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    MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will stage a protest action on January 19 dubbed "Black Friday Protest for Freedom."

    The journalist group earlier slammed the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) decision revoking the registration of news website Rappler. (READ: Journalist groups hit SEC decision vs Rappler)

    The group said the ruling against Rappler is just one of the many threats of President Rodrigo Duterte against critical media, citing the President’s statements against Inquirer and ABS-CBN.

    "The threatened closure of Rappler has proven that Rodrigo Duterte and his minions will stop at nothing to shut down critical voices even as they rush to amend the Constitution to produce an abomination that will not only perpetuate themselves in power but emasculate our rights and liberties," NUJP said in a Facebook post inviting media practitioners and concerned citizens to join the protest action.

    There are two ways to support the action:

    • Wear black shirts or black arm bands to school or your place of work.
    • Join the protest at the Boy Scout Circle, the roundabout at Timog and Thomas Morato intersection in Quezon City at 6 pm.

    The NUJP said that it will announce upcoming activities that will discuss and map out what needs to be done "to defend our country and people from the Duterte administration's sinister plans." – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – To prepare campus journalists joining the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC), MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, will conduct a webinar on Online Publishing on Friday, January 19. (READ: WATCH: Rappler X introduced at NSPC 2017 for online publication)

    Starting at 1 pm on Friday, the webinar will be broadcast live from Rappler's headquarters in Pasig City to the different regional and division offices of the Department of Education (DepEd) where school paper advisers will gather for a viewing party. 

    The free webinar will tackle topics on effective storytelling techniques using X – Rappler's self-publishing platform – and responsible use of social media among others. (READ: #NSPC2017: A thousand stories of hard work, hope, and excellence)

    This webinar was included in the official list of NSPC activities stipulated in DepEd Memorandum 200 series of 2017. Interested participants may consult their respective division and regional offices for more details. 

    This is not the first time MovePH has supported campus journalism in the Philippines. 

    During the NSPC 2017 in Pagadian City, high school students from all over the country got a taste of what it is like to work in a social news network as they competed in the Online Publishing demonstration contest organized by MovePH.

    Teams of 7 members each were asked to create an online news blog using X, Rappler's free self-publishing platform. Just like in any newsroom, each member had a different role to fulfill and a different story to file within the allotted time. The same setup will be held as a demo contest this year.

    Dubbed the Olympics of Campus Journalism, NSPC will  gather the best student-journalists in the country. The 2018 leg of the DepED-led program will be held in Dumaguete City on February 19-23 with the central theme revolving around ASEAN Integration (READ: NSPC 2018 to focus on ASEAN Integration – DepED

    During the Palarong Pambansa 2017 held in Antique on April, MovePH, in partnership with DepEd, also trained around a hundred campus journalists and school paper advisers for 3 days. They applied the lessons from the training in covering the week-long sports event.  – Rappler.com


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    PRESS FREEDOM SUPPORTER. Caritas Philippines National Director Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD proudly wears a statement shirt supporting Rappler and press freedom. Photo courtesy of Caritas Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines –  The National Director of NASSA/Caritas Philippines joined supporters of press freedom and Rappler by proudly wearing a statement shirt on Friday, January 19.

    Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD wore the shirt on Friday, at the plenary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. 

    Citing alleged violations in the 1987 Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, January 15, ordered the revocation of Rappler's registration, which is being appealed by the news group. Many groups consider the move as the worst assault on press freedom since Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law more than 40 years ago.

    The SEC ruling, which is not yet executory, is also considered by many as the fruition of the various threats made by President Rodrigo Duterte against media organizations, including Rappler.

    BLACK FRIDAY. On Friday, January 19, 2018, press freedom advocates will gather in Quezon City for a solidarity gathering. Photo courtesy of Caritas Philippines

    Duterte had threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise. He had also attacked the Philippine Daily Inquirer and its owners, the Prietos, who sold their shares in the news group to businessman Ramon Ang, a friend of the President.

    Campus journalists, media groups, international groups, activists and celebrities have slammed the SEC ruling and declared their support for the online news organization. According to them, the SEC ruling is not just an example of media harassment but also an attack against democracy.

    Four days after the SEC decision, press freedom advocates will to gather at the Boy Scout Circle in the intersection of Timog and Tomas Morato in Quezon City at 6 pm on January 19 for the  "Black Friday Protest for Freedom" spearheaded by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Rappler.com


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    BLACK FRIDAY. The #BlackFridayForPressFreedom gathers at least 300 attendees from media groups, press freedom advocates, student groups, artist groups, and the academe. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – It was a rare image: Members of the media were on the other side of the lens, the subject of tonight's coverage.

    Four days since the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of Rappler, press freedom advocates gathered at the Boy Scout Circle, the roundabout at Timog and Tomas Morato intersection in Quezon City at 6 pm on Friday, January 19.

    Their collective stand: Defend press freedom.

    "We’re going to hold the line. We’re doing journalism. We’re speaking truth to power. We’re not afraid and we won’t be intimidated,” Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa said.

    Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

     

    Dubbed as the #BlackFridayForPressFreedom, the gathering is just one of the many protests organized following the SEC ruling – one that is considered by many media groups as the worst assault on press freedom since Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law more than 40 years ago.

    Attendees of the protest came from various sectors outside the media – bloggers, artists, students, and the academe.  

    Tonyo Cruz of the Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) jumpstarted the gathering by urging members of the media to bring out their phones, cameras, and ballpens – their weapons at their line of work.

    “Ipapakita natin sa taong bayan ang ating kasalanan. Ipapakita natin sa taong bayan ang dahilan kung bakit tayo pinaparushan ng president – ang paguulat ng katotohanan,” Cruz said.“Ito ang dahilan kung bakit kinikitil ang Rappler.”

    (Let us show to the public our supposed crime. Let us show why we are being persecuted by the president – for reporting the truth) 

    Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    Déjà vu?

    During the protest, Ressa emphasized that journalism is not a crime. 

    "We’re just journalists and yet there’s a lot effort being put in trying to make journalism a crime – which it should not be," Ressa said, adding that both the SEC decision and the subpoena that she and a former reporter received on Thursday are political in nature. 

    Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappelr

    The online news organization is not alone in this. (READ: Campus journalists say press freedom is everyone’s battle

    According to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), many alternative media journalists have been tagged by Duterte himself as communist or members of the New People’s Army. One of them is Sherwin de Vera, an environmental journalist from Ilocos Sur who, according to CEGP was arrested for trumped-up charges of rebellion. 

    Kathyrine Cortez of media outfit Radyo ni Juan, on the other hand, has been reportedly harassed and tagged as a supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines, according to CEGP.

    Duterte has also threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise and publicly criticized the Philippine Daily Inquirer for its supposed "slanted reporting." 

    Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    For these press freedom advocates, these series of attacks against the media are reminiscent of the crackdown against the press more than 3 decades ago during Martial Law, dubbed as the darkest chapter of Philippine history.

    "Heto na naman tayo na kinikitil ang ating kalayaang mamahayag. Déjà vu ang tawag diyan kaya po alagaan natin ang fourth estate at ang freedom of expression," Atty Mel Sta. Maria from Interaksyon said, adding that Rappler currently stands as the symbol of attacks against press freedom. (Again, they are trying to suppress our press freedom. We call this déjà vu. Let us protect the fourth estate and our freedom of expression) 

    Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    ‘Stay with the story’

    The protest, according to the attendees, goes beyond the issue of press freedom. It is also about the people's right to know – the bedrock of other kinds of freedom enjoyed by Filipinos. 

    SOLIDARITY. Photographer Mark Saludes of the Photojournalist Center of the Philippines manifests the group's solidarity with members of the press in the fight for press freedom. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    "Ang press freedom po nakasandig ang ating people's right to know. Kung walang midyang malaya, walanng pwedeng magcover nang buo at walang hadlang tungkol sa Con-Ass, charter change, federalism, at iba pa" Malou Mangahas from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism emphasized. (Press freedom is anchored on the people's right to know. Without a free press, no one will cover issues such Con Ass, Charter Change, federalism and others) 

    The veteran journalists have called on the public to stay with the story. 

    "Hindi pwede nating isulat ang story na 'to nang kami lang. This is the story of the Filipino people wanting to free itself from undue punishment. overall ang nakasalalay po ay ang kaligtasan ng ating demokrasya," Mangahas added. (We can't cover this issue alone. This is the story of the Filipino people wanting to free itself from undue punishment. Overall, what is at stake is the country's democracy) 

    Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

     – Rappler.com 


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    DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM. Several groups joined the mass action in Quezon City to defend press freedom. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Several groups saw the revocation of Rappler's registration as a move by the Duterte regime to supress people's issues and demands.

    On Friday, January 19, members of the media, campus journalists, progressive groups, and advocates gathered at Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to stand in solidarity in defending press freedom.

    According to Jann Merlin, Anakbayan University of the Philippines-Diliman chairperson, silencing critical media groups such as Rappler is a way to silence people's demands. (READ: SEC decision to revoke Rappler's license 'too severe' – lawyer)

    "Ang laman ng media ay mga people's issues. Makikita mong gusto niyang [Duterte] patahimikin 'yung people's issue at the same time manipulahin ang media at ang gusto niyang magharing interest lang niya ang makita ng taumbayan," said Merlin.

    (What the media reports are people's issues. You will see that [Duterte] wants to silence people's issues and at the same time manipulate the media by reporting only his interests so that it will be the ones only seen by the public.)

    "Ang pag-suppress ng media ay kadugtong ng pag-suppress nya ng people's demands. Ito ay pagpapakita ng 'all out force for dictatorship.' (Suppressing media is related to suppressing people's demands. This shows 'all out force for dictatorship')," Merlin added.

    Block Marcos spokesperson Lorenzo de Vera also said that the move to close down Rappler is a sign that the Duterte administration is "scared of being exposed."

    "Isa itong senyas na natatakot na ang Duterte regime sa mga mamamahayag dahil nabibisto sila sa karumdumal na ginagawa – lalong-lalo na 'yung pamamaslang, pagkitil ng karapatang pantao, korupsyon, at power grab sa federalism na 'yan," De Vera said.

    (This is a sign that the Duterte regime is scared of journalists because they are being exposed – especially the killings, suppressing human rights, corruption and power grabbing brought by federalism.)

    Meanwhile, photojournalist and Redemptorist Brother Ciriaco Santiago III said that the public should be more vigilant of what the government can do to silence its critics.

    "Issues are slowly creeping. Magugulat na lang tayo kapag hindi tayo nagbantay. Yun ang nakakatakot. (We will be suprised if we are not vigilant. That's what's scary.) They're playing God, to put it simply," he said.

    On Monday, January 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked Rappler's registration for allegedly violating the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.

    Several groups slammed the move as an "alarming attempt to silence independent journalism" and a "win for fake news." – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Though physically absent, defenders of press freedom made their voices heard by showing support online for the Black Friday for Press Freedom mass action in Quezon City on Friday, January 19.

    The solidarity gathering led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) brought together hundreds of journalists, bloggers, advocates, and members of the academe at the Boy Scout Circle intersection in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, on Friday evening.

    That evening, the hashtag #BlackFridayForPressFreedom became a trending topic in the Philippines, reaching 3,114,972 accounts.

    The gathering came after the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler's license for allegedly violating the Constitution.

    In tweets, netizens expressed their support for press freedom, saying that the administration's moves to stifle free speech will only produce more courageous journalists.

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you, Duterte. Your attempts to suppress press freedom will undoubtably give birth to more Maria Ressas, more Pia Ranadas - more Filipinos holding the line, more Filipinos speaking truth to power. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DefendPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DefendPressFreedom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HoldTheLine?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HoldTheLine</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a></p>&mdash; Bakla With A Cause (@jonasbagas) <a href="https://twitter.com/jonasbagas/status/954320617976688641?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</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">Protests at Timog and Katipunan erupted today as a sign of protest against the attacks of the government on press freedom. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DefendPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DefendPressFreedom</a> <a href="https://t.co/abPdGmuueM">pic.twitter.com/abPdGmuueM</a></p>&mdash; Ice Punzalan #JunkTRAIN (@icepnzln) <a href="https://twitter.com/icepnzln/status/954303383120183297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    While some netizens mocked the number of participants in the protest, other Twitter users called them out, and said social movements are inspired by the minority:

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Those people calling the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a> protesters as “irrelevant bloggers” are missing the point of world history. Movements are precipitated by small people. Do not underestimate the power of the weak.</p>&mdash; Fronteros (@fronteros) <a href="https://twitter.com/fronteros/status/954486877125410816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</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">The more authoritarian Duterte&#39;s regime gets, the stronger the resistance becomes.<br>Solidarity with <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rapplerdotcom</a> and all the other critical voices holding power to account. Tuloy ang laban  - <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HaranginAngDiktadura?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HaranginAngDiktadura</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DefendPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DefendPressFreedom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a> <a href="https://t.co/eKGZgcTw0t">https://t.co/eKGZgcTw0t</a></p>&mdash; Josh Makalintal (@joshmaks) <a href="https://twitter.com/joshmaks/status/954349608494403585?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    Meanwhile, others who weren't at the gathering expressed their support online and reminded the public that the press will always hold government officials accountable.

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a> There in spirit supporting <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rapplerdotcom</a> and freedom of the press. Keep <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/leadership?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#leadership</a> and government officials <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/accountable?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#accountable</a>. They serve the people; their salaries are paid for by the people. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DefendPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DefendPressFreedom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OustDuterte?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OustDuterte</a></p>&mdash; J Darwin (@CognitiveHeart) <a href="https://twitter.com/CognitiveHeart/status/954540908535472129?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 20, 2018</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">Messaged my former prof to thank him for standing up against the atrocities of our godforsaken government. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a></p>&mdash; (@anneplaza) <a href="https://twitter.com/anneplaza/status/954390723037556738?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</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">Was not able to attend <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayForPressFreedom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayForPressFreedom</a> but my heart is with the journalists who fight for truth and free speech! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SupportRappler?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SupportRappler</a></p>&mdash; star ϟ (@st4rlene) <a href="https://twitter.com/st4rlene/status/954326753098399744?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> {/source}

    Take a look at other #BlackFridayForPressFreedom tweets below.

    {source}<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/954529821907808257?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackFridayPressFreedom - 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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    BRIDGING GAPS. School paper advisers from Central Luzon listen to MovePH Executive Director Rupert Ambil as he give the opening statement during the Webinar on Online Publishing. Photo by Ran Mendoza/Facebook

    MANILA, Philippines – More than 150 school paper advisers participated in the Online Publishing webinar broadcasted live from Rappler headquarters in Pasig City on Friday, January 19. 

    Held by MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, the webinar aimed to enhance the journalism skills of participants in the upcoming National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Dumaguete City on February 19 to 23. (READ: WATCH: 100 days to go before NSPC 2018)

    The free webinar tackled topics on effective storytelling techniques using X, Rappler's self-publishing platform, and responsible use of social media among others. It is part of the official list of activities stipulated in DepEd Memorandum 200 series of 2017.

    According to MovePH Executive Director Rupert Ambil, this is Rappler's way to serve the public by developing the skills of future journalists for free. (READ: The making of outstanding campus journalists from Camiguin)

    "One of the objectives that we want to impart is to go beyond the NSPC contest," Ambil said. 

    He also encouraged students to tell the stories of their communities that will move the people into action.  

    This is not the first time MovePH has supported campus journalism in the Philippines.

    Last year, high school students from all over the country got a taste of what it is like to work in a digital news organization as they competed in the Online Publishing demonstration contest organized by MovePH in Pagadian City. (READ: NSPC2017: Over 5000 campus journalists say 'no' to fake news)

    Dubbed as the "Olympics of campus journalism," NSPC gathers the best student-journalists from across the country. (READ: NSPC 2018 to focus on ASEAN Integration – DepED)

    MovePH also trained around a hundred campus journalists and school paper advisers during the Palarong Pambansa in April 2017 held in Antique. Lessons learned from the training were applied during the students' coverage of the week-long sports event.– Rappler.com


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    RELIEF AID. DSWD Central Office send augmentation support to the agency's field office in the Bicol Region which has been at the forefront of the relief operation for the residents affected by the effects of Mayon's volcanic activities. Photo courtesy of DSWD

    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is putting together a recovery plan that can be immediately implemented following the expected eruption of the Mayon volcano, “if and when it does come to pass.”

    “We continue to coordinate with all units involved in providing assistance to communities affected by Mayon’s impending eruption... Thousands are already affected and their lives will not be able to return to normal for some time – we need to help them cope with the situation,” DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said.

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has retained the Alert Level 3 on the Mayon volcano as of posting. This means that the volcano was still in a relatively high level of unrest and hazardous eruption remained a possibility within weeks or even days.

    On Friday, January 19, lava and pyroclastic flow from the volcano moved 3 kilometers from the crater, halfway to a “no man’s land” area where a handful of farmers till the land for vegetable farming.

    Affected

    Based on the latest report posted by DSWD, the number of affected families has now reached 10,405 families — equivalent to 40,565 individuals — from 39 barangays in 7 municipalities in Albay.

    Of this number, 6,425 families or 24,337 persons are staying at 27 evacuation centers located around the province. On the other hand, 734 families or 3,119 persons are staying with their relatives and friends.

    On Saturday, Governor Al Francis Bichara appealed for “augmentation support” from the national government to hasten the delivery of basic needs for those who evacuated due to Mayon. Bichara also slammed the slow release of money from their Quick Response Fund (QRF) which he described instead as a “delayed response fund.”

    In any case, the DSWD field office said it is ready to provide additional relief assistance to the affected towns.

    “We still have available stockpiles worth P11.4 million. We also have standby funds, which can be utilized at any given time to provide for the needs of our affected families and population in the mentioned 8 local government units in the province of Albay,” DSWD Assistant Regional Director Arwin Razo said during a press briefing with representatives from the national government and LGUs of Albay at the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group 5 in Legazpi City.

    Relief aid

    To help the provincial government respond to the needs of the evacuees and other affected residents, the DSWD field office earlier sent a total of of 5,500 family food packs (FFPs) and 11,000 malongs for distribution to evacuees, while 500 food packs and 1,000 malongs were delivered to Legazpi City.

    On Friday morning, 3 trucks carrying 3,400 food packs from the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City arrived in Albay.

    The DSWD Central Office is also expected to send an additional 26,600 FFPs to Bicol in the coming days to help the field office respond to relief assistance requests from the affected cities and municipalities. Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST CSC) denounced the award given by the UST Alumni Association to Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on Sunday, January 21.

    According to the highest student government body of the university, Uson does not deserve the award because "she does not, in any way, embody the ideals of a real Thomasian."

    UST's official student publication, The Varsitarian, had tweeted a photo of Uson receiving the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">UST-CSC&#39;s Official Statement on UST-AAI&#39;s decision to honor Mocha Uson with the Thomasian Award on Government Service<br><br>Take a stand, Thomasians! Let us hear your thoughts through <a href="https://t.co/KvQ511aMPK">https://t.co/KvQ511aMPK</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PulsoNgTomasino?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PulsoNgTomasino</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OneCSC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OneCSC</a> <a href="https://t.co/kPczNF3lWR">pic.twitter.com/kPczNF3lWR</a></p>&mdash; UST CSC (@UST_CSC) <a href="https://twitter.com/UST_CSC/status/955006141561360384?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

     

    The UST CSC pointed out that Uson is "widely known as the main purveyor of politically-motivated propaganda against known members of the government's opposition, an avid spreader and citer of fake news."

    Uson has been known to share several websites that produce content with false or misleading information. In fact, some of these websites – like trendingnewsportal.net.ph and asianpolicy.press – have had disclaimers saying they can't vouch for the accuracy of their reports. (READ: What is Mocha Uson's top source of news?)

    The assistant secretary has also emphasized her dislike for mainstream media. She has claimed that many news organizations, both local and international, have biases against President Rodrigo Duterte and are out to "destabilize" the country.

    "The UST CSC urges all Thomasians to fight against the proliferation of false information and to continuously seek fact-based evidence amidst the denial of truth," the student council said.

    It also expressed solidarity with members of the media in their fight for press freedom

    Last Friday, January 19, press freedom advocates gathered in Quezon City to condemn the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler's registration. They also slammed other attacks on journalists and called on the government to uphold the rule of law. – Rappler.com  


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    TEMPORARY SHELTERS. Albay residents who fled their homes due to the threat of a Mayon Volcano eruption are in need of temporary shelters. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave P5 million worth of relief supplies to local government units (LGUs) affected by the threat of a Mayon Volcano eruption in Albay.

    The DSWD said there are now at least 6,459 families or 24,381 persons in 29 evacuation centers set up by LGUs in Camalig, Guinobatan, Daraga, Ligao, Malilipot, Sto Domingo, and Tabaco. All of these areas are within the danger zone around the volcano. (READ: DSWD plans for immediate recovery in case of Mayon eruption

    According to DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco, their field office remains on red alert as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has retained Alert Level 3. This means the Mayon Volcano could erupt within weeks or even days.

    MAYON VOLCANO. Farmers in Camalig till their farmland while the Mayon Volcano remains on Alert Level 3. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

    As of posting, the lava flow has advanced to 3 kilometers from the summit crater, still within the 6-kilometer (km) permanent danger zone (PDZ).

    Lifted class suspensions

    The Albay provincial government has already lifted class suspensions for 3 cities and 5 towns where evacuees are staying. (READ: Albay seeks 'augmentation support' from gov't for evacuees)

    Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo), said classes will resume on Monday, January 22.

    "Classes resume tomorrow for areas with Mayon evacuees while construction of temporary learning shelters is set to be done in the coming days," Daep said.

    In some evacuation centers, residents like Salvador Rodriguez, 48, and Romeo Bolante, 67, have taken the initiative to build their own temporary shelters to give way to the resumption of classes.

    "We brought with us bamboos, anahaw leaves, and nails to build our temporary home without the help of the government. We practice this scheme whenever there is a Mayon eruption to decongest classrooms and not to hinder classes," Rodriguez said.

    TAKING THE INITIATIVE. Some residents build their own temporary shelters so they can give way to the resumption of classes. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

    The provincial government used at least 481 classrooms as temporary shelters for residents who fled their homes.

    The Department of Education (DepEd) estimated that it needs to build 243 temporary learning shelters (TLS) to compensate for the classrooms being used as evacuation centers.

    The construction of the TLS, along with the purchase of hygiene kits and cleaning materials, will be sourced from the P19-million fund approved by Education Secretary Leonor Briones. – with a report from Rhaydz Barcia / Rappler.com 


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    PROTEST. UST students protest the award given by the UST Alumni Association Inc. to Mocha Uson. All photos by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Students from the University Santo Tomas (UST) gathered on Monday, January 22, outside the pontifical university to denounce the award given by the UST Alumni Association to Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.

    "Tinututulan namin ang paggawad ng award ng Alumni Association sa isang propagandista ng rehimeng pumapatay at mukha ng black propaganda na si Mocha Uson," UST student and spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students Bluei Fausto said. 

    (We are condemning the award conferred by the Alumni Associaton to a propagandist of a regime that has launched a killing spree. Mocha Uson is the symbol of black propaganda.) 

    "Kahit kelan ay hindi po naging repleksyon si Mocha Uson ng Thomasian values," she added. "Hindi nararapat na bigyan siya ng isang award ng institusyon na dapat ay nakikipaglaban sa karapatan ng bawat mamamayan."

    (Mocha Uson never embodied Thomasian vlaues. She does not deserve an award from an institution that should fight for the rights of every Filipino.) 

    This was the same argument made by the UST central student council in their statement where they "strongly denounced" the award given to the entertainer-turned-government worker.  (READ: Mocha Uson: Fake news victim or fake news peddler?

    NOT DESERVING? In a statement, the UST central student council 'strongly denounces' the award given to Mocha Uson, saying she does not embody Thomasian values. Photo by Eloisa Lopez

    Uson was awarded on Sunday by the UST Alumni Association for having attained the organization's two criteria for the recognition: to graduate in UST, and to work for the government.  

    The Alumni Association claimed in a statement that the award is meant "to inspire and challenge the recipients to lead the Thomasian core values," after graduates of the university expressed their disappointment with the organization's decision to award the rabid supporter of the Duterte administration,

    Meanwhile, UST clarified in a statement that the award was given solely by the alumni association and not by the whole university. "The University does not interfere with the affairs of UAAI or any of its alumni organizations," it said.

    Still, UST students demanded that the university's administration step up and withdraw the award from Uson, if not directly denounce the recognition. 

    "Kung puwede tanggalin yung award ni Mocha Uson o kung hindi, sabihin nila directly na tinututulan nila. 'Wag silang mag-sugarcoat, sabihin nila kung ayaw talaga nila ibigay kay Mocha Uson," Fausto said.

    (They should take back the award or directly denounce it. They should not sugar-coat or beat around the bush if they really are against the giving of the award to Mocha Uson.)  

    More than the actual award, College Editors Guild of the Philippines member Josiah Antonio also said that the decision to recognize Uson is equivalent to giving recognition to the continuing killings under the Duterte administration.  

    "Hindi lamang ito usapin ng pagbibigay ng parangal, usapin din ito ng pagkikilala sa patuloy na pagpaslang sa mga kabataan, magsasaka, at manggagawa," Antonio said. 

    DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM. During their rally protesting the award given to Mocha Uson, UST students are also calling on the public to defend press freedom. Photo by Eloisa Lopez

    (This is not just an issue about awards. This is also an issue about the propriety of continually killing the youth, farmers, and laborers.) 

    He also reminded the youth that the administration has not withdrawn martial law in Mindanao, and has not stopped its war on drugs which has killed thousands of fellow Filipinos. 

    Apart from these students, the award also drew outrage from fellow Thomasian graduates, including author and educator Bino Realuyo, who said in a Facebook post that the recognition given the rabid supporter of the administration is "an insult" to all alumni of the university. 

    As a form of protest, Realuyo said he is returning the award given to him by the university in 2003, the "75th Founding Anniversary Award." – Rappler.com 

     


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    MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) clarified Monday, January 22, that it has nothing to do with the controversial award given by the UST Alumni Association Inc. (UAAI) to Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.

    The UAAI is a corporation independent of the university that has "its own board of trustees and operates independently," a statement from the university's director for public affairs, Prof. Giovanna Fontanilla, said.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: UST administration&#39;s official statement on the award given to Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for her service in government by the UST Alumni Association yesterday. <a href="https://t.co/5mCcPC7IO7">pic.twitter.com/5mCcPC7IO7</a></p>&mdash; The Varsitarian (@varsitarianust) <a href="https://twitter.com/varsitarianust/status/955330157815844864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2018</a></blockquote>
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    “The only award bestowed by the University to its alumni is the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Awards granted to exceptional graduates after undergoing a stringent screening process. They are given only to alumni in all areas of studies who have instilled excellent core values academically and socially to the public,” the statement read.

    The university, however, did not state whether they support or denounce the giving of the award to the assistant secretary.

    Several UST alumni expressed on social media their anger over giving of the award to the entertainer-turned government official. Their common sentiment is that Uson does not deserve to receive the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service. 

    This was echoed by the UST Central Student Council (UST CSC). The student council, in a statement, "strongly denounced" the awards, arguing that the Uson "does not, in any way, embody the ideals of a real Thomasian." 

    UST CSC pointed out that Uson, who earned a degree in medical technology fro the university, is "widely known as the main purveyor of politically-motivated propaganda against known members of the government's opposition, an avid spreader and citer of fake news."

    Fontanilla's statement emphasized that the "The University calls on the Thomasian community to be guided by the principle of Veritas in Caritate (Truth in Clarity) and to remain steadfast in the pursuit of truth."

    Uson has been known to share online content with false or misleading information. Some of the websites where she gets these articles, like trendingnewsportal.net.ph and asianpolicy.press, have had disclaimers saying they can't vouch for the accuracy of their reports. (READ: What is Mocha Uson's top source of news?)

    The assistant secretary has also repeatedly expressed her dislike for mainstream media. She has claimed that many news organizations, both local and international, have biases against President Rodrigo Duterte and are out to "destabilize" the country.  – Rappler.com 


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    MAYON VOLCANO. Mayon spews a giant ash column that reached up to 5 kilometers high on Monday, January 22. Photo by Marga Deona/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – During the Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) conducted by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management council (NDRRMC) on Monday, January 22, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum said the eruption of Mayon volcano may not be over.

    “May laman pa ang bulkan, pwedeng ilabas pa 'yun. Ang fastest eruption ng mayon is 1-2 months,” Solidum added.

    (The volcano is still filled. It may still erupt. The fastest eruption of the Mayon happened within one to two months) 

    The Mayon Volcano in Albay was placed under Alert Level 4 on Monday after it spewed a giant ash column that went high as high up as 5 kilometers past noon.

    Phivolcs raised the alert level and also extended the coverage of the danger zone around the volcano to 8 kilometers (km) from the crater. (READ: DSWD plans for immediate recovery in case of Mayon eruption)

    Solidum added that the recent volcanic activity in Mayon is stronger than the 2009 incident.

    A total of 6,598 families or 25,191 individuals from Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Santo Domingo (Libog) and Legazpi City all in the province of Albay, are staying inside 27 evacuation centers.

    Meanwhile, 740 families or 3,137 individuals are seeking shelter with relatives. (READ: Albay seeks 'augmentation support' from gov't for evacuees)

    What to do

    Members of the NDRRMC response cluster advised the public to stay vigilant, desist from entering the 8 kilometer danger zone, and wear protective masks as necessary.

    Here’s what the public should do during a volcanic eruption:

    • When notified, immediately evacute to safer grounds

    • Assist in evacuating children, pregnant, women, PWDs, and older people

    • Cover your mouth with wet cloth and wear protective goggles

    • Keep your pets in their shelter or inside to avoid them from inhaling ash

    • Stay away from rivers and streams for possible lahar flow

    After a volcanic eruption, the public is advised to remain alert and cautious. Here's a rundown of what they should do after an eruption:

    • Leave the evacuation area only when authorities say it is safe

    • Wear masks when cleaning

    • Scrape the accumulated ash in roofs to prevent collapse

    • Shake loose ash from plants before watering

    The national council, through its regional office, has so far provided assistance through the distribution of P20 million worth of relief and assistance in affected areas. Logistical and fund augmentation were likewise discussed during the meeting. – with reports from Lou Gepuela/Rappler.com 


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    ASHFALL. Students from Camarines Sur goes back home with face covered on Monday afternoon, January 22, as heavy Mayon ashfall covers the area. Photo grabbed from Facebook/Migz Villafuerte

    MANILA, Philippines – Following the class suspension on Monday afternoon, January 22, Camarines Sur's Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) distributed face masks to residents to avoid respiratory complications as the heavy ashfall reached the province's 5th district.

    Among affected municipalities were Bula, Bato, Balatan, Baao, Buhi, Nabua, and Iriga, according to Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte, in a post on his Facebook page.

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    Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on Monday canceled flights to and from the Legazpi Airport in Albay due to Mayon eruption threats.

    On Monday, January 22, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level to 4 and extended the danger zone to 8 kilometers (km) radius from the Mayon crater. – Rappler.com


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    'LIBRENG SAKAY'. Military trucks line up along Alabang-Zapote Road for affected commuters on 'Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok' operations. Photo from Keb Cuevas/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – A total of 39 public utility vehicles were flagged down on Tuesday, January 23, along the Alabang-Zapote Road as the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic's (I-ACT) crackdown on smoke belching and dilapidated jeepneys continues.

    I-ACT communications head Elmer Argaño reiterated that the campaign is "not all about jeepney modernization" but on more road safety compliance as existing laws mandate.

    "Sadly, since we launched the campaign, most of those violative of the standard regulations were public utility jeepneys," said Argaño.

    Since January 8, a total of 1087 vehicles, mostly PUJs, were flagged down, apprehended, and issued a summons for various violations including smoke belching, non-wearing of seatbelts, defective brakes, or worn-out vehicle parts.

    'Libreng sakay'

    'LIBRENG SAKAY'. Commuters hop aboard military trucks courtesy of AFP Joint Task Force. Photo by Keb Cuevas/Rappler

    A Las Piñas local meanwhile used social media to air his reaction on the presence of large military trucks and the lack of public utility jeepneys along Alabang-Zapote Road.

    As of posting, his post earned more than 2,930 shares and 2,603 reactions on Facebook.

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    According to I-ACT, roughly 1283 affected commuters were ferried using military trucks for free, courtesy of the AFP Joint Task Force.

    As transport groups stage a nationwide protest on Wednesday, January 24, I-ACT will continue rendering free rides for affected commuters in various parts of Metro Manila. - Rappler.com


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    LIGHT IN THE DARK. In this photo taken on Friday, January 19, members of the press and other organizations light candles to call for press freedom at the Fountain of Justice in Bacolod City. Photo courtesy of NUJP-Bacolod

    MANILA, Philippines – Pro-democracy group Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) slammed the letter released by the “concerned writers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao" which said Rappler “misrepresented itself to Securities Exchange and Commission (SEC), yet prides itself on being composed of veteran journalists, and as such, members of mass media.”

    The statement  posted online by Rebecca Añonuevo was released a week after the SEC decided  to revoke the online news organization’s license to operate.

    The statement said that “Rappler contradicts its claim to being independent as it has allowed Omidyar and North Base Media to interfere in its corporate affairs.”

    For LODI, which is composed of writers and other artists all over the country which led the call to protect press freedom, Añonuevo and her group have "cast doubt and aspersion without evidence." In a previous press conference, Rappler executives have already said that investors like Omidyar and North Base have no control over the company’s day-to-day operations.

    “They have no say. They can’t tell us you’re not supposed to run this story or you should run this story. No interference at all in editorial. That’s the difference,” Rappler’s acting managing editor Chay Hofileña said.

    Local media groups

    “Journalism, while imperfect, and while pushed to a corner, continues to struggle for its rights and the rights of everyone, including your own: to speak, to share, to engage, to debate, and to write,” LODI added.

    Joining the call of several Manila-based organizations, various local media groups across the country have released statements of support for Rappler throughout the week following the SEC ruling.

     The groups have reiterated that, more than anything else, this is an issue of press freedom.  (READ: Journalist groups hit SEC decision vs Rappler)

    “While we recognize the state's responsibility of upholding our Constitution as well as the regulation of all business, we fear that the act of the Securities and Exchange Commission is a smack against press freedom and freedom of expression,” Negros Press Club said in its statement. (READ: Bacolod media, groups join 'Black Friday' call to uphold press freedom

    Local press not excluded

    Considering the various threats made by President Rodrigo Duterte against media, Palawan News also argued that the SEC ruling adds up to the pattern of consistent efforts made by the government to intimidate the press. (READ: PH media goes black to protest threats against press freedom)

    In the past, Duterte has threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise and has publicly criticized the Philippine Daily Inquirer for its supposed "slanted reporting."

    “The administration’s angry intolerance of independent media, mainstream notwithstanding, has cast a dangerous political environment for free press ever since the President’s rants. The SEC decision against Rappler is a coup de grâce that seeks to stymie all media,” Palawan News said.

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    Local media groups are not exempted from these attacks, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines - Davao (NUJP Davao) said.  (READ: Campus journalists say press freedom is everyone’s battle)

    “In December last year, Kath Cortez, a broadcaster of Radyo Ni Juan Davao was also tagged as a supporter of the communists and received a death threat for her criticism against the policies of the current administration,” NUJP Davao said in its statement.

    The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines has also shed light on this issue, citing the story of Sherwin de Vera, an environmental journalist from Ilocos Sur. According to the oldest alliance of tertiary campus publications, De Vera was arrested for trumped-up charges of rebellion. (READ: From Marcos to Duterte: How media was attacked, threatenedRappler.com


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    PRESS FREEDOM SUPPORTER. Caritas Philippines National Director Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD proudly wears a statement shirt supporting Rappler and press freedom. Photo courtesy of Caritas Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines – “A government that curtails or limits press freedom and freedom of expression is a frightened and insecure government.”

    This strong statement came from Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, director of the Caritas Philippines, amid calls made by various groups to defend press freedom. Caritas Philippines or the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) is the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church.

    In a move that both angered and surprised press freedom advocates, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of Rappler on Monday, January 15.

    This triggered a series of protests led by different groups such as College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), and Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), calling on the public to join their call for the government to stop its consistent attacks against the media. (READ: Campus journalists say press freedom is everyone’s battle)

    "The action smacks of "reign of terror," an arrogant and high-handed warning to the media practitioners that do not kowtow to the administration,” Archbishop Tirona added in the interview with the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN).

    Archbishop Tirona also called on the public "to be guided and enlightened by the Catholic teachings to discern what is true and false, fake and authentic, good and evil.” 

    Earlier, Archbishop Tirona appeared in a statement shirt supporting Rappler in its case against the SEC. 

    For many media groups, the SEC ruling is reminiscent of the attacks against the press when the late ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law more than 40 years ago.

    During that dark period of the country’s history, the Catholic Church was one of the leading voices of opposition against the Marcos military rule.  – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines — Netizens commuting on Wednesday morning, January 24, took to social media to vent their disappointments after failing to get jeepney rides in major highways around Metro Manila. 

    This came after authorities flagged down public utility vehicles (PUVs) and private cars in parts of Metro Manila for the Tanggal Usok, Tanggal Bulok campaign of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT).

    The campaign, run by i-ACT's Task Force Alamid, aims to rid the streets of smoke-belching, dilapidated, and other "road-unworthy" vehicles, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Among the vehicles flagged down were buses along EDSA and jeepneys plying Agham Road in Quezon City, for smoke-belching, damaged wheels, unhinged screws, broken side mirrors, and rusty auto parts. (READ: 'Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok' ops sweep off dilapidated jeepneys)

    Because of this, long lines of commuters needing a ride were spotted in transport terminals and train stations. 

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    On Twitter, netizens complain about waking up early but still arriving late for work. Here are some tweets collated by MovePH.

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     <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/956004116882477056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Walang Jeep - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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    On Tuesday, January 23, roughly 1,283 affected commuters were ferried using military trucks for free, courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force.

    As transport groups staged a nationwide protest on Wednesday, January 24, I-ACT continue giving free rides for affected commuters in various parts of Metro Manila

    In the Philippines, issues on transport system have been a daily problem for commuters. These include the daily glitches in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and surviving the Metro Manila near-standstill traffic among others —Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The intensifying eruption threats of Mayon Volcano raised warnings to Alert Level 4 and extended the danger zone to 8 kilometers (km) radius from its crater on Monday, January 22. (READ: Alert Level 4 raised over Mayon Volcano)

    Heavy Mayon ashfall meanwhile reached areas in Camarines Sur prompting the local government to suspend classes until further notice. (READ: Mayon ash reaches CamSur, face masks distributed)

    On the ground, more than 56,000 residents in Albay were crammed in evacuation centers as more threats were predicted. (READ: Thousands more flee erupting Mayon Volcano)

    According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as of Tuesday, January 23, total assistance worth P19,391,288 has been provided to affected families. (READ: DSWD plans for immediate recovery in case of Mayon eruption)

    Here's a list of relief operations for those affected by Mayon Volcano threats:

    DSWD

    As of Wednesday, January 24, assistance worth P16,221,024 was distributed on behalf of the DSWD since January 13. This included more than 60,000 family food packs (FFS) and other relief kits needed in the evacuation centers. Details here and here.

    Office of the Vice President

    On Wednesday, January 24, Vice President Leni Robredo helped distribute P2.295 million in relief goods in Albay, including 4,100 food packs and 410 sacks of rice. 

    Philippine Red Cross

    As of Thursday, January 25, the Philippine Red Cross has provided 55,000 liters of clean water and 2,000 face masks to various evacuation centers in Albay. They also set up 27 welfare desks which supported psychological support for at least 5,675 individuals.

    Joseph Feeding Mission

    Joseph Feeding Mission Outreach Foundation, Inc. (JFM) is a humanitarian organization based in Pasig City whose mission is to "express God’s love through action." They are extending help through feeding programs, disaster relief operations, medical missions, and prison assistance.

    JFM Bicol is now mobilizing their relief outreach to people affected by Mayon Volcano threats. If you wish to help, visit josephfeeding.org/info.

    AkBayanihan Foundation

    AkBayanihan Foundation is gathering support for immediate relief activities in Bicol for those affected by the volcanic activities of Mayon. To donate or volunteer, contact them at (02) 433 6933 or email akbayanihan.ph@gmail.com.

     – Rappler.com


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    JAWS. Fishermen found a dead 17-feet Great White Shark on Wednesday, January 24, raising fear among residents of Dipaculao, Aurora. Photo by Eddie Rebueno/Facebook

    MANILA, Philippines — Residents of Barangay Lobbot, Dipaculao, Aurora got a big surprise Wednesday morning, January 24, when they woke and found a dead 17-foot Great White Shark on their beach. 

    Photos of the dead shark posted on Facebook went viral garnering almost 4,000 reactions and 12,000 shares. The post raised fears among netizens since the coastal province of Aurora is famous for its surfing spots. (READ: WATCH: How sharks are killed at Pasay market)

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    Gregg Yann, a marine scientist from Oceana Philippines, said that residents should not fear the latest shark sighting. 

    "Though potentially dangerous, shark attacks are extremely rare – and humans annually kill from 70 to 100 million sharks yearly for their liver, meat and of course – their fins. They have far more reason to fear humans than we do them," Yann said. (READ: 10 things more likely to kill you than a shark)

    Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are the world's largest predatory fish. They gained notoriety after the success of the Steven Spielberg movie 'Jaws.'

    Great White Sharks grow about 15 feet, though giants exceeding 20 feet have been recorded. Females are slightly larger. This is significant, for though we know this species ranges through all the world's oceans – very few people have seen it in Philippine waters, making it among the rarest sharks in the country.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies Great Whites as Vulnerable (READ: Every shark counts)

    Locally, this species is protected under Republic Act 10654 or the amended Fisheries Code. No one is allowed to harm, capture or kill one. If caught, offender will face  a penalty of 12 to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of P120,000, forfeiture of their catch, and the cancellation of their fishing permit

    Many speculated the cause of shark's death but according to Yann, no predatory shark of this size can survive without sizeable numbers of prey like mackerel or tuna.  Its presence means that Philippine waters are still teeming with life, said Yann. (READ: Expedition Shark: Why we need to protect these predators)

    "Let this be a reason to galvanize us to protect not just charismatic species – but our seas," Yann urged

    To avoid possible health risk, Dipaculao Mayor Joanna Salamanca has ordered the burial of the shark on the same day it was discovered. —Rappler.com

      


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