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, asked millennials who joined the protest what they are fighting for. Watch the video above. –

Watch video:



'Paranoid' Duterte hit for eyeing revolutionary gov't

PHILIPPINE LEADER. President Rodrigo Duterte draws flak for threatening to create a revolutionary government. Malacañang file photo 

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition group Tindig Pilipinas slammed President Rodrigo Duterte as a "paranoid and insecure little man" after he warned he will declare a revolutionary government should a destabilization plot seek to replace him with a new leader.

"President Duterte is losing his grip. Only a paranoid and insecure little man afraid of losing power will rationalize the need to impose a revolutionary government upon the people," anti-Duterte coalition Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement Saturday, October 14.


"The paranoia is evident. It is manifested in the slide in the surveys, from the increasing numbers of the various forms of protests, from the massive pushback on social media and from the President's increasingly irrational, indefensible and incoherent stances," the group added.


Tindig Pilipinas issued this statement after Duterte on Friday, October 13, threatened to create a revolutionary governemnt. He told critics that he will do this if he thinks they're "about to take over the nation," and if they "have destabilized government" to the point that they will name a new leader.

But Tindig Pilipinas said the "threat to annihilate" democracy is Duterte's "ultimate power game" in order to suppress "growing discontent" among the people.

"Like any abuser sensing that his victims are seeing him as the abuser that he is, he senses doom. He knows he is an empty can once he loses control," the statement said, as it listed Duterte's vulnerabilities, including the P6.4-billion Customs smuggling, his family's wealth, and his refusal to sign the bank secrecy waiver.

Tindig Pilipinas said there is nothing reformist or revolutionary about the government Duterte threatened to create because "he is playing for survival."

"Let no one see this as anything else but weakness," the coalition said. They also urged democratic forces to "resist this move to subvert our nation for the interests of one man, his family, and his cohorts."

This is not the first time the President toyed with the idea of a revolutionary government, but back in August, he said he is "not into it." –



Lawmaker knocks prospective hike in SSS members’ contribution

An SSS member about to process paperwork at the central office in Quezon City. Photographed by Bernard Testa, News5 | InterAksyon
MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Zarate scored the Social Security System (SSS) for raising anew the possibility of an increase in the members’ contribution as a way to shore up its funds.

Zarate said the state-run SSS should, instead, run after delinquent companies and employers who are not paying the premiums of their workers, and immediately implement reforms.

“But for token photo opportunities in going after delinquent employers, hanggang ngayon naman ay hindi pa rin siniseryoso ng SSS Board na ayusin ang kanilang koleksyon at habulin ang mga delinkwenteng mga amo, tapos contribution increase na naman ang solusyon (Up to now the SSS board has not been serious in fixing the collection shortfalls and run after the delinquent accounts. Instead, they prefer to resort to the easy fix of bumping up contribution rates),” Zarate said.

With the proper reforms get put in place in the next few years, the lawmaker said, “there may not be a need for hiking contributions. That is, if SSS does its job well.”

Zarate proposed the following reforms:

Improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 31 million members
Collect the billions in contributions that delinquent employers failed to remit in the last 10 years
Cut down bonuses and perks given to board members and collect the over PhP200 million disallowed retirement package granted to SSS board members in 2009
Collect the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law

Last week, SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc raised the plan to increase members’ contribution by next year.

Social Security Commission chairman Amado Valdez, however, clarified that such plan would be the last option among the measures to be undertaken to extend the actuarial life of the state-run pension fund.

Valdez had said that SSS is also looking at the possibility of investing in public-private partnership projects to boost revenue.


Aguirre orders NBI to ‘share’ all anti-drugs info with PDEA

The NBI headquarters in Manila. (Philstar file)
MANILA – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Friday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to share with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) all the information pertaining to their anti-illegal drugs operations.

“The National Bureau of Investigation is hereby directed to leave to the PDEA all operations against illegal drugs. All information/data shall forthwith be relayed, delivered or brought to the attention pf the PDEA for its appropriate action,” read Department Order (DO) no. 670 dated October 13 signed by Aguirre.

According to Aguirre, the DO was issued after President Rodrigo Duterte named the PDEA as the lead agency in the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

President Duterte also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and other agencies, as well as ad hoc anti-drug task forces to stop conducting anti-illegal drug operations.

In a memorandum, the President said these agencies shall “leave to the PDEA, as sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved or connected with illegal drugs”.

Duterte issued the directive “to bring order to the operation/campaign against illegal drugs, thus pinpointing precise accountability.”

“The PNP shall at all times maintain police visibility as a deterrent to illegal drug activities, leaving to the PDEA, however, the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations as aforestated,” the memo said.

Duterte’s directive was issued following allegations of human rights abuses committed by the PNP in the war against prohibited drugs.

Aguirre, however, admitted that the PDEA remains undermanned in taking on the anti-illegal drugs war.

He said PDEA still needs to increase the number of its personnel but he is optimistic that the Chief Executive would be able to find a solution to the problem.

“I’m sure the President will look or (has) looked into the problem and will come out with a palliative (remedy),” the Justice Secretary added.

Aguirre intends to carefully study the memorandum to determine how the NBI could better assist the PDEA.

“I will check up to what extent, if allowed, could we participate in this war against illegal drugs,” he also said.


Storm Odette lashes Pangasinan, Mindoro, Palawan on its way out of PAR

Gate of state weather agency PAGASA flags observance of Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week. PNA FILE PHOTO
MANILA – Moderate to heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Odette continued to batter Dagupan city and Pangasinan province, where the weather bureau retained tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 on Saturday as Odette remained almost stationary despite being forecast to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility later on Saturday (Oct. 14).

Dagupan Mayor Belen T. Fernandez ordered the CDRRMC to strictly monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate residents whose lives might be put at risk because of the storm.

A number of villages, especially those located near rivers, were placed briefly under water when tidal waters rose by 1.4 meter at 4:21 a.m. Saturday.

According to the Office of Civil Defense director for Region IV-B Eugene Cabrera, the Mindoro provinces and Palawan, especially its Cagayancillo town, experinced strong rains.

Cabrera said in a radio interview some flooding was reported in Occ. Mindoro, especially in Sta. Cruz and Sablayan towns; as well as in Calapan in Oriental Mindoro.

Cabrera confirmed that the level at a spillway in Occ. Mindoro had overtopped, prompting warnings for small vehicles not to use nearby roads, which remained passable to trucks, though. He said the local disaster and risk reduction and management offices (DRRMOs) are closely monitoring the situation, with instructions to order the evacuation of people as needed.

He said the provincial RRMO was also watching flood-prone areas in Mindoro provinces but no landslides were reported so far.

Meanwhile, port operations continued, though small seacraft have been issued gale warnings.

According to Cabrera, the main concern is prepositioning of emergency crew and relief, since the region has many island barangays, so that response agencies need to be able to quickly come in and help once SOS is sent.

In Dagupan City, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has been on standby since 10 a.m. Saturday, reading a rescue boat, dump trucks and equipment in case evacuation of affected residents is necessary.

Despite the rains, market vendors continued to peddle their wares at the Malimgas Public Market and other public and private markets in the city.

Meanwhile, the CDRRMC advised owners of fishing boats and small crafts not to venture yet into the Lingayen Gulf as strong to gale force winds prevail due to “Odette”.

The advisory, issued at 10 a.m. Saturday, stated that the sea is still rough to very rough with waves as high as 3.4 meters to 4.5 meters, which would be very dangerous for fishing boats and small crafts.

Odette stationary, but seen exiting PAR

As of 1 pm, PAGASA weather forecaster Jun Galang said Odette remained almost stationary west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, but was slowly moving northwest. Nonetheless, it was expected to leave PAR within the day, Galang said in a radio interview, but conceded they cannot give an exact estimate of the exit time because sometimes it becomes almost stationary and sometimes it suddenly picks up speed.

Galang also warned that even after Odette has exited, or when it does, “its outer spiral can still affect huge parts” of Luzon – Metro Manila, Central and Southern Luzon – as well as Palawan.


FPIC exec jumps to death

MANILA, Philippines — A businessman died when he reportedly jumped from the 10th floor of a building in Pasig City yesterday.

A witness saw Ferdinand Edwin CoSeteng, 54, step on a chair then jump, said Senior Inspector Roberto Garcia, Pasig police investigation chief.

CoSeteng was the executive vice president and director of First Philippine Holdings Corp. He was also a director of Rockwell Land Corp. and president of First Philippie Industrial Park Inc. and First Philippine Electric Corp, all FPH subsidiaries.

In a statement, FPH officials and employees said they will remember CoSeteng as a “valuable colleague, a wonderful boss, and a loyal friend.”

Garcia said CoSeteng fell from the Banco de Oro Tower 3 just before 8 a.m.

Security guard Mari Joseph Colis said he found CoSeteng’s body on the ground floor’s landscaped area after hearing a loud thud on the pavement.

CoSeteng was unconscious when he was taken to a nearby hospital. He did not make it, police said.

Garcia said investigators are still interviewing CoSeteng’s family and friends to shed light on the incident.


Voters’ registration set Nov. 4 to 6

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday the registration period is intended especially for those who will turn 15 years old by May 14, 2018 so they could participate in the SK elections. Edd Gumban/File
MANILA, Philippines — With the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume voters’ registration from Nov. 4 to 6.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday the registration period is intended especially for those who will turn 15 years old by May 14, 2018 so they could participate in the SK elections.

Filipino citizens who are at least 15 years old but not more than 30 years old on or before election day and residing in the barangay for at least six months can register to participate in the SK elections.

Qualified to vote in regular elections are Filipino citizens at least 18 years old on or before election day, a resident of the Philippines for at least one year, and residents in the place where they plan to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the elections.

President Duterte signed Republic Act 10952 postponing the barangay and SK elections from Oct. 23 this year to May 2018.

Bautista said they decided to shelve the voters’ registration from December 2017 to September 2018 for the midterm elections in May 2019.

“We have to conduct the 2018 elections first. The 2019 voters’ registration will happen after the 2018 barangay and SK elections,” Bautista said.

Almost P1 B spent

Bautista said the Comelec spent almost P1 billion preparing for the barangay and SK polls.

“Our total budget is around P7.6 billion, but we have spent more or less P900 million,” he said.

Bautista said the money was spent for printing 59.5 million ballots for Luzon and the Visayas. Ballots for Mindanao were not printed as the Comelec had earlier cancelled the elections due to the implementation of martial law.

He said P350 million went to other expenses such as salaries of election personnel.

Bautista said only P550 million could be used for the elections next year.


Ex-CDO mayor acquitted of Civil Service Commission defiance rap

The Comelec resolution was in connection with the May 2013 elections. File photo
MANILA, Philippines — The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Cagayan De Oro City mayor Vicente Emano of a criminal case in connection with his alleged refusal to implement a Civil Service Commission order to reinstate a municipal employee who he supposedly demoted in 2009.

In a 13-page decision promulgated on October 13, the court's First Division said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of Emano for violation of Section 121 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS) in relation to the Administrative Code of 1987.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman last year, the case stemmed from Emano's alleged willful refusal to implement a CSC decision issued on Sept. 18, 2012 ordering the reinstatement of Leonor Esparcia to her original position as administrative assistant III (senior book keeper ) at J.R. Borja General Hospital.

Esparcia was transferred by Emano to the City Library as watchman in October 2009.

In his testimony during the trial of the case, Emano said he ordered Esparcia's transfer as she was then being investigated for a complaint of anomalous conduct. Emano said the city government even filed an administrative case against Esparcia in 2011 following the investigation.

In its ruling, the First Division said that while it was established that Emano failed to implement the CSC decision until the end of his term, the prosecution failed to prove his “willful” intent to defy the CSC order.

“Upon an assiduous review of the evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court finds and so holds that the prosecution has failed to establish that the accused should be held criminally liable,” the decision penned by division chairman Associate Justice Efren De La Cruz read.

Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona concurred with the ruling.

Court records show that Esparcia was reinstated to her original post only on July 2, 2013 during the term of incumbent mayor Oscar Moreno.

Nonetheless, the First Division gave weight on Emano's argument that he did not order the immediate reinstatement of Esparcia as there was no writ of execution from the CSC accompanying its decision and because of an existing election ban by the Commission on Elections.

Emano pointed out that when the CSC, on Feb. 5, 2013, denied the city government's appeal on its September 2012 order for Esparcia's reinstatement, the Comelec's resolution, prohibiting the transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service from January 13 to June 12, 2013, was already in effect.

The Comelec resolution was in connection with the May 2013 elections.

Emano said that as advised by the city government's legal department, he deemed it prudent to put Esparcia's reinstatement on hold as moving her to her original post might constitute as a violation of the Comelec resolution and might cause his disqualification as he was then seeking re-election.

Furthermore, Emano said the city government also has a pending petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals questioning the CSC's September 2012 resolution. Records show that the CA denied the petition only on May 31, 2013.

“The lack of the writ of execution from the CSC and the fact that he has a pending appeal before the CA negate the impression that he willfully refused to implement the said decision,” the court's decision read.

“It is not disputed that when the accused received the CSC Resolution affirming its decision to reinstate Esparcia, it was already within the period of the election ban which prohibits the transfer or movement of government personnel...Thus for the accused to effect a reinstatement during the election ban...may indeed expose him to possible charges of election offenses,” it added.

Following his acquittal, the First Division also ordered the lifting of the hold departure order it earlier issued against Emano.


Duterte expects gov't to lose, rights groups to win after sidelining police

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech during the opening ceremonies of the Buglasan Festival 2017 at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on October 13, 2017, reiterates his vow to beef up the capabilities of the government security forces before his term ends. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — After stripping the police force of the authority to conduct anti-illegal drug operations, President Rodrigo Duterte said he now expects the government to lose in its war on drugs while human rights groups condemning the crackdown are bound to win.

Early this week, Duterte issued a memorandum designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the “sole agency” in charge of the drug war amid simmering public outrage over alleged police abuse in the deadly campaign. He said he is hoping this move will satisfy the “bleeding hearts” and the media.

In an interview aired over state-run PTV on Friday night, Duterte, when asked how he expects to win the drug war after he inhibited the police from taking part in the crackdown, said: “Ako, frankly? I expect to lose it.”

“Ang human rights ang manalo diyan,” he said, adding that he will no longer “interfere” in the campaign.

“Hindi ako naghugas, ayaw ko na. Pulis, huwag na kayong makialam. Military, huwag na kayong makialam,” he said.

Duterte—who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a promise to use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs—has stoked international alarm for activating his fierce anti-drug campaign.

But human rights watchdogs say most of the fatalities are extrajudicial killings committed by cops and unknown assailants—a claim that the government has vehemently denied by insisting that police are only killing in self-defense while gangsters are silencing potential witnesses.

Police data show 3,850 have "died in police operations," suggesting these are drug suspects who engaged arresting officers in shootouts. Meanwhile, there are 2,290 "deaths under investigation," which have already been determined to be "drug-related."

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics condemned the spate of killings. But the recent deaths of three teenagers in the country’s capital have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about abusive police officers.

In his speech in Dumaguete City also on Friday, Duterte said his move to sideline the police from the drug war was “fraught" with "so many dangers” and “so many grave consequences.”

“But if it works, then okay. But if it fell short of the expectation, malipay man ang pari (the priests will get happy.),” the firebrand leader said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday morning, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he would appeal to Duterte to let the police back in the war on drugs should the crime situation get out of hand.

Dela Rosa also admitted the PNP is to blame for Duterte’s drop in satisfaction ratings, adding that the killing of minors by Caloocan City cops was a setback in the war against drugs.

“It’s our fault because we have members doing something illegal so we pulled the President down,” he said.


Editorial: It is easy to say, Colin Kaepernick, what have you done?

Whether he likes it
> or not the 29-year-old
> quarterback, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, is at the
> center of a storm
> because he opted to kneel rather than stand during the
> playing of the national
> anthem prior to the start of NFL games last
> year.
> His reason seemed
> valid enough. Kaepernick was
> protesting the seemingly unending series of killings of
> unarmed black men,
> teenagers included, almost always by white police officers.
> In most cases,
> the cops would be absolved of guilt if
> charged in court, or not even be charged at
> all.
> Kaepernick was
> not alone in his anger, as soon enough other NFL players
> followed his lead.
> Team owners stood helpless as player after player began to
> kneel whenever the
> national anthem was played. In some instances,
> non-African-American players
> joined in the silent protest with owners even indicating
> their support for the
> act.
> Others, however,
> saw the method of displaying that
> pent-up rage as disrespect for flag and
> country.
> The huge ruckus
> reached its head when it eventually
> made it all the way to the White House. President Donald
> Trump took aim at not
> only the players and owners, but the NFL itself for allowing
> the unacceptable show
> of disrespect. Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence
> walked out of a game
> when he witnessed players kneel as the national anthem was
> played.
> We are inclined to
> take the side of the players who
> kneel for a couple of reasons. For one, the players are
> simply exercising their
> freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution.
> Theirs is a righteous
> anger, because the killings of black men and youth is
> totally senseless, with
> powerful undertones of racism.
> When, we ask, has
> an African-American cop ever shot
> and killed a white male on mere suspicion of having
> committed a crime?
> We can’t recall
> either, perhaps because it has never
> happened.
> The other reason
> that we see little wrong with kneeling
> as our national anthem is being played is because the action
> can be interpreted
> as being done while the athlete is
> praying.
> When else do we
> kneel? In times of peace, Americans
> only kneel to pray. Across the pond, the Brits kneel not
> just to pray but also when
> they are knighted by the queen.
> It would be another
> matter if the players were to sit
> or lie down when the national anthem is played. Such actions
> would clearly be
> insults and any athlete who does so deserves to be kicked
> out of whatever
> league he or she is playing in.
> For now, we can
> only look forward to the time when the
> killings of unarmed and likely innocent African American men
> and boys by cops
> comes to an end.
> In the meantime, we
> feel sad for Colin Kaepernick, a
> talented quarterpack at the peak of his career, but who now
> finds himself
> without a team because he dared to make a stand by getting
> down on his knees.
> Someone should give
> him a second chance.

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