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Mind the gap


 Wake up call!

If there is someone who should be on the streets burning an effigy of Donald Trump, it should be Hillary Clinton.

However screwed up the process of electing Trump as president, Hillary conceded defeat, licked her wounds, and has called on everybody to give Trump a chance.

That's what we do. You know, we are Americans. We are not Duterte fanatics.

Whether we like it or not, Trump is our president now. Denying Trump this tenure is like questioning the vote of the majority, America's foundation in its practice of democracy.

Somehow, the Founding Fathers were high on something when they thought about how we should count the majority to elect a president.

US PRESIDENT. Donald Trump wins over Democrat Hillary Clinton. AFP file photo

Like Hillary, Al Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 US presidential election but lost the presidency to George W. Bush who won in the Electoral College.

But we survived Bush who brought us to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have spawned the kind of despicable hatred and extremism in the Middle East never been seen before, with the Moslem terrorist ISIS as its latest version. We saw this in the terroristic onslaught of Osama bin Laden and his Talibans.

Even President Obama is sincere in calling for unity. We got screwed, all right, but fuck it – to borrow these swear words from Duterte who now calls Trump his BFF – there'll be another election in 4 years to rally the troops to dislodge him.

But for now, we stand united with POTUS. If we don't have respect for this despicable man, let's have respect for the Office of the President of the United States. We pledged allegiance to the flag, not a person.

We lost. They won. Live with it. It's their turn.

Just think of Trump as a name for a weed, like a Rick Steve's joint, except Trump's potency is 38% THC. Let's try this shit, man!– Rappler.com

 Oscar Quiambao is a businessman and former business journalist from Manila who now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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



#NotOnMyWatch: Why some drivers pay bribes to get a license


THE RIGHT PROCESS. NCTU-Cebu president Allan Tapia says many applicants pay bribes because they didn't finish school and have a smaller chance at passing the driver's exams. File photo from LTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines – For some of the youth in Cebu City, a driver's license is more than just a government ID, or official permission to operate a motor vehicle. It's a ticket to a means of livelihood that can earn them an honest wage for their day-to-day expenses.

But getting a license isn't always easy – and it's not cheap either, if one takes the road more often taken by those who fear failing the driver's exams. Getting a license through the proper, official channels will cost only a little less than P1,000, but that figure can triple if one decides to take a shortcut.

It's an open secret, according to National Confederation of Transport Workers' Union (NCTU)-Cebu president Allan Tapia. He said he's had many young men – some even close to graduating college – approach him to ask if he knows how to speed up the process and ensure a favorable outcome for the driver's exams.

"Diretso" – direct – is how they call it: paying anywhere from P3,000 to P5,000 as a bribe, on top of the usual government fees, to ensure that an applicant will pass the driver's exams.

Tapia said many applicants resort to this practice because they cannot afford to fail the exam and miss out on their chance to earn a living plying the city's roads.

"Kaysa mahirapan ka, tapos kailanganin mo na 'yung trabaho, diretso na lang. Magbabayad ka na para makakuha ka ng lisensya," he said. (So you won't have a hard time, and since you need the job, you'll just pay to get that license.)

While most people resort to bribes to skip lines, cut processing time, or speed up transactions, the young people paying bribes to pass the driver's exams have a different reason: to avert the possibility of not being able to drive and earn a living for an entire year.

Cheaper to bribe

To be able to drive a jeep or other public vehicles, applicants must possess a professional driver's license. To get that license, they have to pass a written examination and a driving exam. 

If they fail the tests twice, they will only be allowed to try again and re-apply after one year. But that one year of waiting is too long for prospective drivers, Tapia said.

"Sa tagal ng panahon na 'yun, parang 'di na tayo makahintay kasi nagugutom na tayo….Isang taon na walang trabaho, ang rami pa ng kakainin mo. Kung walang lisensya, mahirap sa buhay," Tapia said.

(Because it takes that long, we can't wait anymore because we'll go hungry...In a year without work, you'll still need to feed yourself. If you don't have a license, life is hard.)

Compounding this problem is the fact that many applicants struggle to read well, making it hard for them to pass the written exams, too.

Tapia said many applicants above 18 years old have not completed school, and don't have access to study guides and materials on driving etiquette and the basic rules of the road.

With little chance of passing the exams, and a pressing need to get the license, they end up vulnerable to corruption and bribery just to ensure a positive outcome.

For them, that P3,000 to P5,000 they spend for bribery easily outweighs the cost of a year without work.

"When you drive, you already earn in just one round of plying the roads. You can already buy food, your basic needs...If you already get a license that you spent P5,000 to get, you can earn that back already within a month," Tapia said in Filipino.

Stopping the practice

For NCTU-Cebu secretary Anje del Cielo, it can be hard for aspiring drivers to follow processes by the book, when they see other applicants paying their way for a more secure outcome.

"If I line up properly, and then see someone paying bribes, I think, 'Why can they do it, why not me?' You'll feel compelled to follow suit even if it will cost some amount of money. You rationalize it by thinking that you're in a hurry and you can earn that back soon anyway," she said in Filipino.

But it's not just applicants willing to pay who are contributing to the problem of corruption. Del Cielo pointed out that those who resort to bribery are taking advantage of the weakness of the government agency itself.

To stop this practice, both sides – the government agency and the citizens – should do their part. (READ: #NotOnMyWatch: Reporting corruption made easier)

Del Cielo said applicants should be willing to wait out the entire process and go through the proper channels. But this practice can only be kept up if transactions at the government agency go through smoothly, without employees who are looking to make a quick buck intentionally prolonging the process.

"It really takes two to tango. People would be willing to wait if they see that others are not getting ahead of them by paying up. But on the flip side, government agencies should also fix their systems to stop accepting bribes," she said in Filipino.

For prospective jeepney drivers, Tapia said he is now telling young people to read up and study instead of taking the shortcut. He pointed out that some of those seeking his help are even college-level students, who only need a bit of push and motivation to work hard to pass the driver's exams.

"Kulang din sa tiyaga 'yung kukuha ng lisensya. Parang na-exercise na ng mga Pilipino na halos lahat instant," he said. (Those trying to get a license also lack perseverance. It's like Filipinos have been used to getting everything in an instant.)

"We Filipinos have our own kind of genius, we can learn things quickly…I encourage those who come to me for help to study defensive driving and rules of the road so that when they take the exam, they have a higher chance of passing," he added.

But he also hopes that the private sector and even the government can help educate these drivers, so that they can pass the exams the right way and stop resorting to bribery and corruption.

"If it's possible, maybe the LTO can make study guides for drivers available online. It's more accessible to a lot of young Filipinos," he said. – Rappler.com

Reporting corruption gets you better government service. Tell us about your experience on www.fightcorruption.ph or chat with us through Facebook messenger

Help fight corruption. Share this story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and help spread the word about how we can fight corruption together.

To help us track the ripples of this campaign, use #NotOnMyWatch.

Interested to partner with us? Email notonmywatch@rappler.com. 

#InspireCourage: The education of Daniel Cabrera


EDUCATION. Daniel Cabrera visits the Mind Museum to learn more about science. Photo by Abigail Abigan/Rappler

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Last year, 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera became an Internet sensation when he was photographed by a netizen while studying on a sidewalk to use the light of a fast food chain in Cebu. The photo caught the public's heart and he became a symbol for Philippine education.

Ever since that day, Daniel's life has changed. He received attention from national and international media – spreading his story of determination and inspiring people to help him in ways his family did not imagine.

Now, the young boy is already 11, living a much better life. Daniel is currently in the 4th grade at Subangdaku Elementary School. He and his family no longer live in the streets of Cebu. They now have a house and a reliable source of income.

How his life changed

After the photo went viral, Daniel and his family received a steady stream of assistance from people who were moved by his dedication. A crowdfunding campaign was able to raise enough amount for them to move to a new home through the assistance of Dilaab Foundation, a local church-based group.

Daniel's mother, Maria Christina Espinosa, 42, said she is thankful to the people who helped her son.

"Mapasalamaton gyod ko sa mga nitabang. Karon nakabalhin nami. Maayo na ang among kahimtang," Espinosa said. (I'm very thankful to those who helped my son. We are already renting a house and we're living a much better life.)

Among others, Daniel received a scholarship from McDonald's in Cebu, which would cover his studies until the 12th grade. This includes a monthly allowance and his school supplies.

As part of the scholarship grant, Daniel needs to maintain an average of 80% in all his subjects.

"Gi-monitor gyod ni nako ang iyang eskwela usab aron dili siya mahagbong ba," Espinosa said. (I'm constantly monitoring his grades to make sure he will not fail.)

Daniel dreams of becoming a policeman someday. When Mandaue City police found out about this, they raised funds for Daniel to enable him to study criminology in college.

WONDER BOY. Daniel studies in deep concentration along one of the sidewalks in Cebu City. Photo from Joyce Torrefranca's Facebook account

"Kung mahuman ni siya sa iyang high school, naa na pud siya madawat nga support gikan sa mga pulis para sa iyang college," Espinosa said. (If he finishes high school, he will receive financial support from the local police for his college education.)

She added: "Ang ako lang gyod nga unta mapadayon gihapon ang supporta nila kay Daniel, nga ma continue ang iyang monthly allowance ug scholarship hangtod sa mahuman siya sa iyang pag-eskwela ug makab-ot niya iyang gusto." (I hope they will continue to support Daniel. I hope he continuously receives his monthly allowance and avail of the scholarship grant until he's able to finish his education and achieve his dreams in life.)

Meanwhile, Espinosa used some of the donations given to the family to start a small business. She recently finished a course under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 


On Friday, November 11, Daniel and his mom went to Manila to attend Rappler's Move Awards and #InspireCourage launch. 

During the event, he was introduced by Rappler CEO Maria Ressa as a living example of courage. His story – of how a young boy who grew up in poverty values his education– continued to inspire as he earned the admiration of everyone present.

Daniel and his mother again thanked the people who helped them financially. 

"Nagpasalamat ko sa mga tao nga nitabang namo. Sa mga ni-sponsor namo, salamat kayo," Daniel said. (I thank those who help us. To those who sponsored us, thank you very much.)

Espinosa thanked Rappler, saying she was overwhelmed to be invited to the event. She said she did not expect that they would be introduced and recognized in front of a crowd.

On Saturday, November 12, Daniel and his mom were taken to the Mind Museum, where the young boy enjoyed the booths and exhibits.

"Nalingaw ko sa museum. Ganahan kayo ko sa kadtong salog nga piano. Kung mutamak ka kay mutingog," Daniel said. (I really like the museum. My favorite is the floor with piano keys that produced sounds whenever I stepped on them.)

Daniel took a lot of photos and said he had a really great experience during his tour.

Daniel's promise

Because of the support his family has received, Daniel promised to study harder and to do his best to fulfill his dreams.

"Promise nako nga magtarong gyod ko sa akong pag-eskwela," the boy said. (I promise I will do great in my studies.) 

ENJOYING MANILA. Daniel Cabrera enjoys one of the interactive exhibits of the Mind Museum. Photo by Abigail Abigan/Rappler

Espinosa described her son as a very diligent student who goes to school at all costs, even when he's not feeling well. 

"Kani siya sili gyod ni siya mu-absent bisan og nasakit pa," Espinosa shared. (He's rarely absent because he always insists on going to school.)

Alicia Rivera, Daniel's teacher, said his academic standing is constantly improving.

"He is improving because he is willing to learn. He always wants to be called during class. He has the right attitude to be a leader," Rivera said. 

The young boy proves that just one viral photo on social media, coupled with dedication and hard work, can change people's lives for the better.

"Ganahan ko nga matupad akong mga pangarap. Dili lang akong pangarap kundi pati sa akong mga igsoon," Daniel said. (I want to make my dreams come true, not only my dreams but also my siblings'.) – Rappler.com

PH one of 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change


Delegates walk outside the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech on November 14, 2016. Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/ AFP

MARRAKECH, Morocco – German Watch presented the Global Climate Risk Index analyzing who suffered most from extreme weather events in 2015 and 1996-2015 during the COP 22 on Tuesday, November 15. Four Southeast Asian countries (Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand) and two South Asia countries (Bangladesh and Pakistan) were included in the top 10 countries most affected by climate change in the past 20 years.

Sonke Kreft, one of the authors of the study, said that Southeast Asia particularly is impacted by different climactic impacts such as droughts, flooding, and tropical storms.

Some countries, like Myanmar, has been included in the list because of a single catastrophic event while some countries, like the Philippines, has been included because of both a single catastrophic event and the constant climate impacts that hit the country.

“In the case of the Philippines, it is impacted by tropical storms and heavy precipitation and flooding. Sometimes these two things come together and this is the reason why the Philippines is often in our top 10,” Kreft said.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons every year. Yolanda (international name Haiyan), the strongest typhoon to make landfall then, left the Philippines with more 7,000 people dead in November 2013. Haiyan also left the Philippines with $13 billion in economic loss. This put the Philippines as the top most affected country by climate change in the Global Climate Risk Index of 2015. (READ: COP 22: Energy is PH's 'elephant in the room')

Least developed, developing countries more vulnerable, less resilient

Notably, all of the countries that have been listed as most impacted by climate change are all least developed or developing countries.

“You can see that developing countries are more impacted by extreme events. If you look at developed and industrialized countries, they are heavily impacted but can better manage climactic events, especially loss of lives,” Kreft said.

This brings to the table the argument about who is responsible for climate change and how they can be accountable for it.

“Countries who have done least to contribute to climate change are the countries who are most heavily affected,” said Christoph Bals, Executive Director of German Watch.

What needs to be done

The Paris Agreement has both adaptation and mitigation as two of its key elements. However, adaptation has been called as “the neglected child” of the UN Climate Negotiations. In May 2016, developing countries delayed negotiations until adaptation was put in the table, including adaptation finance. (READ: UN seeks more climate finance from rich nations)

“The Paris Agreement has lifted adaptation at the same level as mitigation but needs to be followed through by real action,” says Kreft.

“In many post-disaster situations, there are unorganized responses that leave behind the most vulnerable segments of populations. We need concrete instruments to safeguard people,” Kreft added.

Bals said there are two important actions that countries can do: first, avoiding the unmanageable and second, managing the unavoidable.

According to Bals, avoiding the unmanageable means strong mitigation actions in line with the 1.5 and 2 degrees limit while managing the unavoidable is ensuring risk reduction. “Risk reduction is crucial and strongly connected to the economic performance of countries and income of people,” said Bals.

For Kreft, improving resilience of developing countries means that vulnerable countries must do their best to protect their communities and people and have government systems in place. However, there is also a need for developed countries to help improve the resilience of vulnerable countries, especially because of their accountability to historical emissions.

“It is also clear that when you take into the argument that countries ranking highest in our index also are countries least responsible for climate change, countries responsible for climate change must give a helping hand, but not in the sense of mercy,” said Kreft. – Rappler.com

12 years on, still no justice for Hacienda Luisita massacre victims


REENACTMENT. Cultural activists from TABLU reenacts the confrontation between the military and farmers during infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre. All photos by Dax Simbol/Rappler

TARLAC, Philippines – "He would have been 32 years old today." Pastor Gab Sanchez reminisces about his son Juancho, who was fatally shot during the so-called Hacienda Luisita Massacre on this day, November 16, in 2004.

"He went to the picket line, bringing water for the protesters to wash their faces from the thick tear gas." said Pastor Gab. That was when Juancho was shot with 6 others who had joined about 1,000 farmers and activists in front of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac. (READ: NBI report on Luisita massacre: Protesters more credible than government)


On November 16, 2004 – 10 days after the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) launched a massive strike – their picket outside the hacienda owned by the family of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino was violently dispersed by police and soldiers.

"Until today we are looking for justice," Sanchez said, adding that he and the families of the 6 others who died are pinning their hopes on President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

IN GRIEF. Pastor Gab Sanchez prepares his speech in front of the Central Azucarera De Tarlac. Sanchez lost his son Juancho, 20 years old then, when he was fatally shot.

In 2010, under the administration of President Corazon's son – President Benigno Aquino III – the Ombudsman dismissed the cases against the military and police implicated in the violent dispersal. 

In 2014, Rappler got a copy of the "confidential" 45-page report that reportedly became the basis of the Ombudsman's decision. It showed that sworn statements from protesters were more consistent and believable than the sworn statements of police, military and Department of Labor and Employment personnel.


The kin of the victims and their supporters were only able to see the report for themselves last in October 2014 after Anakpawis Party List Representative Fernando Hicap obtained a copy from the Department of Justice.

To date, no trial has brought the victims justice. The motion to reopen the case, filed by the victims' families, was declined by the Office of the Ombudsman on October 2, 2014. 


On Wednesday, November 16, the Tanghalang Balen ning Luisita reenacted the events of the infamous Hacienda Luisita incident, a tribute to the 7 victims: Juancho Sanchez, Jessie Valdez, Adriano Caballero Jr, Jaime Fastidio, Jesus Laza, Jhaivie Basilio, and Jhune David. 

The activity was the culmination of a 3-day people’s cultural caravan from Metro Manila to Tarlac, which carried the theme “land, justice, and peace.” The march, led by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, was meant to highlight the continuing demand of Luisita farm workers for genuine land reform in the sugar estate, as well as their call to bring to justice the perpetrators of the massacre.  

PROTEST. Activists throw red paint against the logo of the Central Azucarera De Tarlac during the 12th year anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre.


#NotOnMyWatch: List of Iloilo execs punished for corruption


MANILA, Philippines – Public officials, both elected and appointed, are expected to follow the law and serve the people with utmost honesty and integrity.

When they fail to do so and serve themselves instead, they must pay the price.

As the #NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan heads to Iloilo City on November 18 and 19, we list down some government officials and employees in Iloilo province who have been found guilty of corruption. Their acts should not happen again on our watch.

We also list down cases filed against key politicians in the province.

2 mayors guilty of graft

In April 2011, the Sandiganbayan convicted former Anilao town mayor Ramon Antiojo of malversation of public funds amounting to P2.2 million in 1998. 

His co-accused, municipal treasurer Judith Arabit, argued that these funds were cash advances by Mayor Antiojo. The mayor then submitted questionable liquidation vouchers, according to state auditors.

Antiojo was sentenced to 18 years in jail, while Arabit remained at large as of 2011.

Janiuay Mayor Frankie Locsin, 4 town officials and a businessman were found guilty of graft in June 2015 for the unlawful award of contracts in 2001, in violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Sandiganbayan noted many irregularities in the purchase of medicines worth P14.9 million from AM Europharma Corporation and Mallix Drug Center, both owned by Rodrigo Villanueva.

An audit showed, among others, that there was no legitimate public bidding for the project. The winning suppliers were not eligible because their accreditations were suspended by the Department of Health. As a result, the Commission on Audit suspended the project.

Locsin, Villanueva, and the 4 officials were sentenced to 6 to 10 years of imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office.

Conflict of interest

In November 2016, Dingle town vice mayor and ex-mayor Rufino Palabrica III were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for awarding construction contracts to a "dummy" company.

Palabrica, during his time as mayor, awarded projects between 2007 and 2009 to Tri-B Marketing, a company owned by a certain Eden Castañeda. But investigators found that Castañeda was a helper of Palabrica and his wife Theresa.

The Ombudsman in July 2016 had also charged Palabrica with 2 counts of graft for issuing a business permit and lease contract in 2013 in favor of his own drug store and medical clinic.

Earning from traffic

At least 19 regular and contractual employees from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Region VI were relieved in September 2016 after a complainant reported that they tampered with traffic violation tickets.

Assigned in Bacolod City and at the regional office in Iloilo, they supposedly issued Temporary Operator's Permits or traffic citation tickets using pens with "erasable" ink. They collected the fines from apprehended motorists, then would later change the amount on the tickets to reflect a lower fine. 

Thus, the traffic enforcers were remitting lower amounts of fines than what they have collected. They then pocketed what remained from the fine, according to the complaint. 

The 19 employees are being investigated by LTO Region VI.

Other corrupt acts

In August 2010, Dr Elpidio Locsin Jr, former president of the Iloilo State College of Fisheries, was meted out a punishment of up to 40 years in prison for having his sons avail of a student labor program meant for students from poor families.

Meanwhile, in September 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed process server Eric Caldito for grave misconduct, falsification, and dishonesty. Caldito of the Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 35 was found guilty of falsifying a court order and soliciting money from a law firm with a pending case.

Cases vs politicians

Some key Iloilo politicians have also been charged before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan for alleged corruption. As of this posting, the court has not decided on these cases.

In September 2015, former Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas Sr and 3 co-accused were ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan for approving the payment of unconsumed electricity worth P4 million. Tupas posted bail a day after the arrest warrant was issued.

This involved the 4-year deal entered into by Tupas in 2007 with power supplier Green Core Geothermal Incorporated, in anticipation of the completion of the Iloilo Multi-Purpose Convention Center.

However, the center's construction was stopped in 2009. Green Core was paid P5.88 million, despite the province only consuming electricity worth P1.88 million covering the December 2009-April 2010 billing period.

Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Augusto Syjuco Jr and wife Judy Syjuco also face graft charges related to some of their actions when they represented Iloilo's 2nd district in Congress.

In June 2016, the Ombudsman indicted Syjuco and 3 others for getting a P4.3-million financial grant in 2000 for a supposed district-wide poultry breeding and production project, using his non-governmental organization Tagipusuon Foundation Inc as a conduit. 

Tagipusuon then entered into a deal with Ilonggo Chickboy Corporation, which Syjuco also supposedly controls, for the supply of Kabir chicks.

The Ombudsman also filed graft charges with the Sandiganbayan against the Syjucos over the alleged misuse of then-congresswoman Judy's pork barrel funds in 2006. – with Russel Patina/Rappler.com

Reporting corruption gets you better government service. Tell us about your experience on www.fightcorruption.ph or chat with us through Facebook messenger

Help fight corruption. Share this story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and help spread the word about how we can fight corruption together. 

To help us track the ripples of this campaign, use #NotOnMyWatch.

Interested to partner with us? Email notonmywatch@rappler.com.

UP, Ateneo, Miriam flood Katipunan to protest Marcos burial


NOT A HERO. Students from the University of the Philippines Diliman march in Katipunan Avenue to converge with protesters from the 2 other schools. Photo by Katrina Artiaga/ Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College are making a statement: "Marcos is not a hero."

Thousands of students and faculty members from the 3 schools flooded Katipunan Avenue starting Friday afternoon, November 18, to protest the stealthy, unexpected burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Before meeting up with other schools, UP students held a small program in Palma Hall to express their rage against the secret burial.

University Student Councilor Ben Galil Te asked the crowd if they had already forgotten about all the injustices that happened during Martial Law.

Ngayong nailibing na si Marcos, nakalimot na ba tayo?" (Now that Marcos has been buried, have we forgotten?)

Te pointed out that burying Marcos smacks of historical revisionism and forgets those people who suffered during Martial Law.

Hindi lamang ito paglimot sa kasyasayan kundi pagtalikod sa mga nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay para sa ating kalayaan," he added. (It is not only about forgetting our history but also turning our back to those who gave their lives for our freedom.)

UP REMEMBERS. Students of the University of the Philippines protest in Palma Hall against the secret burial of Ferdinand Marcos. Photo by Katrina Artiaga/ Rappler

The group initially wanted to proceed to the EDSA People Power Monument but decided to meet with the other schools instead. Around 500 protesters proceeded to Miriam College for the multisectoral protest.

As part of the mourning for the clandestine burial, the Carillon, UP's iconic bell tower, played Bayan Ko – one of the theme songs of the Martial Law period – and it will play the tune until midnight. 

'Cut class'

Ateneo de Manila University's student government, meanwhile, encouraged students to cut their classes to join the protests – with many faculty members agreeing to the call.

"The Sanggunian is calling for the entire ADMU community to walk out of classes and join our mobilization in protest of the Marcos burial...The Sanggunian is encouraging you to use your cuts for the country," the Sanggunian said.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Sanggunian is encouraging you to use your cuts for the country.</p>&mdash; ADMU Sanggunian (@ADMUSanggu) <a href="https://twitter.com/ADMUSanggu/status/799460958351421440">November 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The community held a noise barrage along Katipunan as early as 1 pm. The university also covered its fences in black cloth to show its dissent against the burial.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Ateneans gather along Katipunan Road to protest the burial of the former dictator at Libingan ng mga Bayani. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Marcosisnotahero?src=hash">#Marcosisnotahero</a>. <a href="https://t.co/uYZ2kLdkPS">pic.twitter.com/uYZ2kLdkPS</a></p>&mdash; Ateneo de Manila (@ateneodemanilau) <a href="https://twitter.com/ateneodemanilau/status/799480830473080832">November 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Sigaw ng mga Atenista: Marcos, Diktador! Hindi Bayani! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosNOTaHero?src=hash">#MarcosNOTaHero</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosBurial?src=hash">#MarcosBurial</a> <a href="https://t.co/tORC7hB6l9">pic.twitter.com/tORC7hB6l9</a></p>&mdash; Rendell Sanchez (@rendellsanchez) <a href="https://twitter.com/rendellsanchez/status/799486623784177664">November 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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ADMU and UP converged in front of Miriam College to show solidarity in an indignation protest. During the short program, various sectoral representatives spoke against Marcos. The protesters chanted "Marcos is not a hero!" and "Hukayin si Marcos, ibalik sa Ilocos!" among others.

Prayers were also said as candles were lit to remember the victims of Martial Law. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Nagsindi ng kandila ang mga mag-aaral ng UP, ADMU at Miriam College upang kondenahin ang paglibing ni Marcos sa LNMB. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosNoHero?src=hash">#MarcosNoHero</a> <a href="https://t.co/OssfHjARzS">pic.twitter.com/OssfHjARzS</a></p>&mdash; Josiah Antonio (@josiahvantonio) <a href="https://twitter.com/josiahvantonio/status/799554316533166081">November 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Students from UP Diliman have now arrived at Miriam College to join the crowd. | via <a href="https://twitter.com/RegisAndanar">@RegisAndanar</a> <a href="https://t.co/nvU3lXjENu">pic.twitter.com/nvU3lXjENu</a></p>&mdash; The GUIDON (@TheGUIDON) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheGUIDON/status/799547325911891968">November 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The protests in the Katipunan schools were among the hundreds of other protests that sprung across the country because of the sudden burial. – With a report from Norai Sales / Rappler.com

WATCH: Students in Iligan cross rope bridge to get to school


MANILA, Philippines - We all know that today’s children will go to great lengths to get a good education. But, in this remote barangay in Iligan City, students literally need to cross a tight rope just to get to school. 


A video posted on Facebook by teacher Yasmin Mangorsi shows a young boy and his sister struggling to cross a river using a tight rope bridge, or lubid, in G'Tum, Barangay Lanipao, some 17 kilometers from the center of Iligan City. 


Mangorsi took the video in August and posted it on Facebook to show the public what children in Iligan have to do just to get to school. Without the bridge, her students have to pass through 5 mountains to get to school. A journey that would normally take 3 hours now takes only 1 hour, but puts the children at significant risk. 

RISKY. Students need to cross this rope bridge daily to get to school. Screengrab of video by Yasmin Mangorsi  

There used to be a hanging bridge there but it was destroyed when typhoon Sendong (Washi) hit in 2011. After Sendong, students had to swim to cross the river. They would put their school uniforms in plastic bags or leave them by the riverside to keep it dry. 


The townspeople made an improvised bridge out of rope and the remaining posts from the old hanging bridge. 


She hopes someone can help them by building a proper and safer bridge. 


Naawa ako sa mga students ko,” (I feel sorry for my students) said Mangorsi who has taught for 6 years in the area. She added that her students would tell her stories of classmates who fell off the rope bridge or who lost a school project when it fell, but she didn’t think much of it until she saw the dangerous bridge herself. 


Parang wake up call sa akin, dapat may mangyari dito,” (It was a wake up call for me. I said ‘something should change here.”) said Mangorsi. 


Mangorsi, who teaches MAPEH subjects for the High School, is also appealing to the public for books for their small library. She said the children have nothing else to read except the text books provided by the Department of Education. The children would learn a lot from general reference books, short stories, and non-fiction books, she added. (READ: #InspireCourage: The education of Daniel Cabrera)


Netizens quickly shared the video online and called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to help the barangay. As of this posting, Mangorsi said she was aware of the public’s response and possible assistance from the government but has not yet been contacted directly. - Rappler.com



If you would like to help the students of Bgy Lanipao and the local school there, you may contact teacher Yasmin Mangorsi directly at (+63)-905-903-3464.


If you would like to help build a library or donate books or toys for the children, you can also contact the Library Renewal Partnership and the Philippine Toy Library.

Cebuanos stage protest vs Marcos burial


MARCOS NO HERO. Cebuanos troop to Metro Colon, Cebu to protest against the unforeseen burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Apple Danuco/Rappler

CEBU, Philippines – Cebuano protesters joined forces in Metro Colon, Cebu City, to protest against the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Friday, November 18.

The rally in Cebu was one of many post-Marcos burial protests scheduled to happen until November 30. 

In Manila, thousands of protesters also gathered at the People Power Monument along EDSA after the surprise burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Emalyn Aliviano, spokesperson of the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, expressed her disappointment over the Supreme Court's decision, claiming that the verdict was legally and politically wrong. According to her, it also violates the Constitution. 

“I will tell you that this is legally wrong and insane. This is constitutionally a violation. This is legally insane tungod kay wala pa nila gitapos ang pag-entertain sa motion of reconsideration. Ten days pa lang gikan sa desisyon sa Supreme Court and then ilaha nang gipalubong si Marcos,” Aliviano said.

(This is legally insane because they haven't finished entertaining the motion for reconsideration. It's been 10 days since the decision of the Supreme Court and then they had Marcos buried.)

'Sneaky, illegal' burial

Aliviano added that she was dismayed by the presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as they attended to Marcos' remains.

Meanwhile, Justine Balane of Akbayan Youth Cebu described the late president's burial as sensitive, sneaky, and illegal. He even argued that President Rodrigo Duterte mobilized and enabled the AFP and PNP to join the burial.

Bisan si president Duterte gi mobilized and AFP and PNP aron mutambong sa lubong. Dili pwede nga muiingon ang palasyo nga na shock pud sila kay sugod sa sugod si President Duterte gyod ang nakaingon kung nganong nadayon ang heroes burial para kay Ferdinand Marcos,” he said.

(Even President Duterte managed to mobilize the AFP and PNP to be at the burial. The Palace cannot just claim that they were also surprised. President Duterte is the reason why the hero's burial for Ferdinand Marcos was granted.)

Balane also reminded the public to always look back at the past, reminding everyone of the "real heroes" who fought for the the rights and freedom the nation enjoys today. 

Akbayan Youth, Sanlakas, Cebu Citizen Assembly, Youth for Nationalism and Democracy, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, and Free Legal Assistance were among the organizations that attended the rally.

There were also simultaneous rallies held in Bacolod City at the Fountain of Justice and in Palawan at the provincial capitol. – Rappler.com 

Apple Grace Danuco is a graduating student at the University of San Jose Recoletos and a lead Rappler Mover in Cebu  

‪Youth leaders to Duterte: Shame on you for 'cleaning Marcos' image‬'


CONTROVERSIAL BURIAL. UP Manila students protest the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Student editors and leaders across the country have accused President Rodrigo Duterte of being part of an attempt to clean up the image of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, following the former president's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In separate statements, the youth leaders said that rather than unite the country, as Duterte supposedly envisioned, the hero's burial for Marcos has only divided Filipinos.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines strongly denounced the Duterte administration for its "unconscionable role in facilitating" the burial.

“President Duterte betrayed the Filipino people by giving the go-signal to bury the tyrant at the Heroes' Cemetery just to accommodate his political alliance with the Marcoses. He, together with the Supreme Court, is accountable for letting this dark chapter of our history happen,” CEGP national president Jose Mari Callueng said on Saturday, November 19.

Callueng also slammed the President’s call to forgive Marcos, describing it as "an act of impunity."

“The unapologetic Marcoses do not deserve forgiveness. We shall continue to remind the Filipino people of all the crimes committed by their patriarch until it becomes ingrained into our national consciousness that Marcos is a plunderer, a murderer, and a despot,” he said.

Callueng noted that the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani whitewashed the dark era of martial rule and bastardized the Filipino people’s collective memory.

“President Duterte should be ashamed of himself for being complicit in cleaning the image of Marcos who raided public coffers and violated human rights. He should be ashamed of being an instrument to fulfill the Marcoses’ political agenda," he said.

RAISED FIST. Scenes outside the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where supporters and protesters gather and soldiers and police officers stand in line to maintain order on Friday, November 18. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Divided Philippines

"Burying the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will not bring peace and unity to the country,” the Bicol University student council said in a statement on Saturday.

According to the student leaders, the contentious Marcos burial “further divides the nation and relives the hurt, insult, and injustice done to the victims of one of the worst regimes in history.”

Duterte had said on several occasions dating back to the presidential campaign that he favored a hero's burial for Marcos to forge national healing and unity.

"Hopefully, both sides will exercise maximum tolerance and come to terms with the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos,” Duterte told media in Peru on Friday, November 18, after the late dictator was clandestinely buried in the Heroes' Cemetery.

The son of the dictator, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, has also called for unity in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday. It was part of his message at the funeral rites for his father.

“Let today be the first day amongst many days, and months, and years of our continuing to work for the unity and the progress of our country,” Marcos said.

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Youth should never forget

But student leaders refused to heed the call, demanding that the Marcoses should first apologize for the state-sanctioned atrocities during the tumultuous Martial Law period. (READ: Marcos on dad's regime: What am I to apologize for?)

"People can only come together if there is justice, and justice starts when Marcos' heirs acknowledge and atone for the sins committed against the Filipino people,” the Bicol University student council said.

Based on estimates of Amnesty International (AI), during the Martial Law period, 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed. The AI mission, which visited the Philippines from November to December 1975, found that 71 of the 107 prisoners interviewed alleged that they had been tortured.

The Marcoses had been accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth with various estimates putting the total loot at between $5 billion to $10 billion.  (READ: Recovering Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth: After 30 years, what? and What Bongbong Marcos knew of Swiss deposits)

Student leaders and other groups across the country have launched a campaign to review how Philippine history books have portrayed the Martial Law years.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) had called on the Department of Education (DepEd) not to pursue its plan to include the Supreme Court ruling favoring a hero's burial for Marcos in the next batch of history textbooks.

“We are urging DepEd to not traverse the path that celebrates oppression and Marcos’ tyranny. If you are to teach Martial Law and dictatorship, teach it with bias towards the victims of the Martial Law. Do not give the ruling elites, the Marcoses, a chance to propagate erroneous ideas to the minds of the youth,” NUSP spokesperson Kevin Castro said.– Rappler.com

Why I speak only Filipino to my American baby


For the last 9 months, since her birth when I was singing OPM hits like “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal” (Why Do I Love You So Much?) and “Mula Noon, Hanggang Ngayon” (Since Then, Until Now) to her in the NICU, I’ve committed to speaking only Filipino with my American daughter.

My husband, who is as American as the Red Sox, does not speak it. He encourages me, even as he teases that no one else in the world will speak as my daughter and I do. Despite my relatively deep-cuts vocabulary, my accent and confusing verb tenses give away immediately that I’m not a native speaker. I moved to Saudi when I was a baby and to the US at 15. Because of what Ondaatje calls “the sadness of geography”, Filipino has become a second language for me.

But in the last several months, because of my baby, I have spoken more Filipino stateside than I have in my first 22 years here combined. I remember feeling this excited about learning Filipino in the first grade when I started with the alphabet (a, abaca, b, bola…), pointing to things in our house and asking my parents to “say it in Filipino.” I was 7, maybe, when I noticed the word “tampon” on the side of public restroom bins and I smiled because I thought that it was the word “tapon,” (to throw) misspelled.

The irony is that I became proficient in Filipino when I arrived in Connecticut, USA, where I shared a couple payphones with about 30 girls in my boarding school hall. As the only Filipino in that school, Filipino became my secret language. I could talk freely about everything with my parents and sisters in Saudi Arabia while a line of girls waited for their turn, sitting across from me.

Recently, my sister Myra and I attended Rachel and Nino Alejandro’s concert in Rhode Island, and we understood all their jokes. When I hear bites of Tagalog spoken by strangers anywhere, some primal part of my brain lights up – as if it had been in hibernation and then awoke to the smell of lumpia. These days, my bilinguality is something I’m proud of, even grateful for, though it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when I was so ashamed of being Filipino that I pretended I could not speak Tagalog. There is a Tagalog aphorism that translates roughly to “He who does not recognize where he comes from smells ranker than rotting fish.”

But the writer did not take into account that in an international school in Saudi Arabia, a 7th grader would open her geography book and read that the Philippines was not only affected by tsunamis, monsoons, earthquakes and volcanoes, but also had one of the most corrupt Asian governments and the most murders of journalists. After that geography lesson, I wrote in my diary that I wished I were from Hong Kong or Luxembourg.

The author (R) with her American husband and baby.

But over the last 10 years, in particular, I’ve become fiercely proud and protective of my being Filipino. I’m finally comfortable with my brown skin and my wide nose, on which my glasses are constantly slipping.

In her book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Janisse Ray writes, “Turning back to embrace the past has been a long, slow lesson not only in self-esteem but in patriotism – pride in homeland, heritage. It has taken a decade to whip the shame, to mispronounce words and shun grammar when mispronunciation and misspeaking are part of my dialect, to own the bad blood. What I come from has made me who I am.” Word.

I can’t roll a proper lumpia. I don’t know how to dance the tinikling. I haven’t spent more than 3 months in the Philippines since I was 18 months old, but I have my language. I can feel my personality change when I speak it. There is no satisfying translation for nakakagigil (trembling thrill), lambing (tenderness), or iniibig kita (I love you) in English and I think it’s because the Philippine culture makes room for those words, those feelings, to exist.

To gigil, for example, feels perfectly normal when I’m in the Philippines but it feels novel, precious, when I do it in New England where I live. In fact, when my husband watched the last 30 minutes of Four Sisters and a Wedding (with subtitles, of course) with me, he said, “I understand you even better now.”

Filipino, more so than English, reflects my personality. Being an immigrant is, for me, learning how to understand my adopted home and trying to be understood by it.

Which is what I hope my daughter will get someday: an understanding of where I am from, of where she, too, is from. I bought the book, Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore for her, and it occurred to me that the story was closer to my experiences than to what hers is now and will be. Unless the demographics of our city or our lives change significantly, the chances of her growing up in a Filipino community are pretty slim.

We’d return to the Philippines during a school break once a year, at most. I accept that what she will know about being Filipino will come from my sisters and me, but not from her community, her town, or her country.

And I accept, too, that some day, my girl might choose to reject whatever parts of her are Filipino. What the transcendentalist philosopher Emerson calls “[shunning] father and mother…when my genius calls to me” in his essay “Self-Reliance” is the American way. Here, American children are encouraged to make their own path, even if their philosophy deviates from their parents’ and I should be all right with that. After all, my parents gave me that freedom to choose, too.

But, if and when she’s ready to learn more about what courses through her, I like to think that she’ll find solace and joy in the cadence of our shared language, so that when she hears “Mahal kita” (I love you) or “Lahat ito, para sa 'yo,” (All this is for you) she won’t need anyone to translate it for her.

She’ll already know. 

I love you. This – all of this – is for you. – Rappler.com

Kristine Sydney was born in the Philippines, raised in Saudi Arabia, and has studied and worked in the United States for the last 23 years. She teaches high school English at a private school in Rhode Island. Follow her on Twitter at @kosheradobo.

10 executive agencies, gov't office with smallest budget for 2017


MANILA, Philippines – Among government offices and agencies, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) received the smallest proposed budgetary allocation for 2017.

Dubbed as "Budget for Real Change," the proposed national budget for next year amounts to P3.35 trillion. It is 11.6% higher than the 2016 national budget and is the highest amount proposed by any administration so far. (READ: What's in the proposed 2017 national budget?)

The table below shows the 10 government agencies and office with the smallest budgets, comprising 1% of the proposed fiscal plan for 2017: 

Top gainers 

2017 (Proposed)

[In million  pesos]

2016 (Adjusted)

[In million  pesos]


[In million  pesos]


Office of the Vice PresidentP434P504(P70)-13.89%
Commission on Human Rights P496P460P367.83%
Civil Service CommissionP1,416P1,317P997.52%
Department of Budget and ManagementP1,476P1,423P533.72%
Office of the OmbudsmanP2,299P2,063
Department of EnergyP2,656P1,866P79042.34%
Commission on ElectionsP3,322P16,155
Department of Information and Communications TechnologyP3,558-P3,558-
Department of Agrarian ReformP10,144P10,386(P242)-2.33%
Commission on AuditP10,856P9,335P1,52116.29%

Among the agencies, the OVP, which has no attached agencies, received the smallest proposed funding for 2017 – P434 million. This is 13.89% lower than this year's allocation of P504 million. It will be used primarily for operations and ceremonial support.

Next is the CHR, with a budgetary allocation of P496 million. It is 7.83% higher than this year's budget of P460 million. The bulk of its budget will be used for human rights protection.

Meanwhile, the CSC will receive P1.41 billion next year. This amount is a 7.52% increase from its 2016 budget of P1.32 billion. About half of its funds will be used for human resource management regulation.

Following the table, the Commission on Elections' share of funds is substantially lowered in 2017 as this year's budget included allocation for the national elections.

Similar to the previous years' budgets, the education sector got the biggest funding while the OVP got the smallest slice of the pie this year. The treemap below shows the distribution of funds among agencies in the proposed financial plan.

To navigate, hover over the tiles to see the proposed allocation for that department. Click the other tabs to see the 2016 and 2015 budgets.


<iframe src="//e.infogr.am/96bc59b5-7bcf-48e1-b806-1985befa9d23?src=embed" title="Philippines National Budget " width="600" height="600" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none;"></iframe>


Before the year ends, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign the appropriations bill, financing the projects and programs of the goverment for the following year.– Rappler.com

Ateneo community reflects on Marcos protest, plans next steps


REFLECTION. Jomar Alvarez of Ateneo ENTAblado delivers a monologue to the crowd gathered at Ateneo de Manila University's' Kapihan Session on Monday, November 21. Photo by Alo Lantin/ Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – "Ang sigaw natin ay iisang Pilipino tayo.” (Our call is that we are one Filipino people.)

This was the message of Koko Quilatan, Vice-President of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Sanggunian, to the audience assembled during the university's Kapihan Session, an open forum for members of the AdMU community, at 5:00 pm on Monday, November 21.

“Alam natin ang katotohanan...We shouldn’t stop with the mobilizations,” Quilatan added. (We should continue seeking the truth.)

The Kapihan Session came as a response to the stealthy, unexpected burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Friday, November 18. It was followed by a mass student-led protest by the university along with other schools in Katipunan.

The purpose was for older members of the Ateneo community to impart knowledge to the students on how to address the social climate, and to discuss possible steps for plans moving forward.

The consensus was that more had to be done for anti-Marcos groups to understand the opposition, and that they should keep attempting to convince pro-Marcos groups to be on their side.

"What is our end-in-mind?," questioned AdMU math professor Carlo Mallari. “We all talk about what people need to know, but we don’t do anything about it."

Who's the real enemy?

Political Science professor Carmel Abao lauded the millennials for taking action, and asked the youth to give suggestions on what concrete steps to do next. 

"Who are we really fighting? How do we influence public opinion? How do we also influence government?” she asked. (READ: Students told after Marcos burial: 'Bigger lessons outside classroom')


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Happening now: Kapihan sa Zen Garden. Community discusses SC ruling on Marcos&#39; burial at LMNB. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosNOTaHero?src=hash">#MarcosNOTaHero</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NeverForget?src=hash">#NeverForget</a> <a href="https://t.co/ULB2O0gpWy">pic.twitter.com/ULB2O0gpWy</a></p>&mdash; Ateneo de Manila (@ateneodemanilau) <a href="https://twitter.com/ateneodemanilau/status/800634372147687424">November 21, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The event featured performances from the Ateneo College Glee Club and Ateneo ENTABlado, and was followed by a community mass at the Church of the Gesu.

ADMU has been very vocal in its opposition against the Marcos burial. In a memo released to the community on Friday, November 18, ADMU President Father Jett Villarin urged older Ateneans to heed the youth's call.

"I urge all of us to listen to what our young people are protesting and mourning. Let us mourn for what we have lost and what we are losing. Let us strengthen our resolve to right what is wrong, to tell the truth, to care for the weak and those who have been hurt, and to deepen our love of country," Villarin wrote.

The university's Communication Department will also screen films about the wrongs of the Marcoses and the abuses during the Martial Law period for free. 


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The Sanggunian assured the community that more Kapihan Sessions will follow. The university has yet to announce whether they will join the mass protests that willl happen on November 25 and November 30.

Meanwhile, ADMU's sister school Ateneo de Davao took a stand on Monday against the Marcos burial. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ateneo de Davao takes a stand. We will <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NeverForget?src=hash">#NeverForget</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosNotAHero?src=hash">#MarcosNotAHero</a>. <a href="https://t.co/rAkpwVIJ2k">pic.twitter.com/rAkpwVIJ2k</a></p>&mdash; Aliyah (@blanchettpls) <a href="https://twitter.com/blanchettpls/status/800684110695911425">November 21, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Mula Mintal hanggang Roxas isa lamang ang aming panawagan MARCOS NOT A HERO.NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW.NEVER FORGET MARTIAL LAW.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UP?src=hash">#UP</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ateneo?src=hash">#Ateneo</a> <a href="https://t.co/oO3OWSRxRc">pic.twitter.com/oO3OWSRxRc</a></p>&mdash; DARLA Version 2.0 (@DarlaMail) <a href="https://twitter.com/DarlaMail/status/800676480321654785">November 21, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


– Rappler.com

Alo Lantin is a senior Communications Technology student from Ateneo de Manila University.

#NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan goes to Cagayan de Oro


MANILA, Philippines – What would you do to help fight corruption?

Every year, the Philippines loses billions of dollars to corrupt practices. Money lost could have been directed to provide vital basic services, reduce poverty, or build infrastructure. (READ: Impact of corruption on the Philippines)

These practices make it hard for businesses to thrive. They have a grave impact on the economy.

In Cagayan de Oro, about a third of the businessmen know about the red tape happening in their sector according to a Social Weather Stations poll. In 2014 and 2015, these numbers decreased to about 31% of those surveyed from the 2013 figures of 37%.

Many policies and initiatives have been done in the past to prevent corruption but clearly, more has to be done.

#NotOnMyWatch is a campaign that promotes accountability and transparency by organizing reports and visualizing them real-time to show the public where corruption occurs most frequently and what form they usually take.

The aim of the #NotOnMyWatch campaign is to encourage local communities to join the fight against corruption. Rappler has already been to Cebu City and Iloilo City for the anti-corruption caravan. This time, the event will be in Cagayan de Oro on November 25 to 26.

#NotOnMyWatch goes to CDO

From November 25 to 26, Rappler will be in Cagayan de Oro City to hold the #NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology.

The aim of the campaign is to promote integrity, competence, and accountability in government by encouraging people to report bribery and other grievances against government officials while showcasing honest and commendable service.

It makes real-time reporting on corruption easier by allowing netizens to report for free via Facebook messenger.

Reports submitted to #NotOnMyWatch are published on the platform and submitted to the CSC, the Commission on Audit (COA), the Office of the Ombudsman, and other concerned agencies for action.

On the first day of the caravan, Friday, November 25, a public forum with representatives from the government, civil society groups, and students will be held. The forum aims to tackle local corruption issues in Cagayan de Oro City and what ordinary citizens can do to help solve these with the use of technology and social media.

On the second day, Saturday, November 26, select participants will go through a whole day workshop to be integrity champions. They will be expected to help spread the word on how to report corruption accurately and how to find and validate sources of information.




DAY 1: Public Forum 
November 25

1 pm - 5 pm

Mindanao University of Science and Technology ICT Laboratory

DAY 2: Workshop for select participants
November 26

8 am - 4 pm

Boy Zugba Confab


Public Forum Program 



12:00 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 1:15

Opening ceremony

1:15 - 1:25

Welcome remarks

1:25 - 1:55

Keynote Address

Maria A. Ressa
CEO, Rappler

1:55 - 2:10

Presentation of #NotOnMyWatch

Gemma B. Mendoza
Project Lead, #NotOnMyWatch 
Research and Content Strategy, Rappler

2:10 - 2:50


Issues per sector: What types of corruption affect us?

KG Lamaclamac
MUST CSG President
(Student Organization)

Edison Lacea
XU CSG President
(Student Organization)


2:50 - 3:30



Strategies and Approaches to fight corruption

Dr. Michael Bucag Roa
Senior Human Resource Specialist 
ARTA Coordinator of Region 10 
Civil Service Commission 

Rogelio M. Tero 
Supervising Auditor 
Commission on Audit - Region 10

3:30 - 3:50


3:50 - 4:00

Closing Remarks

Interested participants can join the forum by registering below:

For the Saturday workshop, limited slots are available for groups or individuals interested in pursuing the anti-corruption advocacy in their own communities or government offices. You can email notonmywatch@rappler.com to reserve a slot.

#NotOnMyWatch works with civil society groups, government agencies, the academe, and ordinary citizens to help build integrity champions around the country. – Rappler.com

On Trinoma-SM footbrige, boy sells flowers and reads his way to school


SAMPAGUITA BOY. After school, a boy sells sampaguita garlands on a footbridge in Quezon City. Photo by Kenneth Panlilio

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Immersed in his book, he's oblivious to everyone – the crowd of harried commuters, the cranky motorists on EDSA, the chatter of shoppers walking in and out of the mall.

Every day, 9-year-old boy Michael (not his real name) sits on the walkway connecting Trinoma and SM North EDSA in Quezon City, where he sells sampaguita flowers – neatly displayed in 2 rows – and reads his books and notebooks at the same time.

Netizens who read the November 17 Facebook post by photographer Kenneth Panlilio said that they always saw the boy in his usual area. Some recalled chatting with him or giving him money.

Michael said that after school, he would take the bus from Muñoz to North EDSA – not to enjoy the malls but to sell sampaguitas. As much as he yearned for it, he had no time for dinner, even if he usually went home at midnight.

After he selling his sampaguitas, he would either go to his mother or his older brother, Mario, would fetch him.

2 brothers, one dream

Also a sampaguita vendor, 11-year old Mario (not his real name) said that part of his earnings would go to his school allowance.

Their father is in jail. They said they have to help their mother make both ends meet for the family.

Settled at another footbridge connecting SM North Edsa and Concentrix that was not well-lit, Mario was also clad in his blue school uniform when we interviewed him.

Asked why he and his brother would risk selling sampaguita until midnight, he responded, “Para pambaon at pambili ng pagkain (For allowance and food)."

The 2 boys said they worked hard to earn as much as they can; otherwise, they would get a smaller school allowance.

With a school bag by his side and some food donations from passersby, Mario said, “Gusto ko po makapagtapos, love ko po ang pag-aaral (I want to graduate, I love studying)." His younger brother echoed this sentiment. They teachers at the San Antonio Elementary School also observed the two brothers' enthusiasm in class.

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What teachers say

Teachers Jinjem Nomong and Lilibeth Colot attested to the determination of the brothers to finish their studies. 

Nomong, a grade 5 teacher, said of her student: “Actually, si Mario madalas naman siya [sa klase]. May mga time na absent siya pero pumapasok naman siya (Mario frequently attends his classes. There are times that he is absent but he goes to school)."

Colot, Michael’s grade 3 teacher, said of her student, “Masipag talaga siya sa school at pagpasok (He is diligent when it comes to studying and going to school)."

She said she was surprised by the news of his after-school duties, saying she was not aware that he was a sampaguita vendor.  Colot added that Michael’s mother should be the one responsible of providing for his needs. Instead of being out late at night, he should stay at home more to avoid accidents.

Gamitin niya ang oras para mag-aral ng mabuti (He should use the time to study well)," Colot said.

The brothers admitted that balancing school and selling sampaguitas is "hard."

Protection for street children

Yet, they said they get by and they're fine.

Hindi po ako napapagod, kasi gusto ko po talagang makatulong kay nanay para mayroon po kaming perang pangkain (I am not tired because I do this to make sure that we have enough money for food)."

They also work on weekends, said Michael. When asked if they are being forced to sell, he replied, “Ginugusto ko po ito para makatulong lang po (I do this on my own because I want to help)."

Under Philippine child labor laws, it is illegal for people below 18 years old to work for a living. 

There are also a number of city ordinances that address the safety of street children. Under Ordinance No. SP 2180 S-2012 or the “Ordinance enacting the Quezon City Children’s Code of 2012,” the city government should take immediate action regarding issues of child labor among other forms of abuse.

It also states that street children should be provided street protection. – Rappler.com

Ateneo de Manila University students Denise Nacnac and Michael Valera are Rappler interns. 


#NotOnMyWatch Iloilo: Stop corruption, big or small


NO TO CORRUPTION! Participants of the #NotOnMyWatch reporting workshop at the PHINMA University of Iloilo on November 17, 2016, flash the 'No!' sign as part of a pledge to fight corruption. Gemma Mendoza/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Fighting corruption is no easy task. However big or small, wrong and unlawful acts should be reported and the perpetrators made accountable for their actions.

These were among the messages conveyed to attendees of Rappler's #NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption forum at the PHINMA University of Iloilo on Saturday, November 19.

In a panel discussion, JJ Cordova of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) cited his previous experience at the old Iloilo City Hall when he needed documentary stamps for his documents.

"How much was the monetary value of the stamps? P15... you don't even need a receipt to tell you that because it's printed on the stamp itself," recounted Cordova.

However, he was charged P20, or P5 more than the actual value. With him needing 20 documentary stamps, he would be paying P100 in excess.

Cordova called the attention of the employee collecting the fee, "but she shouted at me and said, 'Go home! That's none of your business. We get those from the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), resell them, and divide the income.'"

He was able to raise the matter to a department head. The employee, he said, then returned the excess money.

Cordova experienced it again when he applied for police clearance, but with him being charged P25 for the documentary stamps, or P10 more than the actual fee. He likewise raised the incident to higher officials, who apologized.

"These may seem to be minor incidents, but our response... starts from the very small things to the bigger ones," said Cordova. "We believe in JASAC that the fight against corruption should begin with people's values. The change should start from the bottom up, so our approach starts from the barangay level up to the higher levels."

"As a whole, we get to see that this is nothing personal. This is not about making enemies. This is a question of conscience and a question of faith," he added.

"This is about restoring the trust and confidence of the general public to the government and the agencies that serve the people."

FIGHTING CORRUPTION. JC Alejandro of Kabataan party list, JJ Cordova of the Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center, and Rex Donasco of the Association of Stall Owners and Transient Vendors share their anti-corruption efforts during the #NotOnMyWatch forum at the PHINMA University of Iloilo on November 19, 2016. Michael Bueza/Rappler

Courage offline, online

Two other local panelists likewise shared their advocacies versus corruption in Iloilo City.

Rex Donasco of the Association of Stall Owners & Transient Vendors raised his concern about the city's planned revitalization – or in his words, privatization – of the Iloilo Central Market, a heritage structure.

He also mentioned some corrupt practices happening in markets, like the presence of "tuklo" (thieves or burglars) and the use of "recycled" receipts to double-charge "arkabala" (rental fees) from some stall owners. (RELATED: #NotOnMyWatch: List of Iloilo execs punished for corruption)

For his part, JC Alejandro of the Kabataan party list reported that the city government supposedly "rechanneled" a P360-million loan meant for school-building projects. He also said that an amendment to a perimeter boundary ordinance has reportedly affected commuters and students using public transportation.

To prevent corruption from happening, Donasco told the students, "You have to be watchful... You have to dream, you have to have courage."

Alejandro added that the youth has a role to expose these corrupt acts, and "to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak."

"It is us who could participate democratically through social media or through offline activities most importantly, because we are among the loudest voices in society," Alejandro said.

"We must do all our best together to stop corruption and to stop all forms of harassment to those who question the orders prescribed here in Iloilo City." 

Anti-corruption efforts

The forum was attended by regional officials from the Office of the Ombudsman, the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Commission on Audit (COA). In a separate panel discussion, the officials shared their respective agencies' ongoing strategies to eliminate corruption in government.

The CSC, for instance, conducts Report Card Surveys in nearly 400 government agencies to measure their level of compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act, said Leo Jamorin, officer-in-charge of the CSC's Public Assistance and Liaison Division in Region VI.

Jamorin also mentioned the 8888 hotline, which receives citizen complaints on the services of government agencies. "We at the CSC and Rappler are working together to increase the level of the citizens' engagement, and at the same time, help government agencies in identifying what are the gaps and opportunities for improvement in their service delivery," he added.

Meanwhile, COA-Region VI assistant director Gileo Alojado said that COA is currently embarking on a Citizen Participatory Audit where ordinary citizens can help the commission in monitoring government projects.

The Office of the Ombudsman, for its part, holds seminars for government officials and employees on integrity, transparency, and accountability, said acting regional director Pio Dargantes. The office also has a Campus Integrity Crusaders program involving students.

PLEDGES. Some students are recognized for posting online pledges against corruption using #NotOnMyWatch. Photo by Iloilo Mover Gem Rose Cavalida

Pledges versus corruption

Rappler was in Iloilo City for the second leg of a caravan to promote its anti-corruption campaign. 

On Friday, November 18, students and government officials joined a reporting workshop where they learned how to gather and substantiate reports of corrupt activities.

The #NotOnMyWatch reporting platforms on Facebook Messenger and at www.fightcorruption.ph were also demonstrated during the workshop and on Saturday's forum.

To show their commitment to fight corruption, the participants posted their pledges online on Twitter and Facebook using #NotOnMyWatch, as well as offline through Post-it notes on the Not On My Watch freedom wall.

Read some of their pledges against corruption below.


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The #NotOnMyWatch caravan will head to Cagayan de Oro City on November 25 and 26, and to Laguna on December 1 and 2. – with Russel Patina/Rappler.com

Reporting corruption gets you better government service. Tell us about your experience on www.fightcorruption.ph or chat with us through Facebook messenger

Help fight corruption. Share this story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and help spread the word about how we can fight corruption together. 

To help us track the ripples of this campaign, use #NotOnMyWatch.

Interested to partner with us? Email notonmywatch@rappler.com.

Which countries pay OFWs the highest?


MANILA, Philippines – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) takes over the United States’ spot as the top paying country for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2016, according to Workabroad.ph’s Overseas Report released on Wednesday, November 23. (READ: 'What you need to know about overseas Filipino workers' )

OFWs with healthcare-related jobs are the top earners in UAE, with salaries for doctors at P253,826 a month (US $5,093.84). The UAE is followed by Qatar and Canada, with salaries at P209,700 ($4,207.55) and P172,500 ($3,461.15) respectively. 

From being the top paying country in 2015, the US didn’t make it to the top 10 this year with demand for healthcare workers declining, said Workabroad.ph Business Unit Manager Rhea Suiza.

The report covers land-based job postings on Workabroad.ph from January to September 2016. Workabroad.ph is the country’s leading jobs portal for overseas employment opportunities and currently covers 90% market share of overseas employers. 

Here are the highest paying countries of deployment (monthly rates):

In terms of specialization, OFWs in the healthcare (doctor/diagnosis) industry, specifically pediatricians and gynecologists, earn the highest, with an average salary of P111,620 ($2,239.24).

Healthcare (doctor/diagnosis) is also the highest paying specialization among junior executives, or those with 1 to 4 years of experience.

For supervisors, those with jobs on the Aviation/Aircraft Maintenance Industry are paid the highest, with Heliport Schedulers earning as much as P209,700 ($4,207.55) per month.

Those in the agriculture, forestry, or fisheries industry meanwhile are the top earners among managers, with an average monthly salary of P129,375 ($2,594.77).

Despite the oil crisis, Saudi Arabia retains its position as the top destination for OFWs in 2016, having posted 46,026 jobs, or a 39% contribution to the total jobs posted on workabroad.ph from January to September 2016.

POEA Director Robert Larga said that while several industries have been affected by the crisis, the volume of demand and job orders remain high for Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries. 

Suiza said the crisis affects mainly the government sector in Saudi Arabia, but there is still a lot of job postings for Filipino workers from private companies.

Qatar sits next to Saudi Arabia with 11,991 posted jobs, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 6,670, Kuwait with 3,465, Bahrain with 2,433, Oman with 1,950, the United States with 1,225, New Zealand with 572, Brunei Darussalam with 518, and Australia with 473.

Engineering-related jobs meanwhile is still the most in-demand job specialization for overseas workers, followed by general work (housekeepers, drivers, dispatch, etc), and hospitality-related jobs.

Here are the 10 most in-demand job specializations:

According to Workabroad.ph, the report aims to guide aspiring Filipino workers looking to pursue overseas job opportunities to help them understand how competitive the global field is today. 

POEA’s Market Promotions Division Chief Rachel Angeles said that about 4,800 OFWs are deployed every day. Their remittances significantly contribute to the country’s reserves, with OFWs remitting US $14.6 billion (P728 billion) in the first 6 months of 2016 alone. – Rappler.com

US $1 = Php 49.85

WATCH: Help farmers adapt to climate change


CLIMATE VULNERABILITY. The effects of climate change worsen the situation of women farmers in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Priscilla Lallaban, 58-year-old, is among the farmers in Cagayan province affected by Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) on October 19, 2016.

Lawin destroyed vast fields damaging more than P10 billion worth of agriculture. Rising temperatures and flooding reduce crop yields by about 30%, according to Oxfam in Philippines.

The number of natural disasters in the country is up 175% in the past 5 years.

The effects of climate change worsen the situation of women farmers like Priscilla. 

Oxfam in the Philippines called on the government "to protect the people who grow our food, especially the most vulnerable small-scale women farmers.” – Rappler.com


#WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Thursday, November 24


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Please refresh this page for updates.

MANILA, Philippines – Here is a list of areas where classes have been suspended for Thursday, November 24, due to Tropical Depression Marce.

  • Cebu province - all levels, public schools, November 24 and 25; The provincial government is encouraging private schools to suspend classes by 12nn, especially in flood/landslide prone areas
  • Butuan City - preschool, public and private
  • Bayabas, San Miguel, Lianga, & Lanuza (Surigao del Sur) - preschool to high school
  • Tandag City, Cagwait, Tago, Carmen, Bislig City, & Carrascal (Surigao del Sur) - preschool to elementary
  • Marihatag & Tagbina (Surigao del Sur) - preschool

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

St Scholastica on Marcos burial protest: Rallies not new to us

MANILA, Philippines – St Scholastica's College Manila (SSC) stands by its decision to have students join the Marcos burial demonstration on November 18, 2016 in the wake of the backlash some of its students and the school received on social media. (READ: #ThankYouStScho: 'Please do not underestimate the youth

In a letter issued to the members of the Scholastican community, SSC reiterated that the students who participated did so with consent from the parents: "Speaking out and demonstrations are not new to Scholasticans. These have been practiced for decades. There is always preparation for such activities. Students have lessons, join a rally or speak out. Students who are not allowed have alternative activities in school."

SSC also emphasized its commitment to teaching students about issues outside the classroom: "We do not confine ourselves to the classroom. We know that there is a bigger classroom out in the real world and we face the challenges and difficulties fair and square."

The school also thanked members of the community who came to its defense. Concerned alumnae had issued a statement saying they are eyeing legal action against those who threatened the students.

Below is the full letter of St Scholastica's College in Manila to its community:

The past few days have been truly challenging. The secretive burial of former President Marcos caught us all by surprise. The burial day coincided with our planned noon day noise barrage on the same issue on the sidewalks of Leon Guinto and Estrada. The Benedictine community of Sisters, Faculty, Students, Staff, and Personel demonstrated their objection to the Marcos burial and reiterated the message "MARCOS IS NOT A HERO."

We were bashed on social media over the fact that we had grade school and high school students in the demonstration. We would like to thank all alumnae, parents, students, staff, and personnel who spoke up for St. Scholastica's College. They were our spokespersons on the decades-long tradition of speaking out for principles and advocacies.

Speaking out and demonstrations are not new to Scholasticans. These have been practiced for decades. There is always preparation for such activities. Students have lessons, join a rally or speak out. Students who are not allowed have alternative activities in school. It is truly heartwarming how many of our graduates have shared their stories of rallies they have been to and what a true Scholastican education is.

We affirm our education of women and men of character, empowered to be agents of social change. This is the heart and content of our education. It is Education with a social responsibility. We do not confine ourselves to the classroom. We know that there is a bigger classroom out in the real world and we face the challenges and difficulties fair and square. Our students encourage diversity of opinion and discussion. Students must be able to see further than what their books say. Critical thinking is the important ingredient in their education.

Narratives, posts, graphics, and hash tags have given us a true measure of how our students value their Scholastican Education. St. Scholastica's College gratefully acknowledges you all for your support through the trying days. As we continue to educate women and men in the 21st century, we know you are our partners in the continuing journey of Scholastican education for justice and peace.

That in all things God may be glorified.

– Rappler.com