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    TRAFFIC. Heavy Traffic continues along Pasay-EDSA as of 5:30 pm. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Angry commuters and motorists complained of being "trapped" in traffic congestion along EDSA on Saturday, November 11, two days before the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

    Some netizens reported being stuck for hours in EDSA as only two lanes were open for public use.

    There were also reports that commuters had a hard time booking rides on ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber. Fares tripled, according to reports. (READ: Angkas 'considered as closed' – LTFRB)

    The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has issued a warning to motorists ahead of the ASEAN Summit to avoid EDSA as vehicles will not be allowed to cross or use lanes dedicated for ASEAN delegates beginning Saturday. (READ: LOOK: Partial, total lockdown of areas during ASEAN summit)

    The MMDA also tweeted Saturday afternoon to expect traffic congestion along EDSA and other major thoroughfares due to the arrival of ASEAN Summit delegates.

    MMDA supervising operations officer Bong Nebrija advised the public to use the Scout area or C5. Meanwhile, MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago cautioned the public to avoid EDSA.

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://web.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fnebsninerone%2Fposts%2F1427975493986713&width=500" width="500" height="299" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://web.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fpircelyn.pialago.1%2Fposts%2F1851451734888014&width=500" width="500" height="170" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    As of 6 pm, MMDA announced that the ASEAN lane along EDSA Northbound is open to the public until further notice.

    Meanwhile, commuters also experienced long lines at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

    According to Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, there are no additional trains this long weekend.

    "As a matter of policy, MRT deploys 12 trains only on Saturday, Sundays, and holidays," Chavez said in a message to reporters.

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/929265012853522432?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">ASEAN Traffic - 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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    PICC. Protestors try to force open the main gate during a protest against US President Donald Trump outside the Philippine International Convention Center, venue of the upcoming 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 11, 2017. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

    MANILA, Philippines – A group of protesters led by militant group Anakbayan stormed the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) – the venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Meetings – on Saturday, November 11.

    Their battle cry? Ban US President Donald Trump in the Philippines.  (SCHEDULE: Protest activities during the ASEAN Summit 2017

    While the government has allowed groups to stage protests during the ASEAN summit week, they are not allowed near PICC in Pasay City, the main venue of the international summit. 

    Despite tight security, the protesters were able to go near the area and stage a quick program at the PICC gate. Anakbayan posted the event live on Facebook..

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://web.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fanakbayanphils%2Fvideos%2F1932311203450967%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    "Ngayon, sa mismong pagaganapan ng meeting, maraming pulis pero nandito ngayon ang mga kabataan. Nagawa nating irehistro ang ating panawagan laban kay Trump," one of the protesters announced. 

    (We are now at the venue for the summit. Despite tight security, the Filipino youth are here to register their call against Trump.)

    Official activities at the PICC for the ASEAN summit are scheduled to start on Monday, November 13. 

    The Philippine government has deployed at least 60,000 security personnel for the meetings which would bring together heads of the 10 ASEAN member-countries and their dialogue partners. The Crowd Disturbance Management (CDM), tasked to deal with the protest rallies, is part of the ASEAN security team. – Rappler.com

     

     


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    VENUE. Dumaguete City is the host of the 2018 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC). Photo by Vee Salazar/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The countdown for the annual National Schools Press Conference begins. 

    On Saturday, November 11, student journalists who passed the rigid selection processes in their respective regions are only a hundred days away from NSPC 2018.

    NSPC, also known as the “Olympics of Campus Journalism” in the Philippines, is set to gather the best campus journalists in the country from February 19 to 23, 2018 in Dumaguete City. The theme of the upcoming schools press conference is “Embracing ASEAN Integration: Campus journalists' role in advancing inclusive education.”

    Dumaguete or the City of Gentle People is known for its idyllic baywalk view, bustling academic environment, refreshing tourist spots, and heritage architecture.– Rappler.com 

    What is your NSPC 2018 story? Share them on x.rappler.com! 


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    ANTI-TRUMP RALLY. Various groups stage a series of protests against the scheduled visit of US President Donald Trump in the Philippines. Photo by Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Aside from the usual fanfare the Philippine government has prepared for the arrival of world leaders, US President Donald Trump will be welcomed to the Philippines with a series of protests.

    Despite strict regulations against protest rallies near summit venues, militant groups have lined up a wave of events around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. They are also planning to burn an effigy of the US President on Sunday, November 12, in time for his arrival in Manila. 

    "Ban Trump in the Philippines" is their rallying cry. According to different militant groups, they are expecting at least 1,500 protesters on Monday, November 13, at the beginning of the ASEAN Summit activities. 

    Why are groups protesting against the first Philippine visit of the US President? 

    'No to US global war of terror'

    During a press conference on Friday, November 10, Laban ng Masa said they are calling for the end of "US encroachment on the sovereignty of nations in Asia through war and one-sided economic relations." 

    According to the coalition of militant groups, the objective of Trump's Asian tour that included stops in China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam was to convince and include Asian nations in US' "war rhetorics." 

    According to the Washington, however, the main foreign policy item on the agenda of the US President's Asian trip will be the efforts to contain or roll back North Korea's ballistic and nuclear missile programs.

    "Ang primarya objective ng pagbisita ni Trump, sabi ng Washington, ay yung trade and security daw ng rehiyon. Pero batay sa unang pagbisita niya sa Japan at South Korea, tila kinaladkad niya ang Pilipinas sa kanyang war rhetorics against North Korea. Gusto niyang isama ang mga bansa sa ASEAN sa paglulunsad ng giyera," Elijah San Pedro, a student leader, said during the press conference. 

    (The primary objective of Trump's visit, according to the Washington, is trade and security in the ASEAN region. But based on his visits to Japan and South Korea, it seems like he wants to involve the Philippines in the US' war rhetorics against North Korea. He wants to involve ASEAN nations in waging wars.) 

    Atty Aaron Pedrosa of SANLAKAS also said that both the Mamasapano massacre and the war in Marawi were triggered in line with the US's "war on terror."

    "Instead of this, we must persist in peace negotiations and continue to root out the cause of longstanding armed conflict, not just in Mindanao but th rest of the country where poverty and inequality thrives," Pedrosa said. 

    WARS. According to militant groups, US President Donald Trump wants to include Asian nations in the US government's 'war rhetorics.' Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Drug war 

    Militant groups are also protesting against the plan of the US government to fund the administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

    The Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights slammed the Trump administration for "funding" the administration's war on drugs despite reports of human rights violations.

    According to Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay, the US gave the Philippines $9 million for the war on drugs and $47.5 million as military aid for 2017, citing US Congress budget documents.

    "Next year, the US is allocating $111 million as military assistance to the country, primarily for the implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, while $7 million will be given to the anti-illegal drug campaign," Palabay said.

    This was echoed by Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), raising doubts over what many observers have speculated, that Trump will confront Duterte on the spike of extra-judicial killings associated with the government’s "war on drugs."

    “Both Trump and Duterte are not only similarly bombastic but also openly abhorrent of all human rights... Like Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and pronouncements which has also victimized American youth, Duterte’s war on drugs is just a decoy to hide their lack of intent to bring about meaningful change," Joanne Lim of SPARK said.  – Rappler.com 


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    PROTEST GRAFFITI. On Sunday morning, November 12, Greenpeace activists paint protest graffiti on the pavements near ASEAN summit venue. Photo by Greenpeace

    MANILA, Philippines – Greenpeace activists painted protest graffiti on the pavements of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit venue ahead of US President Donald Trump's arrival on Sunday night, November 12.

    One of the graffiti messages was "Stop trumping the people and the planet." Another read "Climate change is real." 

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: Greenpeace &quot;Clean Squad,&quot; including GPSEA Exec. Director <a href="https://twitter.com/YebSano?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YebSano</a>, paints reverse-graffiti around the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASEANSummit?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ASEANSummit</a> venues: <a href="https://t.co/UEORs8oIYH">https://t.co/UEORs8oIYH</a><a href="https://t.co/2v30GZ93dP">pic.twitter.com/2v30GZ93dP</a></p>&mdash; GreenpeacePH (@gpph) <a href="https://twitter.com/gpph/status/929521987294175233?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    The Greenpeace Clean Squad sprayed the pavements along the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the US Embassy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Roxas Boulevard, and Welcome Rotonda. (READ: Pinoy climate champions on global warming: ‘We can win this fight’)

    “Donald Trump has just set foot in a country where people have been seriously affected by extreme weather made worse by climate change," Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Vince Cinches said.

    "Every Filipino he’ll meet has felt its harsh impacts one way or another, and so all of us are a testament to the reality of climate change, which Trump continuously and willfully denies,” he added.

    GRAFFITI PAINTING. Greenpeace activists paint reverse-graffiti in various spots around the ASEAN Summit venues

    In June 2017, Trump announced the withrdawal of the United States, the world's second biggest carbon emitter in the world, from the Paris climate accord. He said that the agreement signed by almost all countries imposed unfair environment standards on United States.  (READ: Trump pulls U.S. out of global climate change accord

    Trump's decision to pull out from the Paris climate agreement gained global backlash from different individuals and organizations who are gathering efforts to minimize the effects of climate change and slow down global warming. (READ: Trump pulls U.S. out of global climate change accord)

    CLEAN SQUAD. The Greenpeace Clean Squad sprays the pavements along the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the US Embassy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Roxas Boulevard, and Welcome Rotonda

    The American leader is fresh off his trip to Vietnam, where he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Trump's Philippine stop caps off his 12-day, 5-nation Asia tour, that has also seen him visit Japan, China, and South Korea. – Rappler.com 

     

     


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    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez tried to escape the horrendous traffic along EDSA by using the lane meant exclusively for delegates of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

    In a Facebook post on Saturday, November 11, Lopez even sounded proud as she shared that she removed the divider cones separating the ASEAN lane from the lanes open to the public.

    Lopez added that the motorists behind her followed suit as she sped along the ASEAN lane.

    "I removed the divider cones! Then all other motorists behind me followed! MMDA thinks I'm an official ASEAN delegate! If you can't beat them, join them!" she wrote.

    Her post had the hashtags #nosticker, #leadership, #belikemaria, #pasaway, and #selfpreservation.

    As of 2:55 pm on Sunday, November 12, her post had more than 5,700 reactions and over 5,200 shares.

    Suspension or cancellation of license

    It was definitely not a smart move, however, as Lopez is now in trouble.

    The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) saw Lopez's action as a "serious breach of security."

    "It's a serious breach of security. MMDA and LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) will recommend to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) the suspension or cancellation of the driver's license of Maria Isabel Lopez," said MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago in a message to reporters.

    Pialago added that even an apology would not get Lopez off the hook.

    The Inquirer has reported that Lopez would apologize. The actress was quoted as saying: "The end doesn't justify the means, but I had to answer the call of nature because was stuck in traffic for 3 hours. Sorry but I'm just human."

    For the MMDA, however, "bragging [about] an illegal act on social media is a no-no for a person of her stature."

    The MMDA clarified that only emergency vehicles can use the ASEAN lane apart from the delegates. Emergency vehicles are only allowed to use the ASEAN lane if there are no delegates' convoys.

     

    National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde, the task group commander for route security, said in a separate statement that he supports the MMDA and LTFRB's recommendation.

    "We strongly support the recommendation for the suspension or revocation of Ms Maria Isabel Lopez's driver's license for violation of traffic rules and also for breach of security. A person of her stature should be an example to the Filipino community but she did just the contrary," Albayalde said.

    "May this incident serve as a stern warning and reminder to the public that all agencies are communicating and are all working hard to provide security and order for the ASEAN Summit. Any violations of the protocols and rules set forth by the ASEAN Task Forces shall not be tolerated," he added.

    'Unacceptable' behavior

    The ASEAN security committee also released a separate statement on Sunday, saying that Lopez's defiance of the traffic plan is "unacceptable" and will be "dealt with accordingly."

    The committee quoted Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy as saying that the actress' behavior "should neither be condoned nor tolerated as it can halt and derail traffic management and can put at risk both the summit delegates and the traffic violators themselves."

    Cuy added: "As a public figure, Ms Lopez must be mindful of the impacts of her actions. We tirelessly remind the people that traffic rules are created to save lives and put order in the management of traffic flow, especially now that we are hosting the ASEAN Summit. We will not allow someone like her to simply put our plans to naught."

    ASEAN Technical Working Group on Traffic Management Chairperson Emmanuel Miro said the incident will be investigated and charges may be filed against Lopez.

    "The law must be applied to everyone, whether you are an ordinary Filipino or a public figure like Ms Lopez," Miro said.

    Many commuters and motorists had expressed frustration over traffic congestion ahead of the 31st ASEAN Summit. (READ: EDSA 'parking lot': Commuters endure traffic ahead of ASEAN Summit)

    The DILG earlier announced the partial and total lockdown of certain areas around the metro during the summit. The public is advised to avoid the areas as much as possible.

    During the 2016 campaign season, President Rodrigo Duterte had slammed the Aquino administration for holding the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila, which caused road closures and heavy traffic.

    Manila is hosting the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits– Rappler.com


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    TRAFFIC VIOLATION. Maria Isabel Lopez uses the ASEAN lane along EDSA on November 11, Saturday, to escape traffic

    MANILA, Philippines – Netizens took to Twitter to criticize actress and Binibing Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez for using the lane meant exclusively for delegates of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.(READ: Maria Isabel Lopez may lose driver's license for breaching ASEAN lane)

    In a Facebook post, Lopez said that she removed the divider cones separating the ASEAN lane from the lanes open to the public to escape the horrendous traffic along EDSA on Saturday, November 11. 

    Lopez was among the angry motorists who complained of being "trapped" in traffic congestion along EDSA on Saturday, two days before the ASEAN Summit. (READ: EDSA 'parking lot': Commuters endure traffic ahead of ASEAN Summit)

    But many netizens said that no one is above the law no matter who they are or what their excuses may be. 

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">It may seem funny but what &quot;Maria Isabel Lopez&quot; did was a bad moved. Definitely consequence is on her way. I hope she learn from this lesson. Pls next time be a good example to everyone. God bless her.</p>&mdash; James Cedric Lim (@JamesCedricLim) <a href="https://twitter.com/JamesCedricLim/status/929624579210928129?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">More like Maria Isabel Lopez thinking she&#39;s above the law. Soldiers dying for the people of Marawi is an act of bravery. This, however, is an act of arrogance and idiocy. <a href="https://t.co/O91B8TTjGb">https://t.co/O91B8TTjGb</a></p>&mdash; Mary Dale (@AshJaceReid) <a href="https://twitter.com/AshJaceReid/status/929650418212249600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    Lopez may lose her driver's license for breaching the ASEAN lane

    The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) saw Lopez's action as a "serious breach of security." 

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/929627023516954630?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">New Collection - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    Lopez has already apologized in a Facebook post on Sunday, November 12.

    "Sorry to those who got hurt and affected," she said.

    The 2017 ASEAN Summit will be held from November 12 to14 in the country.

    The DILG announced the partial and total lock down of certain areas in the metro due to the event. This was announced earlier to warn motorists and commuters. – Rappler.com 

     

     

     

     


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    BAN TRUMP. Various protest groups held a rally near the US Embassy to protest US Pesident Donad Trump's visit to the Philippines during the ASEAN Leader's Summit on Sunday, November 12. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Militant groups and youth organizations flocked to the United States Embassy in Manila and the SM Mall of Asia Globe Rotunda in Pasay City on Sunday, November 12, to call for "banning" US President Donald Trump from the Philippines.

    Trump, together with at least 20 world leaders, arrived over the weekend for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit from November 12 to 14

    Despite tight security provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the protesters were able to burn an American flag in front of the embassy. Later on, the police used water cannons to drive away protesters. 

    The protesters vowed to be back on the streets on Monday, November 13, at the beginning of the ASEAN Summit meetings. (READ: Why groups are protesting Trump’s PH visit)

    UNFAZED. The protest groups did not back down even though a group of police awaited them near the US Embassy. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    STAND OFF. The police later on used water cannons on the protesters. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Activists are protesting the attempt of the US to include Asian nations in its "war rhetorics." 

    RAGE. The protesters burned down the American flag in front of the police as a sign of protest to Trump's visit to the country. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    FIGHT CONTINUES. The groups were composed of people from different age groups. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    On Sunday evening, various youth and student organizations held a lightning rally at SM MOA Globe Rotunda in Pasay City, to make known their sentiment that Trump was not welcome in the Philippines. (READ: Small group of ASEAN summit protesters reach PICC gate)

    The rally was staged while ASEAN leaders and guests were having a dinner gala at the SMX Convention Center beside the mall.

    Protesters said they wanted Trump and other leaders to know that Filipinos condemn the US' meddling in Philippine affairs.

     THE YOUTH SPEAKS. The protesters said the object of the rally is to send a strong message to US President Donald Trump and other world leaders that the Filipino people condemn the continued US meddling on our internal affairs and undermining the security in the region. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    NO TO IMPERIALISM. Almira Abril was one of the leaders of the protest. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    NOT WELCOME. These young people made sure to tell US president Donald Trump that he is not welcome in the Philippines. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez apologized on Sunday, November 12, for breaching the lane exclusive for delegates of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

    In an interview with 24 Oras, Lopez admitted her lapse in judgment but said she had to answer "calls of nature."

    "Aminado naman ako na pasaway talaga ako. 'Di naman ako nagmalinis. Although alam ko naman maraming nagalit, naging insensitive sila pero as human nature, nature talaga ng tao na to survive. You also have to do it," the actress explained.

    (I know that what I did was wrong. I'm not pretending that I wasn't at fault. Although I know that many people were angry, they became insensitive. But because it's human nature, we need to survive. You also have to do it.)

    "I became a second-class citizen in my own country dahil sa pagbibigay natin sa ASEAN members na ito (because we're giving way to these ASEAN members)," she added.

    In a viral Facebook post on Saturday, November 11, Lopez bragged about removing the divider cones that separate the ASEAN lane from the lanes open for public use. (READ: Maria Isabel Lopez may lose driver's license for breaching ASEAN lane)

    The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have asked the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend or revoke her driver's license.

    Even with an apology from Lopez, authorities said they won't let the incident pass.

    "Task Group Commander Police Director Oscar Albayalde stands [by] the recommendation of suspension or revocation of her license," said MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago in a message to reporters.

    The Department of Transportation (DOTr) also echoed the move of the MMDA and LTFRB.

    "The DOTr leadership, under Secretary Arthur Tugade, fervently believes that no one is above the law, and that all violators should be held accountable for their actions," it said in a statement.

    Netizens criticized Lopez's actions, pointing out that many motorists and commuters endured the heavy traffic ahead of the ASEAN Summit without breaking the rules. (READ: EDSA 'parking lot': Commuters endure traffic ahead of ASEAN Summit)

    The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier announced the partial and total lockdown of certain areas around the metro during the summit. These areas should be avoided as much as possible. – Rappler.com


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    BOODLE FIGHT. Protesters throw a boodle fight to juxtapose the supposed dinner of the 'ruling elite' and that of the 'ordinary Filipino masses.' Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – While ASEAN leaders and guests gathered for a special dinner gala at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Sunday, November 12, a group of homeless protesters threw a simple boodle fight a few kilometers away at the Mendiola Peace Arc in Manila.

    It is their way of “juxtaposing the ruling elite’s dinner versus that of ordinary poor Filipinos,” said the militant group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), which had criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for its “extravagant spending” on the ASEAN Summit, which will be held November 12-14. 

    Many of the protesters came from the recently demolished community at the East Bank Road in Floodway, Pasig City. Without a house to call their home, they have set up camp in Mendiola instead, near Malacañang Palace.

    According to them, the government should have used the P15.5 billion budget for the ASEAN summit to fund basic social services for the poor instead. Specifically, they said, the budget could have funded low-cost housing for 34,444 beneficiaries, or provide free secondary education to 55,357 high school students, or fund free tertiary education to 77,500 Filipino college students.

    At the ASEAN gala, President Duterte welcomed leaders of the ASEAN member-states and its dialogue partners. They ate a 4-course dinner – a Filipino-Asian fusion menu – that was prepared by a team of chefs led by Jessie Sincioco and Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. All the leaders looked glamorous as the men donned intricately embroidered Barong Tagalog while the women wore Fiipiniaña dresses.

    In stark contrast, the group of protesters sat on the pavement as they shared their humble dinner composed of steamed rice, dried fish, fish crackers, and instant noodles that were carefully laid out on top of banana leaves. 

    Their dinner was illuminated only by the lights coming from the media and nearby restaurants.  

    Here are some photos from the boodle fight:

    DINNER IS READY. Homeless protesters set up the boodle fight at the Mendiola Peace Arc in Manila on Sunday, November 12. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    WAITING TIME. Protesters wait as their dinner is being prepared. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    DINNER. Their dinner is composed of steamed rice, dried fish, fish crackers, and instant noodles. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    ASEAN GALA. The 'homeless gala' aims to draw a start contrast agains the simultaneous ASEAN Gala where country leaders were served a four-course dinner. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    FOR THE POOR. According to Kadamay, the government should have used the P15.5 billion budget for the ASEAN summit to fund basic social services for the poor. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Rappler.com 


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    ASEAN LANES. Heavy traffic await those who ply EDSA due to the designated lanes for 31st ASEAN Summit delegates. Photo by Twitter user @SilverOhs

    MANILA, Philippines – It's a special lane. And you better not breach it.

    Two leftmost lanes of EDSA were reserved for the exclusive use of VIPs and delegates to the 31st Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) Summit, causing traffic nightmare over the weekend as the Philippines prepared to host the event. The security-traffic protocol was also implemented during the ASEAN Summit last April and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in 2015.

    While  the ASEAN Summit itself is held in Manila, delegates arrived at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which is why the ASEAN lane is also enforced around the Clark complex, along Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the North Luzon Expressway all the way to Metro Manila.

    In the capital, the ASEAN lane starts from Balintawak in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City in both directions. It is also in effect along Buendia, Cultural Center of the Philippines complex, Fifth Avenue, Makati Avenue, McKinley, and Lawton.

    Traffic cops allow the public to use the lane only when there's significant time interval in between convoys.

    Breach the ASEAN lane?

    What happens when you try to use the ASEAN lane without traffic authorities' say-so?

    Your driver's license can either be suspended or revoked, transportation officials said.

    Last Saturday, November 11, actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez removed the divider cones along EDSA and sped through the ASEAN lane in an attempt to "outsmart" heavy traffic.

    Lopez's move was considered a "serious breach of security," which prompted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend or revoke her driver's license.

    LTO law enforcement director Francis Ray Almora said that since Lopez's case has "no precedent," there are no hard-and-fast rules for what penalties await her. "We will go back to the fact that driving is a privilege and not a right," Almora told Rappler in a text message.

    "Hence if LTO Assistant Secretary (Edgar Galvante) determines that Ms Lopez is not a right person to operate a motor vehicle, her privilege maybe suspended or revoked," Almora said, citing Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

    'We won't let it pass'

    Violations of the protocols and rules set for the summit will not be tolerated, according to ASEAN security officials.

    Lopez had apologized for breaching the lanes but officials said they will not let the incident pass.

    National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde, the task group commander for route security, stood by the MMDA and LTFRB's recommendation. He said that the incident should serve as a "stern warning and reminder to the public."

    In a separate statement, the ASEAN security committee said that Lopez's behavior was "unacceptable" and will be "dealt accordingly." 

    The Department of Transportation (DOTr) cautioned those who might replicate Lopez's actions. "All violators should be held accountable for their actions," the DOTr said in a statement. (READ: Maria Isabel Lopez draws flak for driving on ASEAN lane)

    The interior department earlier announced the partial and total lockdown of certain areas around the metro during the summit. The public is advised to avoid the areas as much as possible.

    The "ASEAN lane" will be enforced until the end of the summit. – Rappler.com


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    TRUMP EFFIGY. Put together by artist group Ugat Lahi, the effigy features US President Donald Trump with four arms resembling the swastika symbol. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) unveiled a 13-foot effigy of US President Donald Trump that it plans to burn on the first day of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Manila. 

    Created by the artist group Ugat Lahi, the effigy features Trump with 4 arms resembling the Nazi swastika, a symbol of auhoritarian rule, hatred, and anti-Semitism. Trump has long had a following among white supremacist groups attracted to his nationalist rhetoric on immigration and other hot-button issues.  

    "In his own country, Trump has been described as fascist and has been blamed for the rise of neo-Nazi groups," Bayan said in a statement. 

    A caricature of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte can also be seen crouching behind Trump's legs.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This 13-ft effigy of US President <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realDonaldTrump</a> features him with 4 arms shaped into a swastika symbol. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASEAN2017?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ASEAN2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/CKmuL48XTO">pic.twitter.com/CKmuL48XTO</a></p>&mdash; Raisa Serafica (@raisaserafica) <a href="https://twitter.com/raisaserafica/status/929863824022237185?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

     

    Trump and Duterte are expected to hold a bilateral meeting on Monday. 

    This is just one of the many protest actions lined up throughout the ASEAN Summit. Groups are protesting Trump's visit, the government’s alleged “extravagant spending” in hosting the summit, extrajudicial killings in the country, among other issues.

    The government has allowed groups to stage protests during the ASEAN summit week, but protesters not allowed to go near Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, the main venue of the international summit. (READ: Small group of ASEAN summit protesters reach PICC gate)

    Authorities have deployed at least 60,000 security personnel for the international meetings which would bring together heads of the 10 ASEAN member-countries and their allies including the US. The Crowd Disturbance Management (CDM), tasked to deal with the protest rallies, is part of the ASEAN security team. – Rappler.com 




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    MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) formally filed a complaint on Monday, November 13, against actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez for using the ASEAN lanes.

    The MMDA asked Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante to revoke Lopez's driver's license and to impose fines on the actress for violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.

    "We are hereby instituting a complaint against Lopez and before your good office for the revocation of her driver's license, imposition of fine, and to ask for further reliefs, just and equitable, as may be warranted by the circumstances and which are within the jurisdiction of your office to grant," MMDA director Victor Pable Trinidad said in a letter.

    The MMDA noted that driving is a privilege granted by the state, citing Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code:

    "Being a mere privilege granted by the state, it is therefore prayed, pursuant to Section 27 (a), Article I, Chapter II of RA 4136, that the driver's license of Lopez be permanently revoked, and that she be perpetually barred from applying for or obtaining the same," Trinidad said.

    "Likewise, Lopez should be fined for violating Section 4 of RA 10913 or Anti-Distracted Driving Act," he added.

    Lopez has been summoned by the LTO for committing the following violations:

    • Disregard of traffic signs
    • Violation of the Anti Distracted Driving Act
    • Reckless driving

    In a Facebook post on Saturday, November 11, Lopez bragged that she removed the divider cones separating the ASEAN lane from the lanes open to the public. She later apologized for her behavior, saying she is "just human."

    Despite the apology, transportation officials stood by their recommendation and vowed not to let the incident pass. (READ: What happens if you breach the ASEAN lane?)

    "Such shameless conduct and unlawful act of breaching the security protocol during an international event in our country make her an 'improper person to operate a motor vehicle' which could endanger the public," Trinidad said.

    Below is the copy of the complaint:

    Photo courtesy of MMDA

    Photo courtesy of MMDA

    – Rappler.com


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    EFFIGY. Protesters burn down the 13-foot tall effigy of US President Donald Trump along Taft Avenue in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Members of the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) were involved in a tense standoff with anti-riot police on Monday, November 13.

    The group is protesting US President Donald Trump's visit, the extrajudicial killings in the country, and other hot-button issues on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings hosted by the Philippines.

    At least 1,500 protesters along Taft avenue carried placards that read “Ban Trump!” and “Trump you’re not welcome in the Philippines.” Overall, around 2,000 people joined the different protests on Monday, according to the police.

    Bayan unveiled a 13-foot tall effigy of the US leader on Monday morning. Put together by progressive artist group Ugat Lahi, the effigy featured Trump with 4 rotating hands shaped into the Nazi swastika symbol. Behind Trump's legs, a caricature of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte can be seen crouching. 

    They burned the effigy at noon along Taft avenue, marking the fifth day of their protest.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Militant groups burn the the 13-foot tall effigy of US President <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realDonaldTrump</a> here along Taft Avenue <a href="https://t.co/IBOX6XyA51">pic.twitter.com/IBOX6XyA51</a></p>&mdash; Raisa Serafica (@raisaserafica) <a href="https://twitter.com/raisaserafica/status/929927781542084608?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

     

    Trump's war and trade agenda

    Militant groups are opposing “Trump’s agenda of war and economic liberalization.”

    They also doubted Trump would confront Duterte about the spike of extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s "war on drugs."

    “Ang pinakatatakutan namin ay hindi yung hindi sila magkakasundo, eh. Ang kinakatakutan namin ay yung sobra silang magkakasundo, maging BFF sila, at problema yun kasi ang mindset ni Trump ay fascist, racist, and imperialistic,” Reyes said.

    (What we fear the most is not their disagreement. We fear that they will support each other and become the best of friends. That would be a problem because Trump is known to be fascist, racist, and imperialist.) 

    Anti-riot tactics

    The police stopped the march of the protesters with water cannons and sonic alarms. The activists were forced to stage their protest at the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue. 

    Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes slammed the anti-riot-police for stopping their march.

    “For the first time, naka-experience kami na ginamitan kami ng sonic weapon na yung LRAD (long range acoustic device) nila nakasakay sa isang police vehicle. At yung matinis na matinis na sound ginamit para i-disrupt yung protesters at delikado yung ganoong klaseng tactic,” Reyes said.

    (For the first time, the anti-riot police used the sonic weapon  LRAD or long range acoustic device against us. The piercing sound was used to disrupt the protest. This is a dangerous tactic.)

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">For the first time, Philippine police used a sonic weapon against anti-Trump protesters. A piercing sound was aimed at rallyists while they were being hosed down by water cannons. Was the sonic weapon also from the US? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BanTrumpPH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BanTrumpPH</a></p>&mdash; Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) <a href="https://twitter.com/natoreyes/status/929915340246491138?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source} 

    The government has allowed groups to stage protests during the ASEAN summit week, but protesters not allowed to go near Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, the main venue of the international summit. (READ: Small group of ASEAN summit protesters reach PICC gate)

    RIOT. Protest action goes violent after protesters attempt to break the police barricade. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    Authorities have deployed at least 60,000 security personnel for the international meetings which would bring together heads of the 10 ASEAN member-countries and their allies including the US. The Crowd Disturbance Management (CDM), tasked to deal with the protest rallies, is part of the ASEAN security team.

    Trump and Duterte are expected to hold a bilateral meeting on Monday.

    The US President arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, November 12, fresh off his trip to Vietnam, where he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

    Trump's Philippine stop caps off his 12-day, 5-nation Asia tour, that has also seen him visit Japan, China, and South Korea. – Rappler.com

     


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    PROTESTERS. At least 1,500 protesters take the street along Taft Avenue to rally against  US President Trump's visit to the Philippines during the ASEAN Leader's Summit on November 13, 2017.  All photos by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – “Ban Trump in the Philippines.”

    This has been the major rallying cry of at least 2,000 protesters on Monday, November 13, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings hosted by the Philippine government. For many groups, this marked their fifth day of protest. 

    Laban ng Masa mobilized at least 500 protesters at their rally in Quiapo at 8:30 am. The contingent moved towards the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the major venue for the ASEAN Summit, but T. M. Kalaw Avenue was blocked off by police.

    Protesters peacefully negotiated with the police. Their request to push forward, however, was denied.  

    Not all protests turned out this peaceful.

    Along Taft avenue, anti-riot police repelled activists with water cannon and sonic alarm. Despite being outnumbered, the police was able to hold off their barricade along the corner of Padre Faura St. and Taft Avenue, preventing protesters from going any nearer the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). 

    Protesters also burned a 13-foot tall effigy of US President Donald Trump on Monday, November 13. The effigy featured four hands of Trump shaped into the swastika. Around 12 pm, protesters burned down the effigy they named "Fascist Spinner." 

    Here are some photos from the sidelines of the first day of the ASEAN Summit:

    MARCH. Protesters march from Liwasang Bonifacio to the corner of Padre Faura St. and Taft Avenue in Manila.

     

    ATTENDEES. Former Bayan representatives Neri Colmenares and Satur Ocampo attend the November 13 protest.

    SECURITY. Around a hundred anti-riot police respond to the protest action along Taft Avenue on Monday, November 13.

    FASCIST SPINNER. Activists unveil the 'Fascist Spinner', a 13-foot tall effigy of US President Donald Trump.

    MARCH ON. With the aim of pushing through the march towards PICC, protesters prepare to break off the barricade of police blocking them along Taft Avenue.

    STAND-OFF. Despite being outnumbered, police manage to defend their barricade from the thousands of protesters from BAYAN.

    REPEL. To repel protesters, police use water cannons and sonic alarm.

    PROGRAM. Unable to break through the police barricade, protesters decide to stage their program along Taft Avenue instead.

    ON FIRE. Before dispersing, protesters burn an effigy of the US president that featured four hands of Trump shaped into the swastika.

    – Rappler.com 


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    CRASH. A tragic road crash that happened in Laoag City last November 11 took the lives of two minors. File Photo

    MANILA, Philippines – Two minors were killed in a head-on collision between a private vehicle and a public utility tricycle along Airport Avenue in Barangay Begcag, Laoag City at 1:15 am, Saturday, November 11 . 

    A report from the Laoag City police says that 18-year-old Leand Mao Agustin, the driver of the Isuzu Crosswind involved in the incident, was under the influence of alcohol. 

    The two fatalities who were driving and riding the public utility tricycle were 17 and 15 years old respectively. They were both declared dead on arrival when  they reached the Laoag City General Hospital.

    To prevent cases like this from happening again, authorities conduct spot checks on the highway to ensure that motorcycle riders have safety gears and licenses. They also check the roadworthiness of the motorcycle units. 

    According to Police Superintendent Edwin Balles, Laoag City's Chief of Police, road crashes are not common in that area. However, he said that all highways can be prone to road traffic crashes  as long as there are reckless drivers.

    "Disciplined [and] defensive driving are the keys to safer roads and highways," Balles told Rappler in a statement. 

    He added that what aggravates reckless driving and has cost so many innocent lives was driving under the influence of alcohol. 

    Under Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, motorists should not drive if they are under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, or other inebriating substances. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines? )

    Violators of this law will be fined from P20,000 to P500,000 depending if their illegal acts result in physical injuries or homicide. The nonprofessional driver’s license of violators will also be confiscated and suspended for twelve (12) months for the first conviction. A second conviction will result in the perpetual revocation of the driver's license.  – Rappler.com


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    ASEAN RALLY. Protesters attempt to break the police barricade along the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Police defended their use of a sonic weapon during a protest along Taft Avenue on Monday, November 12. 

    They used a long-range audio device (LRAD), a large acoustic mechanism used to project alarm-like noise for crowd control. This did not sit well with protesters, slamming its use as uncalled for.

    But for Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, they had no choice but to use it to defend themselves, as they were outnumbered.

    "Alangan naman gusto nila pabayaan ko lang yung mga tropa na mangamatay dyan kapag hahatawin nila, apak-apakan nila, pwede ba yun? (Would they rather have us leave our men to die being pounded and stomped on?) So we have to defended ourselves accordingly," Dela Rosa told reporters on Tuesday, November 14.

    In an earlier interview with reporters on Tuesday, Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde downplayed the effect of the the sonic alarm, saying that it “will only give you a temporary discomfort.”

    In addition to the sonic device, cops also used water cannons to halt protesters from marching towards the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the main venue of the 4-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

    Unable to break the police barricade at the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue, the activists were forced to stage their protest more than 3 kilometers away from their target venue.

    “For the first time, naka-experience kami na ginamitan kami ng sonic weapon na yung LRAD (long range acoustic device) nila nakasakay sa isang police vehicle. At yung matinis na matinis na sound ginamit para i-disrupt yung protesters at delikado yung ganoong klaseng tactic,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in an interview with Rappler. 

    (For the first time, the anti-riot police used the sonic weapon LRAD or long-range acoustic device against us. The piercing sound was used to disrupt the protest. This is a dangerous tactic.)

    In a statement by Health Alliance for Democracy, it said that at least 123 protesters were injured from the violent dispersal.

    VIOLENT DISPERSAL. At least 123 protesters are injured from the violent dispersal on Monday, November 12. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

    “A severe case of a 24-year-old woman has been documented. She took a water cannon blast directly on her left ear, added with four head contusions as policemen hit her with their truncheons multiple times,” Health Alliance for Democracy said in its statement.

    The unidentified protester was taken to the Philippine General Hospital for further treatment after she was given first-aid.

    The tense standoff between riot police and protesters on Monday is just one of the many protest actions lined up throughout the ASEAN Summit. 

    Authorities have deployed at least 60,000 security personnel for the international meetings which brought together heads of the 10 ASEAN member-countries and their allies including the US.

    While the government has allowed groups to stage protests during the ASEAN summit week, protesters were not allowed to go near the PICC. (READ: Small group of ASEAN summit protesters reach PICC gate) – With a report from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com


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    UNITED IN SOLIDARITY. Representatives from different civil society movements in the ASEAN region gathered at the People Power Monument as a sign of protest to the current ASEAN policies.

    MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of representatives of civil society groups and social movements from across the Southeast Asian region decried "the human rights atrocities, breakdown of rule of law, and unjust inequitable economic policies in the region." (READ: Why you should care about ASEAN integration)

    According to the groups, the policies of the ASEAN integration have widened the gap between the rich and the poor. 

    "It is tearing communities apart because of the kind of development that is being pushed. So this is our collective way of saying that we are in solidarity to resist this kind of regional integration," Focus on the Global South Philippines head of office Joseph Purugganan told Rappler. 

    The representatives from different ASEAN countries gathered at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference or ASEAN Peoples’ Forum in parallel to the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit that is being held in the country. 

    "I think another important element of the discussions over the last four days is to really strengthen the solidarity of the peoples among Southeast Asia, who are challenging the kind of regional integration that is being pushed by governments," he added.  

    Purugganan also said that the regional integration must be anchored on addressing the people's needs and interests. 

    Same hurts, one region 

    Issues like human rights violations, economic, social and environmental crises, conflict and violence, and exploitation of natural resources resonate among ASEAN countries.

    Some of the examples are drug-related killings in the Philippines, the systematic attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and the suppression of free press in Cambodia. 

    Some of the aims of ASEAN as stated in its 5 articles include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region, and promoting regional peace and stability.  (READ: LOOK BACK: How ASEAN was formed)

    However, the current state of the ASEAN countries is not reflective of its goals, civil society groups said.

    Purugganan explained that the ASEAN is pursuing a neoliberal economic agenda that focuses on giving more power to corporations to attract investments. These investments, according to him, have a big impact on indigenous cultures. 

    "It's creating greater inequality, so therefore the gap between the rich and the poor is not decreasing but is increasing." – Rappler.com

     

     

     

     

     


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    CLIMATE DENIER. Climate justice group Philippine Movement for Climate Justice calls on ASEAN leaders to shift to renewable energy. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – An environmental group called on the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to shift from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy instead.

    The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) said leaders of ASEAN member-states should use the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila as a venue to talk about solutions to address energy poverty within the region.

    "Government leaders must generate meaningful solutions that would address the energy poverty in the region without compromising the well-being of communities and vulnerable sectors; and boost our resilience to adapt to climate change impacts," said lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, secretary-general of Sanlakas Energy Working Group of the PMCJ.

    The group also staged a protest against the participation of US President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the sidelines of the summit on Monday, November 13.

    All ASEAN members have signed the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, but the PMCJ argued that US and Japan will bring in projects that still support coal dependency within the region.

    "They bring to the table a 'business as usual' agenda that would further us down the road to coal dependence and more carbon emissions. They are not welcome here," Pedrosa added.

    recent study published in June also found that Japan has the highest clean coal technology in the world. Last February, the Japanese government unveiled its plan to build up to 45 new coal fired power stations.

    Meanwhile, Trump, a known climate change denier, pulled out from the Paris climate accord for "it does not serve American interests." The move made the US the only country not to join the agreement.

    "Patuloy tayong niloloko ng gobyerno at ng malalaking bansa! Sila ang dahilan kung bakit tayo nakakaranas ng mas malalaking bagyo kada taon," said Zaira Baniaga of the PMCJ on Monday.

    (We are continuously being made fools by the government and the developed countries! They are the reason why we experience stronger storms every year.)

    'Ultimate climate criminals'

    The group tagged Trump and Abe as the "ultimate climate criminals" for their continued funds on coal-fired power plants. (READ: 'Climate change is real': Greenpeace taunts Trump in protest graffiti)

    "Trump is a climate change denier. Pero ito (US) ay ang isa sa pinakamalaking bansa na sumisira sa kalikasan. Nagpapautang pa ng pera sa pamamagitan ng mga bago para magpatayo ng coal-fired power plants na hindi lang nagpapalala sa klima, pumapapatay pa ng mga komunidad," said Baniaga.

    (Trump is a climate change denier. US is one of the top countries that contributes to environmental degradation. It gives out loans through banks to build coal-fired power plants that not only affects the climate but kills communities that lives around it.)

    Baniaga added that Japan, on the other hand, believes in "clean" coal technology. She slammed the Japanese government for believing that coal technology does not bring pollution. (READ: How fossil fuels destroy biodiversity)

    "Ito namang ang Japan, naniniwala sa clean coal technology. Ang clean coal technology daw ay ang mga coal-fired power plants na hindi nagbubuga ng maitim na usok. Walang kulay ang karbon! Bakit natin i-dedepende kung isang coal project ay nag-popollute dahil lamang sa kulay?" added Baniaga.

    (Japan, on the other hand, believes in clean coal technology. [It] includes coal-fired power plants that do not give off black smoke. Carbon does not have any color! Why do we have to depend pollution on the color of a coal project's smoke?)

    Slap on the face

    NOT WELCOME. Leftist and climate groups are denouncing the arrival of US President Donald Trump in the Philippines. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

    The climate justice group also called the ASEAN Summit a "big hypocrisy" and a slap on the face for those who survived 2013's Super Typhoon Yolanda. (READ: Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors look back 4 years later)

    "This event is one big hypocrisy. We just commemorated the 4th year of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Then here we are, welcoming a climate denier and a world leader who invests in dirty fossil fuel and believes that clean coal technology exists," said Val Vibal, PMCJ's national coordinator.

    A study by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies showed that coal demand within Southeast Asia has surged since 2010, making coal the preferred option to fuel rising power demand.

    However, fossil fuels such as coal contribute to climate change, studies have shown. A United Nations report said that if humans do nothing to drastically cut down on fossil fuel energy sources, the Earth will be 3.7 to 4.8 degrees Celsius (°C) warmer by 2100.

    Coal-fired power plants produce considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. (READ: The future of coal-fired power plants)

    It also produces hazardous air pollutants which could affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems both on the long-term and the short-term.– Rappler.com


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    OFW applicants inside POEA on August 29, 2017. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may end up of gifting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with a "landmark spoiler" for migrant workers' rights if the document ASEAN leaders  are set to sign during the Manila Summit is not legally-binding.

    Militant group Migrante International gave the warning on Tuesday, November 14, hours before ASEAN leaders sign the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

    At the opening of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings on Monday, November 13, President Rodrigo Duterte highlighted the next day's signing of the "landmark document that would strengthen social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services for our people."

    Leaders from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are set to sign the document early Tuesday night.

    Migrante said it was too early to judge the document, since migrant workers groups in the region have yet to assess if the final document provides adequate protecttion for migrant workers’ rights, or provides redress mechanisms, especially for those in distress.

    It said the ASEAN first drafted the operational instrument through the Declaration of the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Worker in 2007, but it was stalled in 2009 after committee members failed to agree on provisions proposed by labor-sending countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

    The disagreement was on whether the pact would be illegally-binding, protect undocumented or irregular migrant workers. cover migrants’ family members, or would include migrant workers from non-ASEAN member states.

    Centerpiece?

    "If the consensus still does not address these core issues, then President Duterte just signed a 'landmark' spoiler for migrants rights that, ironically, the Philippines has been contesting for 10 years now,” Migrante said.

    The group said the process behind drafting the document was marked by "a lack of clarity, consultative process and scarcity in information-sharing with relevant stakeholders, including migrant workers themselves."

    "Proposed changes to the draft instrument, to exclude families, undocumented migrant workers and to remove legally-binding clause of the draft, would have a significantly negative impact on migrant workers. If Duterte brokered the signing of such a consensus, then he cannot boast of having signed a 'centerpiece' agreement for ASEAN migrant workers," it said.

     Migrante said migrants will not be able to maximize the benefits of the pact if the implementation is optional for member states, so it should be legally-binding.

    The group added that the ASEAN Charter’s principle of "non-interfence" has been used consistently as an excuse to avoid state human rights obligations. 

    "The emphasis on ‘regional particularities,’ principles of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-interference’ allowed the perpetuation of human rights violations in deference to the goals of regional and inter-governmental collaboration and economic development,” Migrante said.

    Undocumented workers, migrants' families

    Migrante also said that since the 2007 draft instrument covered only documented migrant workers, the framework does take into account the reality of migration, particularly in the Mekong region where a majority of undocumented migrant workers can be found.

    The group argued that undocumented workers include those who lost status when their work permits were not renewed, left their employers due to abuse and exploitation, and those whose employers canceled their work permits.

    ASEAN member states should also put into consideration the social costs of migration to families, including the children left behind. 

    "When migrant workers leave their children behind, the children are more likely to suffer academically, have emotional problems, suffer from substance abuse, be forced into the labor force at an early age, and suffer physical or sexual abuse,” Migrante said. 

    The group also called for the creation of an ASEAN-level body to address migrant-related violations and concerns.  This may be in the form of a consultative body or a tribunal or court dedicated to facilitating trials and imposing sanctions on violators, or reprimand governments that would violate the consensus.

    'Gift to the region'

    Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Robespierre Bolivar earlier said that the signing of the consensus would be  "a centerpiece of the Philippine chairmanship" of ASEAN.

    Bolivar said that the consensus to be signed this year "implements the commitments" contained in the 2007 declaration.

    DFA said that the consensus document includes the following provisions:

    • Fair treatment of migrant workers with respect to gender and nationality
    • Visitation rights by family members
    • Prohibition against confiscation of passports and overcharging of placement or recruitment fees
    • Protection against violence and sexual harassment in the workplace
    • Regulation of recruiters for better protection of workers
    • Right to fair and appropriate remuneration benefits and their right to join trade unions and association

    When asked before about the nature of the document, Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said: “We do not just mention whether it is legally, morally binding. We just assume that when you enter into an agreement, you have a commitment and therefore, you have [an] obligation.”

    “We just didn’t spell out if it’s legally or morally or politically binding. What is important is the signatories are aware that they have a commitment when they sign the agreement,” he added. – Rappler.com


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