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    BIDDING. Professional auctioneer Joff van Reenen coaxing one of the guests to bid more for the VP dinner. Photo courtesy of Daisy C.L Mandap

    HONG KONG – The people of Hong Kong are widely known for their generosity. Proof of this is the annual banquet held by the International Care Ministries (ICM) which has been raising millions of dollars for the Philippines’ "ultra-poor" for the past years.

    This year, ICM outdid itself by raising a record $2.04 million at its annual banquet on October 24 to help fund its operations across 9 bases and 23 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

    One of the highlights of the event was the live auction of 3 hotly contested items, including a dinner for 8 hosted by Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo at her house, catered by well-known Philippine chef Margarita Fores. (READ: Philippines; Margarita Fores is Asia's Best Female Chef 2016).

    After a frenetic bidding, professional auctioneer Joff van Reenen brought down the hammer at $19,139 for the highly-coveted donation of the Vice President.

    Losing bidders were not to be outdone. Even before the event ended, two approached organizers with offers to pay the winning bid if VP Robredo agreed to host them as well.

    The result was recounted by ICM’s chairman of the board David Sutherland in a later email: “We immediately contacted the VP and before 1:30 am, she agreed to accommodate 3 ICM dinners at her home for 3  different auction winners. I am impressed!”

    While the amount raised from this one lot was substantial, it was just the tip of the iceberg. In just 5 hours, ICM managed to garner its record-breaking haul of $2,028,760 million ((P108 million) from its  2018 “Stepping Free from Poverty” banquet.

    Sutherland said that this was the first time that ICM had crossed the $2-million mark. “This $2 million is about 25% of ICM’s annual cash funding needs – a great start to our funding year,” he said.

    The bulk of the funds raised came from the event’s “Moment of Giving,” where 122 individuals contributed a total of $842,127 million (P46.2 million) in outright donations. By raising their number cards, guests pledged amounts ranging from $1,021 (P55,000) to $102,076 (P5.5 million), with nothing in return.

    Another $216,929 million (P11.62 million) was raised from the evening’s silent auction of 115 items donated by artists, hotels, resorts, and corporations. The bidding took place in between the sumptuous 3-course dinner served that night.

    The item that drew the most interest was a dinner with American pastor and theologian Tim Keller at New York’s Jean-Georges’ restaurant which, after 55 bids, went for a cool $9,698 (P520,000).

    Trailing behind was a set of tickets to the Ellen DeGeneres show (billed as “priceless”), which went for $2,807 (P150,000) after 22 bids.

    At the live auction, the two other lots sparked a bidding war which led to an additional $63,803 raised for ICM.

    The first was skiing lessons and dinner for 10 in a ski resort in Niseko, Japan, with Polish ski mountaineer  Andrej Bargiel, which went for the top bid of $20,417 (P1.09 million). A losing bidder who offered to match the price went home happy after getting the nod of the donor and the organizers.

    The piece de resistance was a limited edition lithograph called “Impressions of Africa” featuring the handprint and signature of the late South African President Nelson Mandela. This piece was claimed for $31,901 (P1.71million).

    Though the funds raised generated much fanfare and excitement, they took a backseat when it came to the beneficiaries of ICM’s programs.

    Taking the limelight were Mary Jane, Nica, and Rizzel, young members of the ICM children’s choir who emceed the show; and Alexis, a 6-year-old boy who exchanged framed handprints with 13 donors, each contributing $40,000 to ICM’s Medical Mercy Fund which provides life-changing treatment and support. 

    FINALISTS. Sutherland with the 3 groups that competed in the finals of 'Stepping Free' dance competition held in the 23 provinces served by ICM. Photo courtesy of Daisy C.L Mandap

    Also in attendance were 3 dance groups from different regions serviced by ICM. Each group competed in the event’s “Stepping Free” dance showdown for a chance to win cash prizes totaling P675,000.

    The Sugar Cane Warriors from Bacolod City emerged victorious after 500 guests placed their votes by phone. They were followed by The River Dancing Queens from Western Mindanao and finally, The Coco Mamas from Southern Mindanao.

    Post-dinner and celebration, it was reported that all 3 teams were planning future business opportunities. The winners, The Sugar Cane Warriors, even made the decision to give 10% of their winnings to their ICM savings group which would further benefit their community in Bacolod City.

    The evening was a delightful celebration not only of the NGO’s work but also of the generous donors who have helped make this happen.

    Founded in 1992 by Hong Kong-based Singaporean interior designer Sharon Tang, ICM delivers support, training, and resources that allow their participants to progress out of poverty.

    On its 25th year last year, ICM reached its one millionth family member through its core Transform program. It hopes to reach the next million beneficiaries by its 30th anniversary in 2023.

    In the future, ICM hopes to continue extending help to other poor communities across the globe, and to work until no child has to live in ultra poverty. – Rappler.com


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    MY PLAYMATE. Kim Froilan, 8, trying to catch fish for her family. 6 small fishes were already caught when the photo was taken. Photo by Jhonalyn Dela Rosa

    CEBU CITY, Philippines – Five years after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck, young survivors aged 8 to 18, showed their own stories of recovery in the "Yolanda Retold" photo exhibit.

    Postcards From Disaster (PFD) and Tukod Project, in partnership with various non-governmental organizations, spearheaded the exhibit for the survivors of Barangay Anibong, one of the hard-hit areas in Tacloban City. The Anibong coast was where 4 ships ran aground during the onslaught of Yolanda in Tacloban City. (WATCH: After Haiyan: The ship that stayed)

    "Instead of us journalists, telling the story, we thought of providing them, the survivors, a platform where they can tell their stories," said PFD co-founder Makoi Popioco.

    Out of the 500 affected families in Anibong, only 200 have been relocated in sites with no access to water or electricity, and far away from their livelihood and schools. The situation has prompted residents to return to their homes where they are vulnerable to disasters. (READ: 5 years after Yolanda, 23% of houses for survivors occupied)

    "Five years after, nandoon pa rin, despite the fact that billions of pesos 'yung donation na ibinigay sa gobyerno. Nandoon pa rin sila, living in a tsunami hazard zone," added Popioco.

    (Five years after, they're still there, despite the fact that billions of pesos were donated to the government. They're still there, living in a tsunami hazard zone.)

    John Rey Dela Rosa, one of the survivors who volunteered to be a part of the exhibit, said he hoped the photos would convince authorities to provide quality housing and livelihood for the survivors.

    "So that I could help, not just myself, but my community as well," he said in a mix of Filipino and English. 

    He added that posting their photos on social media would make people become more aware of the current situation of the survivors. (READ: [OPINION] Yolanda survivors have not forgotten)

    "'Pag abot ha gobyerno, may some na diri nagkaka-uruasya, kay about ngani ha kwarta, waray, diri na naabot hin komplete nga dapat, mahikadto ha mga tawo, na dapat buligan, sana, kung gusto niyo bumulig, bulig, hin kinasingkasing," Dela Rosa said.

     (When it comes to the government, sometimes it is not in order, especially when it comes to money. It does not completely reach the people. If they would help, help wholeheartedly.)

    Here are some of the photos: 

    WOMEN HAVE THE POWER. Photo by Brian Kevin Felix

    LIFE ALONG THE COAST. 475 families remain in the community which was declared a tsunami-hazard zone. Photo by Philip Jhunilo Cablao

    I'D RATHER STAY. Romeo Vibbero, 68, still lives in Anibong, to avoid the humidity in the shelters. Photo by Jacqueline Francisco and Ma. Salvacion Francisco

    BORN AFTER YOLANDA. 36 year old Sarah dela Peña gave birth to her second daughter, Danica, 4 months after the typhoon hit Tacloban City. Photo by Joebert Calinao

    PLAYTIME. Photo by John Rey Dela Rosa

    STRUGGLE. Eufemia Eguia, 67, battling with breast cancer, needed to purchase P10,000 worth of medicine when she was diagnosed two years ago. She was only able to acquire half of the needed medicine. Photo by Philip Jhunilo Cablao

    TODAY'S CATCH. Roberto Villanueva returns home from fishing. Photo by Ernilyn Francisco

    The exhibit will be in the Cube Wing of SM Seaside City Cebu until December 8. – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Social media momentarily erupted with celebration on Friday, November 9, when news came out that the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicted Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos of 7 counts of graft. (READ: DOCUMENT: Full decision convicting Imelda Marcos over illegal Swiss foundations) 

    The celebration, however, lived shortly as people began to ask: will she go to jail or not? At least 5 days after the order was released, the answer to this question remains in the negative. 

    The stark contrast between how PNP is handling the former first lady's case and other recent controversial arrest cases did not escape the attention of many Filipino netizens. The Philippine National Police (PNP) primarily cited Imelda Marcos’ old age when asked why they did not send an advance team to standby for a court order for her arrest.  (READ: No cuffs for Imelda Marcos if arrested – PNP

    Other lolas, lolos in jail 

    But instead of placating netizens over the delay in Imelda's arrest, the excuse instead ignited a flurry of posts online arguing why PNP’s justification is moot. 

    If health and age are factors for cops when they conduct their arrest, netizens asked: What about the poor old man who was detained after stealing a bar of chocolates? Netizens also remembered the story of the 94-year old woman in Dapitan who was accused of hiring a gunman to kill her son.  

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    On other hand, netizens also asked about the arrest of Vic Ladlad, an old and sickly National Democratic Front consultant who was recently apprehended by police.

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    There is also no special rule in the country's penal system that gives the elderly an instant pass to skip jail time. In fact, data according to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Bureau of Corrections showed that at least 4,500 senior citizens are currently either detained or jailed.

    ‘Strong enough to run’ 

    If there's any better indicator that she is strong enough to serve her time in jail, netizens pointed out her plan to still run as Ilocos Norte governor in the upcoming elections. According to them, if she is strong enough to run, she is strong enough to go to jail. 

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     Double standard?

    In a statement, Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) said that PNP's refusal to send an advance team to arrest Imelda shows the double standard in how they handle these situations.

    "The police is blatantly and deliberately obstructing justice by refusing to arrest Marcos, and thus deepening the injustice felt by the victims of the Marcos family,"  Carrma said. 

    This sentiment was echoed by many netizens online. Here are some:

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The problem is that in spite of her conviction she is still able to commit more graft offenses or do cover up of them.</p>&mdash; janet go (@jango1224) <a href="https://twitter.com/jango1224/status/1062552350882033664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 14, 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="tl" dir="ltr">Ano yan special treatment eh bakit yong mga old na nakakulong pa till now</p>&mdash; reila (@kulotlola) <a href="https://twitter.com/kulotlola/status/1062587711779856384?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 14, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/comment_embed.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frapplerdotcom%2Fposts%2F2334301453257291%3Fcomment_id%3D2334319219922181&include_parent=false" width="560" height="140" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

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     – Rappler.com 


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    MANILA, Philippines – In the Philippines, it has become common for motorists and commuters alike to see road signs pointing towards commercial establishments. But is this standard practice elsewhere? 

    Road safety advocate Vince Lazatin talks to Dr Regin Regidor of the National Center for Transportation Studies about how, in the Philippines, the prevalence of ads masquerading as road signs make it look like all roads lead to shopping malls – turning them into key landmarks in a metropolis that has no defined center to speak of. – Rappler.com


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    INCLUSION. Students with Down syndrome enjoy their training at a hotel in Davao City. Photos by Nikko Villa

    MANILA, Philippines – Proud parents cheered on as their sons and daughters graduated from a hotel internship in Davao City on Friday, November 16. Everywhere, there were cameras clicking and joyous tears.

    But it was not an ordinary graduation.

    At least 7 students with Down syndrome successfully completed a 10-day training program on the basics of the hotel industry in late October, through a partnership between the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Incorporated (DSAPI) Davao and Green Windows Hotel.

    "Proud na proud ako at sobrang saya ko. Kung ano'ng achievement niya ay achievement na rin namin," Joy Omar, mother of 27-year-old Benrafii, told Rappler. (I'm very proud and I'm so happy. His achievement is our achievement too.)

    Known for their exceptional characteristic of being joyful, the students with Down syndrome became even more enthusiastic after their acceptance into the training program, according to their parents.

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    For Omar, the program is a great initiative that served as an avenue for her son and other trainees to showcase their abilities.

    "Meron silang strengths, may mga kaya silang gawin. Kailangan lang natin silang i-support at bigyan ng pagkakataon na ipakita 'yung mga kakayahan nila," Omar said.

    (They have strengths, there are things they can do. We just need to support them and give them the chance to show what they've got.)

    This was echoed by Daina Borja, mother of 23-year-old Eloisa Jane, who shared how proud her daughter was whenever she was asked by their neighbors about her internship.

    "Tinatanong namin kung ano'ng ginagawa nila, more pa sila na-e-encourage na gumawa ng mga bagay. Sa paglabas namin sa umaga, kapag tinatanong siya kung saan siya pupunta, proud siyang magsasabi na sa work niya," Borja said.

    (We would ask her what they're doing, and it would encourage her to do more. Whenever we would go out in the morning and someone would ask where she was going, she was proud to say that she's going to work.)

    Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which is typically associated with physical and intellectual delays. (READ: Down syndrome and 10 things I've learned)

    Inclusion

    With the thriving hospitality industry in the city, Green Windows Hotel sales and marketing head Pio Sto Domingo said they realized that "development comes with inclusion." This is why they partnered with DSAPI, a non-profit organization that supports families who have a child with Down syndrome.

    "People with Down syndrome are welcoming and we felt the urge [to provide] opportunities for them to work by giving them trainings," said Sto Domingo.

    The trainees received certificates of completion and copies of their individual resumés for their job-hunting endeavors.

    Being a member of DSAPI for 10 years, Omar said the opportunity given to her child was a dream come true.

    The parents said that people with Down syndrome continue to face stigma. Their ultimate hope is to live in a world that fully accepts people with Down syndrome.

    "Kapag dini-discriminate sila, kaming mga parents 'yung pinakanasasaktan, pero hindi na lang namin 'yun iniintindi masyado," Borja said.

    (Every time that they are discriminated against, we – the parents – are the ones who are hurt the most, but we just try to ignore it.)

    The parents said they are now waiting for another training program which will be handled by another partner corporation of DSAPI.

    Initiative captures hearts online

    The photos of the trainees went viral online, with many commending the hotel for promoting an inclusive workplace.

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    As of this writing, the hotel's post has gotten more than 13,000 reactions and over 11,000 shares.

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    Parents of other kids who have Down syndrome also commented, saying that they wish their kids would be given similar opportunities too.

    According to Sto Domingo, they plan to continue the initiative and include other individuals with special needs. He also hopes that other establishments would champion diversity and inclusion. – Rappler.com


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    STATE VISIT. President Xi Jinping will visit the Philippines on November 20-21, the first in 13 years. Duterte and Xi photo from Malacañang; protest photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Groups from various sectors will hold protests during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines on November 20-21. (READ: Xi Jinping to visit PH from November 20-21)

    Ahead of Xi’s visit, which will be first in 13 years, Malacañang said there were plans for a framework agreement on joint exploration for oil and gas to be signed. (READ: Xi Jinping's schedule of activities in PH)

    Duterte had invited Xi to visit the Philippines during all of his 3 trips to China: in October 2016, May 2017, and this April.

    Here is a running list of activities for Tuesday:

    Makati Fire Station

    • 9 am - P1NAS leads the mobilization and march to the Chinese consulate. Other groups, such as Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, will join.

    Chinese Consulate, Makati City

    • 9 am - Bayan will lead other groups, like the Movement Against Tyranny, in staging protest action. 
    • 10 am - Pamalakaya fishers' group, along with other patriotic sectors, will oppose the joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea and other deals.

    Welcome Rotunda, Quezon City

    • 10 am - Akbayan organizes protest action.

    Luneta

    • 4 pm -Bayan organizes protest action.

    We shall continually update the schedule. Please bookmark this page. – Rappler.com

     


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    MANILA, Philippines – Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution may no longer be required as part of the General Education Curriculum in college, and netizens are not happy about it.

    When the news broke, students, academicians, and culture advocates took to social media to express their outrage about the policy of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), pointing out that this may lead to the erosion of Philippine culture and sense of identity. (READ:Supreme Court lifts TRO: Filipino not required subject in college)

    What brought particular ire was the thought of the Constitution subject being made optional as well.

    According to netizens, if the order is implemented, it would make Filipinos ignorant of the fundamental law and make them easily fooled by those in power.

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    This was echoed by Peter Esguiran Eglarinda, who said that if the order pushes through, Filipinos would not know how to protect their rights.

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    In the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 (1) says that "all educational institutions shall include the study of the Constitution as part of the curricula."

    Here’s what other netizens had to say about the issue:

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    Though the CHED has assured the public that it will hold the implementation of its own order while waiting for the Court’s final decision, people are still disappointed and doubtful of what will happen next if the SC will rule in favor of the commission.

    If the decision of the SC becomes final and executory, how do you think this would affect the youth? Share your thoughts with us! – Rappler.com


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    SUCCESS. Rappler contributor Mavic Conde receives the award for Best Online Story at the 12th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards on November 16. Photo courtesy of 12th Bright Leaf Awards Secretariat

    MANILA, Philippines – A Rappler feature story on beekeeping in Sorsogon won top prize in the Best Online Story category at the PMFTC Incorporated’s 12th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards on November 16.

    Written by Rappler contributor Mavic Conde, the article "How beekeping helped a Sorsogon coconut farm" highlighted the role of kiwot bee in making coconut farms more productive in the Sorsogon, and in uplifting the lives of farm owners and workers.

    The feature article published on August 11 presented how beekeeping helped a particular farm increased its yield by as much as 50%. (READ: 11 fascinating facts about bees, the most important pollinators)

    Conde said she decided to write the story to present a viable solution to a coconut production problem in the country.

    “I hope that with the award, more people will pay attention to the story,” she shared.

    With the cash prize she received, Conde pledged to pursue more stories to promote agricultural solutions.

    Meanwhile, "How a peaceful community in Marawi thrives" written by a Rappler Mover Angelo Lorenzo earned fifth spot in the same category.

    Lorenzo, one of Rappler's lead Movers in Cagayan de Oro, wrote a story that highlighted the "lives and livelihood" of evacuees in Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa in  Lanao del Sur who were displaced by the 5-month siege in Marawi last year. (READ: MARAWI: 153 DAYS AND MORE)

    Thanking Rappler, Lorenzo shared that correcting misconceptions is one of the reasons why he is pursuing community journalism.

    “Regions, especially in Mindanao, contain vibrant stories that may correct misconceptions about the people and the place,” shared Lorenzo.

    Committed to promoting and creating awareness on current agricultural issues and best farming practices, the Bright Leaf Awards honors the most outstanding and relevant stories in print, radio, and television. – Rappler.com


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    ASSERT RIGHTS. Groups stage a rally in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati to protest the increasing militarization of the West Philippine Sea. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines– Groups from various sectors headed to the Chinese Embassy in Makati on Tuesday, November 20, to assert the Philippines' sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

    The protest was held to coincide with the first day of the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines.

    Bayan, along with groups including Movement Against Tyranny, pointed out the issue surrounding the West Philippine Sea, citing the Hague ruling that invalidated China's expansive claim over the South China Sea. They also opposed China's loans and grants to the Philippines, calling them a "debt trap." 

    Indigenous people, fisherfolk from the Pamalakaya fishers' group, and other sectors who may be affected by possible deals with China also took part in the protest to show their strong opposition to joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea. Xi is the first Chinese President to conduct a state visit to the Philippines in 13 years. He is visiting Manila to strengthen bilateral partnerships and sign trade agreements between the Philippines and China. (READ: Xi Jinping's schedule of activities in PH)

    Here are some photos of the protest on the day of Xi's arrival in the Philippines:

    STRONG STAND. A woman carries a sign with the words "China layas!" during a protest at the Chinese Consulate in light of Xi Jinping's state visit to the Philippines. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    STRONG STATEMENTS. People carry signs to show their strong objection to possible deals and plans with China during the protest at the Chinese Consulate on the day of Xi Jinping's arrival in the Philippines. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    INDEPENDENCE. Signs fighting for independent foreign policy can be seen in a protest at the Chinese Consulate during Xi Jinping's PH state visit on Tuesday, November 20. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    FOR THE PHILIPPINES. Men in masks make their own statement during a protest at the Chinese Consulate in light of Xi Jinping's PH state visit on November 20, 2018. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    MASK. A man wears a mask with the words "Atin ang Pinas. China layas" during a protest at the Chinese Consulate on the day of Xi Jinping's state visit to the Philippines on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

    – Rappler.com


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    NOT WELCOME. Protesters gather in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati City to denounce the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines. Photo by Kurt Dela Peña/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines –  “Duterte, Xi Jinping, Philippines not for sale!”

    This was the cry of various groups as they protested the possible deals between Philippines and China that could affect their lives and their communities.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Philippines for a two-day state visit on Tuesday, November 20. This is the first visit of a Chinese leader in the country in 13 years. 

    While Xi was walking along the red carpet in Malacañang, a crowd was protesting at the Chinese Consulate in Makati City. They were mostly fisherfolk and indigenous people denouncing the Chinese leader's arrival. (IN PHOTOS: Groups to Xi Jinping: 'Stay out of West PH Sea')

    A number of deals between the Philippines and China are expected to be signed during Xi's state visit. How are these affecting Filipino communities?

    ‘Build, Build, Build’

    One of China's offerings is a loan to finance the Philippine government's infrastructure program which includes the construction of dams.

    Known as one of the cornerstone of the Duterte administration’s ‘development’ project, the ‘Build Build Build’ program is drawing flak from marginalized sectors. Some said the program is causing ‘suffering’ for people in the countryside. (READ: Hits and misses of Duterte’s infrastructure push)

    Among those who oppose the program is 20-year-old Memar Doroteo, a Dumagat.

    HOPEFUL. 20-year-old Memar Doroteo from the Dumagat tribe listens to speakers at the protest in Makati City. Photo by Kurt Dela Peña/Rappler.com

    Born in Tanay, Rizal, she spent all her years in the area. Because of the possible continuation of the proposed New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP) which involves the construction of the Laiban and Kaliwa dams, Doroteo may be forced to leave the place where she envisioned her dreams.

    Yung lupa doon sa amin parang buhay na rin namin at tsaka isa pa, pinagmulan po namin iyon. Doon na nawala 'yung mga ninuno namin tapos masakit sa amin na sariling lupa namin e ‘yun, mapapalayas kami,” she shared. (The land there is our life and one more thing, that’s where we came from. Our ancestors died there. That’s why it hurts when we are forced to leave our own land.)

    Doroteo said that if the project pushes through, the Dumagat youth’s future will erode along with their mountains and hills. Additionally, other indigenous tribes including the Igorots in Kalinga will need to leave their ancestral lands.

    China’s “debt trap”

    According to an IBON Foundation report, the government needs P8.4 trillion for its infrastructure program.

    At the protest action held in front of the Chinese Embassy, former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares pointed out the Philippines seems to be falling into China’s “debt trap.”

    Questioning the government’s move of asking for assistance from China instead of other nations whose interest rate are much lower, Colmenares raised concern over its possible implications. (READ: [OPINION] What scares me the most about China’s new, ‘friendly’ loans)

    The country's territories, including Philippine waters might be used as collateral, if not a form of payment for the loans to be extended by China.

    LAND IS OURS. Elderly members of the Dumagat Tribe from the Sierra Madre mountains join various groups at a protest action in Makati City to fight for their ancestral land. Photo by Kurt Dela Peña/Rappler.com

    West Philippine Sea

    Long before Xi’s visit, the dispute at the West Philippine Sea has already created noise. According to Malacañang, there were plans for a framework agreement on joint exploration for oil and gas to be signed. (READ: PH quietly prepares joint exploration deal with China for Xi visit)

    Earlier this year, aside from the continued reclamation, reports of bullying being committed by the Chinese Coast Guard to Filipino fishermen intensified the calls for the government to take concrete action to defend the country's economic rights. 

    Months after the incident, this is still the call of Bobby Roldan, a fisherman in Zambales.

    Iginigiit namin 'yung aming karapatan na malayang makapangisda partikular sa West Philippine Sea,” Roldan said. (We are insisting our rights to peacefully fish at the West Philippine Sea.)

    As a father who supports a family of 5, Roldan was concerned about the possible joint exploration agreement between the Philippines and China.

    Kasi kung dito pa lang sa Scarborough, diyan pa lang sa mga bahura e hindi na kami makapasok e lalo na kung magkaroon ng joint exploration ang Pilipinas at tsaka ang China baka halos lahat ng mga mangingisda ay hindi na makapalaot,” he said. (Because now at the Scarborough, we cannot even enter the reefs. How much more if there’s already a joint exploration between the Philippines and China, there’s a possibilty that we can no longer do fishing.)

    According to Roldan, the possible deal would greatly affect the lives of the fisherfolk.

    Patuloy 'yung conversion na ginagawa nila sa dagat na mismong ang tinatamaan ay yung mga kabahayan ng mga maliliit na mangingisda sa baybayin partikular sa Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan hanggang Zambales,” shared Roldan. (They are continually converting the waters that affects houses of small fishermen in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales.)

    Both Doroteo and Roldan were asking Duterte not to pursue deals with China as this would not only affect them but also the majority of the Filipino people.

    Gusto kong iparating kay Duterte ay 'yung huwag ituloy 'yung dam, huwag pahintulutan na ituloy, pabuksan 'yung Laiban Dam gawa nung siyempre hindi naman iilan lamang 'yung mga maaapektuhan doon kundi maraming maaapektuhan,” she said. (I want to ask Duterte to stop the possible construction of the Laiban Dam because it will not only affect us but a lot of people.) – Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Can one person change the world? A girl definitely can.

    Sixteen-year-old Khristina Ricarder has dedicated a year of her life to a community-based project that transforms neglected spots to green spaces that are clean and provides socio-economic benefits to the community.

    The project, called Adopt a Spot and Paint it Green, clears certain areas of Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati City, of  debris, trash, and weeds to give space for a plant nursery and an urban garden that is maintained by the community itself.

    Senior Girl Scout Khristina will be one of the 713 girls who will receive the Chief Girl Scout Medal, the highest award in girl scouting, from the Girl Scouts of the Philippines on Friday, November 23, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). (READ: Kathryn Bernardo is Girl Scout Ambassador)

    Each of the girls have successfully completed a one-year development project on ecology, health, livelihood, and cultural heritage in their respective barangays or chosen areas.

    For 42 years since 1976, a total of 10,766 Senior and Cadet Girl Scouts have received the Chief Girl Scout Medal.

    Military pilot 1st Lieutenant Maria Francia Aviso Perez of the Philippine Air Force, who will be speaking at the awarding ceremony, is a Chief Girl Scout Medalist herself. This writer is also a Chief Girl Scout Medalist.

    How can you, in your own little way, contribute to nation-building? Learn from some of these young and inspiring girl scouts – Khristina, Cadet Girl Scout Sophia Lan Delos Santos of the Manila Girl Scout Council, and Senior Girl Scout Kazzle May Albacite of the Pasay Girl Scout Council – live on Rappler Talk on Wednesday, November 21, at 3 p.m. – Rappler.com

    The Girl Scouts of the Philippines is the largest character-building organization for girls and young women, with more than 2 million members all over the Philippines. To learn more, visit girlscouts.org.ph


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    U.P. photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion promised to “root out [the] problem” of fraternity violence, after recent campus incidents involving two fraternities raised renewed concerns within the UP community. 

    Concepcion made the statement Friday, November 23, more than a week after the latest incident, incidentally involving Upsilon Sigma Phi, to which he belongs.  

    Initially thought to be a shooting incident, a car chase involving warring fraternities Alpha Phi Beta and Upsilon Sigma Phi occurred on November 14. It was the second case of fraternity-related violence in campus that week.

    Shortly after Upsilon’s centennial anniversary on November 18, a series of screenshots of offensive private chats – dubbed the “#LonsiLeaks” – were attributed to Upsilon Sigma Phi. The conversations, which had gone viral, feature sexist, homophobic, and Islamaphobic remarks.

    They included remarks like bombs were invented to wipe out the Muslims, that women were given mouths not to express their views but to perform oral sex, and that fraternity members should punch their girlfriends in the stomach after sex to make sure they don't get pregnant. 

    These incidents sparked an uproar within the UP community regarding students’ safety being threatened by fraternity-related violence.  A number of UP organizations, including the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, decried the behavior and pushed for action from the university administration. (READ: UP’s gangland wars: A historical note)

    While the source and authenticity of conversations have yet to be determined, Concepcion nevertheless denounced the language and behavior reflected in them. “The attitudes displayed in these published posts demonstrate how much more we need to do to reform medieval mindsets within the university at all levels.”

    He explained that "misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying, or any form of violence against women and other groups in this university, and any such offenses will be dealt with to the full extent of the university’s judicial and administrative remedies."

    Concepcion, despite being an Upsilonian, gave assurances he would do all he can, both as university president and as a fellow of the fraternity, to resolve the issues. He said he “will not protect any fraternity brother who may be found culpable of these kinds of offensive acts.”

    New requirements for campus organizations

    Concepcion has instructed UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan to “expedite” the investigation into the recent brawl on campus involving members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi and Alpha Phi Beta fraternities to identify the participants, establish liabilities, and file the appropriate cases against the offenders.

    Moving forward, chancellors of all UP units will require student organizations to undergo gender sensitivity training before their accreditation or renewal is granted. Security on campus will also be intensified to ensure a peaceful environment for students, faculty, staff, and residents.

    Those personally threatened by recent incidents can also go to Concepcion’s office for assistance. “I am offering the protection and assistance of my office in seeing to it that your case is attended to, that your safety and security are assured, and that justice is served,” he said.

    Upsilon investigates offensive social media posts

    On November 22, Upsilon Sigma Phi released an official statement on the unverified screenshots containing slurs and highly-offensive statements. Similar to Concepcion’s sentiments, they called it unfortunate how the postings came in the heels of their centennial anniversary. They also claimed there is a “concerted effort to besmirch the reputation of our fraternity during this momentous celebration.”

    We the student members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi strongly condemn all acts of discrimination specially against these sectors. Many student leaders who are members of our Fraternity have time and again led and worked with organizations and individuals to fight for equality. We will continue to do so because this is what we stand for.

    Unfortunately, these postings are being attributed to a few students who are members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi. The student members of the Fraternity take these accusations very seriously and will not tolerate members espousing such backward, misogynistic, and discriminatory views.

    The organization said it had conducted an initial investigation into the matter, the results of which would be given to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. It vowed to "unconditionally cooperate with the efforts of the OVCSA not only in gathering facts but in ensuring accountability consistent with the dictates of due process." 

    Is Upsilon really cooperating with U.P. admin?

    In Chancellor Michael Tan’s statement released late morning of November 23, he claimed the fraternities involved in the brawl were uncooperative.

    “My vice-chancellors and I are disappointed by the lack of cooperation from the two fraternities. Both were conspicuously absent in a meeting I called for all fraternities, and they claimed later they did try to attend but arrived late,” he said.

    He further added that the fraternities’ silence has been “deafening”. Though Upsilon Sigma Phi published a statement condemning the violence and the offensive conversations, Tan said they still disclaimed responsibility.

    He urged the fraternities to take quick action to "root out the scalwags" and to reexamine their concept of fraternity honor, saying that it “seems to be oriented towards protecting brods right or wrong, and which comes closer to the Mafia omerta or code of silence, rather than with U.P.’s definition of honor.”– Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – Two members of the University of the Philippines-Diliman University Student Council (UPD-USC) resigned on Friday, November 23, amid controversies involving their respective fraternities.

    USC chairperson Yael Toribio, a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi Fratenity, tendered his resignation days after group conversations with slurs and offensive remarks attributed to fellow fraternity members went viral.

    In his two-page resignation letter, Toribio said that in light of the recent incidents that rocked the university, "now more than ever, we need to unite and rebuild the trust from the student body we serve."

    "A change in leadership is called for to effectively transition the responsibility of investigating and deliberating these concerns that hopefully will bear the results that the student body will trust and accept. As such, I wish to officially tender my resignation as your University Student Council Chairperson, effective immediately," he said.

    Toribio began his letter by condemning the "abhorrent statements" in the viral posts circulating online.

    "Those statements have caused much pain and insult for the various sectors and their advocates who were not spared by those foul words. These views have no space in our society, and for a long time, now, we have been fighting to change these harmful views," he said.

    "Everyone must bear responsibility for the consequence of their speech, especially when it emboldens people to translate them into actions. I cannot and will not allow impunity. I believe just and commensurate sanctions should be sought. I personally do not espouse such beliefs, and would never condone them even in private circles," Toribio added.

    He said that while he had consistently expressed his position against "intolerant and discriminatory views," remaining in the USC would only cast doubt on the council's deliberations regarding the fraternity controversies.

    “I anticipate that doubt will loom over decisions made by this body, in spite of our discussions and deliberations, and however fruitful and legitimate they may be in light of the assumptions made on my character, based on my affiliation with Upsilon Sigma Phi,” Toribio said.

    He added that his resignation "does not absolve anyone of any offense" and that he also did so "to emphasize that no position or ambition is more important than the demand of our constituents for unity and credibility in pursuit of concrete changes."

    Another student leader, Rein Gallardo resigned as University Councilor and Safety and Security Committee Head to maintain the integrity of the council, as reported by The Philippine Collegian. Gallardo, a member of Alpha Phi Beta, will step down in December.

    Alpha Phi Beta and Upsilon Sigma Phi were involved in recent incidents of fraternity-related violence in campus, causing an uproar online over the safety and security of students.

    UP president Danilo Concepcion had already instructed UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan to “expedite” the investigation on the recent brawl between the two fraternities.

    Upsilon Sigma Phi said in a statement that it had conducted an initial investigation on the matter, and that the results would be given to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. It vowed to “unconditionally cooperate with the efforts of the OVCSA not only in gathering facts but in ensuring accountability consistent with the dictates of due process."

    Tan, however, claimed in a statement that the two fraternities were uncooperative. He said their representatives were “conspicuously absent in a meeting I called for all fraternities, and they claimed later they did try to attend but arrived late.”

    Alpha Phi Beta has not issued a statement on the matter.

    Meanwhile, former Cavite Jonvic Remulla resigned as a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi.

    “The inactions of the leadership outweigh the actions, of which the members committed. This isn’t the fraternity I joined. I joined a brotherhood which made me believe in the values of respect, nationalism, and loyalty. What I find now is something totally different,” Remulla said. – Rappler.com


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    "What does it mean to be a Filipino in America?" Audio producer, journalist, and host Paola Mardo asks that question a lot during the course of two episodes of the podcast Long Distance

    She launches the series by looking into an act of vandalism that may very well be a hate crime. Hers is a unique, storytelling style: think investigative journalism meets perky, driven Asian.

    VANDALISM. Or hate crime? All photos by Patrick Epino

    What follows are stories of Filipinos in America told through the voice of a young woman who straddles both worlds. In the process, she tells another story – her own journey as a Fil-Am in a country torn by race, politics, and forgetting. 

    These are stories, first of despair, as gleaned from the letters of Manongs of another age: men who risked all to go to America and ended up in stoop-labor jobs. Later on these turn into stories of determination: how a son and daughter of the Manongs and Manangs fought to preserve the legacy of the past. And those spill over to today as stories of hope, as a vibrant community grows from the bigotry and hatred and becomes more aware of its Filipino heritage.

    It's a podcast set in the age of Trumpolitics, where conservatism is on the rise and race and immigration are major divisive issues. US-based Pew Research Center estimates that in 15 years, the Asian population might become the largest immigrant group in the United States.

    Listening to Paola, a millennial immersed in digital multimedia – and boy, does she use it to her advantage – I got pangs of guilt and envy. How can a kid brought up abroad care so much about the homeland, while those of us who were born and raised here scarcely give our legacy a thought?

    The titas and titos of Manila would probably tell Paola, "Silly girl, you're already in America living the life of an American!"

    Starting Long Distance on my Spotify, I wasn't drawn by the promise of a history lesson; more like I was drawn inspite of it. I thought I knew my history well enough, and I was more curious about how this girl would present such a snooze-inducing topic on a digital platform.  It turned out I was wrong. I learned a lot about our kababayans in the United States in that era marked by discrimination, unfair labor practices, and World War II as much as it saw the rise of automobiles, film, and radio.

    It's a superbly produced podcast, her voice evocative, with a humor only someone her age can pull off. But it's the authenticity that sets her apart, a voice on a journey of discovery. It was a journey of discovery for me too, as I was pleasantly surprised to find out that "Isang bagsak!" started as a strike cheer halfway around the world. 

    The podcast is a gem – it creeps up on us, not lecturing, not judging, but still shakes us from the stupor of our secret colonial mentality. – Rappler.com


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    MARTIAL LAW. Individuals portray Metrocom officers during the Marcos regime in a fun run at the University of the Philippines Diliman to remember the atrocities during Martial Law. Photo from 'The Great LEAN Run' Facebook page

    MANILA, Philippines – From barbed wires to the presence of Metrocom officers in checkpoints, students and activists remembered the horrors of Martial Law through a fun run on Saturday, November 24.

    Participated in by individuals from various sectors, "The Great LEAN Run" offered an avenue to recall the atrocities during the Marcos regime, and to honor iconic rights defenders like University of the Philippines student leader Lean Alejandro. (READ: Fun run relives Martial Law experience)

    The event happened in time for the second anniversary of the hero's burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. This also comes after Marcos' wife, Imelda, was convicted for 7 counts of graft. (READ: Imelda Marcos guilty of 7 counts of graft; court orders her arrest)

    "Today, the fight is still unfinished. Our victory is under threat," said Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (Samasa) Alumni Association in a statement.

    According to them, the Marcos family is trying to revise history and to hide their abuses. They said this is the case as the dictator's children eye powerful seats in government – Imee Marcos running for senator and Ferdinand Marcos Jr pursuing an election protest for the vice presidency. (RELATED: Duterte to resign if Bongbong Marcos wins election protest)

    DICTATORSHIP ABUSES. Participants of 'The Great LEAN Run' relive the encounters of activists with the government forces during Martial Law. Photo from 'The Great LEAN Run' Facebook page

    "We call on the young people to respond to the call of the times. Your action will define your future," they said. "When the people ousted the dictator, we swore that we would never again let tyrants rule our country."

    The group said that remembering Marcos' atrocities was an expression of resistance to its return.

    FIGHTING FOR LIFE. One of the fun run's tracks feature barbed wires – an infamous icon during Martial Law. Photo from 'The Great LEAN Run' Facebook page

    "We will not allow it! To this day, the Marcoses have not returned the people's stolen wealth, nor have they been punished for the lives they snuffed out during their draconian reign. We demand justice," the SAMASA said.

    Aside from the runners, other key personalities, including senatorial candidates Florin Hilbay and Erin Tañada, and activist-comedian Juana Change, were also present in the event.

    Meanwhile, former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno led the participants in reciting an oath.

    "Kaya’t kailanma'y hindi ako patatakot sa taong marahas, malupit, at traydor ng bayan (I will never be afraid of anyone who is abusive, cruel and traitorous to the nation)," part of the oath read. – Rappler.com


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    JUSTICE NOW. Signs calling for justice and conviction of the Ampatuans are posted at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on the 9th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre on November 23, 2018. Photo by Jaira Krishelle Balboa/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines –  On the 9th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) held a program at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on Friday, November 23, calling for justice for the victims. 

    Among those at the event were Polytechnic University of the Philippines journalism students Frances Aira Acorda and Jamela Santiago, who could not help but express frustration and anger over the slow progress of the cases against those behind the deadly attack that killed 58 people, 32 of them journalists. (READ: Media groups record 85 attacks on press freedom under Duterte)

    It is predicted that the earliest possible court ruling on the Maguindanao massacre case would be by 2019, or 10 years after the incident. So far, 197 had been officially charged and 117 arrested, while 80 persons remain at large, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

    “It’s frustrating to know that the justice system in the Philippines is clogged and the people behind the killings are not yet convicted,” said Acorda.

    Parang pilit na iniiwasan ng nga nasa itaas ang pagkamatay na matagal na dapat nabigyan ng hustisya (It’s like those in power are purposely trying to avoid giving justice due the victims),” said Santiago.

    For Acorda and Santiago, the safety of journalists would always be under threat for as long as crimes against media workers remained unresolved.

    “I’m hopeful that the truth will finally be unveiled soon and proper justice will be given to those who deserve it,” said Acorda.

    The student journalists are aware of the risks that come with being a journalist in the Philippines, one of the deadliest countries in the world for media workers. Such facts would have swayed aspiring journalists to pursue a different path, but not Santiago and Acorda, who appear determined to become future journalists. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Global threats to press freedom in 2018– Rappler.com

    Jaira Krishelle Balboa is Rappler intern. She is a 4th year B.A. Journalism student at the Polythecnic University of the Philippines. 


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    FRAT-RELATED VIOLENCE. The U.P. Department of Sociology and various groups slammed frat-related violence following the series of screenshots of group conversations allegedly linked to Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.

    MANILA, Philippines – Statements of condemnation keep coming for the controversial but unverified chat linked to a University of the Philippines (UP) fraternity that has gone viral. 

    The UP Sociology Department was among the latest entities to denounce the sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic remarks in the alleged group conversations that have been dubbed #LonsiLeaks, in reference to the Upsilon Sigma Phi members supposedly involved. 

    “This hate speech emanates from the ranks of an exclusive male club that valorizes machismo and accepts violence to perpetuate a sense of privileged entitlement and maintain social inequalities,” the department's statement on Sunday, November 25, read. 

    According to the department, the conversations were neither harmless, private, nor merely testosterone-driven as they sought to inflict harm on others, especially marginalized groups such as the LGBT, Muslims, and women.

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fupdsocio%2Fposts%2F634222560309263&width=500" width="500" height="656" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    Below are other statements released by different student organizations and youth formations following the fraternity scandal:

    Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights - UP (Stand UP)

    “Ang mga ganitong pahayag ay hindi sumasalamin sa kasaysayan ng mamamayang Pilipinong nakikibaka para sa karapatan at kalayaan. Ang mas masahol, ang mga ganitong pahayag ang mismong nagpapahigpit sa tanikala ng pagsasamantala sa mga kababaihan, pambansang minorya at iba pang sektor,” the group said.

    (These kinds of statements don't reflect the history of the Filipinos who fight for our rights and our freedom. What's worse is that these kinds of statements tighten the chains of abuse around women, national minorities, and other sectors.)

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fstandupdiliman%2Fposts%2F10156810445286740&width=500" width="500" height="728" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    University of the Philippines Muslim Students' Association

    “These do not only decontextualize the struggles of peoples in Mindanao, but also diminish the efforts of our people towards just and lasting peace.”

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fupmsadiliman%2Fposts%2F10155656826627676&width=500" width="500" height="740" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    UP Economics Society

    “These incidents point to a larger, more harmful issue at hand: the culture of impunity, derogation and moral corruption that have become inevitably associated with the fraternities on campus.” (READ: U.P. says warring fraternities involved in 2 incidents on campus)

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fupeconomicssociety%2Fposts%2F10156865416017774&width=500" width="500" height="758" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    Editorial from the 'Philippine Collegian'

    “Beyond the boorish tendencies of the men involved, what this issue has made plain is the fragility of accountability structures, the complicity of authorities, and the culture of impunity bred by a warped concept of brotherhood,” part of the piece read.

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphkule%2Fposts%2F1946139055467032&width=500" width="500" height="741" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran

    “A violent and misogynist institution is not an institution an upright, self-respecting student leader would choose to associate himself with. And when that student leader chooses to break himself from such abhorrent tradition, despite expected threats to his security and well-being, it is a step in the right direction – it is a brave act.” (READ: 3 resign from U.P. student council amid fraternity scandal)

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fup.alyansa%2Fposts%2F10160989266465705&width=500" width="500" height="735" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies

    “We call on the leaders of all fraternities, sororities, and student organizations to ensure that its members are made aware of and adhere to the humane values that the University champions. We enjoin you to hold to account members who have acted in violation of these values.”

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fupcwgs%2Fposts%2F2013512485397717&width=500" width="500" height="739" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    Nagkakaisang Iskolar Para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (UP Kaisa)

    “Kaisa UP condemns the UP administration for tolerating and playing a complicit role in this culture of violence. The administration should move swiftly to strip away the impunity of these individuals that enables this violence — by investigating their officials and imposing the proper sanctions.”

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKAISA.UP%2Fposts%2F10156805119082248&width=500" width="500" height="735" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    Akbayan Youth

    “Our members were assaulted with sexist remarks and subjects of criminal intents. We join them in bringing the perpetrators to justice by filing all applicable cases against Upsilon and their members.”

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAkbayanYouthOFFICIAL%2Fposts%2F1890251187688762&width=500" width="500" height="394" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

     How do you feel about fraternities and frat culture? Sound off in the comments section! – Rappler.com

     


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    WALKOUT. Students and members of the faculty gather at the old Faculty Center grounds to condemn the fraternity-related violence happening in UP. Photo courtesy of Gita Labrador

    MANILA, Philippines – Students and members of the faculty at the University of the Philippines (UP) have staged a series of protest activities since renewed concerns about fraternity-related violence gripped the campus recent weeks. 

    On Tuesday, November 27, students and faculty from the University of the Philippines walked out of their classes to condemn the hate and violence expressed in a series of leaked screenshots of an alleged group chats attributed to members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.

    Led by faculty members of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Letters, people gathered at the old Faculty Center grounds for 100 minutes, from 1- 2:40 pm.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A call to walk out of classes and offices on November 27, 2018:<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/endimpunity?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#endimpunity</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/endmisogyny?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#endmisogyny</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/endFRV?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#endFRV</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thisisnotmyUP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thisisnotmyUP</a> <a href="https://t.co/ALQnF1RTua">pic.twitter.com/ALQnF1RTua</a></p>&mdash; P̶a̶o̶l̶o̶ ̶M̶a̶n̶a̶l̶o̶ (@paolomanalo) <a href="https://twitter.com/paolomanalo/status/1065862225720561665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 23, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    The group shared 100 statements against fraternity-related violence. They gathered to condemn the “misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and violent statements” from that alleged group chat that had been dubbed #LonsiLeaks. 

    The use of the number 100 was a dig at Upsilon's centennial, which the fraternity is celebrating this year.

    The latest controversy Upsilon is mired in started with an altercation with Alpha Phi Beta members on November 14. The following day, the warring fraternities got into a car chase, which was initially reported as a shooting incident. Some of those involved sustained minor injuries and were brought to the university infirmary.

    Two members of the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) and one from the student council in UP Manila who were also members of the fraternities resigned from their posts amid the controversies

    Centennial woes

    What began as a month of celebration for one of UP’s oldest fraternities has since been overshadowed by the recent incidents.

    Aside from the walkout, the student community also initiated the taking down of Upsilon banners displayed around the Academic Oval. The fraternity's tambayan (hangout) and parking barriers were also removed from the AS parking area.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">additional victories today:<br>- Upsilon&#39;s banners around the Acad Oval (or at least, the Vargas-Fc-AS-Eduk side of it) have been removed<br>- Upsilon&#39;s tambayan &amp; barriers have been removed from the AS Parking<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EndImpunity?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EndImpunity</a> <a href="https://t.co/0qy6IW2FjL">pic.twitter.com/0qy6IW2FjL</a></p>&mdash; contra mundum (@jmadrigaldy) <a href="https://twitter.com/jmadrigaldy/status/1066904503624953857?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    On Thursday, November 22, there was an attempt to revise Upsilon’s Wikipedia page with an entry saying “Upsilon Sigma Phi has been involved with multiple cases of FRV (frat-related violence) within and outside their university.”

    The said edits had been taken down as of November 27.

    On Saturday, November 24, the fraternity’s anniversary exhibit at the AS lobby was dismantled following the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy’s call for its immediate removal. The exhibit was supposed to run until December 7.

    Frat-related violence

    Meanwhile, free stickers against impunity with the text: “Classic woke ass non-Upsilonian UP student against impunity #EndFRV” are being distributed in a printing store in UP Los Baños.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">FREE STICKERS AGAINST IMPUNITY‼️<br><br>Drop by Bestprintz @ Grove, UPLB (beside Super Cha) and ask our national hero Kuya Jeff here for &quot;stickers ni Cidee&quot; ✨<br><br>SPREAD THE WORD. GET YOURS NOW &amp; PLASTER IT ON A FRATMAN&#39;S FOREHEAD. <a href="https://t.co/M1rNkVJeFF">pic.twitter.com/M1rNkVJeFF</a></p>&mdash; Cidee | #EndImpunity (@cideeeee) <a href="https://twitter.com/cideeeee/status/1066962050637717504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    UP Diliman vice chancellor for student affairs Jerwin Agpaoa says no action has been taken yet, as separate investigations are still ongoing.

    In a statement, UP president Danilo Concepcion already promised to “root out [the] problem” of fraternity violence, after recent campus incidents involving two fraternities raised renewed concerns within the UP community. (READ: More groups slam ‘violent, misogynist’ frat-linked chat

    What is your stand on frat-related violence? Share your thoughts on X! – with a report from Lisa David/Rappler.com

     


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    MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila is choking with overdevelopment.

    Built on an isthmus, or a narrow strip of land surrounded by Manila Bay and Laguna Lake, the Philippines' National Capital Region has very little wiggle room. If you're on an airplane and look down below, you'll notice that there's hardly any greenery in the vast concrete sprawl.

    With little to no breathing space, is there still hope for Metro Manila?

    Road safety advocate Vince Lazatin talks to Dani Guillen, a transport planner and inclusive mobility advocate, and Patrick Jalasco, an urban planner, to discuss solutions for the metro. – Rappler.com


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    #BEBONIFACIO. Rappler revived a Twitter conversation encouraging netizens to tweet how the hero of the revolution would react to 2018 events.

    MANILA, Philippines – Remember the hashtag imagining what national hero Andres Bonifacio would say if he had a Twitter account?

    In commemoration of Bonifacio’s 155th birth anniversary on Friday, November 30, Rappler revived the #BeBonifacio Twitter conversation encouraging netizens to tweet how the hero of the revolution would react to 2018 events. (READ: Andres Bonifacio: Myths, trivia, execution)

    Known for his love of country, the concept of nationalism sprouted in most of the posts.

    H’wag matakot na umibig dahil sa isang lipunang marahas, pag-ibig at pakikibaka ang tanging pag-asa na magpapalaya sa lahat. #BeBonifacio,” Twitter user @toniothethird was quoted saying. 

    (Do not fear to love, because in a violent society, to love and to struggle are the only hope that will liberate us.) 

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Pagpupugay sa mga anak ng bayan!<br><br>Ngayong araw ay ginugunita natin ang kapanganakan ni Gat Andres Bonifacio.<br><br>H&#39;wag matakot na umibig dahil sa isang lipunang marahas, pag-ibig at pakikibaka ang tanging pag-asa na magpapalaya sa lahat. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeBonifacio?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeBonifacio</a> <a href="https://t.co/jgJ2DyofN8">pic.twitter.com/jgJ2DyofN8</a></p>&mdash; AN (@toniothethird) <a href="https://twitter.com/toniothethird/status/1068253232982421504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 29, 2018</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    The issue on foreign influence and the territorial dispute at the West Philippine Sea were not spared from the ire of netizens. (READ: China drives away Filipino TV crew from Panatag Shoal)

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Bonifacio: Okay lang gumamit ng Made in China pati na rin ang pagtangkilik sa gawa ng America pero please lang, iba ang damit sa isla at iba rin ang kalayaan sa malamig na klima! Please lang, Pilipino tayo kaya dapat maka-Pilipino. Okay? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeBonifacio?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeBonifacio</a></p>&mdash; Kurt Adrian (@KurtAdrianDP) <a href="https://twitter.com/KurtAdrianDP/status/1068175968479600640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 29, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}  

    Meanwhile, some netizens were able to connect the heroic words where Bonifacio was known, such as the ‘kalayaan’ and ‘katipunan’ to the hype of the UAAP finals game between the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University. (READ: LIVE UPDATES: Ateneo vs U.P. - 2018 UAAP Finals Game 1)

    {source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Bonifacio: Hanggang ngayon ba naman, may laban pa rin ang Katipunan?!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BattleOfKatipunan?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BattleOfKatipunan</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UPFight?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UPFight</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ATINTO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ATINTO</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeBonifacio?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeBonifacio</a></p>&mdash; joyagustin (@joyagustin) <a href="https://twitter.com/joyagustin/status/1068336818230255616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 30, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    Here are some of the most witty and creative tweets:

    {source}<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="http://go.rappler.com/https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/timelines/1068405086898909191?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BeBonifacio - Curated tweets by rapplerdotcom</a> <script async src="http://go.rappler.com/https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/comment_embed.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frapplerdotcom%2Fphotos%2Fa.317154781638645%2F2357162997637803%2F%3Ftype%3D3%26comment_id%3D2357225227631580&include_parent=false" width="560" height="140" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/comment_embed.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frapplerdotcom%2Fphotos%2Fa.317154781638645%2F2357162997637803%2F%3Ftype%3D3%26comment_id%3D2357250990962337&include_parent=false" width="560" height="160" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/comment_embed.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frapplerdotcom%2Fphotos%2Fa.317154781638645%2F2357162997637803%2F%3Ftype%3D3%26comment_id%3D2357314174289352&include_parent=false" width="560" height="140" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

    {source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/comment_embed.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frapplerdotcom%2Fphotos%2Fa.317154781638645%2F2357162997637803%2F%3Ftype%3D3%26comment_id%3D2357442867609816&include_parent=false" width="560" height="140" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

     

    - Rappler.com


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