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    MANILA VISIT. Whang Od conducts live tattoo session at the trade event held at the World Trade Center, Pasay, Manila. Photo by Ben Nabong

    MANILA, Philippines – According to Jayvee Franz Paclay Sabawil, a nephew of Apo Whang Od who accompanied her to Manila, the famous Kalinga artist enjoyed her first visit to the National Capital Region.

    This was the same sentiment Whang Od's niece, Grace Palicas, sent to Manila FAME organizers. .

    "Masaya ako na mainvite kami sa Manila FAME, proud kami... Pag nag-uusap kami (ni Whang Od), gusto niya. Sabi ni lola, gusto niya rin daw makita ang Maynila. Sabi ko, kung gusto mo, sige para memeet din niya yung ibang kultura," Palicas said. (READ: Indelible moments with Whang Od, a living legend)

    (We were happy. It was an honor to be invited to Manila FAME... When we talked about it, she (Whang Od) said she wanted to go. Lola told me she wanted to see Manila. I told her, if she wanted to, we could go to meet other cultures.)

    Manila FAME, a trade event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry - Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), brought Whang Od and her relatives to Metro Manila with the intention of showcasing the pambatatok culture. According to organizers, Apo Whang Od agreed to guest at the event but had three conditions: first, that she be flown in via a helicopter; second, that she be given an opportunity to tattoo some of the visitors; and third, that she get a chance to meet actor Coco Martin.

    On Sunday, October 22, a photo of Whang Od asleep during a press conference made rounds online, causing netizens to claim that she was exploited or made a spectacle during the 3-day event held at the World Trade Center. 

    Manila FAME organizers, however, denied that Filipino tattoo artist Apo Whang Od was "exploited" during the trade fair that ran from October 20 to 22. In fact, they said that the reason they flew in the centenarian tattoo artist from Kalinga was to endorse her nomination to the National Living Treasure Awards. 

    'She enjoyed but..'

    While Whang Od enjoyed her stay, Sabawil said he would have wanted that the centenarian tattoo artist had conducted her live tattoo sessions inside a private room instead of the display located in the middle of the exhibit. 

    "Although nagbigay siya ng consent, sana sa magandang lugar naman siya pinagtattoo at sana hindi sa display para mapreserve 'yung energy niya," said Sabawil, who is a councilor in Buscalan, Kalinga. 

    Over 470 exhibits were displayed at Manila FAME. Whang Od together with Grace and Elyang, her two assistants, conducted live tattoo sessions on a small platform located in the middle of the bustling activity. The area was cordoned off by red stanchions.

    TATTOO. Whang Od along with her assistant tattoo artists conduct live sessions during the Manila FAME as onlookers took photo of the group. Photo from DTI-CITEM

     

    Together, Whang Od, Grace and Elyang, did about 300 live tattoo sessions for the first two days of the fair.

    According to Sabawil, because of the prime location, many people lined up to get a tattoo from a mambabatok – one that is done  by taking a mix of soot and water and applying it to the skin using a stencil. This would then be pounded onto the skin using a stick with a thorn at the end that is rhythmically pounded. Each tattoo’s design is chosen and can range from centipedes, trees, to geometric patterns.

    "Alam mo nasaktan ako eh. Nakikita niya yung mahabang pila. Siya nagdedecide kung anong tattoo design na gagawin ng dalawa. Pero siya lang gagawa nung signature niya. Siya naman, naawa siya sa mga nakapila," Sabawil explained. 

    (I was hurt on her behalf. She saw how long the queue was. She would decide the tattoo design that her two younger assistant will make. However, she was the only one who tattooed her signature. She continued because she pitied those who were waiting in line for her) 

    Sabawil added that one-hour worth of tattoo sessions could easily wear down Whang Od who claimed that she turned 100 years old on February this year.  Sabawil's mother is a cousin of Apo Whang Od. 

    It was also Sabawil who told Philippine Tattoo Artists Guild (Philtag) President Ricky Sta. Ana that doing tattoos at the trade fair was not part of their initial agreement with the show organizers.   Sabawil clarified that not all of Whang Od's relatives were informed about the provisions inside the contract. 

    Whang Od took home about P800,000 from all her earnings during the fair, apart from the honorarium she received from the organizers.

    Overall experience

    Overall, Sabawil said that Whang Od enjoyed her experience in Manila. 

    He noted how organizers stayed true to Whang Od's requests especially to travel via chopper. The old tattoo artist is no fan of vehicles. In fact, Sabawil said that the short ride from their hotel to the venue was enough to make her nauseous. 

    "With regards sa document with DTI-CITEM, wala na kaming magagawa. Natapos na 'yun kasi she already gave her consent. Kung may susunod man, magiingat na kami," he said. 

    In the contract signed by Whang Od, she agreed to a "two-day live tattooing in Manila FAME and speaking engagement for Create Philippines." 

    Manila FAME flew Whang Od back to Buscalan on Sunday morning, October 22 as scheduled. – Rappler.com  

     

     


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    NO BRIDGE. Without a proper bridge, vehicles passing by the area of Sergio Osmeña in Zamboanga del Norte are forced to cross the river. Screenshot from Lang Jauculan's Facebook video

    MANILA, Philippines – A video showing a bus braving a swollen river in Zamboanga del Norte has been making the rounds online.

    As of Tuesday afternoon, October 24, the video posted by Facebook user Lang Jauculan has been shared more than 1,000 times and has gotten over 60,000 views.

    According to a GMA-7 report, the bus was carrying students and teachers when it crossed the river. No one was hurt.

    Authorities said this is not the first time that this happened. In fact, vehicles passing through the area often cross the river since there's no bridge.

    For those traveling from Barangay Dampalan in Sergio Osmeña to Barangay San Isidro, vehicles must pass through the river. Vehicles traveling from the area of Barangay San Isidro to Kauswagan will have to pass through a creek.

    According to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officer-in-charge Assistant District Engineer Christopher Ebal, they have been trying to seek funds for the construction of a bridge, which he said would cost millions of pesos.

    "We tried to use a steel structure but it got destroyed. We really need a bridge," explained Ebal in Filipino.

    While passing through the river and creek is the main option for motorists in the area, Ebal admitted that it can be "really unsafe especially during the rainy season" because of strong currents.

    He added that rafts are even used to carry motorcycles through the river during the rainy season.

    Local DPWH officials have included a request for the bridge in their budget proposal. – Rappler.com


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    LEGEND. Kalinga tattoo artist Apo Whang Od Oggay is featured at the Manila FAME from October 21 to 22, 2017. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The family of Filipino traditional tattoo artist Whang Od called on the public to "stop the negativity" after the organizers of Manila FAME suffered a backlash for bringing the artist to the trade fair in Manila.

    In an interview with Rappler, Grace Palicas, the grandniece of Whang Od who did tattooing with the artist during the fair, said the family was surprised by the backlash. (READ: VIRAL: Was Whang Od exploited at Manila FAME?)

    Palicas said that Whang Od herself requested to do as much tattooing as she could during the fair since "she's already in Manila." 

    "Gusto niya talaga na siya. Ang masasabi ko lang, sana nandoon sila sa event para alam nila. Hindi tayo sana mapanghusga. Sabi nga ni Bob Marley, stop the negativity," Palicas said, paraphrasing the famous line in the late singer's "Positive Vibration" song.

    (She really wanted to do it. All I can say is that, I hope they were at the event so they know [what happened]. I hope we won't be judgmental. As Bob Marley said, stop the negativity.)

    Palicas refuted claims that Whang Od did all "300 tattoos from 10 am to 5 pm for two days," which sparked concerns that the elderly artist was  "overworked."

    "As much as possible, she wanted to ink as many people with tattoo. She put tattoos to around 120 people. I know this because I was the one who takes note of the numbers," Palicas said in a mix of English and Filipino.

    The rest were made by Palicas and another family member, Elyang.

    Overworked?

    Many netizens had slammed the fair organizers for "exploiting" and "overworking" Whang Od, who claimed she turned 100 years old  in February.

    According to Palicas, Whang Od did not work for 8 hours straight during her two-day stay at the fair. Tattoo sessions only went on for about 4 hours with breaks per day, she said. READ: Whang Od at Manila FAME: Marginal notes on a damaged culture)

    Asked about the viral photo where the artist was "napping" during the press conference, Palicas explained that Whang Od got bored of the questions and also closed her eyes because the flash from the cameras hurt her eyes.

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://web.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fwinkyscottlaagan%2Fposts%2F1942526276072805%3A0&width=500" width="500" height="547" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    "Naboboring kasi siya sa mga tanong tapos 'yung mga camera, masyadong maliwanag pero sinabihan ni Nerza (del Rosario) 'yung mga cameraman na 'wag na magflash," Palicas said, defending the Manila FAME team.

    (She got bored with the questions and the flash coming from the cameras hurt her eyes, that's why Nerza del Rosario told the photographers and cameramen to stop using flash.)

    Del Rosario is part of the Manila FAME team.

    TATTOO. Whang Od, along with her assistant tattoo artists Grace and Elyang, conduct live sessions during the Manila FAME as onlookers took photo of the group. Photo from DTI-CITEM

    Many also likened the live tattoo sessions during the trade fair to the 1904 Philippine Exposition at St Louis World's Fair featuring indigenous people as living exhibits.

    Jayvee Franz Paclay Sabawil, a relative of the artists, echoed the same sentiments. He said the tattoo sessions should have been held in a private room. (READ: Whang Od's nephew: 'She enjoyed the Manila visit but...')

    In defense of the event, Palicas said it was only during the opening ceremony on Friday, October 21 – from 9 am to 10 am – that the tattoo sessions were done in the middle of the hall. The rest of the sessions were done in a private room.

    'She's really happy'

    As seen on photos, her family members described Whang Od's first visit to Manila as nothing but happy.

    "Nag-iistorya siya sa Manila na, 'Ah, ganoon pala 'yung mga buildings at mga tao.' Pero wala siyang sinabing sana hindi siya tumuloy. Masaya siya at tumatawa nga. Nagjo-joke kami na, 'Sikat na si Whang Od!' She's really happy," Eva Oggay, the tattoo artist's niece, told Rappler.

    (She said in her stories about Manilla, "Ah, so that's hwo their buildings and people are." But she never told us she shouldn't have pushed through [with the trip]. She's happy and she was laughing. We sometimes joke that "Whang Od is already famous!" She's really happy.)

    "Tapos kung tatanong namin kung pagod, kami pa ang papagalitan. 'Kain kayo ng kain! Ako magta-tattoo,' sabi niya, (When we ask if she's tired, she would even scold us, "All you do is eat! I will do tattoos)" Oggay added.

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://web.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2FDTI.CITEM%2Fposts%2F1701731729859002&width=500" width="500" height="739" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    Oggay also noted that a medical team was on standby to look after the artist. The trip to and from Manila was also short and sweet, she said.

    "Wala talaga siyang reklamo  (She has no complaints)," said Oggay.

    In 2015, a campaign calling for the recognition of Whang Od as National Artist went viral. Indigenous art forms, however, are under the  "Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA)" or the National Living Treasures Award.

    The organizers of the Manila FAME explained that they brought the artist to Manila to endorse her nomination for the award. (READ: British backpacker's PH adventure: Tattooed by Whang Od, the living legend)

    Whang Od's nomination to the GAMABA Award was officially accepted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) during the second day of the Manila FAME on October 21. – Rappler.com


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    NOT BLIND. Analysts claim that supporting President Rodrigo Duterte is a rational choice for citizens, contrary to what other people believe

    MANILA, Philippines – The country seemed to have found a salvation in the powerful persona that was the popular president Rodrigo Duterte. However, fanaticism is not the word fit to describe the massive adoration the Filipino people have for him. 

    What analysts and political scientists are saying is that –  it is a rational choice to support the president.

    During the launching of the book The Duterte Reader on Monday, October 23, University of the Philippines Manila associate professor and political scientist Cleve Arguelles said that Duterte supporters were not fanatics. In fact, they look at what the president is doing and choose on which policies they agreed on and which they rejected. 

    Arguelles is one of the contributors in the book along with Leloy Claudio, Jayeel Cornelio, Andoy Evangelista.  Nicole Curato was editor. (WATCH: The Imagined President with Patricia Evangelista and Nicole Curato)

    The book is composed of 14 essays, featuring different perspectives and takes from the academe on the first few months of the Duterte presidency.

    The essays take a deeper look at who Duterte is – is he a fascist or a populist, and why so? 

    Weighing the consequences

    THE DUTERTE READER. A conversation with the contributors and editor of the book The Duterte Reader was conducted in UP Manila. (L-R) Robin Garcia, Andoy Evangelista, Jayeel Cornelio, Nicole Curato, Cleve Arguelles, and Leloy Claudio

    "Populist supporters, they negotiate their support with the president every single time, every day. It's not like they are fanatics," Arguelles said. 

    He added that these people do not give an unequivocal support to Duterte without thinking unlike what critics may say or think. In fact, they look at the consequences of the president's actions. (READ: The Rapture of Rodrigo Duterte)

    Arguelles immersed in communities for his research and found out that people's support for Duterte was always negotiated. 

    "We think that they are fanatics, that they just throw their support without them thinking about the consequences of their support. But that is not true. In fact, they think about it," he said in mixed Filipino and English. 

    The political scientist met a jeepney driver, whom he did not name, as he conducted his study. The driver feared for the life of his relative who used to be a drug addict when Duterte became president, because of the launching of the bloody war on drugs. (READ: Drug raids toll hits 81 in 4 days)

    On the other hand, the man has two young daughters. He asks neighbors to watch over them when he goes to work.  

    For the driver,  security and the future of his children were more important. He said that was why he supported the president's campaign. 

    "It's not an easy decision for them as well," Arguelles pointed out. 

    According to Arguelles, citizens prioritize the issues based on the hierarchy of their needs. 

    'Non-collapsible support' 

    Despite the continuous rise in the death toll of the war on drugs, majority of Filipinos surveyed remained satisfied with the performance of Duterte's administration. (READ: Why are Filipinos supporting Duterte's drug war?)

    Around 7 out of 10 Filipinos are satisfied with the Philippine National Police (PNP)-campaign, based on the results of the survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), from September 23 to 27. 

    The drug war clearly did not take away the loyalty of his supporters. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')

    "The surveys are consistent. In fact, when it comes to the war on drugs, the satisfaction level of the people are consistent. Many just fear that they might be the next who'll be shot. But nevertheless, they are still satisfied with the war on drugs," Ateneo De Manila University Development Studies program director Jayeel Cornelio said.  

    The controversial deaths of teenagers Kian Delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz, Arguelles said, only created a dent in Duterte's public support but it generally did not collapse. At least, not now, he said. 

    Cornelio believes that if there was anything which will erode the loyalty of the people to the president, it definitely was not the war on drugs. 

    "It's not going to be war on drugs. I've been very consistent on my stand on this. It has to do with whether he would be able to deliver on his other promises. Especially in regard to the visceral issues of people," he said. 

    People have a lot of other issues they are concerned about like inflation, poverty, and unemployment. 

    The killings clearly haven't affected the trust ratings of Duterte. 

    The authors said that the book is not just about President Duterte – it is about the Philippines. And in 50 years, they hope Filipinos would still pick up something from their writing and that more voices would be born from it. – Rappler.com 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    MODERN. The PUV modernization program mandates the improvement of the safety features of the vehicles. All photos from the Department of Transportation - Philippines Facebook Page

    MANILA, Philippines – The Public Utility Modernization (PUV) Program hopes to promote a safer and more environment-friendly option for commuters. (LOOK: New jeepneys under PUV modernization program 

    The program, launched in June, mandates the phaseout of PUVs aged 15 years and older. This sparked outrage among drivers, operators, and transport groups who called the program "anti-poor," as buying a new jeepney is estimated to cost around P1 million.

    Despite such criticism, the government believes that the program will not only promote operational efficiency but can also increase the income of drivers and operators since the vehicles would require less maintenance expenses.

    What are the specifications of the modern PUV, and how would they improve passenger safety?

    Speed limit devices

    The program mandates the installation of speed limit devices in the new modern jeepney. This would ensure the compliance of PUV drivers to corresponding speed limits of their routes.

    Last year, a law was passed requiring the use of a speed limiters for PUVs and commercial vehicles to ensure they will not exceed the speed limits set by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), speeding is identified as one of the main problems that contribute to the risk of crash-related injuries in road traffic. Speeding also contributes to the severity of the impact during a collision.

    But there are questions on the use of speed limiters in road safety. 

    Philippine transportation expert Edwin Quiros said that he was unsure whether the feature is a good or bad thing. While speeding is dangerous for motorists, Quiros said this is a case-to-case basis. 

    "You don’t want drivers overspeeding. [However], there might be instances that you really need to speed up like when [you're] avoiding a crash. It is really a case-to-case basis," he said.

     In 2013, a Guardian report citing the UK's Automobile Association on how limiting speeds might "create dangers of its own." 

    The AA said speed limiters "could take away people's ability to get themselves out of trouble with a quick burst of speed, such as in overtaking situations where the capacity to accelerate can avoid a head-on collision."

    Dashcams

    Dashcams are devices installed at the panel of the car screens. They are used to record instances on the road for accountability purposes. Video captured by the dashcam can be used as evidence in insurance claims or fraud, or against other drivers who won’t admit their mistake, among other things.

    Seats

    Modern PUVs have bigger seats to guarantee improved comfort and convenience for the commuters. The modern jeepneys can seat 22 to 30 people, while the current jeepneys can accommodate accommodate 16 to 18 passengers.

    SEATS. The Modern PUVs feature a bigger and more comfortable seats. All photos from the Department of Transportation - Philippines Facebook Page

    NEW. The prototype of the new modern vehicles looks similar to the design of the Metro Rail Train 3.

    DESIGN. One of the designs of the interior of the vehicle.

    Entrance and Exit

    The position of the passenger entrance and exit is located at the side of the new jeepneys,  instead of having it at the back. 

    SIDE. Instead of the usual entry and exit at the back, the new design now has the entrance and exit at the side.

    This is a safety measure because the driver can clearly see the passenger embarking and disembarking from the vehicle, compared to having the entryway at the back.  

    Passengers also would need have to walk towards the road to enter the jeep at the back but can safely wait on the sidewalk and enter the vehicle from the side.

    Automatic fare system

    AUTOMATIC. Instead of passing the fare to the driver, the new jeepney features an automated fare collection system similar to the payment system of Metro Manila's 3 rail trains.

    Instead of the system of the driver accepting fare and handing out change while driving, the automatic fare system will help keep the driver from being distracted. This also promotes a more organized system of collecting the fare of passengers which, as of now, is done by passing money from passenger to passenger until it reaches the driver. It follows the collection system of the Metro Rail Transit. 

    Bars and Handrails

    SAFETY. Bars and handrails are installed in the new PUVs to ensure safety of the passengers.

    The new bars and handrails are similar to the Metro Rail Train. Commuters now have more space to hold on to to keep them safe especially when the vehicle is moving.

    Euro 4 Emission

    CLEANER. The new PUVs are powered by Euro 4 engines for cleaner emission.

    The new vehicles will feature a cleaner emission system. A Euro 4 Emission tested vehicle follows global standards on the limit on the emission of pollutants. It requires the use of fuel with significantly low sulfur and benzene content, lessening environmental pollution.

    A report said that Euro 4 gasoline can improve power by enhancing engine lubrication and can restore maximum engine performance by cleaning internal engine deposits. It minimizes the harmful effects of chemicals which leads to the deterioration of the engine.

    This can result in lesser maintenance which can improve the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

    According to Quiros, some of the current public utility vehicles are still on Euro 2 Emission standards. 

    Features for persons with disability (PWD)

    RAMPS. Some of the vehicles will have ramps for the convenience of persons with disabilities (PWD).

    Some of the vehicles have low ramps for persons with disabilities (PWDs). These ramps are measured to land on the curb of the sidewalk for the convenience of people with wheelchairs.  

    Quiros said that the modernization should not stop here. More than the features of the new vehicles, the question to be asked is whether the public transportation system will improve. 

    "It will definitely improve the safety and convenience of the passengers inside the vehicle but will it provide more rides for the commuters? Will it increase the availability of vehicles for mobilization?" the transportation expert explained in Filipino.

    Quiros added that while the convenience of commuters will definitely improve, driver behavior and discipline will ultimately play a big role in determining the safety of commuters. – Rappler.com


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     MRT-3 File Photo

    MANILA, Philippines -  Operations of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 were disrupted twice during the morning rush on Thursday morning, October 26, due to technical problems.

    At 7:39 am, a glitch on the Automatic Train Protection prompted the train management to unload southbound passengers at the GMA Kamuning-Cubao Station. In less than an hour, at 8:18 am,  another technical failure happened at the Buendia Station northbound.

    In a tweet, the Department of Transportation apologized to passengers for the inconvenience. 

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">SERVICE STATUS<br>Train unloaded pax at Buendia Stn NB at 8:18 AM du...<br>We are sorry for the inconvenience<br>Info: <a href="https://t.co/K2NVHCrmPU">https://t.co/K2NVHCrmPU</a></p>&mdash; DOTC-MRT3 (@dotcmrt3) <a href="https://twitter.com/dotcmrt3/status/923348901733658624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 26, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    The incidents were category 3,  meaning, trains are removed without replacement. 

    As of 12 pm, Thursday, 15 trains are still operational.- Rappler.com

     


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    RECOVERY. Launch of Tindig Marawi at Illustrado restaurant in Intramuros, Manila on October 26, 2017. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – “Tapos na ang karahasan, pero ang mas matinding usapin ay ang trauma na iniwan sa mga tao. Tayo ang sundalo sa digmaang ito.”

    (The battle is over, the more pressing issue now is the trauma that the armed conflict brought to the people. We are the soldiers in this battle.)

    This is the message that actor and peace advocate Robin Padilla said during the launch of Tindig Marawi in Manila on Thursday, October 26.

    Tindig Marawi is a movement that aims to gather support from individuals, corporations, and organizations for the rebuilding and recovery efforts in conflict-devastated Marawi City.

    At least 153 days into the war, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the liberation of the city from the forces of the rebel and ISIS-linked terrorists.

    He said, however, that the war is far from over.

    Filipino spirit

    The five-month heavy clashes between government troops and local terrorists have destroyed residential and ancestral buildings in Marawi City. Many of the residents who have sought refuge in nearby areas lost their livelihood and have no homes to return to.

    "Nakita ko po ang pinsala na dinala ng Marawi siege. Napakarami po nating kapatid na Maranao af Kristyano sa Marawi ang nawalan ng mahal sa buhay, nawalan ng bahay, at nawalan ng hanapbuhay," Padilla said. 

    (I've seen the devastation caused by the Marawi siege. Many of our Maranao and Christian brothers and sisters in Marawi lost their loved ones, homes, and their livelihood.) 

    According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 77,170 families or 353,921 persons have been displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi City as of October 22.

    The challenge now, according to Padilla, is to help rebuild the lives of the people affected by the conflict.

    RECOVERY. An elderly Maranao woman is flanked by her grandchildren in Al-Qayriya Madrasa, an evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

    “Sana ang manaig ay ang pagka-Pilipino natin hindi yung division, paghihiwalay, at sobrang pulitika,”Padilla said. (I hope the Filipino spirit will prevail, and not division, disunity, and political differences.) 

    Power of technology

    With the immensity of the recovery work that needs to be done, Padilla emphasized the importance of collaboration between and among sectors. This is also the reason why Tindig Marawi organizers partnered with private sectors like Kasama Ko, Lamudi, and Rappler.

    Padilla said that the groups they have partnered with are all using the power of technology. This is an important element, according to the peace advocate, because the ISIS harnessed the tool to their advantage. (READ: How to fight ISIS on social media

    "Kaya walang mas matinding counterpunch dito kung hindi ang technology. Kung ano yung ginagamit ng kalaban natin, yun din ang gamitin natin. Sigurado akong mas magaling ang mga taong ito, dahil ang mga puso nila ay malilinis," he said. 

    (There is no better counterpunch than to use technology. Whatever our enemies are using, let us harness that as well. I am sure that we are better than them because our hearts and intentions are pure.) 

    How to help

    DISPLACEMENT. In this file photo, a row of tents stands in Pantar, Lanao del Norte to accommodate IDPs families displaced by the Marawi conflict. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

    There are many ways for individuals help the Tindig Marawi movement.

    Donations can be given through the Liwanag ng Kapayapaan Foundation, Inc. Here are the details:

    • Checking account number: 437-7437906480
    • Metrobank Fairview Regalado 

    Kasama Ko, on the other hand, will assist Tindig Marawi through the following activities: 

    • Assist Maranaos to find means to regain their livelihod
    • Facilitate organic farming and livelihood business training
    • Kickstart the Tindig Marawi livelihood fund.

    People can donate through the Tindig Marawi livelihood fund by signing up with Kasama Ko: 

    • Through their website: kasamako.com 
    • Through SMS by sending KKK to 29290155

     – Rappler.com 

     

     


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    Bookmark this page for updates

    CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – Have you ever driven to Bicol region?

    In 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded a total of 10,012 deaths from traffic crash incidents, 621 of occured in the Bicol Region.

    According to the Philippine National Police, Naga City has the highest number of road crash incidents in the region, with a total of 4,743 recorded incidents from 2015 to July 2017.

    In the Philippines, latest government data show, 8,666 people died from road injuries in 2014. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crashes in the Philippines)

    The country has a number of laws aimed at protecting road users, but the lack of proper implementation has been a persistent problem.

    How can we make our roads safer?

    Road safety awareness

    Rappler, together with the Global Road Safety Partnership, launched a campaign on road safety at the Rappler newsroom in Pasig City on May 8. (LOOK: Road Safety Awareness microsite)

    The aim of the campaign is to promote the enactment and enforcement of better policies that will protect road users.

    On Saturday, November 11, the 4th leg of the caravan will be held at the 5th floor of Alingal Hall at the Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City from 12 nn to 5 pm.

    Here is the program:

    TIME

    ACTIVITY

    12:00 - 1:00

    Registration

    1:00 - 1:05

    Opening ceremonies

    1:05 - 1:15

    Welcome Remarks

    1:15 - 1:35

    ROAD SAFETY IN THE PHILIPPINES

    Atty Sophia San Luis
    Executive Director
    ImagineLaw

    1:35 - 3:40

    PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we make Bicol roads safer?

    INVITED PANELISTS

    Danilo Versola 
    Regional Director
    Department of Public Works and Highways Region V

    Atty Noreen San Luis-Lutey
    Regional Director
    Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Region V

    Ramon Fiel Abcede
    Regional Director
    Department of Education Region V

    PCSUPT Antonio Gardiola Jr
    Regional Chief
    Philippine National Police Region V

    John Bongat
    Mayor
    Naga City Government

    Joselito Del Rosario
    Councilor
    Naga City Government

    MODERATORS

    Gemma Mendoza
    Head, Research and Content Strategy
    Rappler, Inc

    Voltaire Tupaz
    Editor
    Move PH

    3:40 - 3:50

    SYNTHESIS AND CLOSING REMARKS

    Gemma Mendoza
    Head, Research and Content Strategy
    Rappler, Inc

    3:50 - 4:00

    Photo taking

     4:00 - 5:00 Networking

    Those interested to attend the event may get their tickets via Eventbrite:

    How can we help curb the alarming number of motor vehicle crash incidents? Let us know your thoughts by writing on X or by posting with the hashtag #SaferRoadsPH on Facebook or Twitter!– Rappler.com

    Learn more about Filipinos' safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.

    Photo from Wiki Commons


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    MANILA. Philippines – "The result, or any result from a board exam or even contests, should not lead to arguments on which region or area in the country is intellectually superior. There is no need to compare, we're basically the same race: Filipinos."

    Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology student Lovelle Rhoy Cariño Manpatilan, the topnotcher in the recently held Mettalurgical Engineer (ME) Licensure Examination, gave this message when asked to comment on the tendency of people to compare Manila and provincial schools.

    Addressing those who look down on Mindanaoans, Manpatilan expressed hope that "the stigma ends soon so as to achieve unity in a deeper sense, which can also be addresed through education."

    Manpatilan and his classmate, Wilbert Wales Tidalgo, both topped the exam with a score of 88.95%. Another schoolmate, Kristine Mae Medrano Pazo, placed 8th with 85.15%.

    The rest of the top 10 exam-takers are from the University of the Philippines Diliman. John Rossmon Magalong Resuello placed second with 87.80%, while Bianca Patricia Macapagal Reyes placed third with 86.95%.


    Manpatilan said the exam results only show how schools prepared their students for examinations. "Maybe the results reflect how academic institutions all over the country are gearing themselves to produce competent professionals through quality education, which can be assessed through the PRC board exams, thus for the improvement of the Philippines."

    Manpatilan and Tidalgo are not the first Midnanaons to top board exams.

    Jay Nelson Corbita, who graduated summa cum laude in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, topped the 2017 Mechanical Engineering board examination. He said that  his parents' hard work inspired him to pursue his dreams. (READ: Ateneo de Cagayan summa cum laude tops mechanical engineering board exam)

    Marianne Ross Bacia Soldevilla from the Notre Dame of Marbel University in South Cotabato topped the Medical Technology Licensure Examination with 90.90%, whil and Glenn Charls Lagumbay Buelis from the University of the Immaculate Conception-Davao came in second with 90.80%.

    Marian Kaye Gallego of the University of Mindanao-Davao City ranked 1st place in the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET-secondary level) with a rating of  92.8% in August. Five of her school mates from the University of Mindanao-Davao City were also in the top 10.

    In May, Karen Calam who grew up in Kalilangan, Bukidnon, topped the 2016 Bar Examinations with a grade of 89.05%, besting over 6,000 who took the exam. 

    Calam said that she wants to be an inspiration to other people in small towns and “simple families” like hers because it's not impossible to make big dreams come true. (READ: Bar topnotcher Karen Calam hopes to inspire others to dream big)

    Mindanaoan pride

    Manpatilan and Tidalgo share a lot in common – both are scholars and aimed for nothing more than passing the board exams. Graduating from college did not come easy for both of them as well. 

    Tidalgo, 22, is a son of a cook in a small carinderia in Manila, and an on-call technician in Surigao City.

    He said he really wanted to take up Physics or Chemical Engineering, but his parents could not support him financially, so he won a DOST scholarship and enrolled in an ME course.

    “I really wanted to graduate in college, that's why I did everything to survive. Even though my parents are separated, I still pursued my dream and applied for the DOST scholarship. Luckily, I got it.” Tidalgo said.

    He shared that to get by and support his education, his father often borrowed money from relatives. This encouraged him to strive harder to graduate with flying colors. 

    "I told him that I'll return everything he asked from me. I'll also take responsibilty for my sister's education. It's payback time. They deserve it," Tidalgo said.

    Manpatilan is the first college graduate in his family. His two older siblings are already working while his two younger siblings are in high school and elementary. He said his parents' dream is for all of them to be college graduates.

    Manpatilan took accountancy before shifting to engineering. His mother, a telecommunications agent for almost 8 years, and his father, a personal body guard since he was a kid in Butuan, initially did not allow him to shift course. Eventually, they changed their minds. 

    “I thought an accountancy course is more on number solving, because I really love mathematics. But when I took the course, it's more on analyzing problem than purely number solving, that's why I shifted to engineering," Manpatilan added.

    Asked for tips for others who want to follow their path, both agreed on one important advice: Have time to relax.

    Tidalgo shared that after 3 hours of review, he takes a break playing DOTA. Manpatilan said he spends enough time sleeping to relax his brain. Another key advice: Don't feel pressured. (READ: Exams? 10 key test-taking tips from top students)

    "I think that's what's important, to relax your brain after analyzing and memorizing every lessons. Don't stress yourself too much because it will not do you any good," Manpatilan said in a mix of Filipino and English.

    Manpatilan and Tidalgo will take their professional oath in November. – Rappler.com


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    PROPOSAL. A soldier who fought during the Marawi siege proposes to his girlfriend during their heroes' welcome on October 26, 2017. Photo from Angely Lowao

    MANILA, Philippines – After the war in Marawi City, a soldier braved another battle as he came home.

    PO1 Alexis Tagapulot was among the many cops and soldiers who fought for the liberation of Marawi from terrorist groups. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi)

    As the troops reunited with their families, Tagapulot had something else in mind.

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    During the heroes' welcome for those who fought in Marawi, Tagapulot stood out and awed the crowd by proposing to his girlfriend.

    To everyone's surprise, the cop knelt and asked his girlfriend, social worker Angely Lowao, to marry him.

    She answered a resounding "yes." 

    Tagapulot and Lowao have been together for more than 3 years.

    In the 5 months that Tagapulot was away for the war, Lowao said that she was always thinking about him.

    "Palagi akong nag-iisip kung okay lang ba siya. Kumain na ba siya? Kamusta na siya? Or minsan nga napapasok na din sa utak ko kung buhay pa ba siya," Lowao told Rappler.

    (I always think how he is doing. Has he eaten? How is he? Or sometimes I think if he's still alive.)

    "I felt so blessed and lucky that time because proposals like this seldom happen," Lowao said in a mix of English and Filipino.

    Lowao said she is grateful for being with person who has a passion for public service.

    "Masaya rin ako at ramdam ko na isa ako sa pinagpala ng masayang love story sa mundo dahil binigay ng Diyos sa akin ang lalaki na tapat sa serbisyo niya at labis niyang pagmamahal," she said.

    (I am happy, and I feel that I am really blessed to have this kind of love story because God gave me a man who is devoted to service and gives me so much love.)

    Tagapulot and Lowao are planning to get married next year.

    On October 26, Tagapulot's video at the heroes' event by the Regional Public Safety Battalion of Northern Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro City went viral online.

    As of posting, the video posted on the official Facebook page of Camp Vicente Garcia Alagar has garnered over 4,200 views with 170 reactions, 39 shares, and more than 56 comments.

    The battle in Marawi City ended when government forces killed top terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon on October 16.– Rappler.com

    Iona Finlay C. Mendoza is a Rappler intern


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    HALLOWEEN. EveryWoman hosted the Halloween party 'Gabi ng Lagim sa Panahon ni Duterte' on October 26, 2017. All photos by Toby Roca/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Costume parties have been happening left and right as October draws to a close, but the organizers of one particular Halloween bash have taken the idea of spooky fun to a political level.

    EveryWoman, a coalition of individuals and women's groups allied with the Tindig Pilipinas movement, hosted a Halloween party on Thursday, October 26, meant to poke fun at public officials and online influencers supposedly oppressing ordinary Filipinos, especially women.

    Guests at the Gabi ng Lagim sa Panahon ni Duterte (Night of Horror in the Time of Duterte) fundraising event wore costumes representing the kinds of oppression under President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Some partygoers opted for a minimalist approach, wearing speech bubbles on their heads containing comments and slurs usually attributed to online supporters of the President and his policies.

    At the registration table, organizers sold paper cut-out masks of public officials like Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, and the President himself.

    Others wore more elaborate costumes. Two guests went as the pageant queens Miss Ogyny and Miss Information – their names being a play on the terms for an extreme hatred of women and deliberately misleading the public, repectively.

    "Even before Duterte came to power, it has become normal for people to put women down, to joke about rape... and for me, that is the number one oppression right now," said Miss Ogyny, who asked to have her name concealed.

    "I mean just this week I've heard government officials, two of them, make sex jokes (in front of the media). Misogyny has become a norm, and it's not supposed to be a norm," she added.

    For her part, Miss Information, who also declined to use her personal name, identified the spread of fake news as a form of oppression as well.

    "There is proper information out there, and yet people twist that information to their advantage, and I think that (misinformation) has divided us Filipinos," she said.

    Aside from the guests' costumes, the event also featured a beer pong game with the faces of Duterte supporters on the cups, a booth where players can shoot darts at pictures of key administration officials, and an Oplan Tokhang Dropbox raffle satirizing the Masa Masid drop boxes of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

    All fun, no fear

    Former Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Dinky Soliman, a member of EveryWoman, said that Gabi ng Lagim sa Panahon ni Duterte is a way of raising public awareness about the way the deadly anti-drug campaign and various pronouncements from government officials have affected Filipino women.

    "We are basically a people who can understand issues when we make fun of those who oppress us. This is us saying, 'Stop the killings, stop the misogyny, stop the corruption,' through spoken word and musical performances about people resisting and saying no to injustice, and doing it in a way that is fun," Soliman said.

    "The culture of fear is so strong (in this country), and this our way of taking the fear out of people," she continued.

    Soliman wore a skin-tonned bonnet over her short cropped hair to mimic the bald Dela Rosa and drew tears on her face, recalling how dela Rosa turned emotional during a Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings in September.

    Guests voted the former social welfare secretary's getup as Best Costume during the event.

    EveryWoman lead convenor and former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Deles described their Halloween event as an alternative form of protest against the "very real horrors" happening under the current administration.

    "So we got people to dress up as their worst oppressors and mimic them... in this way we are also telling ourselves (that) we can face our monsters, we can overcome them, we can defeat them, we can trivialize them," Deles said.

    She also noted that the party was a break from the usual protest activity, swapping political speeches for games and performances.

    This theme certainly wasn't lost among the musicians and spoken word poets who performed during the event.

    Rian Magtaan of the Baon Collective, an artist group of young writers and performers, believes that raising the political awareness of people doesn't always have to be done through speeches or lectures.

    "For us, (we believe) art cannot change the world but it can change how people view the world. By creating works of art, we can affect people on an emotional level. That kind of emotional engagement can transform people from being passive spectators to being active participants," he said in Filipino.

    Growing movement

    Several other activities are lined up for EveryWoman after their Gabi ng Lagim sa Panahon ni Duterte Halloween event, including the culmination of a 9-day prayer vigil for all victims of extrajudicial killings on October 30 together with Tindig Pilipinas.

    The group will also participate in a Mass at the EDSA Shrine and an ecumenical service at the People Power Monument along EDSA on November 5, in response to an earlier call of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines for 40 days of prayer for the victims of the drug war and the conflict in recently liberated Marawi City.

    Deles also mentioned the Women Defend Democracy project initiated by EveryWoman's member organizations, which include Akbayan Women, Likhaan, PILIPINA PINASAMA, and PPVR Women among others.

    The project aims to launch activities to raise political awareness among women in different parts of the country and help create local campaigns in at least 6 provinces to support the fight against extrajudicial killings, misogyny, and human rights violations.

    "What we always say is that EveryWoman emphasizes the relationship between women's rights and democracy," Deles said.

    Meanwhile, Soliman expressed hope that the participation of the youth in activities such as Gabi ng Lagim contributes to the growth of the movement against resurgent authoritarianism in the country.

    "People will be more courageous, people will be less fearful, and people will start talking more and more," said the former welfare secretary.

    Beyond having a public conversation on issues hounding the country, citizens must be willing to act as a collective according to Gabi ng Lagim guest Miss Information.

    "I think it starts with public outrage, people have to be out there taking part in collective action, and it's not supposed to be a collective based (only) on class or sex or age or ethnicity. It should be everybody," she said.– Rappler.com


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    CEREMONIAL PLANTING. Governor Hermilando Mandanas led the coffee ceremonial planting in the launch of the Kapeng Barako Revival Project. Photo courtesy of Tina Ganzon-Ozaeta

    BATANGAS, Philippines – There was a time when the city of Lipa was the number one exporter of coffee in the world.

    Coffee production started in the 1700s when a Franciscan friar planted the first coffee tree in this city, but in the 1890s, the industry faced a problem with pest infestation. Since then, farmers moved on to other cropping systems.

    According to coffee farmer Jose Mercado, the Philippines was capable of exporting 500,000 bags of coffee in the 1980s, but this is clearly no longer the case.

    "Ngayon nag-iimport na tayo ng kape para matugunan ang mga 70% to 75% na local consumption," he said. (READ: The growing community of specialty coffee)

    (Today, we import coffee to supply 70% to 75% of local consumption.)

    Kapeng Barako Revival Project

    SEEDLINGS. Batangas Forum president Francisco Lirio led the distribution of seedlings to farmers. Photo courtesy of Tina Ganzon-Ozaeta

    “Sagisag ng mga taga-Batangas ang pagiging barako, ang pagiging mayabang natin, ang ating pride, dignity and nobility of Batangueños. Simbolo ito, ngunit dapat yumaman din tayo sa pamamagitan ng coffee kapares noong una,” said Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas.

    (Being barako is a symbolism of being a Batangueño – our pride, dignity, and nobility. This is all symbolism but we should also start to gain wealth from coffee just like how it used to be.) 

    It is for this reason that the advocacy group, Batangas Forum, partnered with the provincial government of Batangas launched the Kapeng Barako Revival Project. (READ: Long live coffee)

    The Batangas Forum is also partnering with the Batangas State University to address the problem of manual harvesting.

    "Kami ay nagbubuo ng isang pag-aaral upang makabuo ng isang makina para matugunan ang problema ng harvesting pagdating ng panahon. Pero ngayon, ang kailangan muna ay ang palaganapin at buhaying muli ang kape sa lalawigan ng Batangas," shared Batangas Forum president Francisco Lirio.

    (We started through a study in order to build a machine to address the problem of harvesting when the time comes. But now, what we need id to spread and revive coffee farming in the province of Batangas.) 

    No more coffee planters 

    COFFEE FARMER. Jose Mercado came from a family of farmers. His father was able to send him and his siblings to school through coffee farming. Photo courtesy of Tina Ganzon-Ozaeta

    The problem, according to Mercado, is that younger generations are no longer interested in coffee planting.

    "Una, ayaw nang madumihan ang kamay. Mas gusto pa nilang mag-tricycle kasi sa hapon may kita na, may pera na. Pag kape siyempre maghihintay ka ng ilang taon.  Pero nakakalungkot kasi ang kinabukasan nandiyan."

    (They don't want to get their hands dirty. They choose to drive tricycles because at the end of the day, they already have earned money. When you plant coffee, you still have to wait for a couple of years. It is saddening though because this is the future.) 

    It has been almost 10 years since he started planting in their barangay and he has since encouraged others to do the same, but to this day, nobody has followed suit. (READ: A coffee journey: From the farm to your cup)

    When Mercado started planting coffee, the price was only P50 per kilo, now it has gone up to P200.  He says you would normally have to wait 8 years for your first harvest. Farmers with good management practices who employ a scientific approach can expect to harvest in two years. 

    "Kung sa 8 taon, pwedeng mag-ani ka na ng hanggang 5 kilo. Sa 5 kilo, may P1,000 ka kada puno," he said.

    (If in 8 years, you can harvest up to 5 kilos, you will earn P1,000 per tree.)

    Mercado swears that coffee farming is a bankable livelihood. His father who was a tenant farmer in the early days was able to send them all to school, and they now run the successful local coffee chain Cafe de Lipa.  

    Redeeming Batangas as coffee capital

    At present, Batangas only produce 13% of the coffee supply in Calabarzon, while Cavite produces 67%. In the country, the entire Calabarzon region contributes a mere 7% of the local production of coffee.

    Aside from distributing free coffee seedlings to farmers, Mandanas says the provincial agriculture office will provide technical assistance to ensure an integrated approach.

    They are also infusing a P20 billion investment in an infrastructure project which he said will support this cause. (WATCH: Keeping the organic coffee farming tradition in Sagada alive)

    "Aabutin tayo ng mahigit na sampung taon para bawiin ang Batangas bilang coffee capital of the Philippines, pero kailangan ipakita natin na magkakakwarta ka 'pag nagtanim at nagbili ng kapeng barako," he added.  

    (We will reach more than a decade to redeem Batangas as the coffee capital of the Philippines, but we need to show that you will earn money if you plant kapeng barako.)

    Lirio believes this is just the beginning of a long-term project but is determined to reclaim what he describes as “a title that rightfully belongs to the province of Batangas.” – Rappler.com 


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    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – It seems ironic that tour guide Annaliza Broqueza did not always have a firm sense of direction in life.

    The catalyst that put the native of Jovellar, Albay, off-course was the untimely death of her husband in January 30, 2012. She remembered that there was almost no time to grieve. The soft-spoken and sweet-natured mother of 3 instantly knew she needed to immediately work to support her teenage son and daughters through high school.

    Not knowing where to start, she tried selling native products in Albay. After all, it was one of the most popular sources of livelihood by mothers like her in their neighborhood. She sold pili nuts, tablea, banana chips, and other native food items to tourists. 

    Gender pay

    That did not work out well for the former plain housewife. There were just too many of them selling the same products to the same limited market. 

    After 5 months of selling native products, Broqueza decided to try her luck in Manila, leaving her children with their grandparents in Albay. From then on, she hopped of from one home to another to take care of other people's children.

    She worked as a maid in Valenzuela, and then, after a few months, in Dasmarinas, Cavite. After a while, she transferred to Batangas.

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    She was not the only one who took on the same path. A study of the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) released in March 2017 showed that at least 1.8 million of women workers are engaged with "other services activities." At least 89% of these women are employed in private households.

    The women receive low wages, or as low as P2,500 ($50) a month. This is much lower than the mandated minimum wage in the country.

    Fortunately, Annaliza was luckier than the majority. Her salary in 2012 started at P2,500. But this eventually increased to P9,000 in just a span of 4 years. 

    "Noong nasa Manila ako, tuluy-tuloy ang trabaho ko. Bale po 4 na taon ako namasukan bilang kasambahay. Napakasuwerte naman ako sa mga employer ko mababait po sila," she said.

    (Work was nonstop back when I was in Manila. I worked as a househelp for 4 years. I was lucky with my employers because they were kind.) 

    Through pure determination and hard work, Broqueza was able to send her son and daughters to high school for 4 years.

    Away from home

    The decent pay did not automatically equate to an easy life in Manila, however.

    Beyond the fatigue brought about by the physical demands of her job, Broqueza battled with the feeling of loneliness caused by her separation from her children.

    "Wala po akong hiniliing talaga na makauwi sa lugar ko na kasama ko mga anak ko na may pinagkakakitaan  (I have no other dream but to go home, find a job, and be with my children while still having a means of livelihood)," she mused. 

    For 4 years, she comforted herself with the idea that by working elsewhere, her children continued with their education as planned. She believed that working in Manila was her best bet at providing a promising future for her children. 

    "Iniisip ko na lang po araw-araw ako ay may sahod pagdating ng kinsesnas or katapusan. Ako po ay makakapagpadala sa kanila (I comforted myself with the idea that I will receive my salary every payday. Then, I would be able to send money to my children)," she said.

    The dream of going back home for good never left her until one day, in December 2016, after 4 years of working in Manila, she booked a one-way bus trip to Albay, and never looked back.

    Finding direction

    It was the thriving eco-tourism in Jovellar, Albay, that convinced her to stay for good. She discovered that the hometown she used to know now boasts of various tourist areas that drew visitors here and abroad.

    "Pinili ko nang magstay. Kahit 'yung ibang naging amo ko, minsan tinetext ako ng iba ako'y bumalik. Malalaki din po ang sahod (I decided to stay even if my employers texted me and asked me to come back. They promised a big salary)," she said. 

    It was not always that way. What changed? 

    DISCOVERY. The tourist place in Jovellar, Albay used to be a stronghold of communist rebels. Photo by Vee Salazar/Rappler

    The area used to be the stronghold of communist rebels. When their numbers dwindled in early 2015, the local government saw it as an opportunity to strengthen local tourism in the area to help the community grow. For many in the neighborhood, Jovellar became more than their home – it was also their main source of livelihood.

    According to Rome Candaza, a tourism consultant for the Jovellar underground river project, they focused on establishing a sustainable form of livelihood while empowering the community at the same time. 

    "Sabi nga namin, paano mo mabibigyan ang tao ng sustainable na trabaho? Eh bigyan mo siya ng trabaho na nandoon siya sa lugar niya at hindi niya kailangan mageffort pa o umalis para kumita noon. Mabibigyan mo siya ng responsibilidad sa pagprotekta ng kanyang lugar is because bibigyan mo siya ng trabaho. Dahil 'yung trabaho na 'yun na nandoon sa community, kumikita siya doon, pangangalagaan niya 'yon," Candaza explained. 

    (How do you give the residents sustainable livelihood? Give them jobs where they live so they don't have to leave just to earn, we say. In that way, you give them the responsibility to protect their areas because of their jobs. Because their jobs is in the community and because they earn from that, they will take care of it.)

    Before, people would earn only a measly amount of P50 per day. After they introduced the ecotourism project in Jovellar, daily income of residents grew to P200 per hour. 

    "It's a big impact po sa community dahil alam po niyo na dati, they're just relying for the help of the national government or anyone from the government na masuportahan sila. Ngayon po they can stand alone on their own. They're earning a lot in their own place and not leaving the community. And they can protect the environment na mayroon sila ngayon," Candaza added. 

    (It has a big impact in the community because they just rely for the help of the national government or anyone from the government to support them before. Now, they can stand alone on their own. They're earning a lot in their own place and not leaving the community. And they protect the environment that they have now.)

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    Jovellar underground river 

    The same is true for Broqueza who eventually applied to become a volunteer tour guide.  In a day, she could easily earn up to P2,000 through tips from hundreds of tourists who visit their quiet hometown. 

    Jovellar's main attraction is the hidden underground river in Barangay Quitinday.

    The 180-meter-long river is unique, Broqueza would boast. Unlike the popular underground river in Palawan, she said the one from her hometown allows tourists to enjoy a bath with the steady flow of fresh water coming down from the waterfall. 

    "Ngayon po 'yon na talaga ang trend sa tourism na dapat experiential. Experience po ang binibenta namin dito sa Jovellar. Ito kasing underground river na ito even though maikli lang po siya, immersive po ito. For example po 'yong ibang underground river, doon po talagang para kang nagtu-tour lang. Dito, mababasa ka, maliligo ka sa dulo ng underground river sa falls. Talagang mae-experience mo 'yong nature," Candaza explained. 

    (Now, the trend in tourism is experiential. What we're selling here in Jovellar is the experience. This underground river, even though it's short, it's immersive. For example, in other underground rivers, they go there to tour around. Here, you'll be drenched with water by the end of the trip because of the falls. You will really experience nature.)

     

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    <bg-image style="background: url('https://assets.rappler.com/5F5E72CDF6A549C18BB71CD44D5CA370/img/FA75BDE0C7454FBD8B245FA884D08437/jovellar-river-maiden-october-26-2017-004.jpg');">
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    UNDERGROUND RIVER. With its pristine waters and cascading waterfalls, the underground river turns into a new tourist draw in the province of Albay. Photo by Naoki Mengua/Rappler
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    The water is approximately 25 to 30 feet deep. 

    Many tourists – from across the archipelago and around the world – would visit the sleepy town of Jovellar just to get a glimpse of nature's beauty. They would enjoy jumping off from a cliff on the river, take a bath beneath the falls, and go through the dry caves around Jovellar. 

    If tourists are willing to travel far just to visit her hometown, she asked herself, why should she leave? – Rappler.com


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    RUSH. Hundreds of southbound passengers wait to board buses at the Araneta Bus Center in Cubao, Quezon City. File Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Are you going home this Undas?

    Thousands are expected to travel to and from provinces for All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on Wednesday and Thursday, November 1 and 2. (READ: Filipinos start to flock to air, sea ports for Undas exodus)

    The Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT) has also lifted the unified vehicular volume reduction program (UVVRP) or the number coding scheme around Metro Manila.

    The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has begun conducting inspection in different bus terminals around Metro Manila since Friday, October 27.

    Driving for Undas? Here are some tips from Roberto Valera, LTO chief transportation regulation officer, to ensure passenger and commuter safety on the road:

     

    1.  Check your vehicle

    Before hitting the road, ensure that the vehicle is in perfect condition. Make sure that the engine, battery, windshield wipers, and lights are properly functioning.

    TIPS. The government coined the term "Blowbagets," a list of things drivers should check before hitting the road. File photo from the Official Gazette

    Tires should have proper pressure. Keep in mind to bring spare tires and jack, especially for long drives.

     

    2. Be a defensive driver

    According to Valera, it's important to be a defensive driver at all times. That means the driver has to keep safe distance from other vehicles and be on the lookout for unexpected events. (READ: Road safety awareness)

     

    3. Follow traffic rules

    Be a responsible driver and follow traffic rules. Follow the prescribed speed limit. Don't drink and drive.

    Even a slight disregard of rules can lead to major road crash incidents. (READ: FAST FACTS: Most commonly violated traffic laws in Metro Manila)

     

    4. Be ready to react to emergency situations

    In the case of unexpected events, be alert and be ready to respond. Adopt to changing road conditions. Even the most careful driver can be caught off guard.

    Getting enough sleep will give you ample energy for the day's drive.

     

    5. Respect other road users

    Last but not the least, respect other road users, especially pedestrians. (READ: On road safety and courtesy)

     

    Tighter security

    According to the Department of Transportation, it is all set to provide tighter security and ensure efficient travel for the public this coming Undas.

    The LTO has deputized personnel stationed along the South Luzon Expressway's Santa Rosa exit, C-5, and Nichols interchange, and the North Luzon Expressway's Santa Rita, San Fernando, and Dau exits.

    For those commuting via rail, the Philippine National Railways has re-arranged train schedules to accommodate more passengers. The PNR has also opened a help desk ready to assist passengers.

    Meanwhile, the Light Rail Train Line 2 will operate 8 running trains with a 7-minute headway during the season. Two reserve trains will be on standby. A nurse will also be on dutry from 6 am to 10 pm at the Katipunan and Recto stations.

     

    Hotlines

    In case of emergency, here are the hotlines you should reach:

    Department of Transportation (DOTr) Hotline
    7890 or (02) 726-6255

    Philippine National Police (PNP) Hotline Patrol
    117 or send TXT PNP to 2920

    Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
    Trunkline: (02) 882-4150-77 loc. 337 (rescue), 255 (Metrobase)
    Metrobase: 882-0860

    Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
    (02) 304-3713, (02) 304-3904

    Red Cross Hotline
    143, (02) 527-0000, (02) 527-8385 to 95

    North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) hotlines
    (02) 3-5000 and (02) 580-8910; Twitter: @NLEXtraffic

    Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) hotlines
    (0920) 96-SCTEX (72839) (traffic hotline) or (045) 459-0522

    Skyway System Hotline
    (02) 776-7777 (PLDT), 0917-539-8762 (Globe), 0999-888-0893 (smart), 0932-854-6980 (Sun); Twitter: @SkywaySOMCO

    South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) hotline
    0917-6877539 (globe), (049) 508-7509, (02) 584-4389

    Philippine Coast Guard
    (02) 527-3877, (02) 527-8481, 0917-724-3682 (Globe), 0917-PCG-DOTC (Globe) 

    Rappler.com


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    CARE. PCI Edwardo Bea dressing up the homeless man he saw in Libis, Quezon City while setting up a checkpoint.

    MANILA, Philippines - Netizens applauded the good deed of Police Chief Inspector Edwardo Bea of Eastwood Police Station 12 who was caught on video helping a homeless beggar in Barangay Libis, Quezon City. 

    The video showing the deputy station commander caring for the beggar has been circulating online since October 28. 

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    According to PO1 Jeoffry Begseng, the one who uploaded the video,  they were setting up a police checkpoint in Libis when Bea saw the beggar. Moved by the awful condition, Bea, without hesitation, approached the beggar.  After a short talk, the policeman started to clean him up with his own towel. 

    They also noticed that the beggar's right hand was swollen. Together with other police officers, they brought the homeless man to the barangay center to receive medication. (READ: #PNPGoodDeed: Cop impresses jeepney passengers)

    This good deed caught online attention, igniting Facebook with over 2 Million views as of posting. 

    Amazed netizens expressed their thanks to the Quezon City police.

    Facebook user Amy Adorable said, "Good job sir sana tularan kayo sa lahat na mga police" (Hoping that other police will follow your deeds)

    {source}

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    Another Facebook user Garry Tuazon added that Bea should be a role model to all the police. 

    Bagseng said that Bea's altruism proved that not all policemen were scalawags and corrupt. It also showed that there were still cops who lived up to their sworn duties.

    Do you know of any other policemen who are like PCI Edwardo Bea? Share their stories on X. - Rappler.com

     


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    NLEX file photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) are expected to be congested as Filipinos head for the provinces this Undas break.

    On Monday, October 30, moderate to heavy traffic was already reported along the SLEX, while traffic at the NLEX was relatively moderate, so far.

    But NLEX management said vehicles passing through the expressway are seen to increase by 20% as Wednesday, November 1, approaches.

    MovePH collated some of the tweets about SLEX and NLEX traffic on Monday.

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/924930967059304448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CommuterWatch October 30 - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    – Rappler.com


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    REMEMBERING. A mass will be held on October 31, Tuesday, at the San Isidro Labrador Parish for the victims of drug-related killings. File photo

    MANILA, Philippines – The death toll of president Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has risen up to at least 7,000. Amid criticism from different human rights groups and organizations and the ever-increasing families of victims, Filipinos remain to be satisfied with the performance of the administration as what surveys reflect. 

    7-out-of 10 Filipinos are satisfied in the Philippine National Police (PNP)- led drug war according to the Social Weather Stations survey (SWS) dated on September 23 to 27. (READ: Why are Filipinos supporting Duterte's drug war?)

    In that same survey though, half of Filipinos do not believe when the police said those killed in the drug war fought back or resisted arrest (nanlaban) line. Only 8% said they believed this police line.

    Also, 7 in 10 Filipinos, the same survey said, were worried that they themselves or someone they know might become victims of extrajudicial killings.

    In this light, families who have lost their loved ones to the bloody drug war are set to remember their dead this All Saints' and All Souls' Day. (READ: EXPLAINER: How serious is the PH drug problem? Here's the data)

    Here is the list of activities to be held in remembrance of the victims of the drug war: 

     

    OCTOBER 31

    10 am: San Isidro Labrador Parish, Bagong Silangan, Quezon City

    A mass will be held for the victims of the drug war to be conducted by Rise Up for Life and for Rights spokesperson Fr. Gilbert Billena, at the San Isidro Labrador Parish in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

    1:30 pm: Station 6, Quezon City 

    In the afternoon, families will be lighting candles side by side with the photographs of their loved ones in front of Quezon City Police Station 6. This is a sign of moral indictment of police involvement in the drug-related killings. 

    5-6pm: SB Plaza, Gilmore cor. E. Rodriguez Avenue

    Seminarians and religious groups will hold liturgy to "Stop the Killings" in SB Plaza to denounce Duterte's drug war. – Rappler.com 

     

     

     

     


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    ALL GEARED UP. The Philippine Red Cross has prepared 130 staff and volunteers to ensure security and provide medical help to the public this coming Undas. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Red Cross

    MANILA, Philippines – To ensure public safety and to provide medical care on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will mobilize its volunteers nationwide.

    Staff and volunteers of the PRC will be working this holiday season starting October 31 to assist those who are going home to their provinces for Undas and those who will visit the graves of their departed loved ones in cemeteries.” Senator Richard Gordon, PRC chairman, said.

    About 1,300 Red Cross first aiders including foot patrollers will be mobilized in 170 cemeteries nationwide. There will be 150 first aid stations and 80 ambulance services, the PRC announced.

    For any untoward incident, you may report to our hotline 143. Red Cross 143 is the flagship program of the PRC in which there is one leader and a minimum number of 43 members in every barangay who will serve as the eyes, ears, hands, and feet in times of disasters and emergencies,” Gordon said.

    The PRC advised the public to wear light colored clothing, bring water, and avoid bringing alcoholic drinks and sharp objects. Parents with small children are also advised not to bring their children with them, especially to crowded places like cemeteries. (READ: Undas 2017: Prohibited items inside cemeteries)

    The PRC also shared road safety tips to prevent road accidents: 

    • Be licensed and trained for the vehicle you drive.
    • Use a seatbelt.
    • Wear a helmet on a motorcycle.
    • Drive at a safe speed and distance suitable for the conditions.
    • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • Do not use your mobile phone while driving.
    • Know and respect the highway code.
    • Maintain vehicle in good condition.
    • Be visible as a pedestrian or a cyclist.
    • Know how to react in case of a crash.
    • Remember BLOW BAGETS (breaks, lights, oil, water, batteries, air, gas, engine, tires, self)

    If emergency assistance is needed, contact PRC's hotline 143 or the operations center: 790-23-00 loc. 199-204 or 0917-806-8513.  Rappler.com 

     


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    MINOR. A father shares his story of loss when his son, a minor, died from a road traffic crash last August.

    MANILA, Philippines – A family that can never be complete. This is what Joaquin Nonan will have to live through the rest of his life after losing his son last August 21.

    His son, Kiesten Nonan, was only 17 years old when a tragic road crash took his life.

    Joaquin recounted how it happened. His son initially asked permission to get a motorcycle. He wanted to convert it into a tricycle to earn some money.

    A motorcycle rider himself, Joaquin refused. "Ang sabi ko, kapag motor ang pag-uusapan 'wag ka magpapaalam sa akin. Ayaw na ayaw ko 'yan. Marami sa nadidisgrasya sa motor, namamatay," he said in a phone interview.

    (I told him not to ask permission from me when it comes to motorcycles. I really don't want him to own one because a lot of people who get into motorcycle crashes die.)

    But to Joaquin's surprise, his son was able to buy a motorcycle from SYM Motorcycles without presenting a valid ID or proof of legal age to own one.

    In the Philippines, motorcycle riders and pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 53% of reported road crash fatalities in the country involve riders of motorized two- or 3-wheeled vehicles. Pedestrians also comprise the second biggest chunk of road-user deaths at 19%.

    On August 21, Kiesten became part of the statistics when he decided to use his motorcycle to do some errands accompanied by his friend.

    While driving to their destination, they passed by an uneven part of the San Mateo Road which caused them to lose balance and fall to the ground. (READ: Uneven road condition in Isabela caused teenager's death )

    His friend was able to push and jump from the motorcycle before hitting the pavement. Kiesten was not wearing any helmet, unfortunately, when the incident happened. He died reportedly from excessive bleeding due to the strong impact of the crash.

    Joaquin then took to social media to share his frustration over the poor road condition which caused the death of his son. 

     

    Lifetime impact 

    When Joaquin found out about the tragedy, he felt helpless. He knew that because Kiesten was still a minor, he was not supposed to be riding a motorcycle. Out of shock, he was speechless when he first learned about the incident.  

    PROUD. Joaquin poses with his son Kiesten during his elementary graduation. Photo from Joaquin Nonan

    "Hindi ko pa rin matanggap hanggang ngayon. Every time kasi nalilingon ako sa bahay, nandoon kasi 'yung memory n'ya eh. Panganay ko kasi 'yan eh," the grieving father said. (I still can't accept it until now. Every time I look around the house, I remember him. He is my first-born.)

    The tragedy not only affected his family but also his work. His boss even noticed a decline in his work performance. 

    "Sa totoo lang, merong times na tulala ako. Pagkaalam nila nakatutok ako sa monitor ng computer pero picture pala ng anak ko 'andoon," said Joaquin. (To be honest, there are times when I would catch myself just staring at my computer screen at work. People at work think I am so focused on a task but I'm actually just staring at a picture of my son.)

    Aside from the feeling of loss that their family is experiencing, they have also become financially hard up, after having gone into debt. 

    Hospitalization and funeral expenses amounted to P130,000. Joaquin was forced to borrow P50,000 from his company. Even with that, they still haven't fully paid for the funeral services and will have to continue paying for the motorcycle of his son.

    It's been a struggle for their family since Joaquin earns only a minimum wage, while his wife earns only P5,000 a month. 

    "Wala [kasi] akong prepared na pera. Yung sinasahod ko tama lang sa pamilya. Hindi ko talaga inaasahan ito eh. Kampante ako na kayang-kaya niya. Every day ko siyang pinapaalala na mag-ingat," he said. 

    (I don't have any money prepared. My salary is just enough for the family. I really didn't expect this to happen because I thought he could take care of himself. I reminded him every day to be careful.)

    According to a study funded by the Department of Health, the estimated cost of road traffic injuries in  2014 was P76.2 million per day. Estimates cover hospital bills, medical supplies, medical tests, and other indirect expenses. 

    Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that most of the road crash victims come from the working age group.

    The study also included the estimated loss of income brought about by road crashes – reached by multiplying the average wage of a person by his/her assumed productive years (18 to 59 years old). The estimated loss of income was said to reach up to P21.5 billion in 2014. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines

    Moving forward

    In his Facebook post, Joaquin urges the local Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fix the road because of the frequent occurrence of road crashes in that area. He said his son was not its first and last victim. 

    While the local DPWH already has plans to improve the road, Joaquin said it won't bring his son back to life. 

    Despite the daily longing for Kiesten, Joaquin said he has no choice but to focus on paying all his debt and accepting the fate of his son. – Rappler.com

    Joaquin and his family are accepting donations. If you want to help, contributions can be deposited to the bank account of his wife. Details are as follows: 

    • Name: Joyleen Magandan Nonan
    • Bank: Landbank, S. Oliveros Bldg, 151 M.L. Quezon Street, Antipolo City, Rizal
    • Savings Account number: 1416-1439-31

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    PRAYERS OF JUSTICE. Randy delos Santos, an uncle of Kian delos Santos, says they prayed for justice on All Saints' Day. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Despite the steady downpour, thousands flocked the La Loma cemetery in Caloocan to pray for their deceased loved ones in observance of the All Saints’ Day on Wednesday, November 1.

    Between two parallel apartment style tombs and along a narrow pathway at the cemetery, people gathered to bring flowers and light up candles. Others silently stood still along the same passageway as they offered prayers for their departed ones.

    In contrast to the busy atmosphere, one particular tomb had neither lighted candles nor displayed flowers in front of it. There were no visitors as well. Instead, there were two vases with nearly wilted plants in front of the marble slab which marked the grave.

    The plain-looking tomb belonged to Kian delos Santos, the 17-year-old who was killed at a one-time, big-time police illegal operation in August 17. Police claimed that a gunman fired shots at them first, prompting the cops to return fire. They ended up killing the gunman who was supposedly Kian.

    According to Randy delos Santos, Kian’s uncle, he and other relatives visited the tomb over the weekend to avoid the fanfare and to ensure their own security. As in his past prayers for his nephew, Randy prayed for justice.

    “Panalangin namin na mabigyan siya ng hustisya sa nangyari sa kanya. Malungkot kami sa pamilya kasi kulang kami,” Randy said in a phone interview with Rappler. (Our prayer is to seek justice over what happened to them. We are sad because we are no longer complete) 

    For Randy and his family, this year’s All Saints' Day, also known as Undas in the Philippines, proved to be different from the past years. Before, they would only light candles for their dead grandfathers and grandmothers. This year, they lighted candles for Kian who was only a teenager. 

    “Napakalungkot ng sinapit niya kasi napakabata niya nung nawala siya.  Marami pa pwede nangyari sa kanya,” Randy added. (He was too young to have died. He could have done a lot of things with his life) 

    Randy is not alone.

    Thousands observed this year’s Undas as the government’s war on drugs racked up to more than 14,000 deaths in both police operations and vigilante-style killings. Just like Randy, families of those killed under the government’s war on drugs are crying for justice for the death of their loved ones on the day for the dead.

    Kian’s death gripped the nation for weeks as it challenged the all-too-familiar narrative given by cops involved in the government’s war on drugs – that those killed in operations fought back while resisting or, in Filipino,“nanlaban.”

    Records show that Kian was found dead in a fetal position, as he held a gun in his left hand. That could not be right according to his father who claimed that Kian was right-handed.

    “Paulit-ulit na lang na kapag may nadidisgrasya silang mga pulis, palalabasin nila na may nanlaban. Parang photocopy na lang spot report nila eh. Iba 'yung kay Kian. Ito yung kay Kian, may CCTV at may witnesses. Kaya naniniwala kami na may laban yung kaso,” Randy said.

    (Again and again, when somebody accidentally gets killed in operations, they would say that those who were killed fought back. Their spot reports look like a photocopy. But Kian's case is different. In his case, a CCTV captured what happened and there are witnesses to back it up. That is why we have reason to hope that we will find justice)  

    Randy does not have any idea whether Kian’s parents already visited the tomb. Late in August, the Department of Justice placed Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos under the Witness Protection Program. Since then, he said, he has had limited contact with the family. From their last interaction, Randy said Kian’s parents are still positive to continue on with the case.

    Although there are no candles and flowers on Kian's tomb on the day of the dead, Randy said his newphew was not being forgotten. More than 2 months since the 17 year old was laid to rest, Randy’s prayer to get justice over the untimely death of his nephew remains steadfast. "Hindi namin bibitawan yung kaso," he promised. (We will not give up on the case.)  Rappler.com

     


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