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UP Oblation Run hits Marcos burial at Heroes' Cemetery


ALL OUT. Members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity hold an Oblation Run at the Palma Hall in UP Diliman, against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, November 25, 2016. Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity in the University of the Philippines, Diliman ran naked through a packed crowd with only their faces covered to protest against the hero's burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Great Oblation Run is a long-held tradition in the state university that began in 1977. 

Also known as the "Ritual Dance of the Brave", it is a platform for the fraternity to declare its stand on certain issues and rally students behind them. Today, APO's message was a call for "Not just peace, but justice." 

At least 27 members participated in the run, which had them cross the halls of Palma Hall, a popular building on campus where many of the undergraduate core classes are held.  

Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

They dedicated this run not only to seek justice for the victims of Martial Law, but also to ask the Duterte administration to stop extrajudicial killings and to end contractual labor.  

Toby Roca of APO UP Diliman said, "[The government] should truly serve the people, protect the freedoms for which many have fought and died, by never forgetting the dark chapters of our history."

The APO members also called on the entire nation "to seek accountability and an honest unrevised history."

ANTI-MARCOS. UP Diliman students hold a protest rally at the Palma Hall on November 25, 2016, against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

This year's Oblation Run coincides with the nationwide rallies against Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Spectators, who came to see the Oblation Run, also witnessed a pre-program rally. Anti-Marcos leftist groups led students in chanting, "Marcos diktador, hindi bayani." (Marcos is a dictator, not a hero.)

UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan issued a statement urging professors to excuse students who opted to join the rally instead of attending class.

Aside from the protests, the UP Pep Drummers played popular UP cheers and the UP Kontemporaryong-Gamelan Pilipino (UP Kontra-GaPi) performed as part of the pre-program. – Rappler.com

Jason Cabrera is a Rappler intern from UP Diliman.

Related stories:
From Manila

From the provinces

Ilonggos brave rains to protest Marcos burial


NOT A HERO. Ilonggo activists march to protest the stealthy burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Photo by Russel Patina/Rappler

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of Ilonggo activists, and youth and sectoral leaders braved heavy rains on Friday, November 25, to join the national protest of solidarity against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, calling the event a "Day of Unity and Rage against Marcos Hero’s Burial."

Despite the heavy downpour due to Tropical Storm Marce, Ilonggos continued to march along General Luna street chanting, “Tuloy pa rin ang laban (The fight is not yet over),” and encouraging drivers to honk their horns for justice.

Led by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA), along with human rights group Karapatan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the protest started at the University of the Philippines Visayas-City Campus and ended at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol where they gathered for a short program.

In a statement, Bayan-Panay said that “the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, even with the surrounding haste and secrecy, has brought the Filipino nation to rage. “

The group added: “The dubious political agenda of the Marcoses has become even more manifest. In trying to restore the image of the dead Marcos from being the worst among the world’s tyrants and plunderers, they only succeeded in opening the wounds suffered not only by the direct victims of Martial Law but by the Filipino nation as a whole. In the process the people came together and united behind the resounding call: MARCOS IS NO HERO!”

Hope in millennials

NEW GENERATION. Millennials lead the protest against the Marcos burial in Iloilo City. Photo by Russel Patina/Rappler

Seigfred Deduro of Makabayan Panay, a Martial Law victim, urged millennials to continue the fight against historical revisionism, while Elijah Estante, Student Council chairperson of the University of the Philippines Visayas, called for his fellow youth to correct history.

“We cannot allow the Marcoses to reverse the judgment of history to pave the way for their return to the highest seat of power. The Filipino nation suffered during Martial Law and eventually drove the dictator and his family – Imelda, Bongbong, Imee and Irene – out of Malacañang and out of the country in 1986," the groups said.

Bayan-Panay added: "We cannot allow the present administration to tolerate impunity by giving hero status to a dictator who has so wronged the people."

CARMMA and Makabayan also staged a protest against Bongbong Marcos during his Iloilo campaign sortie in April 2016.

The protest peacefully ended with the UPV-College of Management Cultural Group Rhapsody singing their version of “Bayan Ko” and the crowd singing along with their fist raised in the air. – Rappler.com

Related stories:
From Manila

From the provinces

A PWID's success story: Angelo Jardeleza in his workplace


AT WORK. Angelo Jardeleza fixes the stands in the supermarket where he works in. Photo by Ted Aldwin Ong/ Rappler

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – “I am enjoying my work and I love my work,” said Angelo Jardeleza who goes to work twice a week at the CM Bamboocraft Center. 

The center was established by the Carmelite Missionaries (CM) as a socio-economic project committed to the integral development of its workers and the poor. It is located in one of Iloilo City’s busiest district – La Paz – and serves as a workshop, manufacturing center, and showroom of the different products made from bamboo material.

Furniture, lamp shade, candle holder, picture frame, religious materials and all sorts of souvenir items can be found in the shop. All of these materials are either offered for Iloilo customers, ordered by clients or transported for display and sale to its showroom in Quezon City. There are items that are also sent to clients abroad through the network of the Carmelite nuns.

“Angelo occupies an important part of the process in this workplace,” said Mary Ann Modina, who supervises him at work. "He handles one of the nitty-gritty parts of the work and does it excellently and efficiently more than anyone of us here,” added Modina.

Before key chains are gathered for final quality evaluation and eventually for display or delivery, they pass through Angelo’s section. It's him who assembles the keychain rings which make it a finished product. 

Upon Angelo’s arrival at the Bamboocraft Center one morning, a pile of boxes with products set for delivery was at the doorstep. “Are these boxes the ones I made Ma'am Mary Ann?” asked Angelo. “Yes and it looks perfect and beautiful,” replied Modina, who is also in charge of the stockroom for the center.

It is also Angelo who makes boxes from chipboards used for the packaging of the products. He follows a pattern to make a perfect size, cuts sections, and folds parts to make a lock that would hold the bamboo product inside. In a month’s time, Angelo could produce from 150 to 200 boxes.

Gradual development for inclusion  

Now 26 years old, Angelo was first observed to have language delay and was sensitive to noise and touch. It was at the age of 7 that he was diagnosed to have autism spectrum disorder. 

According to Iris Gaballo, program director at Workabilities, a transition center for adults and adolescents with special needs in Iloilo City, “Angelo underwent special school and had intermittent occupational and speech therapies." 

He was also enrolled at some point in a regular education program. But the effort that prepared Angelo to acquire and develop life skills started with the family and in the household.

"Edith Jardeleza, Angelo’s mom, who is a former president of the Autism Society of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter (ASP-Iloilo), was one of the parents who welcomed us in Iloilo City when Workabilities started in 2014," shared Gaballo.

"Angelo was our first and only student in the beginning. Angelo offered us the opportunity to tailor our activities to meet his needs and interests. This focus given to him enabled us to address many challenges which prepared him for work and social interaction,” explained Gaballo.

Yet it was not all difficult for Angelo to learn work skills because his interest and inclination to work was becoming evident early on. 

"Angelo was very interested in doing paper crafts, wood crafts, and Lego. He demonstrated excellent skills in assembling things, tracing, cutting and pasting, He is also very particular with organizing materials and returning them in proper places,” explained Gaballo.

The good quality output from Angelo's work is attributed to his eye for detail as he does work meticulously, patiently putting parts of an object one after another and working on them one step at a time until the work is done.

“The interests and skills of Angelo were a major consideration when we were scouting for Angelo’s suitable workplace. We were also looking for an establishment that needed Angelo’s skills and was willing to be part of Angelo’s steps to independence," said Gaballo. 

In August 2015, Angelo was accepted by Iloilo Supermart at the Atrium as a volunteer intern where he was tasked to return and arrange misplaced items. In May 2016, CM Bamboocraft welcomed Angelo to be part of the team.

EFFICIENT. Angelo shows off a finished decor item he worked on at the CM Bamboocraft Center. Photo by Ted Aldwin Ong/Rappler

It was at Workabilities where the life skills Angelo learned at home were reinforced and sharpened, making him more prepared for work.

There are similar adults and adolescents with intellectual disabilities that undergo transition sessions in small groups at Workabilities. Angelo continues to attend "Social Thinking and Life Skills" sessions every Wednesday and these sessions allowed him to interact with his peers and teachers, and share experiences at work. 

"(We sometimes) invite him to come to the center and help us with arts and crafts and he readily assists us," Gaballo said.

Preparing a person with intellectual disability (PWID) for inclusion in the workplace is like going up the staircase, Gaballo said, as it takes a gradual process to develop the individual to become effective in the workplace.

Special person with extraordinary attitude

Everybody at Bamboocraft Center recognizes that Angelo is a special person, not because he has autism but because he displays extraordinary social skills.

He is well-loved by his co-workers because he knows each one of them by name. He is apologetic everytime a name of a colleague at work escapes his memory. “I sometimes forget the names of my co-worker,” laughs Angelo.

He is courteous at the workplace, always saying "good morning", "thank you", or "sorry" if his work was imperfect or has yet to be completed.

“Angelo is a dedicated worker and he values the guidance of people in authority over him,” Modina said.

“He usually asks me for guidance or to evaluate the items that he is working on in order to make sure that [the work] is being done according to the process and it follows the standards that we agreed upon. He upholds high standard on his work output,” Modina added.

Another characteristic of Angelo as a worker that Modina admires is his being independent. 

“He has a very positive outlook at work and is a happy worker. We can hear him hum a tune or sing a song like while working. He knows how to cope with stress by giving himself necessary breaks to play with his toys that he brings along with him, or he chats briefly with his colleagues in between,” she added.

Inclusion means learning from PWDs

INCLUSION. Angelo Jardeleza checks out an item to be returned to its display area during his volunteer work at Iloilo Supermart. Photo by Ted Aldwin Ong/Rappler

It is Angelo’s elder sister or father that drives him to work from their house located in a subdivision in La Paz district. Yet Angelo manages to ride a jeep and a tricycle to go home after work during times when he cannot be picked up after work. 

The Bamboocraft Center had PWIDs before Angelo either to observe the work at the Center or get trained for work. The center made preparations by giving orientations to their staff and workers prior to employing PWIDs like Angelo. 

“The staff and workers at the Bamboocraft Center were given proper briefing before Angelo was introduced for work. They felt the excitement in Angelo to work with them and his enthusiasm to learn was evident,” Modina shared. 

It was also Mary Ann Modina who oriented Angelo about the process and the different departments, explaining to him that some sections handle specialized processes and require safety procedures that may not be suitable for him.

“Angelo also raised our awareness about safety and health sensitivities of persons with autism. Angelo could easily catch cold or cough if exposed to dust and allergens at the workplace and so we make sure that he is protected and that his work area is distant from the shop,” said Modina.

Employing a PWID entails responsibility from the workplace by giving the proper support and setting up the proper environment. 

“It takes a lot of education and awareness from the end of the employer so that persons like Angelo can work properly and effectively,” observed Modina.

“The openness of the Bamboocraft Center to take in persons with intellectual disability is founded in the vision and mission of the Carmelite nuns which is to alleviate the suffering of the marginalized and that includes the poor and neglected in society, differently-abled persons and persons with intellectual disability,” explained Sr Ludy Dizon, local superior of the Carmelite Missionaries in La Paz.

The decision to accept Angelo Jardeleza to work at the Bamboocraft Center has earned the nod of even the most superior in the Carmelite nuns organization. 

‘Working gives me fulfilment’

“Miss Mary Ann, working is not easy; it is not easy to earn a living,” shared Angelo at one point. I learned about this while working, Angelo emphasized.

Yet, according to Angelo, working is part of life and he looks forward to go to work everyday because it is self-fulfilling. He did not hint that he is a person with intellectual disability or has discussed about autism in the course of the conversation. 

“I love to work and I save my earnings,” said Angelo.

“Probably I can save some money and bring my siblings and the family to restaurants because we enjoy pizza and Korean food. But I don’t like meat or pork,” he stressed.

“I will continue to work hard because I want to travel to other countries. Perhaps when I have saved enough money I can bring my Mom to Singapore or some countries near the Philippines to see the sights. I would love to travel with my Mom, shared Angelo. – Rappler.com 

Ted Aldwin Ong is a columnist for the Iloilo Metropolitan Times and one of the lead mover of Rappler's Move Iloilo. The story was produced by the writer as a fellow under the “Media and PWID: Covering Stories on Capacities and Contributions Media Training and Fellowship Program” by Probe Media Foundation and Unilab Foundation. The photos were either taken by the writer or taken from the WorkAbilities Transition Center.

#NotOnMyWatch CDO: Kagay-anon youth pledge to fight corruption


CDO YOUTH PLEDGED Attendees of the #NotOnMyWatch public forum pledge to fight to corruption and to be watchful of the government. Photo by Gemma Mendoza/Rappler

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – As thousands of Filipino youth joined protests nationwide on Friday, November 25, against historical revisionism and the hero's burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the youth of Cagayan de Oro City took on another pertinent challenge: fighting corruption.

Some 150 students and young leaders pledged to fight corruption during the #NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan, the third leg of the series, held at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology on Friday.

According to Edison Lacea, president of Xavier University's Central Student Government, now is the best time for the youth to speak out and demand change from the government.

"To fight, with fearless authenticity, for a better and corruption-free Philippines," pledged Lacea.

He acknowledged that reporting instances of corruption is not an easy task, especially coupled with probable consequences of doing so. "The challenge is for us to have courage in reporting," he said.

Gani Capaning of Watchful, Alert, Truthful Citizens of Honor-Defenders of Good Governance (WATCHDOGG) said that corruption is easy to spot. "You do not need rocket science knowledge for you to spot it," he added.

#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.

Lacea invited his fellow Kagay-anons to be pro-active in fighting corruption. "(We need) to dream of bigger things for the Philippines and not just post it on social media," he said.

No to corruption

During the forum, participants shared what they wold do to help fight corrupt practices in government.

According to Agnes Carmela, "As a city government employee, I pledge to promote accountability by correcting unjust practices in public service."

Bernie Fabillar of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) also shared what he could do as a government worker. "I pledge to help my city and my country to lessen bureaucracy, diminish red-tape, and eradicate corruption."


<a class="twitter-timeline" data-width="600" data-height="600" data-partner="tweetdeck" data-link-color="#E95F28" href="https://twitter.com/reyaika/timelines/802363939208065024">#NotOnMyWatch CDO pledges - Curated tweets by reyaika</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Some also promised to report their experience of corruption through the #NotOnMyWatch initiative. Sheba Britos (@sheba_baba) tweeted, "I pledge to report corruption online! Ikaw rin!"

Therese Angelie (@angelie_therese) shared the importance of posting about the right information. "I pledge never to spread fake news, and to always fact-check my posts. Fake news help politicians get away with corruption," she tweeted.

'Let them know you're watching'

During one of the panel discussions, representatives from the regional offices of CSC, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit were present.

Michael Roa, CSC Region X Anti-Red Tape Act Coordinator, shared that CSC is the implementing arm of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA). According to Roa, they look into the compliance of government agencies on the Anti-Fixers rule.

"You cannot blame those clients who want to claim 'fixing' services because the process is already slow. Both sides are to be faulted," Roa said.

According to him, the CSC holds trainings and seminars to help maintain integrity. "Let them know you are watching," he said.

Lawyer Maria Gemma Gavine of the Office of the Ombudsman CDO regional office shared that their office's function in the city is public assistance and graft prevention.

Gavine admitted that there are manpower constraints but she maintained that their office is the drop-off point for pleadings and complaints to be sent to the main Mindanao office in Davao.

She gave assurances that despite the limitation, the Office of the Ombudsman in the region is taking on cases for investigation. Within the period of January to September 2016, they were able to dispose of 809 criminal and administrative cases.

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

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)

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

What about you? What is your pledge to help fight corruption? – 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.

IN PHOTOS: Anti-Marcos rallies outside Metro Manila


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – While thousands gathered at the Luneta to protest the Marcos burial at the Heroes' Cemetery, smaller rallies were staged in different cities across the country on Friday, November 25. (READ: Students at anti-Marcos rally: We're part of the fight

Protestors chanted "Marcos diktador, hindi bayani" (Marcos is a dictator, not a hero) and "hukayin" (dig him up) as they asked drivers to honk their horns in cities and towns.

The nationwide protest actions were initiated by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang (Carmma), an umbrella group of Martial Law victims that campaigned against the vice presidential bid of the late dictator's son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, in 2016.

Here are some of the photos and online posts of rallies held outside Metro Manila: 

'No to historical revisionism'

Despite the heavy downpour due to Tropical Storm Marce, Ilonggo activists marched along General Luna street in Iloilo City chanting, “Tuloy pa rin ang laban (The fight is not yet over),” and encouraging drivers to honk their horns for justice.

Meanwhile, protesters in Negros Occidental remembered the atrocities during martial law, foremost of which was the Escalante Massacre of 1985.

In Cebu City, rain did not also dampen the protest along Colon St on Friday morning. Protesters in black shirts held placards that read "Ayaw usba ang kasaysayan" (No to historical revisionism). 

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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)

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">IN PHOTOS: Around 500 students, teachers, Martial Law survivors, and citizens from Los Baños joined the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFriday?src=hash">#BlackFriday</a> protest. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarcosNoHero?src=hash">#MarcosNoHero</a> <a href="https://t.co/y60u5ukvSg">pic.twitter.com/y60u5ukvSg</a></p>&mdash; UPLB Perspective (@uplbperspective) <a href="https://twitter.com/uplbperspective/status/802163398297255936">November 25, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Protesters at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna stressed that there could be no forgiveness without justice.

"Paano tayo makapagpapatawad nang 'di man lang kinikilala ng mga Marcoses ang kanilang kasalanan sa sambayanan?" asked lawyer Filemon Nolasco, the first UPLB University Student Council chairperson 

(How can we forgive if the Marcoses if they don't recognize their sins against the people to begin with?)

About 500 other UPLB students and teachers trooped to Manila to join the "grand Black Friday rally." 

LABAN BICOL. Protestors in Albay. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

Duterte should unite with the people

In Davao City, hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, protesters converged at the Freedom Park to reject their former mayor's alliance with the Marcoses. 

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"President Rodrigo Duterte should unite with the people and not with the Marcoses," a speaker at the protest action said in Bisaya, echoing the resounding call in Luneta. (READ: Luneta protesters to Duterte: End alliance with Marcos family)

IMELDA'S HOMETOWN. Protesters in the home town of former first lady Imelda Marcos join the nationwide indignation activities on Friday, November 25, against the burial of her husband Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Irish Catilogo

Protests in Marcos strongholds

Students from University of the Philippines Visayas-Tacloban City and representatives of different sectors marched from UP to the downtown area Friday afternoon.

Protesters in Ilocos Sur also held a protest in the Welcome Arch of Vigan City, in front of the statue of Filipino politician, writer, and labor activist Isabelo Delos Reyes.

"Kathang-isip ang 'Solid North' na ipinagmamalaki ng mga Marcos at loyalista nito. Hindi lahat ng Ilokano, magogoyo ng mga magnanakaw at mamamatay-taong mga Marcos," 

(The 'Solid North" which the Marcoses and their loyalists brag about is a myth. Not all Ilocanos will be deceived by the Marcoses who are accused of plunder and crimes.)

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In Cagayan, about a hundred protesters converged at Rizal Park in Tuguegarao and marched to the central business district of the city, shouting "Haan a bannuar ni Marcos!" (Marcos is no hero).

In Baguio City, protesters marched along Session Road late Friday afternoon. They vowed to sustain protest actions until Marcos' remains are returned to Ilocos Norte, where the dictator's remains had been kept in a family mauseleum for nearly 3 decades until Duterte allowed the burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

According to BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes Jr, protest actions were also held in Isabela, General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro, and Palawan. 

Another rally is set for November 30, 2016

For highlights of the November 25 rallies across the country, go to Rappler's live blog– With a report from Voltaire Tupaz/Rappler.com 



#Tweetanaga: Mag-tweet at tumula tungkol sa kabayanihan


MANILA, Philippines – Sa Miyerkoles, Nobyembre 30, ay ipagdiriwang natin ang kaarawan ni Andres Bonifacio. 

Aalalahanin din natin ang kanyang nagawa para sa bayan sa pamamagitan ng mga #Tweetanaga tungkol sa kabayanihan

Ang "tweetanaga" ay pinagsamang mga salitang "tweet" at 'tanaga." Katulad ng patimpalak ng Rappler noong August 2013, pagkakasyahin ang katutubong tula sa isang Twitter post – 140 characters.

Ang tanaga ay may:

  • 4 na linya
  • 7 pantig o syllables sa bawat linya
  • tugma or rhyme pattern na noong unang panahon ay isahan (monorhyme), pero kalauan ay ginamitan na ng iba't ibang kombinasyon: aa-bb (magkatugma ang unang dalawang linya, at ganun din ang huling dalawa), ab-ab, abba.

Basta dapat magkasya sa isang tweet.


{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Kung ang tapang ay wagas<br>Hindi &#39;to maaagnas<br>Kahit saan ilibing<br>Bayani pa ring turing<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tweetanaga?src=hash">#Tweetanaga</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a></p>&mdash; Stacy de Jesus (@stacydejesus) <a href="https://twitter.com/stacydejesus/status/802122476792606720">November 25, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}


Simulan 'nyo nang ipahayag ang saloobin tungkol sa kabayanihan sa Araw ni Bonifacio. I-tweet ang inyong tanaga sa @rapplerdotcom gamit ang hashtag na #Tweetanaga.

Iipunin namin ang pinakamagagandang #Tweetanaga, at ilalathala sa pahinang ito sa Nobyembre 30. – Rappler.com

#ClimateActionPH: How citizens stopped a coal plant from rising in Cebu City


CLIMATE ACTION. Environmental groups and representatives of communities that oppose a proposed coal plant project in Cebu City flash the sign for the campaign to limit global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Photo by Rappler

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Residents of Barangay Sawang Calero, Cebu City, were caught off guard when they first heard of plans to build a coal-fired thermal power plant in their neighborhood earlier this year.

"We were not properly informed of the plans," said Shieda Henry, one of the affected residents in Sawang Calero.

The power plant had been proposed by Ludo Power Corporation. City council members Noel Wenceslao and Richard Osmeña supported the project, presenting a resolution endorsing the construction of the 2x150MW coal-powered plant in the city.

The city's environmental committee, headed by former Cebu City councilor Nida Cabrera, rejected the proposal on April 27 for "failing to secure social acceptability."

"Under current guidelines a power plant that surpasses a rated capacity of 30MW is considered environmentally critical. Therefore the proposed coal-fired power plant by Ludo Power Corporation with a capacity of 300MW is an environmentally critical project and poses significant environmental impact," Cebu Daily News quoted the city council report released on April 27.

The city council did not object to the committee's rejection of the proposal.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sheida Henry said residents of Sawang Calero &amp; other brgys were not properly informed about the proposed coal-powered plant <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClimateActionPH?src=hash">#ClimateActionPH</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZZ6g9lLVUC">pic.twitter.com/ZZ6g9lLVUC</a></p>&mdash; Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/801614735355494400">November 24, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}


Community opposition 

If residents hadn't taken action, the construction of the plant may have pushed through.

Henry was able to gather 2,000 signatures for an online petition, and with several community organizations, organized protests at the plant site and at Cebu City council meetings.

"We had to get the message out there that the plant could cause illness, disease, and even death for residents and their loved ones," Henry said in a mix of Cebuano and English. 

Henry, along with other environmental advocates, shared her experiences in community organizing at a #ClimateActionPH workshop organized by The Climate Reality Project Philippines and Rappler's MovePH on November 24 in Cebu City.

The groups involved in the campaign include the following:

  • Cebu Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Environment (CASE)
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition – Cebu
  • Philippine Movement for Climate Justice – Cebu
  • Sanlakas
  • Greenpeace Southeast Asia
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • Sustainable Energy and Enterprise Development for Communities (SEED4COM)
  • Oceana
  • Missionaries for the Poor
  • Dakila Artists Collective
  • Cebuanos Against Coal
  • Pusyon Kinaiyahan

VICTORIOUS. Residents of Sawa celebrate the junking of the proposed coal-powered plant. Photo from the Youth for Livable Cebu Facebook page

Bribed to support coal?

Also facing possible environmental impact from the proposed power plant were the surrounding barangays of Pasil, Suba, and Inayawan.

One resident of Pasil who helped organize residents to join the protests explained the challenges of facing a big energy company.

"While we protested there would be individuals coming to the community and offering cash aid, rice, and other incentives to gain support for the power plant," she said in Cebuano.

Cabrera, who used to head the environmental committee, also said she was offered money on the condition that she support the power plant. She turned it down.

"I'm no longer on the city council," Cabrera, who ran under current Mayor Tomas Osmeña's local party BOPK, said, insinuating that going against the project cost her the election.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Getting the full picture from different reps of NGOS, govt, community and the private sector <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClimateActionPH?src=hash">#ClimateActionPH</a> <a href="https://t.co/A8zEh6zkKV">pic.twitter.com/A8zEh6zkKV</a></p>&mdash; Mia Gaviola (@amaliagaviola) <a href="https://twitter.com/amaliagaviola/status/801619257872130049">November 24, 2016</a></blockquote>

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


Culprit of climate change

Chai Fonacier, Cebuana performance artist and activist of Sutukil Sauce and Dakila, helped spread awareness about the campaign.

She featured the issue through viral videos, using her character Kurdapya Jones, a quirky, socially aware activist. "We have to reach people in ways that would capture their attention," said Fonacier.

Reuben Muni, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines, said of the campaign: "We saw the role of Cebu in the national campaign against coal. We can't afford to lose because it will send the wrong signal to other countries that it is okay to operate coal."

He added: "Had it pushed through, it would have been the only coal-powered plant situated right in the heart of an urbanized city."

Coal-fired power plants, which spew greenhouse gases, remain the Philippines' largest energy source at 29%, followed by oil at 23%. Greenhouse gases are one of the primary culprits of climate change.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously criticized the Paris climate pact, has said he would sign the agreement– Rappler.com

Young Pinoy kids win medals at World Math Team Championship


Xavier Advanced Team: (L to R) ); Matthew Johan Uy , Kimmayong Ayahao, Alexander Go, Sedrick Scott Keh, Xuan Li, Mark Christopher Uy

MANILA, Philippines - Young math wizards from the Philippines took home a bag of medals in the recently concluded World Math Team Championship held in Incheon, South Korea last November 23 to 26. 


Pinoy math athletes won 3 gold, 7 silver, and 17 bronze medals. 


Also awarded were Xavier School Advanced Team and Philippine Science High School Intermediate Team as among the top performers in their respective divisions for the team’s impressive aggregate scores in the three contests - team, relay and individual competitions.

PSHS Intermediate Team: (L to R) Jose Lorenzo P. Abad, Wesley Gavin Go Palomar, Frederick Ivan Michael T. Tan, Dominic Lawrence R. Bermudez, Sinead Dylan P. Vallester, Bert Joseph A. Tropicales, Coach Mario Danilo R. Lanura  

Here is a list of awardees:


Gold medal awardees

Advanced Division - Sedrick Scott Keh (Xavier School),  Raphael Villaluz and Rafael Jose Santiago (Philippine Science High School)


Silver awardees 

Advanced Division: Lorenzo Jaime Y. Flores (PSHS); Alexander Go, Xuan Li, Mark Christopher Uy (Xavier)

Intermediate Division: Jose Lorenzo P. Abad, Bert Joseph A. Tropicales, Dominic Lawrence R. Bermudez (PSHS)

Makati Hope Christian School Teams with Coach Roberto Ongaria  

Bronze awardees

Advanced Division: Joaquin Jose S. Lopez, Rodrigo Dexter A. Perando (PSHS) Edward Akiro Manuel & Earle Anderson Ng (Makati Hope Christian HS), Matthew Johan Uy (Xavier)


Intermediate Division: Shoshannah B. Tiu, Josh  L. David, Jose Tristan Tan, Mallory Gillian Cua, Haziel Vanessa C. Lim (MHCS); Sinead Dylan P. Vallester, Frederick Ivan Michael T. Tan, Wesley Gavin Go Palomar (PSHS)


Junior Division: Shaun Nicolo V. Salazar (PAREF Southridge School), Jerome Samuel D. Tan, Dean Alistair R. Yu, Jasmine Ngo, Kimberly Ang (MHCS)

PSHS Intermediate Team: (L to R) Jose Lorenzo P. Abad, Wesley Gavin Go Palomar, Frederick Ivan Michael T. Tan, Dominic Lawrence R. Bermudez, Sinead Dylan P. Vallester, Bert Joseph A. Tropicales, Coach Mario Danilo R. Lanura  

Merit Awardees

Advanced Division: Lance Ricco L. Teng, Margarita Patrice S. Penson, Pei-Hsuan Lee, Arvin Christian S. Tan (MHCS), Mikhaela Marie V. Diaz (PSHS), Kimmayong Ayahao (Xavier)


Intermediate Division Jarvy Larz  San Juan (MHCS)


Junior Division Kim Chan-E, Mikaela Alyn C. Motol


The coaches of the respective teams are: Jose Manresa Enrico Espanol IV (PSHS Advanced Team), Mario Danilo R. Lanura (PSHS Intermediate Team), and Roberto Ongaria (MHCS Teams).​


The World Mathematics Team Championship (WMTC) was founded by Mr. Zhou Guozhen (China) and Prof. Quan K. Lam from University of California (USA). Unlike most mathematics competitions, WMTC puts more emphasis on teams than on individuals. - Rappler.com


WATCH: Coron remembers Yolanda as it recovers


It wasn't only Eastern Visayas that was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013.

Although less publicized, the resort-town of Coron in Palawan was also heavily damaged by the record-breaking typhoon.

Three years after, many Coron locals have gotten back on their feet with the help of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas.

The social action arm of the Catholic Church has implemented housing, livelihood, and disaster risk reduction programs across areas affected by Yolanda. - Rappler.com

#NotOnMyWatch anti-corruption caravan goes to Laguna


MANILA, Philippines – Corruption affects our daily lives. It threatens sustainable economic growth, values, and integrity.

Though top government officials have been vocal in fighting corruption in the country, the impact of good governance programs have yet to be felt in many communities. For this reason, Rappler's #NotOnMyWatch campaign is activating local communities to join the fight against corruption.

After a successful run in Cebu, Iloilo, and Cagayan de Oro, the anti-corruption caravan will go to Sta Cruz, Laguna on December 1 and 2 at the Asiablooms Hotel Pavillion. 

Corruption in Laguna

Laguna has had its fair share of corruption issues.

Most recently, in September 2016, a Laguna-based supervisor of Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (Quedancor), was allegedly responsible for the illegal disbursement of P54 million ($1.1 million) under its swine program.

According to the Commission on Audit, suppliers were chosen without going through a public bidding process. Moreover, though payments were made in full, delivery of services and materials were incomplete (e.g., paid in full but allowed incomplete deliveries.)

In addition, on December 9, 2015, the Supreme Court overturned a Sandiganbayan ruling that found Mayor Domingo Panganiban of Sta Cruz, Laguna guilty of malversation of public funds.

Using technology, social media vs corruption in Laguna

Rappler launched the #NotOnMyWatch campaign on September 24 during the annual Innovation+Social Good Summit. 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 services.  

The 2-day caravan in Laguna will be open to civil society groups, students, sectoral organizations, and government officials. The event aims to tackle different local corruption issues in Laguna and what ordinary citizens can do to help solve them – particularly with the use of technology and social media.

On the first day of the caravan, Thursday, December 1, 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. 

On the second day, Friday, December 2, 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.




DAY 1: Workshop for Select Participants
December 1, 2016

10 am - 4:30 pm

Asiablooms Hotel Pavillion

DAY 2: Public Forum

December 2, 2016

1 pm - 4 pm

Asiablooms Hotel Pavilion

Public Forum Program 



12:00 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 1:10

Welcome Remarks

Rupert Ambil

MovePH Executive Director

1:10 - 1:45

Keynote Address:

Marties Vitug
Rappler Inc.


1:45 - 2:00

Presentation and Demo of #NotOnMyWatch

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

2:00 - 2:40

PANEL DISCUSSION: Issues per sector – What types of corruption affect us? 

Invited: Local sectors affected by corruption

2:40 - 3:20

PANEL DISCUSSION: Strategies and Approaches in Fighting Corruption

Invited: Civil Service Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, and Commission on Audit

3:20 - 3:35


3:35- 3:45

Awarding of Best Pledges

3:45 - 4:00

Closing Remarks

How to join the caravan

Those who are interested to participate in the whole-day training and/or public forum can email #NotOnMyWatch coordinator Abigail Abigan at abigail.abigan@rappler.com with their full name, contact details, and organization. 

#NotOnMyWatch works with civil society groups, government agencies, the academe and ordinary citizens. Those interested to partner may email notonmywatch@rappler.com for more details. – Rappler.com

Rescue teams gear up for Disaster Responders' Challenge 2016


MANILA, Philippines - More than 29 military, local goverment, and civilian disaster response units will gather on December 2 and 3 at Camp Aguinaldo of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the 2016 Disaster Responders' Challenge (DRC) - an annual exercise to test the capability of disaster responders from all over Metro Manila. 

Responders will carry out various rescue simulations corresponding to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and its aftermath. Using an abandoned building in Camp Aguinaldo, each team will need to show their readiness to respond and ability to think quickly in stressful scenarios.

The Challenge is a project initiated by the AFP's 7th Civil Relations Group of the Civil Relations Service, Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) and the Junior Chamber International - Manila (JCI-Manila).

Rappler's MovePH will document and annotate live on Facebook the various rescue and response scenarios on December 2 and 3 on the MovePH Facebook page and on Rappler.com

Visit this page to get live updates during the DRC. - Rappler.com


OFW terminal fee payment scrapped by March 2017 – MIAA


File photo by Joel Nito/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – By March 2017, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will no longer have to pay terminal fees in their air tickets purchased abroad.

Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said on Monday, November 29, that airlines have "agreed in principle" on the plan which will be implemented by March 2017. This is to give the airlines time to update their programs and systems, he said.

Under the Migrants Workers Act, OFWs are exempt from paying the P550- terminal fee or the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC). But a MIAA rule in February 2015 required terminal fees to be paid  with the ticket price when OFWs book online and abroad.

OFWs then have to line up at the MIAA refund counter to be reimbursed. The sector and their advocates had repeatedly complained about the process, which was meant to improve overall passenger convenience at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Until the plan is implemented, OFWs would have to get their refund from the MIAA with all the necessary requirements such as their electronic ticket, boarding pass, and passport. Half of the fees collected from OFWs since February 2015 remain unclaimed.

More improvements

At the same event, DOTr and MIAA also said that the public can expect more improvements in airports.

Transportation and airport officials said that a more efficient slot management system is now being implemented to ensure that flight departures are on time. DOTr said that the new system has improved the on-time performance of airlines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from 47% to 71%. 

The MIAA is also coordinating with the Villamor Airbase to allow vehicles to pass through, especially along Andrews Avenue, to help ease road traffic to and from the airport.

A two-minute waiting time is also being implemented for people welcoming and sending off passengers at the airport.

Kaugalian ng mga Pilipino na kahit isa lang ang aalis eh napakarami nang naghahatid. Isinasaayos natin ‘yan,” Monreal said. (It's a Filipino habit for huge groups to accompany loved ones to the airport when they're about to leave. We're fixing that.)

Captain Jim Sydiongco, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, also boasted of the addition of Legazpi, Butuan, Dumaguete, and Caticlan airports to the country’s night-rated airports. Roxas airport will also be able to accommodate evening flights before Christmas.

Emergency powers

In the same forum, DOTr officials also emphasized the need for emergency powers to push for further improvements in the transportation sector.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Cherie Mercado assured the public that the emergency powers the government is seeking will expedite service delivery and will not be abused.

“Emergency powers was proposed to get projects moving fast. May mga safeguards tayo diyan [such as] Congress oversight, TROs/injunctions to be filed only in the Supreme Court, and its compliance with the FOI,” Mercado said. 

(We have safeguards [from abuse] there like Congress oversight, Temporary Restraining Orders/injunctions to be filed only in the Supreme Court, and its compliance with the FOI.)  – Rappler.com

A test for local climate adaptation


On Friday, the board of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), a special annual fund in the National Treasury intended to finance local climate change adaptation initiatives, announced that it has given the green light for two projects in Mindanao.

The move comes over five years since the fund was created through the enactment of Republic Act 10174 in July 2011.

The two projects worth P120 million were proposed by the local government units (LGUs) of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur and del Carmen in Surigao del Norte.

Oxfam has worked with the LGUs of Lanuza and del Carmen from 2012 to 2014 in the implementation of the BINDS project (Building Resilient and Adaptive Communities and Institutions in Mindanao), which was supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

PREPARED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE? Lanuza residents living near the coast, like this fisherman say they have little knowledge of the impacts of climate change except that, when a typhoon is coming, they should heed the instructions of local authorities. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

Through the collective action of all stakeholders, the BINDS Project helped improve the ability of communities and local institutions to build livelihoods that could withstand climate change, develop their own climate-sensitive strategies, and enhance their skills and knowledge on responding to disasters and adapting to climate change.

Since 2013, Oxfam, together with local NGO partners, also provided technical support in the crafting of the PSF Project Proposals of both municipalities.

WHEN TO ACT? A surfer emerges from the sea in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. The small town (2015 total population: 12,001) comes alive during the November surf season when the local economy booms with the arrival of dozens of foreign and national professional and amateur surfers. But because of its location along the eastern seaboard of Mindanao, Lanuza is vulnerable to tidal surges and tsunamis that come from the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

While Oxfam welcomes the approval of the projects, we also look forward to learning more about how LGUs will use the PSF grants to enhance their resiliency and put vulnerable groups, such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities in a position where they can grow and thrive despite the uncertainties associated with climate change.

Last month, I re-visited the municipality of Lanuza together with documentary photographer VJ Villafranca to find out more about how the LGU has continued its climate change adaptation program. According to Lanuza’s Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, John Largo, their program follows a “ridge-to-reef ecosystem approach”, which involves looking at mountains and terrestrial forests down to the river systems, going through mangrove areas, and finally ending in the coast lines to come up with an integrated set of strategies to manage natural resources while contributing to poverty reduction, creating sustainable livelihoods, and enhancing climate resilience.

ROOT OF THE ISSUE. Felipa Dagaang, an indigenous Manobo farmer, shows how abaca is manually stripped in their community’s facility in Sitio Himatagan, Barangay Agsam. Photo credit: VJ Villafranca/Oxfam

After my visit, it became clearer why, for low-income, climate-vulnerable municipalities like Lanuza, the PSF is an important mechanism to help them adapt to the harsh realities of climate change, a phenomenon that is greatly affecting them even if they are least responsible for causing it. - Rappler.com


Airah T. Cadiogan is Climate Policy and Campaigns Officer for Oxfam in the Philippines. Follow her on Twitter: @eightyseas.


The town of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur is one of the first two local government units that will receive millions worth of...

Posted by Oxfam sa Pilipinas on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bigger DSWD warehouse now open to store relief goods


WAREHOUSE H. The new building can store 41,400 family packs, increasing the warehousing capacity of DSWD's National Resource Operations Center by one-third. Photo courtesy of DSWD

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) now has a bigger facility where relief goods for disaster victims can be stored.

Warehouse H, a new buiding inside the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City, was inaugurated on Tuesday, November 29.

The building has a floor area of 720 square meters and a dimension of 36 meters by 20 meters and 10.50 meters. It can store 41,400 family packs, increasing the warehousing capacity of the NROC by one-third. 

"With the construction of the additional warehouse, the department is able to increase its family food pack production and maintain the quality of the relief supplies,” Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.

The project is part of the DSWD's efforts to enhance its humanitarian and disaster management capacity with the support of the Australian government, the Philippines' first bilateral donor to preposition emergency relief supplies. 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Watch: <a href="https://twitter.com/sec_judy">@sec_judy</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/AusAmbPH">@AusAmbPH</a> open <a href="https://twitter.com/dswdserves">@dswdserves</a>&#39; Warehouse H. Facility has a floor area of 720 sq m and a dimension of 36m x 20m <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/First70years?src=hash">#First70years</a> <a href="https://t.co/GIvuC96xVW">pic.twitter.com/GIvuC96xVW</a></p>&mdash; Voltaire Tupaz (@VoltaireTupaz) <a href="https://twitter.com/VoltaireTupaz/status/803483452251119616">November 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The assistance from the Australian government also included refurbishments in the NROC, such as the installation of canopies and dock bumper in other warehouses, extension of the perimeter fence and installation of a sliding gate, and improvement of drainage and parking areas.

“Our government cannot do the important work of responding to the needs of disaster victims alone. We need the help of all sectors to ensure that we can deliver prompt response every time a disaster occurs," Taguiwalo said. 

Taguiwalo also stressed the orientation of disaster response under the Duterte administration – free from politics, compassionate, and prompt.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Relief assistance must not be politicized. It should be a collaborative effort regardless of political affiliations. - <a href="https://twitter.com/dswdserves">@dswdserves</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/sec_judy">@sec_judy</a> <a href="https://t.co/l6vsaV45qm">pic.twitter.com/l6vsaV45qm</a></p>&mdash; Voltaire Tupaz (@VoltaireTupaz) <a href="https://twitter.com/VoltaireTupaz/status/803490324689473537">November 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

Milestone in PH-Australia relations

In her speech at the inauguration, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely noted that the project marks a milestone in the partnership between her country and the Philippines.

"The relationship between the Philippines and Australia is long-standing and strong, and this year we celebrate 70 years of bilateral relations. That includes our continuing partnership in the area of humanitarian response and disaster risk reduction," Gorely said.

The Australian government provided a grant of A$3 million (P104.2 million) to the DSWD for the building of the warehouse, prepositioning of non-food relief supplies, and technical assistance to the DSWD on institutionalizing policies and systems on disaster response.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;Australia is committed to helping the Philippines in responding to disasters.&quot; - <a href="https://twitter.com/AusAmbPH">@AusAmbPH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/First70Years?src=hash">#First70Years</a> <a href="https://t.co/krcuERlSVb">pic.twitter.com/krcuERlSVb</a></p>&mdash; Voltaire Tupaz (@VoltaireTupaz) <a href="https://twitter.com/VoltaireTupaz/status/803487818357952512">November 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
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An Australian Civilian Corps specialist is also working with the DSWD in reviewing and improving its strategy and operations plans as the lead agency for disaster response. 

Warehouse H is part of a larger program to build capacity for quick response and relief in emergency situations, according to Gorely.

As part of its aid program in the Philippines, the Australian government has contributed A$81.56 million (P3.26 billion) since 2006 to support the humanitarian efforts of the Philippines in response to several disasters, building disaster preparedness and community resilience.

The Philippines is considered one of the most disaster-prone countries. It is vulnerable to almost all types of hazards, especially typhoons. – Rappler.com

Former UP student leaders: Make Duterte pay for Marcos burial


UP Diliman students hold a protest rally at the Pama Hall on Friday, November 25, against the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Joel Liporda

MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of University of the Philippines-Diliman student council alumni are holding President Rodrigo Duterte accountable for the surprise burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).

"This dishonorable and despicable act must not be countenanced. We hold President Rodrigo Duterte directly responsible,” the former student leaders said in a Bonifacio Day statement on Wednesday, November 30.

They also took the 9 Supreme Court justices to task for allowing the burial to happen. By a vote of 9-5, the High Court on November 8 rejected petitions that sought to stop the burial of the late dictator. 

"We, former student leaders of the UPD University Student Council (USC), express our strongest condemnation for the burial of the dictator in the resting place of heroes. We stand against the deliberate attempt to revise history and to erase the memory of those who fought for our democracy,” they said.

Among the more than 300 former student leaders who signed the statement were Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) co-founder Malou Mangahas, broadcast journalist David Celdran, Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon, and Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Abolition of student councils

During the tumultuous martial law years, Marcos abolished student councils, organizations, and publications to quell the growing dissent of the youth at that time. Many student leaders, activists, and journalists were abducted, tortured, raped, and murdered under his authoritarian rule. 

"Upon the restoration of the UPD USC, (we have continued) to call for justice and accountability, especially during these times,” the UPD USC alumni said.

The former UP student leaders also called on their "fellow Iskolar ng Bayan, past and present, and the Filipino people whom we serve to once again rise up against the Marcoses and their effort to absolve themselves from the evils of their regime.”

A rally protesting the Duterte administration's burial of Marcos' remains in the Heroes' Cemetery is scheduled on Wednesday, November 30, at the People Power Monument on EDSA. There are also other marches and rallies happening simultaneously in cities across the country, as well as a few cities abroad. (SCHEDULE: November 30 rallies vs Marcos)

The rally is being staged 5 days after an estimated 8,000 protesters gathered at the Luneta to also denounce Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery, and to ask Duterte to end his alliance with the Marcos family – Rappler.com


Students in anti-Marcos burial protest: 'We will never forget'


MANILA, Philippines – Filipino millennials went back to the streets.

Hundreds of young people staged a rally against the surprise burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Wednesday, November 30, joining other Anti-Marcos groups at the People Power Monument to fight against what they called "historical revisionism" and the abuses during martial law. (READ: November 30 rallies: What protesters demand of Duterte)

JUSTICE. Ateneo alumna Mima Mendoza says young people have to hold their government accountable. Photo by David Lozada/Rappler

The young protesters come from all walks of life. Some arrived in jeepneys, while others marched to EDSA.

For Ateneo de Manila alumna Mima Mendoza, the protest is about being one with the Filipino people.

"It affects me because I am a Filipino. It’s about our history. It’s about our story as a nation. It’s very clear how this swift burial of Marcos is an attempt to rewrite our history," she said.

Carrying a sign that read "Hindi porke't Christmas season na ay naka-sale din ang hustisya" (Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean justice is on sale), Mendoza marched from the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Katipunan to the monument in EDSA.

"As a millennial, I want to be the one to take control of my own country and my own people’s story. I’m here to tell that story, and that story is that Marcos is a dictator and he stole from our country and he killed thousands of our countrymen," she said.

Universities united

It was a gathering that usually happens only in collegiate sports. But this time, ADMU and De La Salle University students are fighting for the same cause.

After the two-hour walk from Katipunan, the Ateneo contingent was welcomed at the People Power Monument by contingents from DLSU, the University of the Philippines, and Assumption College, among others.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ateneo protesters brace the Katipunan heat to protest the Marcos burial <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH">@MovePH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/XpkcRneLX6">pic.twitter.com/XpkcRneLX6</a></p>&mdash; David Bryan Lozada (@iamdavidlozada) <a href="https://twitter.com/iamdavidlozada/status/803856938073202688">November 30, 2016</a></blockquote>
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DLSU student government vice president for external affairs Reigner Sanchez echoed Mendoza's sentiments that the protest is about not forgetting.

"Together with the Lasallian community, we believe that Marcos is not a hero, and Martial Law should never happen again. We should never forget the dark horrors of our history," he said.

MILLENNIAL MINDSET. DLSU student leader Reigner Sanchez (center) says millennials have to educate their peers on the country's right history. Photo by David Lozada/Rappler

Sanchez added that millennials are at the forefront of the fight against historical revisionism.

"That means that we have to educate our friends about what happened in our past. We should be at the forefront of (engaging) our government and ensuring that martial law will never happen again," he said.

The series of protests started with the Supreme Court decison to allow the burial of Marcos in the heroes cemetery. When the late dictator was buried on November 18, a series of lightning protests erupted, culminating in the November 25 movement in Luneta and the November 30 protest in the People Power Monument.

Millennials quickly became the face of the protests. For Mendoza, the protest is one way to hold institutions accountable.

"Now is the time for millennials...to keep the integrity and to force integrity on our institutions. That begins with taking control of our history and telling it as it should be. Saying clearly that this is not okay, that we will not stand for this and we want accountability." – Rappler.com

Ex-DSWD chief Soliman: Duterte accountable for Marcos burial


NOT A HERO. Former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman sings 'Bayan Ko' with a raised fist during the protest against the Marcos burial on November 30. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for the heroes burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the mass protest in the People Power Monument on Wednesday, November 30. 

“Marcos is not a hero. He does not deserve to be buried in the heroes' cemetery. President Duterte should be held accountable for opening up this issue,” Soliman told Rappler.

Soliman was a 19-year-old University of the Philppines student when Martial Law was declared. Her sister was jailed for leading protests while she was surrounded by soldiers during her organizing work.

“This would not happen if he didn’t permit it. Why did he allow the Marcos burial when it is clear that he was a thief and he committed a lot of human rights violations?” Soliman lamented.

The series of protests started with the Supreme Court decison to allow the burial of Marcos in the heroes cemetery. When the late dictator was buried on November 18, a series of lightning protests erupted, culminating in the November 25 movement in Luneta and the November 30 protest in the People Power Monument. 

‘Drug war weak’

Soliman also voiced concern on the promises made during the campaign Duterte has yet delivered. 

“It will be 6 months by December. The promises made are already being adjusted. He said that the drug problem will be finished in 6 months time. Now, he’s saying that he cannot deliver it in 6 months,” Soliman said. 

Duterte’s campaign platform was centered on eliminating the drug menace. The death toll from his controversial crackdown has climbed above 4,800, or roughly an average of 30 deaths a day since it began five months ago.

“The war on drugs is weak and lacks strategy. You won’t eliminate drugs by just giving names and telling the police to kill the users and pushers. It won’t end because drug use, according to experts, is caused by poverty, dysfunctional families, and other factors,” Soliman said.

The former DSWD chief added: “It’s only now that they are taking down the supply chains, the laboratories. For the first 3 months, all they did was to kill impoverished drug users. I am against that. This is not a humane way of solving the problem.”

Soliman was replaced by UP Professor Judy Taguiwalo to head DSWD, whom the former welcomed to the position with open arms.– Rappler.com

Recto: Newly-approved OFW repatriation fund not enough


File photo by Noel Celis/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – As the two houses hammer out the country’s P3.35 trillion national budget, the Senate gave the go signal on the proposed additional P100-million 'emergency repatriation fund' for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to be given to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2017.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, however, says the approved funding from the national budget is not enough and should only be used as a “component of a bigger help fund for OFWs,” which he said must reach at least P1.5 billion - almost 3 times bigger than what the Palace proposed for 2017.

The Duterte administration has already asked the Congress to allocate P50 million to DOLE, P31 million to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for OFW repatriation. This is on top of their proposed P400 million Assistance to Nationals Fund and P100 million Legal Assistance Fund for the Department of Foreign Affairs.  

“Pagsamahin mo lahat ito, P580 million lang. Kulang na kulang ito sa pangangailangan ng mga OFWs natin na kailangang umuwi sa panahon ng sakuna at kagipitan,” Recto pointed out.

(Put them all together and you get only P580 million. This is not enough for the needs of OFWs who need to return in time of disasters and struggles.) 

Recto challenged administration lawmakers to raise the amount as there are many more “out-of-luck and out-of-cash” OFWs waiting to be reunited with their families in the Philippines. 

Recto said that the 2017 OFW repatriation fund is “mere 4 hours worth of all OFW remittances” using as basis the $28.48 billion overseas Filipinos sent home last year.

“’Yang P500 million, ‘yan ang remittance ng mga kababayan natin sa Hong Kong sa loob lamang ng apat na araw at limang oras. P500 million is also what OFWs in Italy remit to their homeland in just 12 days,” Recto said. “Half a billion pesos is our katas ng Saudi in less than 34 hours.” 

(That P500 million is the remittance of our countrymen in Hongkong in just only 4 days and 4 hours and what OFWs in Italy remit to their homeland in just 12 days. Half a billion pesos is the fruit of our countrymen’s labor in Saudi in just 34 hours.")

The senator also said Congress needs to find other sources for OFW repatriation since OWWA spends only 69 centavos, or less than one percent, for repatriation out of every P100 that the agency collects from OFWs.

Citing a Commission on Audit report, Recto noted that OWWA “issued a measly 119 plane tickets for repatriated OFWs last year" despite spending almost P1.8 billion. Out of this, only P17 million was used for the purchase of the 119 airline tickets. – Rappler.com

When OFWs party


GAMES. Fujico Klee and her friends play games during their Christmas party. All photos by Fujico Klee

It’s that time of the year again.

Fujico Klee is set to celebrate her 9th Christmas in Kuwait this year with a party with her friends, fellow overseas Filipino workers.

Some have been there longer than she has. Some are more recent hires. But they all share one thing in common: they are about to celebrate Christmas away from their loved ones.

Bringing home overseas

"Maybe we can go to the beach this time?" Fujico wonders. "That would be fun."

Fujico has been celebrating with different people every year. They’re all her friends, her workmates. People come and go in OFW communities. Some stay for a long time like Fujico, some return to the Philippines earlier than they had planned.

Most of the time they party at someone’s house. But if there are too many on the guest list, they celebrate seaside instead. Filipino parties can be pretty loud after all. 

If they celebrate indoors, the first thing on their to-do list is to warn their neighbors about the noise. The last thing they’d want is an angry neighbor ruining the party midway.

CELEBRATION. Food and karaoke are always present in Fujico and her friends' parties.

Second on the list: Karaoke. 

Filipinos love karaoke, moreso OFWs. Fujico and her friends would belt out their favorite OPM songs the whole night – the one night every year when their neighbors wouldn’t mind (or at least pretend not to mind). Music by Gary V, Regine Velasquez and other local artists fill the air – every song reminds them of the Philippines; every beat feels like home.

 TASTE OF HOME. An OFW Christmas party isn't complete without good food to remind them of home.

And, of course, there's the food.

Early morning on D-day, Fujico and her friends are already busy preparing their specialties: kaldereta, kilawin, adobo, pininyahang manok, among others. Sometimes they’d also whip up Indian food, when their Indian friends join them.

If they're lucky, they get to eat pork too – courtesy of their friends from the US military base.

They prepare the recipes typical in every Filipino party, but they become extra special for OFWs who don’t get to eat them every day anymore. 

And of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without exchanging gifts through the Monito-Monita. Fujico is stoked. "What should I buy this time?" she thinks.

Fujico loves giving. She makes it a point to give at least even small gifts to all her friends. Mugs, keychains – anything. 

One time, she was in deep financial trouble and had nothing and no one with her in Kuwait. She was about to give up when someone in church, a complete stranger, gave her a mug and a siopao. Suddenly, she had the courage to stand up again.

It was a simple gesture of goodwill that Fujico still carries in her heart until now.

Happy and lonely at the same time 

An OFW Christmas party is unique. It’s fun and festive like most parties but lonely at the same time. 

It’s a night of happiness and games and good food – but also a night to remind them of all the things they miss from home.

When gifts have been unwrapped, singing voices exhausted, and greetings made – loneliness starts to sink in. 

HAPPY AND SAD. At one point, the laughter stops and conversations get serious. Some of them cry.

At one point, the laughter stops and conversations get serious. They talk about life: their struggles at work, mean people they’ve met, and how much they miss home.

Some of them cry. Some manage to keep the pain hidden from sight. 

Fujico misses home too. Very badly.

She misses her home in Makati. Going to the church with her parents, partying with her cousins, and bonding with her siblings – priceless memories. 

But at least when OFWs party, they forget for a few hours the things that make them lonely. Whether indoors or by the beach, somehow they get to imagine they’re home. It’s not just the food and karaoke that comforts them – it’s being surrounded by people who share the same struggles with them. It’s the greetings from their kababayans, the comforting hugs from their "second family," and the assurance that they are not, and never will be, alone in that foreign land.

There are 365 days a year. 365 days for Fujico to worry about home. But for now, she's got a party to plan. – Rappler.com

WATCH: Giant UP lantern shines, and it has a political message


BUDYONG AND TAMBULI. Designed to include lantern elements inspired by 'budyong' (conch shell) and 'tambuli' (bugle made of horn), the giant installation in UP Diliman in Quezon City highlights the traditional use of the instruments that date back to the pre-colonial times. Photo by Mon Ramirez

MANILA, Philippines – On Friday night, December 2, a newly lit installation in the University of the Philippines in Diliman (UP DIliman) gave the Oblation a bright Christmas look. But the installation, created by artist Toym Imao with soundscape by Solaiman Jamisolamin, also conveys a timely political message.

Designed to include lantern elements that look like "budyong" (conch shell) and "tambuli" (a bugle made of horn), the giant installation is inspired by the traditional use of the instruments that date back to the pre-colonial times.

"In its 108 years, the University of the Philippines has been one of the country's metaphorical 'budyong' or 'tambuli', gathering inspired and enlightened minds from different islands of the archipelago who answer the call of higer learning  and service to the nation, into its community," the university said in an article posted on UPDate Diliman.

"In its tradition of vigilance, progressive thought and action, the UP community will always sound the alarm and move against imminent threat to the liberties of the Filipino people," the university added.

Thousands of UP students and faculty members from UP Diliman and other UP campuses have joined the growing protest against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and what they call "historical revisionism."

The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity in UP Diliman earlier staged its traditional issue-oriented Oblation Run, running naked to protest against the hero's burial for the late strongman Marcos and to ask the Duterte administration to stop extrajudicial killings.

The fraternity called on the Filipino people "to seek accountability and an honest unrevised history."

Himig ng Diliman

The UP community was active in fighting against the Marcos regime. On February 1, 1971, the academic community set up a massive barricade that lasted for more than a week to block government forces. The community declared itself the "Diliman Republic."

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 Marcoses had also 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)

The giant lantern highlights the historical role of the university in protest movements even as it celebrates the College of Music's centennial with the theme "Himig ng Diliman (Hymn of Diliman)."

"Himig ng Diliman is the narrative of the struggle and dissent of its community, a hymn that serves as a beacon of direction amidst the darkness, a familiar voice in the wilderness, a song with a melody that sparks hope amidst a State that may be out of tune," the university said.

UP Diliman also announced other events that are lined up for the season including the Lantern Parade on December 16 and Paskong Pasinaya, a presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” by the College of Music on December 15 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium. With Exxon Ruebe for video/Rappler.com