Channel: Move.PH
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Mary Jane Veloso to President Duterte: Help me get justice


MANILA, Philippines – In an emotional audio recording sent by Migrante International, Mary Jane Veloso, an alleged human trafficking victim detained in Indonesia on charges of drug smuggling, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte for help in "getting justice." (READ: The story of Mary Jane Veloso, in her own words)

Her message was recorded during a phone call to her family on July 31.

Mary Jane, whose story moved the nation when she was put on death row and given a last-minute reprieve last year, repeatedly claimed innocence in her appeal.

Matagal na akong nagtitiis dito sa Indonesia, nagtitiis sa lahat ng ito gayong wala naman akong kasalanan,” she said. “Kayo lang po ang pag-asa ko.” 

(I’ve been suffering for so long here in Indonesia, suffering even though I am innocent. You are my only hope.)

Mary Jane said in Filipino that she is “ready to be executed” but is "hurt by the fact that she’s innocent” and that "she has children who are still very young.”

Mag 7 years na po ako dito sa Indonesia, hindi ko pa rin po nakakamtan yung katarungan na hinihintay ko. Yun lang po ang hinihiling ko sa inyo - na bigyan niyo ako ng katarungan,” she said.

(I’ve been in Indonesia for almost 7 years now and I still haven’t been given justice. That’s all I ask from you - give me justice.)

Read the transcript of her audio recording, as transcribed by her sister Maritess, here:

{source} <p  style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;">   <a title="View Mary Jane&#x27;s appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/document/322723154/Mary-Jane-s-appeal-to-President-Rodrigo-Duterte#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Mary Jane&#x27;s appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte</a> by <a title="View Rappler Philippines's profile on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/user/117575060/Rappler-Philippines#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Rappler Philippines</a> on Scribd</p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/322723154/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-RymOVktgUNKxej9Wp278&show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="0.7080062794348508" scrolling="no" id="doc_11343" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe> {/source} 

President Duterte is set to go to Indonesia from September 8 to 9, after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related summits in Laos.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Thursday, September 1, said in response to questions that Duterte may visit Mary Jane "given the opportunity." – Rappler.com




Pimentel wants Senate probe into death of OFW in Saudi Arabia


PROBE. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the death of a 35-year old Overseas Filipino worker who was raped by her employer in Saudi Arabia.

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday, September 2, sought a Senate inquiry into the death of an overseas Filipino worker who was allegedly sexually abused by her employer in Saudi Arabia.

Pimentel filed Senate Resolution No 114, directing the committees on foreign relations and labor, employment, and human resources to probe the death of Avila Edloy.

The tragic death of Edloy, Pimentel said, “reminds us time and again of the risk to life and limbs faced by our OFWs, especially female OFWs employed as domestic workers.”

In seeking a congressional probe, Pimentel said there is an “urgent need” to determine if the state has appropriate policies to provide “safe and healthful working conditions” for women, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

“It is arguably a necessary requisite to provide ‘full protection to labor, local and overseas,’ especially for female OFWs,” said Pimentel.

“Edloy’s death must not simply add to the statistics of OFWs whose lives were lost at the hands of abusive employers,” he added.

Edloy is the latest OFW to suffer such a fate. In October 2015,  a 25 year-old Filipina worker in Saudi Arabia died after allegedly being physically abused and raped by her employer, according to migrants' rights group Migrante-Middle East.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Edloy, 35, arrived in Saudi Arabia on July 28 this year as a recruit of Rejoice Employment International Corporation for her principal employer, Al Sayyar Recruitment in Ridyadh.

But barely a month after, Edloy was rushed to the King Salman Hospital after sustaining severe injuries from alleged sexual assault.

Medical reports revealed that she suffered from lacerations in her private parts, along with multiple bruises on her face and body.

Before her death on August 18, Bello said Edloy was able to point at her employer when asked who maltreated her. – Rappler.com

#OFWTips: Want to return to PH earlier? Here's what you should do


MANILA, Philippines – There’s no doubt about it - remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) keep the economy afloat.

But working abroad is not always easy. The increase in income often comes with various risks and the pain of being away from family. (READ: 'What you need to know about overseas Filipino workers' )

According to Vince Rapisura, president of the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc, temporary economic migrants should make it a goal to be able to come back within 10 years.

3 stages of the migration process

According to Vince, OFWs should ideally go through the following migration process:

  • Beginning stage (1-2 years) - For the first two years, the migrant should work on paying off the debts he/she incurred to be able to work abroad. (ie. money spent for plane tickets, processing fees, etc.)
  • Medium term (2-3 years) - During the medium term, the migrant’s focus should be to provide for his/her family’s basic needs.
  • Long term (3-5 years) - The migrant’s last years, meanwhile, should be spent for their financial goals like being able to buy a house, open a business, among others. 

Coming home earlier

Then again, you don't have to wait for 10 years to reach your financial goals.

Vince says that for an OFW to be ready to come home earlier, he or she set clear financial goals before leaving.

Many OFWs fail to do this, causing them to overstay abroad.

Before you start packing your bags, it’s important that you and your family understand why you have to leave and what you are trying to achieve. 

Just as important is being able to stick with your goals. 

"When they go there, initially they say, 'I only want a tricycle as a business,' and send my children to school.' After 5 years and they've already attained that, the goal would shift somewhere else. Maybe the tricycle is now a jeepney, and sending the children to school is finished and now they want to put up a house," Rapisura explained.

Changing goals is not necessarily a bad thing, but having no definite end-goal contributes to OFWs overstaying abroad. 

Teach your family to be independent

According to Vince, families also need to understand that reaching financial goals is not the OFW’s burden alone. 

Ideally, the family left behind should be able to provide income and not just depend on the OFW’s remittances. 

The income that family members at home make should be able to cover the household’s basic needs and expenses while the OFW’s income funds their family’s ultimate financial goals – building a house, opening a business, or sending the kids to school.

By doing so, families not only get to reach their financial goals faster, but are also able to maintain their lifestyle. According to Vince, many OFWs fail to save because their families suddenly change their lifestyle, ultimately increasing expenses. This happens when the OFW provides them with more than they actually need.

Budgeting your money

About half of OFWs claim that they save, but only 1 out 5 save for emergencies adequately. Vince also shared that OFWs do budget, but their budgeting is focused mainly on immediate consumption, not on investments or other financial goals.

As a guide, Vince suggests that OFWs follow the 5-15-20-60 budgeting rule, with 5% of income going to insurance premium, 15% to savings, 20% to investments, and 60% to expenses. 

Effective budgeting means being able reach your financial goals faster and ultimately, being capable of returning home for good.


To help even more OFWs and young professionals manage their finances better, SEDPI produces weekly webisodes featuring Vince and beauty queen Venus Raj entitled #UsapangPera.

The sixth episode will be released on Friday, September 2 at 7pm. Bookmark this page and watch it here on Rappler! – Rappler.com

More #OFWtips:

SEDPI is a Philippine-based capacity-builder in the fields of microfinance, social entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Learn more about them here.

Got questions for SEDPI about managing your finances? Email us at balikbayan@rappler.com.




DSWD cited for anti-human trafficking campaign


ANTI-HUIMAN TRAFFICKING. DSWD is recognized for its Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP), which provides a comprehensive package of services ranging from reporting to rehabilitation. Photo courtesy of DSWD

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received an award from the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for its anti-human trafficking campaign, the agency announced on Friday, September 2.

The DSWD is implementing an initiative called Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP). The program provides a comprehensive package of services ranging from reporting to rehabilitation. 

From 2011 to June 2016, the agency has served a total of 9,380 victims. For the second quarter of 2016, RRPTP has served 362 clients, providing them with services that include temporary shelter, livelihood assistance, skills training, psycho-social counselling, transportation assistance, financial assistance, medical assistance, educational assistance, and referral to other agencies.

In the first semester of 2016, the DSWD was able to serve 850 trafficked people.

For this quarter, DSWD-Field Office (FO) IX served the highest number of clients with 95 victim-survivors, followed by FO NCR with 87 and FO III with 57 clients.

For 2017, RRTP targets to serve 2,000 victims of trafficking with an approved budget of about P24 million, 7% higher than in 2016.

War vs human traffickers 

In her acceptance message, DSWD Undersecretary Mae Fae Templa said the  Duterte administration is committed in the war against human traffickers and their recruiters who prey on the vulnerable, like migrant workers.

She noted that human trafficking is recognized as a transnational crime because of its actual and potential effects across national borders.

Templa noted that the Philippines continues to be highly affected by this crime, being used as a source as well as a transit point.

Templa added that the recent Tier 1 ranking of the Philippines in the United States 2016 Global Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) Report is a major breakthrough in the fight against human trafficking.

She emphasized that the combined efforts of the government and other stakeholders have contributed to the milestone.

“We join all partners and other stakeholders in celebrating this milestone. Continue the fight against human trafficking.” – Rappler.com

WATCH: Filipinos #PrayForDavao after night market blast


MANILA, Philippines – Messages of sympathy and solidarity from Filipinos worldwide poured in on social media on Saturday, September 3, after the terrorist attack in Davao City's night market that killed at least 14 people and injured about 60.

Photos of the Philippine Eagle, one of the world's largest eagles that are endemic to Davao, particularly flooded online timelines. Davao is often called the Eagle City of the South.


<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbogarttheexplorer%2Fphotos%2Fa.164270210281792.28310.164269863615160%2F1212732642102205%2F%3Ftype%3D3&width=500" width="500" height="803" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthedavaoenyo%2Fposts%2F1759653750952880%3A0&width=500" width="500" height="652" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/STAYSTRONGDAVAO?src=hash">#STAYSTRONGDAVAO</a> <a href="https://t.co/qzMSDCVi7A">pic.twitter.com/qzMSDCVi7A</a></p>&mdash; russi casinto (@russicasinto) <a href="https://twitter.com/russicasinto/status/771939861083353088">September 3, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



Some have called on politicians and the public not to politicize the incident.


<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Finday.espinavarona%2Fposts%2F10153926699917507&width=500" width="500" height="161" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">wag mong gamitin &#39;tong davao bombing sa mga political issues, respetuhin nyo naman yung mga namatayan.</p>&mdash; baby p (@patriciamxrales) <a href="https://twitter.com/patriciamxrales/status/771944647304314880">September 3, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Why are people even trying to make the davao bombing a political statement? Instead help the families because you&#39;re not doing anything...</p>&mdash; Aliyah Catherine ➳ (@sailermoan) <a href="https://twitter.com/sailermoan/status/771963437291307008">September 3, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



Church groups and institutions are calling for prayers for the people of Davao.



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcbcpnews%2Fposts%2F1255295817856627%3A0&width=500" width="500" height="627" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D1290267717652411%26set%3Da.114859505193244.17605.100000075850703%26type%3D3&width=500" width="500" height="625" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fateneodecagayanxavieruniversity%2Fposts%2F1074816475943336%3A0&width=500" width="500" height="600" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Woke up to that news of the bombing in davao. Don&#39;t mix your political agenda with this tragedy. Pray for davao.</p>&mdash; Rein Bernal (@rein_bernal) <a href="https://twitter.com/rein_bernal/status/771756355061293056">September 2, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



While they mourn and lament for the victims of the bombing, some advocates believe Filipinos must remain vigilant, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of lawlessness nationwide.



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgibby.gorres%2Fposts%2F10210656595349803&width=500" width="500" height="306" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frosselletugade%2Fposts%2F10210306254802146&width=500" width="500" height="319" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjoyaceron%2Fposts%2F10154543888150407&width=500" width="500" height="256" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>




On Twitter, the hashtag #PrayForDavao has been trending since early Saturday morning. Filipinos have called for solidarity and prayers.


<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/771936864412590082">#PrayForDavao - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, joined the nation in calling for solidarity and compassion for the victims and survivors of the attack. 


<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmove.ph%2Fposts%2F1078940955530872%3A0&width=500" width="500" height="684" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>


– Rappler.com

Do you know any efforts to support the victims of the Davao blast? Let us know in the comments below. 

Before the blast: Memories of the Roxas Night Market


ROXAS NIGHT MARKET. The night market was every Davaoeño’s happy place. Photo courtesy of Karlu Tayabas

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – My heart aches as I write this post about my memories of the Roxas Night Market here in Davao City. I was personally disheartened after hearing the news about the explosion that killed at least 12 people and injured no less than 60.

For almost two years, the Roxas Night Market has been my one-stop shop – from the tasty food it offers to different types of merchandise, and even self-pampering massage. 

Roxas Night Market isn't just a typical night market. It holds memories of joy and laughter.

The night market was every Davaoeño’s happy place, my personal favorite spot. It showcased our culture, and evoked festivity – the colorful tokneneng (boiled chicken eggs that are dipped in batter), flavored buchi, ukay-ukay (flea market), and Mang Danny’s Tasty Ice Cream. You can find everything that you crave for at the Roxas Night Market.

When I was still a student, after a stressful day in school, my friends and I would walk on the sidewalks of Roxas, tasting every street food that could fill our bellies. 

Our dinner would always start at Don’s Barbecue place. Then we would go to Austria MJ for isaw  (grilled pig or chicken intestines) and proven (chicken skin). For our drinks, we would usually have buko juice; and for dessert, we would patiently stand in a queue while waiting for Mang Danny’s Ice Cream. And if I’m not satisfied, I would usually pass by the smiling old man who sold popcorn.

We didn’t mind if our feet hurt after scouring the ukay-ukays along the long Roxas stretch. 

Great finds await you – from the cheapest sweatshirt to the most expensive bags that we bargain for at a lower price. 

We would usually bump into an old woman who sells hair ties. The last time I saw her was two weeks ago. I had no money left in my pocket so I told her that I would buy the cheapest hair tie, promising her that I would buy the most expensive one next time. 

But Roxas Night Market was more than just a night market where vendors sold goods. 

I cannot imagine the situation that nanay (mother) is in right now. I’m hoping that she is fine.

Roxas Night Market will not be remembered as the place where people died. It is more than that.

Roxas Night Market was a place where different people met, where they could have fun and feel safe at the same time. We considered it our own, a place we called home. – Rappler.com

Lira Valderama is one of the lead Movers in Davao City.

What to do during a bombing



MANILA, Philippines – An explosion at a night market in Davao City shook the nation on Friday night, September 2. 

Terrorist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the deadly explosion that killed at least 14 people and injured 71 others. 

In a statement posted on Facebook, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio slammed the attack and called on her constituents to unite and help each other at their time of greatest need.

"Let us remain vigilant, please report any and all suspicious activities no matter how insignificant they may seem," the Davao City Mayor added. 

Here is what you can do during a bombing incident, according to #LagingHanda or the Crisis Communications Center of the Philippines: 

  • Leave the area immediately. 
  • Avoid crowds. Crowds of people may be targeted for a second attack.
  • Avoid unattended cars and trucks. Unattended cars and trucks may contain explosives.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings to avoid falling glass and bricks. Move at least 10 blocks or 200 yards away from damaged buildings.
  • Follow directions of authorities.
  • Call 911 once you are in a safe area, but only if police, fire, or the emergency medical services have not yet arrived.
  • Help others who are hurt or if they need assistance to leave the area. If you see someone who is seriously injured, seek help. Do not try to manage the situation alone. 

Following the deadly blast, President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, September 3, declared a "state of lawlessness," a first in the country's recent history given its coverage. – Rappler.com 


‘For the next generation’: Iloilo fishermen take lead in coastal management


PROBLEM SOLVED. Bayas Maliog-liog Small Fisherfolk Association president Robert Barlas says the artificial reefs solved their town’s problem with fish supply. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

ILOILO, Philippines – What happens when fishermen run out of fish to catch? 

This was the dilemma of Robert Barlas of the coastal village of Bayas in Estancia town, Northern Iloilo just last year. Due to illegal fishing activities and unsustainable fishing methods, many coral reefs near the island-village were depleted of its fish population.

“The main livelihood of people in this island is to catch fish and other marine creatures like shrimp and squids… The fish were in real short supply. We had to go far off the coast to find fish and it was really expensive,” Barlas recalled. 

Aside from spending more resources on gas just to get enough catch, the fishermen also had to deal with harsh weather environments at the sea.

“When the waves are high, we couldn’t go far. We had to wait for the right weather just so we can fish,” Barlas, who is the president of the Bayas Maliog-liog Small Fisherfolks Association (BMSA), added.

Bayas was not the only village that experienced the problem. Other island and coastal villages in the towns of Carles, Estancia, and Concepcion in northern Iloilo also had fish shortages since illegal fishing was widespread in the area.

According to Rosanna Pandes, community organizer of the Iloilo Caucus of Development NGOs (Iloilo CODE), illegal fishing has been destroying the livelihood of small fisherfolks in the region in the past decade. 

“It’s a major problem here in northern Iloilo. It takes fishermen more than 12 hours to catch enough fish, typically from 2 am to 4 pm, because the coral reefs nearby have already been destroyed due to illegal fishing and they have to go far off shore,” Pandes said.

Jackstonesrepopulate fish 

In an effort to help fisherfolks in Northern Iloilo get back their livelihood, Iloilo CODE help in the deployment of jackstone-shaped artificial reefs in several communities. Made of concrete and steel, the artificial reefs serve as breeding grounds for fish and other sea creatures once immersed under water.

Paired with the effort to empower fishermen as guardians of their own waters and to establish their own marine protected areas (MPAs), the program has delivered impact for the partner communities.

REPLENISHING RESOURCES. Jackstone-type artificial reefs lie on the shores of Barangay Bancal in Carles town. These serve as breeding grounds once immersed under water. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

“We have deployed around 100 artificial reefs around a year ago in our marine protected areas. Just after 3 months, we saw that many fish already spawned there. There was a big spike in the fish supply,” Barlas said.

Barlas added: “We no longer have to go far to catch fish. Even if the waves are strong, we can go to sea because we don’t have to sail far from shore.”

The BMSA also prohibited fishing from the shore up to the MPA. This, Barlas added, lessened the cases of illegal fishing.

Preserving the sea

The experience is the same for Agapito Dumaguin of nearby Barangay Bancal in Carles town, who said the jackstones also serve as protection from illegal fishing practices. 

“Aside from being the new breeding grounds of fish, the jackstones prevent illegal fishermen from trolling. Their fishnets get caught in the jackstones,” the 56-year-old said.

Dumaguin, who has been a fisherman since he was 12, emphasized the importance of preserving the sea so the communities can continue to enjoy its abundance.

“The number of fishermen have been continually increasing. That’s one of my concerns as the president of the Bancal Fishermen’s Association (BFA), I want to preserve our MPA so the fish won’t run out. If we don’t do this, we’ll run out of fish in a few years,” he added.

BFA currently takes care of around 80 hectares of MPAs that was assigned to them by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-6).

Pandes said the reef rehabilitation project was originally implemented in Barosbos village in Carles town before Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the region in November 2013. After the typhoon, the organization saw an opportunity to expand the project. 

GUARDIANS. Bancal Fishermen’s Association president Agapito Dumaguin emphasizes the importance of preserving and guarding the sea from illegal activities. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

“Since we had funding with Christian Aid, we decided to make it a component of the ‘Building Back Better’ project because we really saw its impact in the community,” Pandes added.

The project was initially met with resistance from some fisherfolks, Pandes recalled. But when people saw how the 'jackstone' artificial reefs increased the fish population, they learned to appreciate the effort.

“Those who used to do illegal activities like dynamite fishing are now part of the fisherfolks organizations. They saw the result of the project and they were encouraged to stop their illegal activities. Now, they help guard the seas,” she noted. 

While the artificial reefs work miracles for the fish supply, Dumaguin added that fisherfolk should really play an active role in curbing illegal activities. 

“We still need to guard our areas. Day and night we guard it. We really preserve and take care of it because it sustains our communities,” he concluded.

Regulation and governance 

The concerns by small fisherfolk associations are validated by reports from the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force (IPBTF) and BFAR-6.

In spite of relentless efforts by the provincial government, municipal governments in Northern Iloilo and by community-based bantay dagat groups, “illegal fishing remains a major concern in the Visayan Sea,” said Police Officer Charlie Asturias, Bantay Dagat team leader.

Most of the illegal fishing activities caught by the task force along the coast of Estancia, Carles and Concepcion towns use dynamite, cyanide, trawl, round haul, and “hulbot-hulbot” or the use of Danish Seine (a type of net). All of these fishing practices are prohibited under municipal ordinances governing its coastal waters or are strongly regulated under Philippine laws.

From January to May 2016, the IPBTF reported violations of around 76 motorboats using trawl and round haul, more than 10 fishermen for violation of Fisheries Administrative Order 246 banning the use Danish Seine, and 7 for dynamite fishing as violation of the amended Fisheries Code or Republic Act 10654. 

The Iloilo provincial government together with BFAR-6 has stepped up its efforts to closely guard the coast of Northern Iloilo and the Visayan Sea. 

BFAR-6 Regional Director Remia Aparri stressed that the agency has committed to intensify enforcement of fisheries laws by permanently deploying one of its ships for monitoring, control and surveillance work. “It will be stationed in Higantes Island in Carles to support Bantay Dagat Seaborne patrols,” said Aparri. 

Moreover, the governors of Negros Occidental, Masbate, Cebu, and Iloilo have previously agreed to declare the Visayan Sea as a National Marine Reserve Area. It calls the grouping as the Alliance of Province for the Protection of the Visayan Sea. 

The alliance aims to have the 10,000 square kilometers area of the Visayan Sea declared as open only for small, marginal or subsistence fishermen from Congress, and eventually from the President. It also plans to collectively impose heavy restrictions on commercial fishing in the area in order to protect coral reefs and its rich marine habitat. 

For the next generation

FUTURE INVESTMENT. Fisherfolk in Barangay Daculan in Estancia town plant mangroves so their children will benefit from more fish supply in the future. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

Mangrove shoots line more than 7 hectares of shoreline in Barangay Daculan in Estancia town. This mangrove plantation is part of the local fisherfolk’s efforts to replenish the fish supply in their area.

“We created this mangrove plantation because we know this will help us in the long run to repopulate the fish. Many sea creatures will start living here so we’ll have bigger catches. This will help the people’s livelihood,” Saldy Bullos, a former village chief, said.

The fisherfolk of Daculan was urged and supported by Iloilo CODE and Christian Aid to create the mangrove plantation because of the need to rehabilitate the village’s coastal areas.

“We volunteer twice a month to maintain these mangroves. We clean the area when there are plastic thrash so the mangroves can grow to their full potential. If you don’t take care of these plants, they will die because of the trash and the strong waves that topple them,” Bullos said.

While the fisherfolk take good care of the mangrove plantation, they know that it is not them that will reap its benefits.

“We’re doing this for the next generation. We do this so that our children and our grandchildren will have enough fish supply. These mangroves will grow and help them,” Bullos concluded. 

Sustainable and replicable

For Pandes, communities really must take the lead in the reef projects because they are the ones benefitting from the seas. 

“We cannot solely rely on the government to counter illegal fishing activities because they cannot monitor all illegal activities. There are so many coastal villages in this area,” she said.

The best part about the initiative, Pandes noted, is that it is easily replicable to other areas that are also plagued with illegal fishing and unsustainable fishing practices.

“It’s easily replicable especially if there are existing groups that can be mobilized or tapped. All we have to do is to increase and enhance their awareness level and help them acquire capacity,” she said.

Pandes concluded: “We need to encourage communities to be partners with government and help other groups to reach their goals in natural resource management.”

As for the fisherfolks of Northern Iloilo, they will continue to take care of the sea – as they hope it will continue to sustain the communities’ livelihood in the generations to come. – With a report from Ted Alwin Ong/ Rappler.com

This is part of a series of stories on Iloilo CODE and Christian Aid's post-Yolanda project "Rebuilding for the Better." From August 9 to 11, a team from the organizations took MovePH to the rehabilitation sites in northern Iloilo to evaluate and document the completion of the project. The rehabilitation project covers 4 themes: renewable energy, shelter, coastal management, and livelihood. Check out the other stories here:

Ocean advocate Alexandra Cousteau to youth: Earth's future lies with you


'IN YOUR HANDS'. Marine environmental advocate Alexandra Cousteau talks about her life and work with UP MBS students. Photo by Zak Yuson/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “I learned to swim before I could walk.”


Marine explorer and environmental advocate Alexandra Cousteau said of her first brush with the blue ocean as she sat down for a talk with several members of the UP Marine Biological Society (UP MBS). Cousteau had just wrapped up an interview at Rappler to talk about the need to conserve biodiversity-rich areas in the Philippines such as the Tañon Strait and the Coral Triangle. (READ: Ten things you didn't know about the Tañon Strait)


Cousteau is the senior advisor to Oceana, a non-profit organization focused on ocean conservation. She is also the granddaughter of iconic undersea explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau and has carried on her family’s love for the ocean and its legacy of environmental protection.


UP MBS got a chance to interview the renowned environmentalist on the role of the youth and the significance of the media in promoting advocacies and conservation issues in the Philippines and around the world. The Diliman-based organization promotes awareness of the marine environment through the sport of skin diving and the principles of environmentalism.


Home in the blue


Cousteau was stunned to hear student Jasmine Santiago recount their experience during coastal clean-ups within Metro Manila. Santiago mentioned how volunteers would not be able to see the sand underneath the piles of trash even after hours of collecting from the same spot.


As an experienced diver, Cousteau has seen it all. “I don’t actually dive as much as people think because of how much depressing stuff there is to see and I just don’t want to see it anymore.” From diseased corals to depleted ecosystems, staring devastation in the face comes with Cousteau’s job of being a dedicated environmental advocate. (READ: 'Protecting Benham Bank key to food security' - Oceana)


Cousteau revealed that, no matter how tough it gets underwater, she still finds home in her element. Whether in a pool, a sandy bottom, or a beautiful dive spot, Cousteau enjoys the blue and continues to practice her diving.

BRIGHT FUTURE. A pawikan (sea turtle) gently glides through the blue ocean. Photo by Gab Mejia/UPMBS

Were a tribe’


Cousteau is constantly inspired by the local people and the communities she meets all over the world, especially the youth who are involved in various environmental issues.


“It can get kind of lonely out there… like nothing you do matters and it’s never gonna change… everybody has those moments. And so when I find like-minded people and I find them around the world, it just makes you feel like you have a tribe.”


Cousteau encouraged the students by telling them that there are people around the world fighting for the same causes they are. “We simply do that because we are human,” she said. “The ocean is where we are from and it hurts to see it die.”


Apart from commending the youth and other student-led groups like UP MBS for participating in environmental advocacies, Cousteau was also impressed by the number of women who are involved in marine conservation here in the Philippines.


You are the storytellers’


Student Gab Mejia asked Cousteau about the most effective ways photography and other media can be utilized in advocacies such as marine conservation. She shared some anecdotes of how her grandparents used to make their first underwater films.


“In the 50s, there was no underwater camera, there was no underwater flash, there was no underwater sound. I mean it seems impossible to imagine today but when they were getting started they took the precursor to Super 8… and they would put that in a bell jar with film… that they would splice together to three-minute reels.”


Cousteau explained how, unlike the filmmakers in her grandfather’s generation, anyone today can easily share their stories to the entire world and, in turn, become influencers.


Daniel Ocampo, the campaign manager of Oceana Philippines, is an underwater filmmaker and photographer who shared some tips with the students.


“No image is worth harassing or destroying marine life,” said Ocampo. He added that tourists and divers must be conscientious when photographing and filming underwater, as plants and animals can be sensitive to flash and other similar obstructions.


Cousteau urged the students: “Document how much fun you’re having. Don’t forget to turn the cameras on yourselves… They will join you because you’re having a blast.” She continued, “If you frame your stories as an adventure, people [will] want to have that human experience that you’re sharing with each other.”


Cousteau advised Mejia and the other UP MBS members to study and practice different media. She also encouraged them to find mentors and heroes like Ocampo, so that they may learn from them.



Youth for action

Although Cousteau has seen the beauty and destruction of marine life around the world, this year marks her first trip to the Philippines. Palawan and Apo Island are some of the destinations she will be visiting. She was proud to mention how her grandfather had filmed in El Nido in the 90s; and now, years later, her daughter will learn to snorkel for the first time there.


When asked what lies ahead for marine conservation, Cousteau believes its future is not up to her, but depends on all of us. Cousteau reminded the youth that the success of conservation efforts relies on how well people tell stories, cooperate, campaign, and communicate these important causes.


As they dive into another academic year ahead, the UP MBS members hope to encourage more Filipino youth to take action and become environmental influencers by following in the footsteps of its distinguished alumni, organizations like Oceana, and veterans such as Alexandra Cousteau. – Rappler.com


Luisa Pineda is a member of the UP Marine Biological Society and a graduate of UP Diliman.



For those who are interested to join the organization and participate in their next events, check out the UP Marine Biological Society Facebook page.

Bay Area Fil-Ams join protest against hero's burial for Marcos


CALIFORNIA, USA - Thirty years ago, Susan Araneta joined fellow former Philippine political prisoners as plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit filed in San Francisco against the Estate of Ferdinand Marcos.

The United States Ninth District Court in Hawaii 5 years later found the Marcos Estate guilty of violation of human rights. Araneta's case – one of 3 that included a class action suit by some 10,000 plaintiffs – received judgment that included monetary compensation. 

If the case prospered, Araneta had told this writer then at the offices of powerhouse lawyer Melvin Belli, she would "establish a foundation to assist the children of detainees get psychological counseling and education."

Araneta is still waiting for the Marcos Estate to pay damages.

"Unfortunately we never got any money and those children have grown up with all the scars of that period," Araneta told this writer 3 decades later on Sunday, September 4.

Those children and their children's children are facing a disparate view of the head of the dictatorship that Araneta said "arrested 75,000 political prisoners, summarily executed countless others and massacred Muslims and other indigenous people." The reason: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the interment of the late strongman at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, the national memorial for Philippine heroes in Taguig City. 

This is why Araneta has returned to the milieu of her student days by aligning with the San Francisco Kontra Libing Coalition Against a Hero’s Burial for Dictator Marcos.

Duterte's stance is "a huge teaching moment in our beloved homeland," said San Francisco Bay Area resident Mila de Guzman, author of Women Against Marcos:  Stories of Filipino and Filipino American Women Who Fought a Dictator who is helping coordinate outreach of the Bay Area segment of the coalition. 

"Filipinos, especially the youth, are being made aware of the abuses and injustices under martial law by the survivors themselves. And we in the San Francisco-Bay Area will do our share in showing solidarity to our kababayan in their courageous fight for truth and justice," she said.

Araneta, one of those featured in De Guzman's book, will join Filipinos and other freedom fighters on September 7 at the Philippine Consulate General in downtown San Francisco. They will descend simultaneously on Philippine seats of government around the world in a unified voice to change Duterte's mind. 

The coalition issued a statement August 29 challenging the move. Marcos deserves condemnation not commendation, it said, citing its accounting of the cost of the 20 years of Marcos rule: 

  • $10 billion worth of plundered loot 
  • $28 billion of external debt
  • inflation rate of over 50% 
  • 58.9% incidence of poverty, and
  • a negative economic growth rate

It stressed Amnesty International estimates of the cost to human lives:

  • 3,240 opponents killed 
  • 34,009 raped and tortured and
  • 70,000 imprisoned. 

The San Francisco movement includes former members of the  Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship and the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino, EDSA People Power@30 Committee, Justice for Filipino American Veterans, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, US Pinoys for Good Governance, and West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center.

USP4GG member Charito Benipayo urged participants to wear white and arrive promptly at 11 am on 447 Sutter Street for the noon rally.

"Marcos has no place among those who saved our country in defense of freedom and democracy," said Benipayo, a resident of Oakland, California who has chaired multiple FilAm organizations. "We don't understand why on earth his family continues to get people's support and are now elected to public offices."

Araneta in 1971 was among students on an arrest list that became known after Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, precursor to martial law. Then member of the Serve the People Brigade and Makibaka, she went underground after Marcos declared martial law, but was eventually apprehended.

She endured interrogation for 5 days before being jailed one year and two months in Fort Bonifacio.

Like other enemies of the regime, Araneta reluctantly fled her country. She resumed efforts to discredit the repressive government by joining Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship here in California.

Time has not diminished her passion for civil rights.

Marcos "plundered the country and sank the economy into a deep depression; should he be lauded for that," she said.

Her incredulity turned to indignation as she noted familiar policies being issued today by Malacañang Palace under President Duterte.

"The new PH president doesn't seem to respect the democratic and legislative process nor [does he honor] the rule of law," Araneta said. "Burying Marcos at Libingan in spite of a previous Supreme Court ruling shows that he doesn't respect the judicial system. He just does what he wants to do, just like Marcos, except Marcos was more sophisticated...hiding behind 'legal procedures.'"

"The message that his (Marcos') burial at Libingan would send is that dictators can in the end also be heroes," said Araneta. "This goes against the democratic principles we are trying to instill in our young people and which we fought so hard for."

The world would perceive Filipinos as "willing to forgo our democratic rights should another dictator emerge," she warned.

"It's like burying Hitler in a Heroes' Cemetery in Europe," she said.

She cited late Representative Bonifacio Gillego and historian Alfred McCoy's conclusion that Marcos' much-touted medals of honor were mostly fake, "so on this point, Marcos  not a hero as he claimed to be," therefore unfit for Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

De Guzman sees a silver lining in the controversy. She borrowed from Aida Santos, one of the petitioners who recently appealed the Supreme Court to block Marcos' burial in the hallowed ground .

In her book, De Guzman quotes Santos: "Whatever happens to our petitions in the Supreme Court pleadings that the former dictator Marcos not be buried in the LNMB, we have won a moral victory. We have shown the injustices under the dictatorship. We have made more people aware. We have made friends." – Rappler.com 

Filipinos in Chicago hold protest vs hero’s burial for Marcos


ACTIVISM CONTINUES. Filipinos in Chicago urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to honor 'true heroes worthy of emulation' by not giving Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial. Photo by Pat Nabong

CHICAGO, USA – Despite being thousands of miles away from the Philippines, some Filipinos staged a protest in Chicago on Wednesday, September 7, to oppose President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to bury dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

They marched to the consulate general of the Philippines in downtown Chicago to submit a petition against a heroes’ burial for Marcos. Consul General Generoso Calonge told them he would forward their demands to the Office of the President.

“All the views that are being ventilated right now worldwide will reach Manila,” Calonge said.

In their petition, they called for President Duterte to honor “true heroes worthy of emulation” and to reconsider his decision to give Marcos a heroes’ burial.

“I think burying Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani means a lot,” said Jerry Clarito, who has been living in Chicago for more than 3 decades. “It’s erasing the history of the people who fought against dictatorship and [an] oppressive system."

The petition was signed by over 23 people, some of whom claimed to be included in the list of thousands of people who were oppressed and repressed during Martial Law.  

Joseph Lariosa, who said he was imprisoned while working as an entertainment journalist in thePhilippines during the Marcos era, was one of the 70,000 who were arrested during the regime, according to Amnesty International.

“I will agree [to a heroes’ burial for Marcos] only if the Marcos family will recognize the mistakes of Marcos under Martial Law and also if they return the loot that they have taken away from the Filipino people,” said Lariosa, who moved to Chicago in 1986.

“Otherwise, I'll feel bad if they let him get away with the murders, thievery, and all the bad things that happened under Martial Law,” he said.  

The late dictator’s ill-gotten wealth is estimated at P170 million, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Governance.

Continuing the fight abroad

PROTEST DANCE. One of the anti-Marcos protesters in front of the Philippine consulate general in Chicago on September 7, 2016, performs a traditional dance. Photo by Pat Nabong

Although they have migrated, Filipino participants at the demonstration believe that being involved in Philippine affairs is still important.

“That’s happening here in Chicago – that we continue the tradition of resistance against any form of tyranny and we try to empower the community and the people by speaking out,” said Lariosa.

He said his opinions were repressed during the Marcos regime. “We were silenced and so at least here in America we’re allowed to talk and to express our sentiment.”

Their views were also echoed by the younger ones.

“I think there’s a lot of intersection between social problems abroad and social problems here,” said Naomi Salcedo, a Filipino-American born in the United States and who works for the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment Chicago.

“It’s very important for a lot of people even if we’re not born in the Philippines, even if we’re not all Filipino, we’re still part of that narrative, and our parents were part of that narrative. So I think regardless of whether you’re here or there, it still transcends those barriers,” she said. – Rappler.com 

IN PHOTOS: Martial Law activists in US reunite vs Marcos burial


DEPORTED. Melinda Paras, who was deported after being detained during Martial Law, and Elaine Elinson, co-author of Development Debacle that exposed how the World Bank and IMF economic prescriptions failed during the dictatorship. Photo by Rick Rocamora

SAN FRANCISCO, USA – It took the plan to bury Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to reunite graying activists who denounced the dictatorship once more – just like the old times.

For 14 years during the martial rule of Marcos, the Philippine consulate located on 447 Sutter Street in this city was the focal point of protest action against the dictatorship. Anti-Marcos activists banded together under the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP), made personal sacrifices, and delayed their education and career just to allot time for political work.

After the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, the KDP disbanded, although individual members continued their advocacies and campaigns related to various issues close to them.

On September 8, they saw each other again in a rally in front of the consulate to denounce the planned hero's burial for Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (The Supreme Court has held two sessions to hear the oral arguments for and against the administration's plan to bury Marcos at the Libingan. Pending the SC decision, all parties were prohibited by the Tribunal from burying him there.)

For the old activists, seeing their daughters join the protest gives them hope.

REUNITED. Edwin Batongbakal and other organizers making last minute changes on the list of speakers in front of the Philippine Consulate. Photo by Rick Rocamora

MARCH FOR TRUTH. Rene Ciria Cruz, former Editor of Ang Katipunan, marches carrying the Philippine flag during the rally. Photo by Rick Rocamora

 OLD TIMES. Sorcy Apostol of Sacramento excited to see fellow former activist Melinda Paras. Photo by Rick Rocamora

WOMEN VS MARCOS. Mila de Guzman, author of Women Against Marcos: Stories of Filipino and Filipino American Women who Fought a Dictator,€ at the demonstration. Photo by Rick Rocamora


MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS. Lorena (L), 17- year old daughter of Melinda Paras, who was named after Lorena Barrios, joined the protest together with Leni Marin and Thelma King. Photo by Rick Rocamora

MARTIAL LAW MEMORIES. Daz Lamparas from Davao (L) and Romeo Villanueva from Bataan had to leave the Philippines during Martial Law to avoid harassment. Photo by Rick Rocamora

NEW TOOLS. A demonstrator documents the rally with her iPhone across from the Philippine Consulate. Photo by Rick Rocamora

– Rappler.com

Rick Rocamora is an award-winning photographer based in California. During Martial Law, Rocamora was beaten and arrested by the San Francisco Police Tactical Squad during a demonstration in front of the Philippine Consulate.

Are you an OFW with a story to tell? Send contributions to balikbayan@rappler.com

Why do some millennials choose government?


YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT. Bea Orante, Tricia Villaluz, and Anna Motohara Venturina work in government for different reasons.

MANILA, Philippines – Is the millennial generation averse or inclined toward working for the government?

Several studies and researches, however, have painted contradicting images of the millennials.  On one hand, they have been characterized as having a sense of entitlement and “overly self-confident and self-absorbed." They are also branded as apathetic and oblivious to the societal challenges around them, a result of their supposed disillusionment

On the other hand, they are praised as fearless, empowered, passionate, and free. And as digital natives who grew up along with the exponential growth of technology, they are presumed to be an innovative and dynamic generation. 

While conventional wisdom coupled with experience from other countries suggest that those born from 1980 to 2000 are reluctant to pursue a career in  government, interviews and anecdotes from millennials in the Philippine government, however, offer a different perspective.

Why do millennials join government? What do they contribute to the bureaucratic and decades-old public system? (READ: Millennials in the workplace: How to get the best of them?

Rappler interviewed 3 millennials working in different government offices to know more about the generation that makes up almost a third of the Philippine population. 

Curious generation

Why government? 

For Anna Motohara Venturina and Bea Orante, both 23 years old, it was plain curiosity and the desire to understand what is on the other side of the fence which drove them to a career they both described as “ initially unlikely.”

Venturina works at the office of Senator Bam Aquino. In her line of work, she assists and sometimes sits in for the senator in committee meetings.

Orante works in the communications department of the Local Government Academy (LGA). The agency is mandated to train and develop agencies and local government offices towards innovative and effective local governance. 

"I was part of the student movement, and there are things na kinocontest ko na ginagawa ng gobyerno. Pero gusto kong maintindihan na kung bakit ginagawa nila 'yun. Bakit ganito sila mag-isip. Bakit may mga maraming pagkakataon na walang point of convergence yung mamamayan at 'yung gobyerno," Venturina said. 

(There were government actions that I contested. I want to understand why they did it. Why they think that way. Why there have been many instances when there was no point of converence between citizens and the government.)

Tricia Villaluz shifted careers from media to government in her pursuit for a more stable career.  Villaluz, 24, works at the Office of the Provincial Governor of Cavite. She is tasked with correspondences and communication with other LGUs and the latters' constituents. She also drafts executive orders and memoranda.

"Two years after college, I was already thinking long term. I wanted something stable for my job and being in the government would help me achieve that," Villaluz said.   

Challenges: Principles and age gap 

But surfing the territory did not come easy for them. 

"You have a set of targets, just like in any job. And you work towards those targets every month. But I think one of the problems there is that you tend to get hyperfocused to your targets and then you lose sight of the intangible side of things. You forget that it is not just about the targets but also the people you are helping and trying to make a difference," Orante said. 

Orante added, however, that a more pressing challenge she has so far experienced in her two-month stint in government is aligning her principles that sometimes contradict with government policies. 

"You have to keep remembering that you are part of the government but at the same time you are your own person. So even if you are working in the government, it is important that you still have a critical eye on certain things," Orante added. 

This was echoed by Venturina. She said that more than retaining one's belief system, it is also challenging for millennials in government to ensure that they will be able to translate their views to concrete policies and action. 

"Ang isa sa mga challenge ay dahil nandito ka na sa gobyerno, may pressure sa`yo na kumilos (One of the challenges here is that since you are already in the government, there's a pressure for you to deliver)," Venturina said.

Good thing though, Venturina added, that she works with other like-minded millennials in her team, making overcoming these challenges a lot easier. 

The same thing cannot be said for Villaluz, however.

"Most of my co-workers are Gen Y and Gen X so sometimes it's difficult to reach out to them about certain things. I tend to always hesistate thinking if i'm coming across as know-it-all," Villaluz said, adding that some of her officemates also tend to treat her as a kid.  

Managing expectations  

How do they overcome these problems in the workplace?

Orante said that it is important for millennials to learn how to manage their expectations before entering the job.  (READ: 3 things I learned as a millennial in government

"When you’re young, you have this idealism that this is how things should have been. But you kind of learn how to manage your expectations," Orante said. She also emphasized the importance of approaching government work with an open mind. 

During their short stint at the government, the 3 millennials have also debunked several myths about the system, giving them a fresher perspective of the institution they used to distrust. Venturina even dubbed her entrance to the public sector a "moment of clarity." 

"I was bothered by the level of bureaucracy. And I think I still am. I still see that there’s a lot of problem but at the same time you realize that there are a lot people with good intention," Orante said. 

 This was echoed by Villaluz, saying that entering government "changed my view in the sense that I saw how government people do work on their job diligently, as opposed to other people thinking that govt employees tend to slack off."

'More millennials need in government'

The 3 young government employees agreed on one thing: millennials are needed in the public sector. According to them, the young generation adds valuable information and insights that could help address the bureaucracy in the system. 

"If for example, the government communications strategy is just focused on an old audience, you’re not going to get as much engagement from the youth. When you kind of forget about the youth, you also forget that they can be the basis for your future activities," Orante said. 

Venturina added that millennials have an endless list of ways of doing things and getting things done. Given this millennial talent, they can bring in a fresh perspective and possible solutions to decades-old problems in the government. 

"We have this kind of perception that the youth are apolitical but in fact if you’re young, you really care a lot. We’ve seen a lot of groups rising up right now, talking about issues. And I think we have to get these voices in the government." Orante added. 

In all, the millennials' reputation of being a disconnected generation seems to betray their close identification with public service and civic engagement. As proven by Venturina, Orante, and Villaluz, millennials are not at all detached from politics and public service. 

"Given the emergence of social media and opportunity to grandstand both online and offline, the tendency is for milllennials to show their concern about what is happening around them," Venturina said. – Rappler.com 


PODCAST: Domestic violence in Denmark


 Since the start of the year, Therese Christensen, a consultant for the Danner Women’s Crisis Center in Copenhagen has assisted 27 Filipino women seeking counseling or emergency shelter. That’s about one woman every week.   Photo by Ana P. Santos/Copenhagen, Denmark. May 2016

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark is ranked as one of the most gender equal countries in the world. But violence against women still exists. 

A study done by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that Denmark has one of the highest rates of domestic violence among EU countries at 52%, followed by Finland at 47%, and Sweden at 46%.

There are an estimated 33,000 women who experience some form of violence in Denmark. Of that number, about 4,000 (more than 10%) are immigrant women.

Several factors make immigrant women especially vulnerable when it comes to violence.

Language is a common barrier. Migrant women may not know what rights and protections are available to them because laws are written mostly in Danish.  Additionally, they would not have the support system of family and friends that they would normally have in their home country. Some women, whose residence permit is hinged on their marriage to a Danish citizen, resist seeking help.

Since the start of this year, Therese Christensen, a consultant for the Danner Women's Crisis Center in Copenhagen, has assisted 27 Filipino women seeking counseling or emergency shelter. (Read more about the Danner Women’s Crisis Center here.)

"That's about 4 women every month," said Christensen. Or about one woman every week.

On September 2 and 3, award-winning actor and One Billion Rising global director Monique Wilson, researcher Erliza Pedersen, Christensen, and this writer spoke at a Women’s Forum for the Filipino migrant women held in Copenhagen and Aalborg.

Through intimate sharing of personal experiences, we hoped to break the silence on the taboo and shame that surround domestic violence.

In this interview with Wilson and Christensen, we reflect on how the stereotypes, misplaced cultural values like religion and economics, make migrant women especially vulnerable to violence and how communities can work towards solutions.   Rappler.com

This event was organized by the Danner Women's Crisis Center, Kirkernes Integrations Tjeneste (KIT) and funded by the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior.

Water sanitation 'crucial' for new resettlement areas


CLEAN WATER. Residents in the island-village of Taloto-an enjoy clean water from the solar filtration system built by Iloilo CODE and Christian Aid. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

ILOILO, Philippines – While creating new homes should be a key priority of the government and aid groups in rehabilitating communities in the aftermath of disasters, the intervention should not end there.

This was the sentiment of Cynthia Espinosa, an area coordinator of the Iloilo Caucus of Development NGOs (Iloilo CODE), who added that water sanitation is a problem that many groups overlook.

“This is a problem especially when the disaster survivors are relocated in new areas," Espinosa said. "Water source and sanitation is overlooked and neglected so the people have a difficult time in their new homes."

In the town of Concepcion in northern Iloilo, Espinosa experienced this firsthand while dealing with her organization’s post-Yolanda initiative. 

“In our resettlement projects in barangays Taloto-an and Polopiña, this was a major concern among the beneficiaries. We tried to look for sources of potable water in their areas but we couldn’t find any. So we had to look for sources and make sure that the water they have is clean,” Espinosa said.

Cleaner water

This gave birth to the water sanitation projects in the island barangays of Taloto-an and Polopiña which utilizes solar energy to pump water from the well and undergo filtration process. The effort was integrated in the post-Super Typhoon Yolanda project: “Rebuilding for Better and Resilient Shelters” by Iloilo CODE and Christian Aid-UK.

“The project in Taloto-an has been completed and the beneficiaries of the project in the area are already enjoying the water system powered by solar for drinking and other common uses. On the other hand, the one in Polopiña is currently being built,” she added. 

Espinosa noted that the new filtration system has improved the health condition of the people in the island village. Barangay health workers had reported that cases of diarrhea went down after the water well was sanitized. 

“Diarrhea was high especially among children 0 to 5 years old and senior citizens. But after the water filtration system was built, the health workers said there are almost no new cases,” she added.

Prior to the project, villagers had to go to the town proper to fetch water. In other island villages, the people still have to go to the mainland just to buy potable water. 

Gaps in LGU response

SOLAR POWERED. The water filtration system is operated using solar panels. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

According to Espinosa, the project has put to light some gaps in the response of local government units (LGU) and regional health units (RHU).

“Especially for the RHUs, supposedly it’s their role to go to the remote villages and check if the water sources that they have are potable or if it’s curable through chlorination. The water will be potable if they put small amounts of chlorine,” Espinosa emphasized. 

She added: “But the only action we see the LGU doing was to get water samples, then test and analyze it. After that, there are no concrete follow through actions.” 

In terms of finding new areas where survivors can be relocated, Espinosa said LGUs need not always transfer people back to the mainland. 

“This is a major concern for the survivors. They don’t want to be far from their sources of livelihoods and their boats. The LGUs don’t have to bring them all to the mainland since there are also safe zones in the islands,” Espinosa noted.

While government response is seldom lacking, Espinosa concluded that this is where NGOs can step in and make efforts that can address the gaps. For the people of Taloto-an and Polopiña, getting clean water is a big step towards going back to normalcy. – Rappler.com

This is part of a series of stories on Iloilo CODE and Christian Aid's post-Yolanda project "Rebuilding for the Better." From August 9 to 11, a team from the organizations took MovePH to the rehabilitation sites in northern Iloilo to evaluate and document the completion of the project. The rehabilitation project covers 4 themes: renewable energy, shelter, coastal management, and livelihood. Check out the other stories here:

Northern Luzon braces for Typhoon Ferdie


APPROACHING TYPHOON. Strong winds and heavy rain are felt in Santa Ana, Cagayan as Typhoon Ferdie approaches on September 13, 2016. Photo by Raymon Dullana/Rappler

CAGAYAN, Philippines – Several areas in Northern Luzon are preparing for Typhoon Ferdie (Meranti), which could make landfall in Batanes very early Wednesday, September 14.

Classes in all levels in Batanes were suspended Tuesday, September 13. As of 11 am on Tuesday, state weather bureau PAGASA had already raised signal number 4 over the province.

In Cagayan province, Governor Manuel Mamba also ordered the suspension of classes from preschool to senior high school on Tuesday.

Mamba said Task Force Lingkod Cagayan is now on red alert to respond to emergency and rescue situations.

"Residents in the province are advised to take precautionary measures against impacts of very strong winds and heavy rainfall," Mamba said in an advisory.

"Small seacraft and fishing boats were also advised not to venture [into sea] due to big waves caused by [the] typhoon, likewise residents near mountain slopes [should be on alert] for possible landslides and flash floods along river banks and tributaries," he added.

So far, more than a dozen passengers have been stranded in different ports in Northern Luzon.

Hanna Bang-od, chief of operations of the Philippine Coast Guard-Northeast Luzon, told Rappler that the stranded passengers were heading to Calayan Islands and to the coastal towns of Isabela province.

She said the PCG is now closely monitoring coastal areas in Cagayan and Isabela for possible storm surges.

As of 10 am on Tuesday, Bang-od said the PCG monitoring center in Aparri has observed moderate to rough waves.

Flights from Manila to Basco, Batanes and vice versa have also been cancelled. – Rappler.com

MovePH, Project PEARLS partner for storytelling, content


FOR EDUCATION. (L-R) MovePH community manager David Lozada, Project PEARLS writer Karen Bublañes, Project PEARLS administrator Monica Aclan, and MovePH executive director Rupert Ambil ink their partnership on September 13, 2016 at the Rappler headquarters. Photo by Jeff Digma/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler's civic engagement arm MovePH signed a partnership with Project PEARLS, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and health care to underprivileged children, for the use of online platform X on Tuesday, September 13.

Project PEARLS (peace, education, aspiration, respect, love, smiles) plans to use Rappler's self-publishing platform to share its stories, promote its programs, ask for aid, tap other organizations for partnerships, and raise public awareness about the communities that it provides aid to.

According to Monica Aclan and Karen Bublañes, both full-time staff at Project PEARLS, Rappler's online influence and trusted name have been very helpful in expanding the organization's reach.

"It's very nice that Rappler is using this kind of hype to let non-government organizations and their advocacies be noticed, especially by millennials who are all over social media," said Bublañes.

By expanding its reach through Rappler's X, Project PEARLS hopes to mobilize more people to provide aid to the two communities it currently works with – Barangay Batia in Bocaue, Bulacan, and the Helping Land in Tondo, Manila.

The organization currently supports over 500 children from these two communities, offering them scholarships from preschool to college, providing them with food and health care, and creating livelihood programs in their neighborhoods.

MovePH, for its part, will train Project PEARLS on storytelling and content creation.

"We want X to be the journal of hope and the online diary of children that Project PEARLS caters to. We want them to have a chance at a decent future through our platform," MovePH executive director Rupert Ambil said of the partnership.

Launched in July 2016, Move Network is a community of student organizations and non-governmental organizations that share MovePH's vision to use social media as their platform for advocacy. More than 150 student organizations and 30 NGOs are part of the expanding network. – Rappler.com


Check out Project PEARLS' X account here.

Do you want your organization to be part of the Move Network? Send us an e-mail at move.ph@rappler.com.

A junior BS Management student at Ateneo de Manila University, Paco Tantoco is a Rappler intern.

#WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Wednesday, September 14


What's the weather like in your area? Report the situation through Rappler's Agos or tweet us at @rapplerdotcom.

MANILA, Philippines – Here is a list of areas where classes have been suspended for Wednesday, September 14, due to Typhoon Ferdie.

Not on the list? Help us crowdsource class suspensions by posting in the comments section or tweeting @rapplerdotcom.

For more information: When are classes cancelled or suspended? – Rappler.com

Filipino killed in accident on world's biggest cruise ship


ACCIDENT. The world's biggest cruise liner the Harmony of the Seas is docked in the French port of Marseille, southern France, on September 13, 2016. One person was killed and two were seriously injured on September 13, 2016. Photo by Boris Horvat/AFP

MARSEILLE, France (UPDATED) – A Filipino crewman was killed Tuesday, September 13, during a safety drill on the world's biggest cruise liner, the Harmony of the Seas, while it was docked in Marseille, a city official said.

The 42-year-old and four other crew members were in a lifeboat that plunged 10 meters (35 feet) into the water during a safety drill in the southern French port.

Three other Filipinos and an Indian man were hurt in the incident, and two were fighting for their lives.

A fire service spokesman said: "One person is dead and four are injured, including two whose lives are in danger."

Marseille's deputy mayor Julien Ruas told AFP the five were the only people in the lifeboat at the time when it became detached from its fastenings and "fell 10 metres" into the harbour.

The city's prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said a similar drill is carried out every week on the ship.

"It involves putting a lifeboat to sea," he said.

Sudden drop

An investigation has been opened to find out why "the cable or the fastenings" holding the lifeboat in place gave way, the prosecutor said.

The boat "fell suddenly into the water," he added.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement: "We are keeping our colleagues and their families in our thoughts and prayers."

The Harmony of the Seas sailed into Marseille early Tuesday from the Spanish Mediterranean island of Majorca.

The ship had been scheduled to set sail for Italy later on Tuesday but the investigation into the lifeboat incident is expected to delay its departure until Wednesday at the earliest, the prosecutor said.

The 120,000-ton liner operated by Florida-based Royal Caribbean only entered service in May.

At 66 meters (217 feet), it is the widest cruise ship ever built, while its 362-meter length makes it 50 meters longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower.

On its maiden voyage, it sailed from Southampton on England's south coast to Barcelona.

Built in the STX shipyard in the northwestern French port of Saint-Nazaire, the Oasis-class liner has 16 decks and can carry more than 6,000 passengers and 2,400 crew.

Among the onboard attractions are "The Ultimate Abyss", a 10-storey slide from the top deck to the main deck which Royal Caribbean bills as the world's biggest ship-mounted waterslide.

A giant climbing wall, a rope slide, mini-golf, surf simulator, floating jacuzzis, casino and 1,400-seat theatre playing Broadway musicals are among the other attractions.

Royal Caribbean has ordered a sister ship of the Harmony to join its fleet in 2018. – Rappler.com

Filipinos in Switzerland call for UN attention to PH drug war


NO TO KILLINGS. Filipinos in Switzerland stage a protest appealing for UN attention on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Annie Yuson

MANILA, Philippines – As the body count rises in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, Filipinos in Switzerland are seeking the support of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

A group of Filipinos staged a protest on Tuesday, September 13, before the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and the UN Palais des Nations.

They sought to raise alarm on what they called the "worst wave of summary killings" in the Philippines over the last 3 decades.

The demonstration was timed with the opening of the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where UNHRC Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticized Philippine President Duterte for his "lack of understanding" of human rights institutions.

Based on latest government figures, 3,426 people have died in the government's campaign against illegal drugs. Of this number, 1,935 were victims of extrajudicial killings, while 1,491 were killed in police operations.

The Filipino protesters in Geneva called on Duterte to revisit his standing shoot-to-kill orders in the anti-drug efforts, and to discourage vigilantism and extrajudicial killings.

The protesters also appealed to the UN Human Rights Council to help the Philippine government in resolving the cases of extrajudicial killings. They also want the Philippine government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Killings to assist in addressing the problem.

“While the intention of getting rid of, or at least minimizing the country’s illicit drug problem is laudable, it has to be asserted that extrajudicial killings cannot be accepted, for the ‘ends do not justify the means,'" said the group's spokesperson Annie Yuson.

"Accepting extrajudicial killings for the drug problem can set a dangerous precedent that can spread to other areas and promote a culture of impunity,” Yuson added. – Rappler.com