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Media orgs, private groups partner with Red Cross for blood donation


BLOOD DONORS. Over 60 organizations sign a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Red Cross, allowing their staff to donate blood yearly. Photo by Marian Plaza/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Staff from 62 organizations will be donating blood every year, as part of a newly signed deal with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

These groups signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) during the 2017 Blood Service Partners' Engagement Ceremony on Wednesday, July 12.

The MOA comes as the PRC celebrates World Blood Donor Month.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the PRC, highlighted the importance of the media in bloodletting activities. Among those that inked the agreement are Rappler, GMA Kapuso Foundation, CNN Philippines, and Bombo Radyo.

"This will be a partnership of sorts. We cannot draw all these people to come to the Red Cross without the communication arm," Gordon said.

The partnership aims to ensure that there is "enough supply of safe and quality blood products all over the country."

Here is the full list of partners:

  1. City of Dreams Manila
  2. Continental Temic Electronics Philippines
  3. Technological Institute of the Philippines
  4. JPMorgan
  5. ROHM Electronics
  6. Ever Bilena
  7. Globe Telecom
  8. S&R Shopping
  9. GMA Kapuso Foundation
  10. GSIS
  11. Elizabeth Seton School
  12. Golden Arches
  13. Bombo Radyo
  14. National University
  15. Thomson Reuters
  16. Landbank of the Philippines
  17. Maxicare
  18. SM Medical Services
  19. Pasig Doctors Medical Center
  20. Abbott
  21. Chiyoda
  22. Coast Guard Air Group
  23. Philippine State College of Aeronautics
  24. Air Link International Aviation College
  25. CNN Philippines
  26. Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary
  27. Teleperformance
  28. Continental Temic
  29. STI Global City
  30. Golden ABC
  31. Philippine Basketball Association
  32. Golden Doughnuts
  33. Chevron Holdings
  34. ETrade
  35. Philecology
  36. Astoria Plaza
  37. Building Care Corporation
  38. Skill Power Institute Antipolo
  39. Makati Development Corporation
  40. University of Rizal System Cainta
  41. Teresa Marble Corporation
  42. San Juan, Batangas LGU
  43. Batangas State University
  44. Epson Precision Phils
  45. CDO Foodsphere
  46. Manila Water Company
  47. STI - Muñoz
  48. All Around Services and Merchandising Corporation
  49. Gateways Institute of Science and Technology
  50. Concentrix
  51. Balungao LGU
  52. Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation
  53. Binalonan LGU
  54. University of Luzon
  55. Guardian Malasiqui
  56. Robinsons Novaliches
  57. Pacific Timber Corporation
  58. Megawide - Head Office
  59. Rappler
  60. Energy FM
  61. Philippine College of Criminology
  62. University of the Philippines Los Baños

In 2016, the PRC provided a total of 407,000 units of blood, representing 50% of the total national collection of all blood service facilities in the country.

Gordon encouraged partners to participate in the bloodletting activities more often to maintain a steady supply of blood, especially for the benefit of the most vulnerable.

"This will complement the need to maintain an adequate supply of blood so that we can continue giving the gift of life," he said. – Marian Plaza / Rappler.com

Philippines' suicide hotline draws flak for alleged inaccessibility


MANILA, Philippines – Hopeline, the national support hotline for depression and suicide prevention, is being criticized online for alleged inaccessibility.

A viral Twitter post by user Ligia Daroy claimed the hotline, which is supposed to be 24/7, reportedly stopped taking calls after "business hours." Daroy's tweet has been retweeted more than 5,000 times and gotten nearly 22,000 likes since it was posted last July 5.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Suicide hotline answered &quot;sorry. Business hours are now closed.&quot; <br><br>Good job philippines</p>&mdash; Ligia Daróy (@legendaroy) <a href="https://twitter.com/legendaroy/status/882578199875432449">July 5, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



The Department of Health (DOH) had launched the crisis support hotline in September 2016 in partnership with the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF).


According to Daroy, she called the hotline around 8 pm on July 5 but got an automated voice message saying, "Sorry. Business hours are only from 6 am to 8 pm."

"I was depressed. I thought all of my friends are tired of listening to me so I called Hopeline. Then I got, 'Sorry. Business hours are only from 6 am to 8 pm,'" she told Rappler.

"What if it was someone who was actually ready to jump off a building, tapos ganoon 'yung maririnig mo (then you will hear something like that)?" she added. (READ: Why we need a mental health law in PH)

Daroy said she didn't intend for the tweet to go viral but was surprised to get responses from people with similar experiences.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">I tried it too, pro ina advise na mkipagkita ako ng psychologist. Ni wala mn lng syang na advise na nkapagpagaan ng loob.</p>&mdash; Ash Dauntless (@DauntlessAsh8) <a href="https://twitter.com/DauntlessAsh8/status/882874121117286400">July 6, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



"I didn't mean to attack them but if it will be addressed it would be really nice," Daroy said.

Hopeline responds

Dr Bernardino Vicente, chief of the National Center for Mental Health, denied the claims circulating on social media.

"Hindi lang naman isang number ang number ng Hopeline. We have several numbers kasi we anticipate na one thunder lang, puwedeng bumagsak 'yung isang line. We have lines that are operated by PLDT, and lines that are operated by Globe," he told Rappler.

(Hopeline does not have just one number. We have several numbers because we anticipate that phone lines could go down during bad weather. We have lines that are operated by PLDT, and lines that are operated by Globe.)

Mila Rolinas, Hopeline's program consultant, said it is very likely that callers will experience a busy line when all lines are taken, especially during peak hours. There are only 12 responders handling calls. (READ: I have depression and it feels good to admit it)

She said there are also times when responders take more than 20 minutes to talk to one caller, especially during high-risk situations. But Rolinas guaranteed that Hopeline is 24/7.

In an Inquirer report, NGF said Hopeline experienced technical issues but these have since been addressed by Globe Telecom.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">After that she gave the numbers of St Luke&#39;s and East Ave&#39;s ER.<br><br>I was alone. Inside my room. Breaking down. Can you imagine.</p>&mdash; ABBY (@trizziabigail) <a href="https://twitter.com/trizziabigail/status/882946654227243009">July 6, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">They&#39;re like robots when you get to reach one plus they also seem irritated. </p>&mdash; ReinaNILAAldeguer (@rein_alde) <a href="https://twitter.com/rein_alde/status/883078701767720960">July 6, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



Vicente also denies Hopeline responders would answer in an apathetic manner. (READ: Ubial: Don't be indifferent to people with depression)

"Definitely, hindi mag-a-answer 'yung staff namin ng, 'Sorry, nasa simbahan ako' or 'Sorry, out of line kami.' I don't think any of our staff ay mag-a-answer ng ganoon," he said.

(Definitely, our staff would not answer, "Sorry, I'm at church," or "Sorry, our lines are down." I don't think any of our staff would answer like that.)

Vicente said Hopeline responders are well-trained individuals whose areas of expertise are in the behavioral sciences.

Need for feedback

Vicente added that Hopeline offers those with depression a way to cope without having to disclose their identity.

"That's the beauty of the Hopeline. You can call somebody without revealing your identity. Some clients would want to hide their identity, and Hopeline is an alternative to that," he said. (READ: Keeping the demons at bay: Dealing with depression)

Hopeline currently does not have a formal mechanism to get feedback from callers, or those attempting to call their hotline.

But Rolinas said some callers contact them again to give updates. "'Yung ibang callers, after going to the mental health professionals, they call para mag-feedback. They update us, saying, 'Pumunta na po ako dito,'" she said.

(Other callers, after going to mental health professionals, they call to give us feedback. They update us, saying, "I've already seen a doctor.")

Online support

Meanwhile, netizens have taken it upon themselves to form online support groups on Twitter and Facebook.

Some netizens also suggested the use of online therapy and counseling such as 7 Cups and Koko, if they really cannot contact the suicide hotline.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year, a number that translates to one death every 40 seconds.

The WHO in 2012 also ranked the Philippines 150th out of 170 countries in terms of suicide rates.

The suicide rate in the country is 2.9 in a population of 100,000 – lower than the annual global-age standardized suicide rate of 11.4.

"I really want people to start talking about it more. I hope they get the message and develop the system better," said Daroy. – Rappler.com

Cielo Marie Esmeria is a Rappler intern.

What to expect at the #MMShakeDrill 2017


MANILA, Philippines – Are you ready to participate in this year's metro-wide earthquake drill?

From July 14 to 17, local government units, government agencies, and private companies in Metro Manila and nearby provinces will participate in the #MMShakeDrill. The drill is coordinated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). (READ: FAQs: What is the #MMShakeDrill 2017?)

On its 3rd year, the #MMShakeDrill aims to prepare the public for the so-called "Big One" – a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could occur when the West Valley Fault moves within our lifetime.

The drill will begin on Friday, July 14, at 4 pm. An earthquake alarm will signal the start of the drill.


Do you know what will happen in your area? Here's a quick rundown of activities in the metro:

North Quadrant

The North Quadrant's incident command post will be at the V Luna Medical Center. The North Quadrant is composed of Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, and San Juan City.

Quezon City

There will be 8 different scenarios that will take place in Quezon City:

  • Fire manipulation at the Quezon City Hall
  • Clearing operations around the Quezon Memorial Circle
  • Collapsed structures
  • Residential fire 
  • Managing evacuees and injured persons
  • High-angle rescue
  • Looting incidents
  • Hostage-taking

The main evacuation area will be at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Field hospitals and evacuation tents will be set up.

Schools, churches, and barangays are expected to join the drill.

Mandaluyong City

The main scenario will be held at the Mandaluyong City Hall.

The simulation includes fire manipulation and saving trapped victims from the building. Tents will be set up at the City Health Office which will also serve as the meeting point for evacuees.

San Juan City

The city government of San Juan will hold simulations at 4 pm on Sunday, July 16, at the San Juan National High School, San Juan City Hall, and Technological University of the Philippines-San Juan.

The main scenario will involve search and rescue operations inside a collapsed structure.

The designated evacuation center is along Pinaglabanan Street, beside the city hall.

East Quadrant

The East Quadrant's incident command post will be at the LRT 2 Santolan Depot. The East Quadrant is composed of Pasig City and Marikina City.

Pasig City

The Pasig City Command Center (C3) will conduct two simulations along F Ortigas Avenue to Emerald Avenue on Friday, July 14, at 3 pm and 4 pm.

At 3 pm, Pasig C3 will deploy its rescue task force to simulate facing potential terror threats.

At 4 pm, the earthquake drill begins. The local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office planned various scenarios such as managing chemical leaks; saving trapped bodies in collapsed buildings and vehicles; and dealing with fire.

Marikina City

The main scenario will be held at the Marikina City Hall complex.

Responders will focus on saving trapped victims in buildings and establishments on fire.

West Quadrant

The West Quadrant's incident command post will be in Intramuros. The West Quadrant is composed of Valenzuela City, Malabon City, Navotas City, Caloocan City, and the City of Manila.

Valenzuela City

The Valenzuela City government will be participating in the 4-day drill. On Friday, July 14, at 4 pm, 3 scenarios will happen around the city:

  • Barangay Bignay – collapsed structures
  • Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela – terror attack
  • Valenzuela Allied Local Emergency Response Teams (ALERT) Center – vehicle entrapment rescue and fire manipulation

The local DRRM office said every barangay has an open space identified as an evacuation area.

Malabon City

The Malabon City government will test their earthquake contingency plan by dividing the city's 21 barangays into 4 staging areas.

Evacuation will be timed in each staging area to see how fast residents will be able to evacuate.

Caloocan City

Caloocan City will practice what will happen should the La Mesa Dam overflow. 

The designated evacuation area will be at the University of the East-Caloocan.

South Quadrant

The South Quadrant's incident command post will be at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) at Camp Bagong Diwa. The South Quadrant is composed of Makati City, Pasay City, the municipality of Pateros, Parañaque City, Taguig City, Las Piñas City, and Muntinlupa City.

Makati City

Makati City's Emergency Operations Center will oversee barangay interaction during the drill. The goal is to see how barangays will act on their own should an earthquake strike.

Pasay City

Pasay City will participate on all 4 days of the drill.

Scenarios will be set up on Friday, July 14, while the business sector is expected to practice contingency plans from Saturday to Sunday, July 15 to 16. A culminating activity is set to happen on the last day of the drill.

The main evacuation area is at the Villamor Air Base. Assembly point for staff from Pasay City Hall, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology; and students and faculty from the City University of Pasay and Pasay City West High School is at FB Harrison.

Those coming from the Asian Institute of Maritime Studies can proceed to Cuneta Astrodome.

Parañaque City

This year, Parañaque City will test its communication system and coordination with local barangays.

Loyola Memorial Park, Manila Memorial Park, and the El Shaddai International House of Prayer at the Amvel City Ground are the designated evacuation areas for Parañaque residents.

A tsunami drill will also be held on Sunday, July 16.

Taguig City

In Taguig City, 12 barangays will participate during the drill. Each barangay will have its own scenarios and evacuation areas:

  • Heritage Park
  • Tanyag Street (for Barangay South Signal Village) 
  • In front of the barangay hall (for Barangay Upper Bicutan)
  • Maharlika Park (for Barangay Maharlika Village)
  • Adriano Homes (for Barangay South Daang Hari)
  • Polytechnic University of the Philippines (for Barangay Lower Bicutan)
  • Presidio (for Barangay Bagong Bayan) 
  • 8th Street corner Ipil-Ipil Street (for Barangay North Village) 
  • Ususan (for Barangay Central Signal Village)

Las Piñas City

Collapsed structures and vehicle crash incidents are the primary scenarios in Las Piñas City.

The city government will also monitor how business establishments will carry out their contingency plans.

Muntinlupa City

The Muntinlupa City government will simulate 3 scenarios – looting, clearing operations, and transporting victims across Laguna Lake.

Puregold in Alabang will orchestrate looting to test its security measures while clearing operations will happen in the barangays of Sucat, Alabang, and Tunasan.

Students from Bayanan Elementary School will be rescued and will be transported across Laguna Lake. All evacuees will converge at the Sunken Garden of Espeleta-Pantalan in Poblacion where evacuation camps will be established. – Rappler.com

Are you participating during the earthquake drill? Tweet us using the hashtag #MMShakeDrill!

LGUs, private companies participate in the 3rd #MMShakeDrill


JUST A DRILL. Responders simulate a fire scenario at the inside the Mandaluyong City Hall complex. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – At exactly 4:00 pm, the siren rang at different parts of Metro Manila, warning everyone that a strong earthquake just hit the capital region.

Residents and employees quickly performed the “duck, cover, and hold” exercise. Almost instantly, responders and firefighters headed to buildings gravely affected by the earthquake.

Fortunately, it was all part of the drill.

Coordinated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), different local government units, government agencies, and private companies in Metro Manila and nearby provinces participated on the first day of the #MMShakeDrill on Friday, July 14,

"Ang goal talaga namin dito sa metro-wide city drill ay mai-test ang responses ng local governemnt sa kamaynilaan, sa city or town-level hangang sa barangay. Ang ating hangarin ay ang mga pamilya at barangay ay kasali para makita kung gaano sila kahanda," Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum said in an intervew with Rappler. 

(The goal of the metro-wide city drill is to test the responses of the local government units in Manila, from the city, town, and barangay level. We want to involve families and barangays in the drill to see their level of preparedness) 

The drills, scheduled to happen from July 14 to 17, is considered timely given the country’s observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month in the month of July.

The scenarios performed by different LGUs for #MMShakeDrill aims to foster a culture of preparedness among residents of Metro Manila in anticipation of the movement of the West Valley Fault. 

The movement of the fault that is predicted to happen within our lifetime is expected to trigger a 7.2-magnitude earthquake. Studies estimate that the “Big One” is expected to kill at least 31,000 people and paralyze the nation’s economy.  (READ: What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?)

Here’s what happened on the first day of the metro-wide earthquake drill:

North Quadrant

The North Quadrant's incident command post was located at the Veterans Medical Center. The North Quadrant is composed of Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, and San Juan City.

#RESCUEPH. The simulation in Mandaluying City includes fire manipulation and saving trapped victims from the building. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

In Mandaluyong City, the simulation included firefighting and saving trapped victims from a building. Tents were set up at the City Health Office which served as the meeting point for evacuees.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Scenes from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> inside Mandaluyong City Hall complex | <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH">@MovePH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/UnEU4hXRjY">pic.twitter.com/UnEU4hXRjY</a></p>&mdash; Martin San Diego (@MartinSanDiego) <a href="https://twitter.com/MartinSanDiego/status/885780261383700480">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said that their response plans are patterned after the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study. He said that, while they can never predict what could arise in an earthquake scenario, he hopes that barangays and families learn enough from the drill to know what to do in case a real earthquake strikes. 

"Hindi lang kami nagte-training ng city employee, pati mga barangays and homeowner associations sa barangay level. We also have a plan for the vulnerable sectors like PWD and children," Bautista added. 

(We are not only training city employees. We also involve barangays and homeowner associations from the barangay level) 

All 142 barangays in Quezon City particpated in the metro-wide earthquake drill.  

East Quadrant

The East Quadrant's incident command post was located at the LRT 2 Santolan Depot. The East Quadrant is composed of Pasig City and Marikina City.

CHEMICAL LEAK. Rescuers respond to the gas leak earthquake drill scenario in Pasig City. Photo by Gari Acolola

The earthquake drill started an hour earlier in Pasig City. At 3 pm, the local DRRM office conducted a man-made scenario drill involving a terror attack at the Orient Square Hotel in Pasig City. This is the first time the local DRRM involved the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) and paramedics in an earthquake drill. 

Pasig City is known for their strong disaster risk reduction programs. In 2012, the city became a Hall of Famer in Gawad Kalasag – the premier national disaster management recognition program given by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) – as the Best Government Emergency Response Managers. A year later, they were named the Best City Disaster Council in the country by the same awarding body.

"Nagsimula kami halos sa wala. Ang ginawa namin every year, base sa mga exercise, kung saan kami nagkukulang. Katulad ngayon, may assessment kami. So dapat next year, taun-taon, may improvement. Hindi ka titigil... lahat ng anggulo at aspeto ng paghahanda ay dapat mong paghandaan," Pasig City DRRM chief Ritche Van Angeles said when asked about his tips for other local goverment units. 

(We started with almost nothing. What we did was, every year, based on our exercises, we determined our weaknesses. For example, this year, we have an assessment of our drill. Next year, every year, we should see improvement. The process of disaster preparedness is continuous. We should look at all aspects of disaster preparedness) 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EAST QUADRANT, PASIG: CHEMICAL LEAK follows after shooters fire their guns <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/DHeQx5nW9j">pic.twitter.com/DHeQx5nW9j</a></p>&mdash; Gari Acolola (@gariacolola) <a href="https://twitter.com/gariacolola/status/885756973555240961">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EAST QUADRANT, PASIG: Shooters continue to invade the Orient Square. Fires continue inside the building <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/jGvGp78sPs">pic.twitter.com/jGvGp78sPs</a></p>&mdash; Gari Acolola (@gariacolola) <a href="https://twitter.com/gariacolola/status/885762378842820609">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Right after the one-hour activity, the local DRRM office conducted a drill simulating the hazards in an event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. According to Angeles, all buildings in Pasig City were required to join the earthquake drill. 

The drill involved various scenarios such as managing chemical leaks; saving trapped bodies in collapsed buildings and vehicles; and dealing with fire.

In Marikina City, they simulated rescue operations after the "collapse" of the Marikina bridge. The LRT-2 Santolan Depot in Marikina City was also designated as one of the evacuation camps for the East Quadrant. 

Responders also headed to the LRT to apply first aid to affected civilians inside the public train.

West Quadrant

The West Quadrant's incident command post was located in Intramuros. The West Quadrant is composed of Valenzuela City, Malabon City, Navotas City, Caloocan City, and the City of Manila.

WEST QUADRANT. Employees evacuate the building during the earthquake drill. Photo by Bunsim San/Rappler

In Valenzuela City, the LGU tested its response in case an earthquake and terror attack hit the city simultaneously. During the drill, counter-terrorst soldiers responded to the scenario after a few minutes. 

According to VDRRMO officer-in-chief Arnaldo Antonio, half of the city's 600,000 total population can be accomodated by the open areas in the city.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Fire fighters extinguish the burning vehicle, ending the simulation. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://t.co/mPZxN2REHn">pic.twitter.com/mPZxN2REHn</a></p>&mdash; Timothy Gerard (@Timothist) <a href="https://twitter.com/Timothist/status/885774812085354497">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Awaiting rescuers and counter terrorist groups at the PLV campus. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://t.co/wLY7wQqcxh">pic.twitter.com/wLY7wQqcxh</a></p>&mdash; Timothy Gerard (@Timothist) <a href="https://twitter.com/Timothist/status/885763580397707264">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Antonio added that, for their disaster response plan, they capacitated communities to serve as responders. 

"Sa iba't ibang communities namin, nakipagugnayan kami sa mga homeowners association. Ito yung tinatawag na mga urban poor communities. Very densely populated..Sila yung tinrain namin from incident to response," Antonio added. 

(In our communities, we coordinated with different homeowners assocations. They are the urban poor communities – very densely populated. We trained them to respond to different incidents) 

In Malabon City, the local government divided their 21 barangays into 4 staging areas.  Meanwhile, in Caloocan City, their earthquake drill scenarios involved evacuation in case flood hits the city should should the La Mesa Dam overflow. 

Evacuees headed to the city's designated evacuation center at the University of the East-Caloocan. 

South Quadrant

The South Quadrant's incident command post was at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) at Camp Bagong Diwa. For this year's earthquake drill, MMDA also held its command center at the South Quadrant in Camp Bagong Diwa. 

At around 4 pm, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim arrived at Camp Bagong Diwa to head the command center and wait for immediate assessment from affected LGUs. 

The South Quadrant is composed of Makati City, Pasay City, the municipality of Pateros, Parañaque City, Taguig City, Las Piñas City, and Muntinlupa City.

In Muntinlupa City, the LGU simulated a fire incident caused by a damaged fuel pipeline along the National Road in front of PURE GOLD Agro Homes, in Brgy Putatan, Muntinlupa.

"Isa-simulate natin na dahil sa ground shaking nabutas yun...and then massive fire," Ronald Suitado, Training Division Head of MUNTINLUPA CDRRMO, said. 

There are two fuel pipelines, one 16 inches in diameter and another, 14 inches. The said scenario will test the response and resiliency of the PUREGOLD Disaster Repsonse Team or any private establishment in case a for incident happened due to damage fuel pipeline, Suitado said. 

In Parañaque City, the LGU tested its communication system and coordination with local barangays. It has designated Loyola Memorial Park, Manila Memorial Park, and the El Shaddai International House of Prayer at the Amvel City Ground as the evacuation areas for Parañaque residents.

Taguig City has tapped 12 barangays to participate in the drill while Las Piñas conducted rescue operations involving collapsed structures and vehicle crash incidents. – Rappler.com 

LIVE: Metro Manila Shake Drill 2017


MANILA, Philippines – Starting Friday, July 14, up to Monday, July 17, local government units, government agencies, and private companies in Metro Manila and nearby provinces will participate in the Manila Shake Drill 2017 dubbed #MMShakeDrill online. 

On its 3rd year, the #MMShakeDrill aims to prepare the public for the so-called "Big One" – a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could occur when the West Valley Fault moves within our lifetime. 

The drill will begin on today, Friday, at 4 pm. An earthquake alarm will signal the start of the drill. It is coordinated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). (READ: FAQs: What is the #MMShakeDrill 2017?)(READ: What to expect at the #MMShakeDrill 2017)

Watch Rappler's live coverage of the earthquake preparedness drill anchored by Voltaire Tupaz, editor of MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm.

MovePH executive director Rupert Ambil and Rappler social media head Stacy de Jesus will join the discussion together with Movers and disaster responders participating in the #MMShakeDrill. – Rappler.com




#MMShakeDrill trends, racks up over 3.8 billion impressions


MANILA, Philippines – The metro-wide earthquake drill conducted across Metro Manila broke its 2016 record by about 300 million impressions as the hashtag #MMShakeDrill trended online from start to end of the earthquake drill on Friday, July 14. 

The hashtag also topped the trending topics on Twitter nationwide while it ranked 6th worldwide. 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> trended #1 in PH and #6 worldwide! <a href="https://t.co/ympsVMMG6f">pic.twitter.com/ympsVMMG6f</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/885829549300170752">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>

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According to Rappler's social listening tool Reach, the hashtag #MMShakeDrill racked up over 3.8 billion impressions from 7 am to 7 pm on Twitter, indicating widespread engagement and interest in the disaster preparedness exercise. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Metro Manila observes 3rd #MMShakeDrill

On Twitter, "impressions" means "the times a user is served a Tweet in timeline or search results."

Screenshot from REACH

The hashtag also produced over 6,000 tweets from 2,395 Twitter users. Below is a visualization of the Twitter community talking about the #MMShakeDrill. Top Twitter users include Rappler, MovePH, MMDA, and other news organizations.

In 2016, the hashtag reached 3.5 billion impressions on the popular microblogging site while in 2015, the same hashtag reached over 2.1 billion impressions. 

Here are some of the top tweets using the hashtag:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">SHARE this if you will be a part of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> at 4pm TODAY! More details about the drill on <a href="https://t.co/2iFaeca82i">https://t.co/2iFaeca82i</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/MMDA">@MMDA</a> <a href="https://t.co/QRpqk7SEIJ">pic.twitter.com/QRpqk7SEIJ</a></p>&mdash; Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/885710503057661952">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">DOTr simulation scenarios for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> include staged victims and rescue operations <a href="https://t.co/W7KqZgiZHg">pic.twitter.com/W7KqZgiZHg</a></p>&mdash; DOTr (@DOTr_PH) <a href="https://twitter.com/DOTr_PH/status/885777719660732416">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Scenes from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> inside Mandaluyong City Hall complex | <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH">@MovePH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/UnEU4hXRjY">pic.twitter.com/UnEU4hXRjY</a></p>&mdash; Martin San Diego (@MartinSanDiego) <a href="https://twitter.com/MartinSanDiego/status/885780261383700480">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EAST QUADRANT, PASIG: <a href="https://twitter.com/philredcross">@philredcross</a> ready to respond <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/HYwIJyzyKY">pic.twitter.com/HYwIJyzyKY</a></p>&mdash; Gari Acolola (@gariacolola) <a href="https://twitter.com/gariacolola/status/885792386680410116">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Adamson University is joining the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/CJPZ9Muakt">pic.twitter.com/CJPZ9Muakt</a></p>&mdash; Raymond Bandril (@Tarsiote) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tarsiote/status/885772050228314112">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rescue operation by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Philippine?src=hash">#Philippine</a> red cross here at Quezon memorial circle zipline<a href="https://twitter.com/Jennyfe05257074">@Jennyfe05257074</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/L3amor">@L3amor</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MMDA">@MMDA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <a href="https://t.co/TifHhl8lSx">pic.twitter.com/TifHhl8lSx</a></p>&mdash; Jennyfer (@Jennyfe05257074) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jennyfe05257074/status/885786357280366592">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">THIS IS A DRILL.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetranShakeDrill?src=hash">#LetranShakeDrill</a> later at 4PM.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> <br>Read: <a href="https://t.co/jEsiZhJMSv">https://t.co/jEsiZhJMSv</a> <a href="https://t.co/YblnaSLZEc">pic.twitter.com/YblnaSLZEc</a></p>&mdash; LETRAN MANILA (@LetranOfficial) <a href="https://twitter.com/LetranOfficial/status/885665228419022848">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The more people educate themselves on disaster response, the closer we get to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ZeroCasualty?src=hash">#ZeroCasualty</a>. The Filipino spirit is bigger than The Big One.</p>&mdash; Judith Naranjilla (@justjubbit) <a href="https://twitter.com/justjubbit/status/883537145071190017">July 8, 2017</a></blockquote>
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After this year's #MMShakeDrill, do you consider yourself more prepared for a possible 7.2 magnitude earthquake? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section or write about it on X. – Rappler.com

IN PHOTOS: Metro Manila LGUs conduct 3rd #MMShakeDrill


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Local government units, private companies, and individuals participated in the annual #MMShakeDrill on Friday, July 14. 

Metro Manila residents performed the “duck, cover, and hold” as soon as the siren rang at 4 pm. Government officials, firefighters, rescuers, soldiers, and police also responded to the different earthquake scenarios across Metro Manila for the third #MMShakeDrill. 

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) kept its command post at Camp Bagong Diwa in Pasay City. A few minutes after the siren rang, MDMA Chairman Danilo Lim arrived at the headquarters to conduct an initial assessment of the damage across Metro Manila. 

HEADQUARTERS. MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim assesses the situation with affected LGUs. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

MMSHAKEDRILL. The incident command post for the third #MMShakeDrill is located at the South Quadrant. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

 VICTIM. The Pasay City government simulates disaster and response drill during the #MMShakeDrill on July 14, 2017. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

PRACTICE. The Pasay City government simulates disaster and response drill during the #MMShakeDrill on July 14, 2017. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler


In Pasig City, the earthquake drill started an hour earlier than the rest of the local government units. They included a terror attack scenario in their activities for the first time. 

MMSHAKEDRILL. LUF60 unmanned fire fighting machine being used during the #MMShakeDrill in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

TERROR ATTACK. The leader of the terrorist group who attacked during the #MMShakeDrill in Pasig City. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

RESPONSE. Firefighters help assess the situation during the #MMShakeDrill. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

In Mandaluyong City, the simulation included firefighting and saving trapped victims from a building. Tents were set up at the City Health Office which served as the meeting point for evacuees.

SCENARIO. Firefighters respond to a fire scenario at the Mandaluyong Legislative Building. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

JUST A DRILL. Responders simulate a fire scenario inside the Mandaluyong Legislative Building. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

SCENARIO. In Mandaluyong City, responders perform a high-angle rescue during the third #MMShakeDrill. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

In Valenzuela City, the local government unit simulated a terror attack. In the scenario, some students were taken hostage by a group of terrorists. Responding to the scene, the local SWAT team arrived and rescued the hostages. A few were wounded but some, however, were declared dead.

TERROR ATTACK. In Valenzuela City, the LGU tests its response in case an earthquake and terror attack hit the city simultaneously. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler


RESCUE. In this photo, students take cover as 'terrorists' attack the building. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler
QUICK RESPONSE. Firefighters extinguish vehicle fire. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

In Quezon City, all 142 barangays participated in the earthquake drill. According to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, while they can never predict what could arise in an earthquake scenario, he hopes that barangays and families learn enough from the drill to know what to do in case a real earthquake strikes.

NORTH QUADRANT. Rescuers carry a victim on a stretcher out of the Quezon City Hall Building during the 3rd Metro Manila Shake Drill on Friday. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

QUEZON CITY. Employees evacuate the building for the annual #MMShakeDrill. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

FIRE SIMULATION. Quezon City Hall during the 3rd #MMShakeDrill. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

'CASUALTIES.' Medics attend to 'earthquake victims'. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Did you participate in the annual #MMShakeDrill? Share your experience on X! – Rappler.com 

What features in your car keep you safe on the road?


BUCKLE UP. Aside from the seatbelts, do you know the other safety features in your car? Woman buckling up image from Shutterstock  

MANILA, Philippines – Seatbelt, brakes, lights, mirrors. We check our cars over and over, hoping to never be caught in one of the thousands of vehicular crashes that happen every month. But the fast-paced, technologically advanced lifestyle we now live brings a multitude of distractions, from phones constantly buzzing to radios blasting songs that break our concentration.

With Metro Manila recording more than 109,000 road crashes just last year, plus a traffic situation ranked among the worst in the world, it’s no surprise the Philippines is deemed one of the worst countries for drivers. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)

But thankfully, technology too offers futuristic solutions which can prevent road crashes. Today’s modern cars have a host of safety features to ensure that all road users – from the driver, to the passenger, to pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road – remain safe.

Here are just some of the safety features that you can find in modern vehicles.

Adaptive Cruise Control

The adaptive cruise control feature is ideal for moderate to heavy traffic situations as it uses radars and cameras to maintain a safe following distance. It does so by adjusting the vehicle’s speed according to speed and distances of vehicles ahead.  


Front and side airbags inflate upon impact or collisions to prevent passengers from hitting the windows, the dashboard, or the steering wheel.  But it’s important to note that injuries may also result from the deployment of airbags.

BACKUP CAMERAS. Backup cameras, like this one on the navigation screen of a Lexus IS 250, allow drivers to view objects in their path while reversing. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Backup Cameras and Sensors

Backup cameras and sensors alert drivers and allow them to view objects or persons in their path while reversing. Usually, these cameras come with trajectory lines or distance and proximity readings. Though many old models of vehicles don’t come with this feature, one can easily purchase and install backup cameras or sensors.

Antilock Brake System (ABS)

The Antilock brake system prevents wheels from locking up and tires from skidding or sliding, thus allowing drivers to be more in control of steering. 

Attention Detection

The dragging Manila traffic can cause anyone to be drowsy on the road.  The attention detection system uses sensors to study one’s driving patterns, then sounds an alert when it detects erratic driving, such as sudden deceleration or changing of lanes.

Automotive Emergency Braking or Forward Collision Warning

As the name suggests, forward collision warnings notify drivers when a crash is imminent.  If the driver does not take action, the car itself makes use of its maximum braking capacity. This type of safety feature also takes into consideration the speed of the car before the potential crash.

Blind-Spot Monitoring

Blind-spot monitors make use of warning lights mounted to side mirrors. Using radars or cameras, they detect objects that are located at the driver’s blind spot, and alert the driver if it is unsafe to shift lanes or if there is an imminent collision.

FOR PROTECTION. Headrests limit the movement of the head to protect from whiplash in the event of a crash. Photo from BrendelSignature on Wikipedia

Head Restraints

Head restraints are installed and fitted in the front and rear seats of cars. They are made to protect one’s neck from injuries by improving head rest position and preventing whiplash during a crash.

Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA)

Intelligent Speed Assist notifies drivers when they exceed the speed limit of a certain area. By increasing the pressure on the car’s accelerator, more advanced ISA systems actually prevent drivers from going faster when they exceed the speed limit.

Lane-keeping Assist

Lane departure warnings can detect when a driver drifts off the road or changes lanes unintentionally. Some lane support systems not only give audible signals, but also automatically steer cars back into the lane.

Though many of these features either come only with the latest vehicle models, or may be purchased separately, the idea stays the same – responsibility equates to road safety.  Knowing and understanding how your car works saves time, costs, and lives. – Rappler.com

Gari Acolola is a Rappler intern

Muntinlupa #MMShakeDrill tests community and private sector response


FIRE MANIPULATION. Bureau of Fire Protection backs up the Puregold Disaster Response Team in putting off a simulated fire from a fuel pipeline. Photo by Alexa Yadao/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – In Muntinlupa, community preparedness is seen as key to surviving a mega-earthquake.

The Muntinlupa city government implemented its earthquake contingency plan during the 3rd Metro Manila Shake Drill or the #MMShakeDrill. (HIGHLIGHTS: Metro Manila Shake Drill 2017)

Part of this year's drill is the emphasis on the private sector's and the communities' response plans. (IN PHOTOS: Metro Manila LGUs conduct 3rd #MMShakeDrill)


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MUNTINLUPA - Drop Cover and Hold simulation will start at 4pm in Muntinlupa City Hall with officials and employees <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MMShakeDrill?src=hash">#MMShakeDrill</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/amyadao">@amyadao</a></p>&mdash; Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/885768731460161540">July 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Ronald Suitado, Muntinlupa City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office training division chief, stressed the importance of swift and coordinated community response in the event of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the metro.

"[The DRRM office] is not the highlight here. We are just in the background," Suitado said in a mix of English and Filipino. "We should always assume that the disaster [management] office or the local [government] will not be able to respond immediately [after an earthquake]," he added.

Each barangay executed differing scenarios including managing evacuees and fire manipulation during the first two days of the #MMShakeDrill. (READ: What to expect at the 2017 #MMShakeDrill)

Meanwhile, the city government's simulation included burning fuel pipelines along Barangay Putatan and ferrying Bayanan Elementary School students across Laguna Lake.

Private sector response plan

During the first two days of the drill, the local disaster management office set ablaze an improvised fuel pipeline across Agro Homes in Barangay Putatan.

Disaster management officials said that there are two embedded fuel pipelines in the city owned by the First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC) which may be damaged due to ground shaking. The pipeline runs from Batangas all the way to the Pandacan oil depot.

According to Engineer Edward Arciaga, chief of the Operations and Warning Division of the DRRM office, the FPIC assured them that the fuel pipelines can withstand the earthquake. Still, the local DRRM office included it in its contingency plan under a worst case scenario.

Arciaga told Rappler that fire broke out in the area in the 1990s when a road constructionsdamaged the piepeline. "We are conducting studies [in the area]," he said.

"The main actors of the drill should be the community and the private sector, as ordered by the (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority). That's why we wanted to test the response and resiliency of the grocery store Puregold. The (Bureau of Fire Protection) is there but only in the background," added Suitado.

Apart from a possible fire, looting of a grocery store was also simulated to test the establishment's response. (READ: Businesses should have continuity plans for disasters – MMDA, OCD)

Laguna de Bay as 'highway'

Scientists predict that bridges and roads will be impassable should the "Big One" happen.

In this case, the Muntinlupa City government is considering Laguna de Bay as a "highway" in transferring evacuees to the nearest evacuation site in Barangay Poblacion.

On the second day of the drill, Bayanan Elementary School students were transferred across the lake using motorized rescue boats.

Barangay Bayan, where the school is located, is one of the 8 liquefaction-prone areas in the city. The school is also considered as a "critical spot" according to disaster management officials. (READ: Fault-finders, storm-chasers: Hazard mapping in the PH)

"We will be using the Laguna Lake as a 'highway,' assuming that road networks become impassable to vehicles (because of collapsed structures and light posts)," said Suitado.

The 3rd #MMShakeDrill runs from July 14 to 17. It aims to spread awareness and prepare the public in the event of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within our lifetime(READ: How vulnerable is Manila to earthquakes?)

Local government units, private companies, and individuals participated in the different simulations when the #MMShakeDrill kicked off at 4 pm on Friday.

The drill racked up over 3.8 billion impressions on social media, breaking its 2016 record by about 300 million impressions. – Rappler.com

Alexa Yadao is a Rappler intern

MSU Marawi students graduate away from home


HISTORIC. There are at least 2,000 graduates of the Mindanao State Univeristy - Main Campus for 2017. Photo courtesy of Junaina Sharief

MANILA, Philippines – The all-too familiar graduation march blared from the speakers. Students donned their togas. However, the subtle hint of sadness on the faces of the graduates were too evident not to ignore.

Caught up in an unexpected clash between government troops and the combined forces of the Maute group and the Abu Sayaff group, this year's graduates from the Mindanao State University-Main Campus were forced to celebrate the end of their college life away from the place they consider their second home. 

Around 2,000 graduates of MSU's Main Campus marched to receive their diplomas on Thursday, July 13, at the Marawi State University - Iligan Insitute of Technology auditorium.

They are known in the university as the Pagsidan batch, which means "Bringer of Hope" in English. (WATCH: Soldier composes song for conflict-torn Marawi


One of the graduates is Junaina Sharief, a 20-year student who finished her course BS in Public Administration.

For Sharief, the only woman finalist of a coveted university leadership award, their graduation is historic yet bittersweet.

She reminisced the good memories she had while studying in MSU - Main Campus in Marawi City like the first time she walked its halls and where she met a lot of friends.

“Sobrang nakakalungkot, pero wala naman kaming magagawa. Alam naming safe ‘yung school pero dahil sinabi ng militar na hindi safe na gawin dun ‘yung graduation rites, wala kaming magagawa,” she said.

(It’s sad because we cannot do anything. We know that our school is already safe but the military has the authority)

Despite claims of university President Dr. Habib Macaayong that the Marawi campus is safe, for security reasons and due to the clamor from the parents of the students, the school administration decided to hold this year's commencement exercises in Iligan City.

In the university’s 52-year history of holding graduation rites, this is the first time that they conducted the graduation ceremony elsewehere outside their campus.  

The pre-commencement exercises were divided into two groups, one held in MSU-IIT and the other in La Salle Academy, converging at the commencement proper at MSU-IIT in the afternoon.

No permanent address

Graduation gave Sharief a mixed feeling of celebration and struggle. For more than a month, Sharief and her family had been transferring from one temporary home to another. 

“I may not be staying in an evacuation center, but like many of us, I still have no permanent address due to the ongoing clash,” she said

After learning about the clash, Sharief and her family stayed with relatives in a town in Lanao Del Sur, far away from the conflict. But eventually, as the fighting moved from one barangay to another, the family moved back to Marawi City.

GRADUATE. Junaina Sharief (middle) is one of the 2,000 graduates of MSU Marawi City who marched to get their diplomas at MSU-IIT on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Photo courtesy of Junaina Sharief

They haven't really settled back. According to the recent graduate, they are still ready to evacuate when the situation calls for it. Sharief shared that they would still hear bombs explode in nearby areas. From time to time, they would also hear the rattling of bullets piercing through the walls of nearby houses, from dusk to dawn.

Masaklap pero ‘yun ang katotohanan. Hindi naman sa nasanay na kami pero dahil wala na kaming magawa," she added. 

(The whole event is tragic but it’s the truth. It is not that we are already used to it. But we have no choice)

The crisis in Marawi City entered its 55th day on Sunday, July 12. As of Friday, July 14, there have been 111,764 families, or 514,312 people, displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi City. The displaced families come from all 96 barangays of Marawi and from 20 other neighboring municipalities of Lanao del Sur.  

Bringer of hope 

A youth leader back in her hometown, Sharief said that she is optimistic her fellow graduates would do their fair share in rebuilding their hometown once the war stops. 

I don’t believe na because of what’s happening eh iiwan ko na ang bayan ko. Makakaya namin ito, we will rise. Siguro hindi pa ngayon pero babangon at babangon kami," she said. 

(I don't believe that I can leave my hometown just because of the ongoing clash. We can surpass this challenge and we will rise together – maybe not now but a time will come for that)

With their right fists raised up in the air, the graduates sang their school hymn during the graduation ceremony. 

"Ating ipagkapuri itong pamantasan. Buhay at pag-ibig skanya'y iaalay. Saan man naroon, bigyang karangalan," the graduates sang. 

(Let us praise our university. Let us offer our life and love. Wherever we are, let us bring honor to our university) 

For Sharief and the graduates of MSU-Main, the song took a whole new meaning as they pledge to stay true to their batch's name – Pagsidan– and help bring back hope to their crisis-hit city– with reports from Clyde Villanueva/Rappler.com

Clyde Villanueva is a Rappler intern 

#MMShakeDrill: What to do during a terror attack


RESPONDING TO TERROR. Three LGUs from Metro Manila take a different approach during the #MMShakeDrill to monitor the speed of the response to potential terror threats and hostage-taking incidents. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — It was more than an earthquake drill.

After the Resorts World Manila attack that led to questions on how the country can mitigate terror threats, various local government units in Metro Manila on Friday, July 14, upped the level of their emergency scenarios for the 3rd metro-wide earthquake drill – dubbed online as #MMShakeDrill – adding a terrorism scenario to their emergency response drills.

On social media, the earthquake drill conducted across Metro Manila broke its 2016 record by about 300 million impressions as the hashtag #MMShakeDrill trended online from start to finish. 

Coordinated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), all local government units and various private companies in Metro Manila conducted their own earthquake drill scenarios based on the hazards indicated in the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS).

Local government units 

Similar counter-terrorism exercises were held in Quezon City, Valenzuela City, and Pasig City on Friday. 

In Valenzuela City, the scene went like this: after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Metro Manila, terrorist groups infiltrated the vulnerable areas.

This happened a few minutes after students from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) evacuated from the campus. Those left behind became hostages.

SCENARIO. In Valenzuela City, students pretend to be taken hostage by a terrorist. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Unlike the rest of Metro Manila, Pasig City began its #MMShakeDrill with a complex multi-hazard scenario. At exactly 3 pm, 5 "gunmen" attacked the Orient Square Building along Emerald Avenue. As they entered, the terrorists placed "bombs" and set "fires" all over the building.  

The Pasig City government introduced the Rescue Task Force (RTF) as the prime emergency response unit when it comes to manmade disasters such as a terrorist attack.

Patterned after response units in the United States, the RTF is a combination of a SWAT assault team tasked to neutralize threats and paramedics who rescue civilians.

The terror drill was followed by scenarios for the earthquake drill. 

Meanwhile in Quezon City, the local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office conducted a scenario involving a hostage-taking crisis at the Quezon Memorial Circle. The police subdued the suspect after calming him down as he threatened to kill the hostage at knifepoint.

These 3 scenarios considered the possibility of terrorists taking advantage of the vulnerability of the citizens and the local government units amid disasters.

What to do 

Pasig Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chief Ritchie Angeles reminded the public that during emergency situations, civilians should:

  • Not pass by areas which have been cordoned off.
  • Cover their mouths and close windows of their vehicles when a chemical leak is involved in the aftermath of attacks.
  • Stay 100 meters away from the leak to remain unaffected by the gas.
  • Avoid any encounters with terrorists.
  • Wait for the arrival of rescuers.

'HOSTAGE'. A cop pretends to negotiate during a mock hostage-taking in Pasig City during the #MMShakeDrill. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Superintendent Pedro Sanches, commander of the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) Kamuning station, also stressed the importance of calling law enforcement authorities immediately. He said the public should move away from these scenarios for their safety.

"Doon kayo sa safe area. Kasi mamaya, kung baril ang hawak [ng suspek], kayo din ang madadamay," he said. (Stay in a safe area. If the suspect is holding a gun, you might also get hurt.)

While most operations were satisfactory, Pasig City police chief Senior Superintendent Orlando Yebra admitted that the 15-minute timeframe it took for the authorities to arrive needs improvement. 

According to MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, they were able to establish communication with all 4 quadrants of Metro Manila within 30 minutes. This record was the fastest since the #MMShakeDrill's inception. – Rappler.com

 Gari Acolola, Ishka Maranan, and Timothy Palugod are all Rappler interns.

#ThinkPH 2017: To succeed in digital, be in 'permanent beta'


MANILA, Philippines – Can you still imagine surviving without smartphones, artificial intelligence (AI), or algorithms that suggest best buys, routes, or matches for you?

It's becoming unthinkable to live without technology, as it continues to evolve and become embedded deeply into our lives.

At #ThinkPH 2017 held last Saturday, July 15, at the SMX Convention Center, a powerhouse roster of digital experts discussed how constant innovation is now a protocal in every industry – from human resources, to advertising, to even building your own personal brand.

All agreed that in order to succeed, we must adapt fast – without forgetting core principles that make us human. (READ: #ThinkPH 2017: Humanizing stories through digital and big data)

Connecting to opportunities

Forget walk-ins, printouts, and cold calls: Forging professional connections and stepping up in your career is now as easy as uploading your résumé in a professional media platform such as LinkedIn.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Frank Koo, Head of LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions business for Southeast Asia, said that LinkedIn now has 500 million members worldwide ranging from pre-professionals (students) to professionals and managers to decision makers. The platform has evolved from being a mere digital resume builder: users can easily connect with one another, stay up-to-date with important industry news and updates from their connections, and advance their career by reviewing jobs that match their skills.

Everyone must “take advantage of technology to build a strong network,” said Koo, as technology “allows us to scale our influence on a much broader basis” and opens doors to a wealth of opportunities.

He also stressed the importance of being on “permanent beta” – or being constantly in pursuit of all-around self-development. One doesn’t have to be fully ready when opportunities arrive. It's more important to be always ready and willing to take the leap as it can help develop one’s skills, resilience, and tenacity, and grit.

Technology for people, by people

Technological advancements don’t happen by themselves, of course. It's humans, not machines, who will continue to invent, create, and ask, "why not?"

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

What innovations should humans be most excited about? JP Palpallatoc, Accenture Digital Lead in the Philippines, shared 5 key trends from Accenture's 2017 Tech Vision report: AI is the new UI (user interface), ecosystem power plays, workforce marketplace, designing for humans, and the uncharted. He cited different companies and innovations such as Amazon’s Alexa, Spotify, Lazada, Pawn Hero, and 2GO to illustrate each trend clearly. (WATCH: Innovation and tech trends for local industries)

“In 2017, people are actually taking control of technology. Now, the question is, what will shape our future? We believe that the future will be shaped by people. Technology by people, for people,” he said.

Creating content that matters

In a country where people spend almost 9 hours on social media daily, great content matters – not just for brands, but for individual storytellers, too.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

According to Jonathan Yabut, Managing Director of JY Consultancy and Ventures: “Content that matters should not stop [at] consuming it alone. Content that matters in today’s world is content wherein you took the extra time to even post and share it… because you thought someone else will benefit from learning something out of it.”

He proceeded to share his top 3 tips on making shareable and relevant content that can go viral. First, work with the algorithm and post your content strategically and at the right time.

Second, be single-minded with your message. Yabut said that effective content sticks to one thing for a long time and does not overwhelm the audience with too many promises.

And third, answer “why” people should buy whatever you are selling. “Humanity is always stuck to the value of knowing why. What is the rationale behind you doing this?

And I will forgive you as long as you tell me why you do it.” he said.

Using social media responsibly

It's not uncommon to feel fatigue from consuming too much social media, too. In a sea of selfies, rants, and humble brags, there are ways to make our posts more meaningful for our network.

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Bianca Gonzalez, one of the country’s most popular digital influencers, dished out five ways to do this: be mindful of what you share, share insightful and thought-provoking stories, don't post for the sake of likes, keep your feelings in check, and always remember that real life will always be more important than one’s social media life. (READ: #ThinkPH: 5 ways to make your social media use matter)

“We are not the sum total of the likes, comments, and shares that we get…You are the sum total of every person that you meet and interact with, of every learning, every victory, every failure, every endeavor, and every single effect you’ve had on others,” she reminded the audience.

‘Data don’t lie’

Even established brands like Jollibee are pivoting and exploring digital tools to stay relevant for a new generation of consumers.

“Data don’t lie; people do. It’s how we spin the story that data becomes the story you want to have,” said Carlson Choi, Jollibee’s Chief Digital Officer.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

From the Jollibee Foods Corporation's digital headquarters in New York, Choi leads a team to develop ideas that are both rooted to the human experience but are also perfect for the digital sphere.

Choi shared three examples of how Jollibee does this: the famous Kwentong Jollibee video series that took social media by storm, omnichannel delivery through burgerkingdelivery.com.ph, and the new “digital playgrounds” which can help create lasting memories for future generations in Jollibee stores.

In closing his talk, he emphasized that putting the customer in the center, both in digital and traditional, will result to better, broader reach.

‘Disruption is the new normal’

Ed Mapa, identifying himself as a “digital immigrant,” brought in a wealth of experience from doing both traditional and digital advertising to cap off #ThinkPH 2017.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

“Disruption is the new norm,” he proclaimed.

Mapa, who is a founding partner of Internet and Mobile Marketing Association Philippines (IMMAP), said that digital transformation is the “crux of our times” – legacy businesses have been trying to transform, while companies born in the digital era makes sure to be ahead of the curve.

He also emphasized the importance of culture in digital transformation as it is “the sum of all values, the norms, and behavior of your organization.”

“That culture can be helpful for you today, but at the same time it can even inhibit you,” he said.

Mapa then shared what he called three “culture triggers” or “ripples” that, depending on how organizations manage them, can either help them move forward or create a wave of problems for them. First, clarity on the kind of culture you want your company or organization to embrace; second, continuity of said culture; and lastly, customer obsession and immersive experience.

The day-long digital summit gathered industry experts to discuss how technology is changing humanity and what we should do to keep up. Read more stories here. – Rappler.com

Marawi women's tale: We want to go home, but our homes are destroyed


EVACUEES. Candida with her youngest Faisal while he was undergoing treatment for diarrhea at Saguiaran RHU. All photos  by H. Anicete/ICRC

MANILA, Philippines – Candida Macasindil was with her youngest child, 8-month-old Faisal, in the public market when the fighting began between government forces and the Maute group on May 23. Everyone started running in different directions.

Clutching her baby, she ran along with the crowd and tried to hail every vehicle that passed by, but nobody stopped for them.  

“I kept on running amid the sound of gunshots. I tried to cover Faisal with my own body as I ran, because I was worried he might get hit. I ran toward the terminal going to Saguiaran,” the 34-year-old mother said.

She then ran home to Raya Madaya, where her 4 other kids were, and stayed for a day, thinking that the fighting would end soon. “We were all scared. We were all covering our ears.”

The following day, the clashes continued, so they rode a jeepney out of the city. They did not pack enough belongings.

“I didn’t know where else we could go. I wanted to go back to our home, but we no longer had a home to return to. I was concerned about my children. With our situation now, I don’t know what kind of future awaits them,” she said.

Candida is 3 months pregnant with her 6th child.

Maida Amintao, a resident of Barrio Paypay in Marawi, also ran toward home when the fighting began. She spent the night there, but when she saw some houses burning down, she left the next day for her cousin’s home in Barangay Tolali.

“We didn’t know where else to go. When we got there, we realized how close it was to the fighting, because we could clearly hear the gunshots, the bombs, and the planes flying above us. Since we were too afraid to go out of the house, we stayed inside. I thought we would all die there,” recalled the 21-year-old mother of three.

“The kids are still too young, and they had no idea what was happening. I was scared that they might get hit by stray bullets, so I just kept them as close to me as possible,” she said.

Maida and her family were stranded in her cousin’s house for 9 days. There were 25 of them, including some relatives and neighbors. They only had rice and bananas to eat, having brought barely anything else with them.

On their 10th day, a group of soldiers found them. “We heard them outside calling out for civilians. I felt relieved that there was a chance for us to escape. When they saw us, they gave us food for the children. The rescue team eventually arrived to get us out,” she said.

MOTHER. Maida with two of her three young children at the provincial capitol.

After escaping the hostilities in Marawi, both women and their families sought shelter in evacuation centers. Maida’s family stays at the provincial capitol in Marawi, while Candida’s family is at the Saguiaran evacuation center just outside the city.

In Saguiaran, Candida’s family stays near a canal by the open basketball court, where a tarpaulin serves as a “wall.” Water seeps in whenever it rains heavily.

“When we arrived here, we slept on the floor with nothing else but a thin blanket. Good thing that we now have a decent sleeping mat. It protects us from the cold floor,” she said.

But the difficult living conditions in Saguiaran, where hundreds of displaced families stay, must have taken a toll on young Faisal, who started suffering from diarrhea and vomiting.

On June 25, when the baby started looking pale, Candida rushed him to the Saguiaran rural health unit. He was hooked to intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and was given antibiotics for his infection.

According to the health workers in Saguiaran, the most common cases afflicting displaced people are upper respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, and diarrhea.

“It’s good that the health center was just nearby. He could have died of dehydration. The nearest hospital here is in Iligan, and to go there needs transportation. We don’t have money. We rely on the relief items given to us here,” Candida said.

Faisal is breastfed, but since his mother is able to eat only one meal a day, she is not sure how much nutrition he gets from her milk.

“The doctor’s advice is that I should eat healthy, especially because I am pregnant. As much as I want to, I’m not sure how I can afford that,” she said.

RELIEF AID. Families at the evacuation center receive a daily ration of food from authorities while other organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) help them with drinking water, sleeping mats, and blankets.

“It gets really cold at night, and we didn’t have anything to cover the children with before. We simply wrapped them in our arms. They get to sleep more comfortably now with the sleeping mats and blankets,” she said.  

The provincial capitol was initially identified as a safe zone. However, the changing security situation poses risks for evacuees who continue to stay in the complex.

“If given the chance, we want to move somewhere safer. We’re okay here, but we can still hear the fighting around us, and that scares me. We want to move out, but we don’t know where else we could go, so we just stick around here like the others,” said Maida.

Candida’s husband Omar used to drive a tricycle for a living, while she looked after a variety store in front of their home.

But because of the fighting in Marawi, their house has been burned down. They no longer have any possessions except for a few clothes. They have spent the little savings they had. (READ: MSU Marawi students graduate away from home)

“We never thought it would last this long. I’ve lived in Marawi all my life, and this is the first time I’ve ever experienced displacement. It is not a good experience at all, and I feel sorry for my children that they have to go through this,” Candida said.

Maida shared the same apprehensions. She said she has not thought of what they could do for a living once the fighting ends, and when there is no longer assistance for displaced families like hers. (READ: Marawi: Images from a ghost town)

“We have no source of income. My husband and I sell cooked food for a living, and everything we had was left at home. We’ve been told that our house was already destroyed. I’d like to check if that’s true, but we can’t because it’s too dangerous to go back.” – Rappler.com 

Heidi Anicete is the head of communication of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines. The ICRC, a neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian organization, has been assisting people affected by the fighting in Marawi City since the start of the clashes. The ICRC has provided medical support to 14 local health facilities to help them cope with the influx of displaced people. It has also distributed, together with the Philippine Red Cross, relief items to more than 40,000 displaced people – with some in hard-to-reach areas.


Rappler Talk: NAPC chief on Duterte administration's anti-poverty priorities


Bookmark this page to watch live at 3:30 pm on Monday, July 17

MANILA, Philippines – The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) launched its flagship anti-poverty reduction agenda on Sunday, July 16.

In a community forum in Tondo, Manila, NAPC and the Duterte administration's Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster (HDPRCC) highlighted their priorities dubbed "Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan" or #KilosSAMBAYANAN.

What are these basic needs of the poor which the Duterte administration identified a few days before the President's second State of the Nation Address?

How does NAPC seek to help address these needs of at least 20 million Filipinos still mired in poverty?

Secretary Liza Maza, who convenes NAPC, talks to MovePH's Voltaire Tupaz on Monday, July 17, at 3:30 pm. Join the discussion on Facebook or on Twitter using the hashtag #KilosSAMBAYANAN. – Rappler.com

Filipino students in Australia to form nationwide alliance


 PHILIPPINE PRIDE. Filipino student participants pose for a photo with Ambassador Minda Cruz (lowest, 3rd from left), Philippine Honorary Consul of Victoria Felix Pintado (lowest, 2nd from L), and Minister and Consul General Nina Cainglet (lowest, 1st from L). Photo courtesy of FASTCO.

MELBOURNE, Australia – For the first time in the history of Filipinos in Australia, the creation of a nationwide student alliance comes closer to reality as student leaders from different states came together on Saturday, July 15, at the First Filipino Australian Student Leaders summit.

The event, hosted by the Filipino Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO) in the University of Melbourne, drew participants from as far as Sydney and Brisbane to discuss the challenges and needs in forming an alliance of the current state and university Filipino student organizations. 

Philippine Ambassador to Australia Minda Cruz called the event a “dream unfolding” since creating a nationwide student alliance has been something she had envisioned when she took the helm of the embassy in January 2016.

“As scholars here in Australia, what do you want to do? Just do your schooling? Just be alone? Or do you want to further professional development and do things that might change lives of people?” Cruz, who served as Philippine Ambassador to Singapore prior to Australia, challenged the participants. 

She added: “Being a student is great because you can think about so many things yet not worry about other social issues as you carry through with it. But I think going beyond that is great because it also contributes to your development.”

As of June 2014, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection reports that Filipinos are the fifth largest migrant community in Australia with 225,110 people. From 2014 to 2015, the same agency issued 5,991 international student visas to Filipino students studying in the country’s universities.

DREAM UNFOLDING. FASTCO President Mike Malcisi gives a token of appreciation to Philippine Ambassador Minda Cruz during the First Filipino Australian Student Leaders summit at the University of Melbourne. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

An alliance for students

According to Mike Malicsi, outgoing FASTCO president, most Filipino students have to deal with cultural adjustment as well as homesickness when they arrive in Australia. This is why an alliance that would look out for Filipino students’ welfare across the country is important.

“The student community here in Australia already has a vast potential but it hasn’t really gotten the chance and opportunity to be a solid voice and a unified body. We believe that the alliance will pave the way for that particular potential,” Malicsi, a finishing graduate student at Monash University, told Rappler.

There are currently independent Filipino organizations in key Australian states the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. Cruz noted that some students tried creating a national alliance in the past but it never came to fruition.

FASTCO itself is a fairly new organization created in 2012 by scholars in Victoria. The organization, which spearheaded the creation of the alliance, currently supports and unifies Filipino student groups in different universities across the state. 

“This summit intended to break barriers and to unite and gather people together from across Australia. It’s never been done before. Today intended to open dialogue among student leaders across all states in Australia so we can come together, hopefully in the future, as a unified solid and single organization of student,” Malicsi added. 

Challenges to the alliance

The challenges to creating a nationwide alliance were highlighted during the summit as student leaders discussed the key features of such an organization.

One of the biggest hurdles was the mobility of Filipino students since most state organizations are run by graduate students who are only in the country for one to two years. This built a problem in creating long-term plans for such an organization.

Student leaders also questioned whether such an alliance would add to the burden of current state and university organization members in the form of events.

“Patience is important and drumming up the issue so it is not forgotten. There are big issues that should never be left out and forgotten. This is your time to practice your negotiating skills among yourselves. How do you want this organization to look like?,” Cruz reminded the students during her speech.

For Malicsi and FASTCO, the summit is just the first step to realizing the dream of many Filipino students in the past. 

“Today was a big step towards that great journey ahead of us. I would say that coming together was one trail-blazing feat. We still have a long way to go but today we took that giant leap of faith,” he concluded.

Different state and university organizations are set to assign representatives to a technical working group that will draft the national alliance’s key documents. – Rappler.com

David Lozada is an Australia Awards scholar taking up Master of Development Studies at the University of Melbourne. Prior to his scholarship, he was a reporter covering development and a community manager for Rappler's MovePH for 4 years.

#UsapangPera with Vince Rapisura: Invest in yourself!


In this episode of "Usapang Pera," wealth management consultant Vince Rapisura teaches Miss Grand-International Philippines Nicole Cordoves how to properly invest her money.

Vince tells Nicole that investing on herself first will lead to better gains down the road. – Rappler.com

Tell the #StoryOfTheNation through photos


MANILA, Philippines – From the perspective of Filipinos, what is the #StoryOfTheNation?

On Monday, July 24, President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

Traditionally, the SONA is a time for the President to review the past year's achievements and present the government's plans for the year. 

The President has a lot of achievements and unresolved issues to talk about in his SONA. But the speech is only the President’s version of nation’s story. 

We want to hear from the people – to know their story.

In June 2014, MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, first launched the #StoryOftheNation to help illustrate the narrative of the Filipino people.

The purpose of the initiative is to go beyond the official sound bites. We want to unearth the untold stories of the people captured in photos.

This year, we are reintroducing the campaign to hear again from Filipinos around the country. 

Join the campaign and help illustrate the story of the nation through various creative expressions. 

Here’s how: 

Step 1: What is the story of the nation? 

Are you a photographer, creative artist, or videographer? 

If you’re a photogarpher or videographer, armed with your camera or phone, talk to the members of your community – Filipinos who just want to earn a decent living and have a happy family.

Ask what motivates them, what frustrates them, or what they'd want to say to the President. Or, if they were the President, what would they want to tell the nation?

Record their answers and other basic details, like their name and profession.

If you’re a creative artist, think about the best way to visualize the story of the nation through graphics, posters, or comic strips. 

Step 2: Express!

Take a picture of your subjects or start your work.

If you’re taking a photo or video of your subject, it's best to take them within their natural environment or in a situation that says something about who they are.

Take note that the subjects do not need to always smile or look at the camera.

Step 3: Submit!

You can send the photos, videos, captions, posters, artworks, and other relevant information to move.ph@rappler.com. Please put #StoryOfTheNation in the subject line of your email.

You can also send your entries via Facebook or Twitter. When submitting via social media, remember to use #StoryOfTheNation and make your post public. You can also submit using the Rappler app. – Rappler.com 

You can also write your text version of the #StoryOfTheNation on X, Rappler's self-publishing platform. 

DepEd partners with UNESCO, KOICA on new ALS project


ALS PROJECT. According to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, the initiative aims to tackle gender inequality in education, and help girls to realize their full potential. All photos by Cielo Esmeria

MANILA, Philippines – How can we improve the quality of life for girls living in poverty?

This is one of the questions that the “Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines” project hopes to address. 

Launched on Friday, July 14, 2017, the project will focus on Tacloban City and the municipality of Palo in Leyte. (READ: Catching up on ALS: Challenges of a 'parallel system')

The project, led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), aims to increase the passing rate among out-of-school girls in the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test by establishing and operating a Girls Education Center. 

According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, one in every 10 Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years is an out-of-school youth (OSY). (READ: The country's next leaders should focus on the youth

The 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey also showed that about 10% or 3.8 million of the total 39 million Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years old do not go to school. 

The study further discovered that the proportion of OSY in children was higher among females than males, with marriage or family matters as the main reason for not attending school. 

Responding to the challenges faced by girl learners, the project also seeks to improve the skills of ALS mobile teachers, and implement the use of K-to-12 ALS teaching and learning materials. (READ: All eyes on ALS, 'centerpiece' of basic ed under Duterte)

“This project is not an isolated instance; something that just cropped up in the minds of UNESCO and KOICA,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said at the project launch.

Briones also said the project considered President Rodrigo Duterte directive to educate young students on the effects of illegal drugs, for reproductive health to be taught to students as young as 10 years old, environmental disasters awareness, and intensification and extension of ALS.

“This is very responsive to the priorities of the government in education, particularly girl children,” Briones added.

STAKEHOLDERS. Over 50 representatives from key offices of DepEd, UNESCO, KOICA, and SEAMEO INNOTECH attends the launch of the new ALS project for female out-of-school youths. Photo by Cielo Esmeria/Rappler

The $6 million-dollar project was made possible with the support of the South Korean government, through KOICA.

“This initiative aims to tackle gender inequality in education, and help girls to realize their full potential….I expect this project to be a catalyst in enhancing our school girls’ access to education, and promote gender equality,” said Korean Ambassador Jae-Shin Kim.

UNESCO, for its part, expressed its commitment to support the Philippine effort.

UNESCO said it supports the government, through DepEd, "in its efforts towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 4-Quality Education. And most especially in its efforts to bring quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all with focus for those children who are lost, last, and least,” UNESCO Jakarta Office Director and Representative Shahbaz Khan said in a press statement  (READ: Are graduates of alternative high schools ready for college?)

Over 50 representatives from key offices of DepEd, Philippine government agencies with initiatives related to ALS, UNESCO Asia Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding, KOICA, and SEAMEO INNOTECH attended the launch.  – Rappler.com 

Cielo Marie Esmeria is a Rappler intern.

Youth groups deliver alternative SONA on drug-related killings


YOUTH RESIST. Students of the St. Scholastica's College along with various activist groups rally outside the college in Manila on July 16, 2017 against the thousands of Extra Judicial Killings involved in the drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte, a week before his 2nd State of the Nation Address. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines- #YouthResist, a movement led by the Millennials Against Dictators (MAD), Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), and Akbayan! Youth, staged delivered an alternative State of the Nation Address (SONA) in a rally that condemned the killings brought about by President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

The "Youth SONA" was attended by a predominantly young audience at the St. Scholastica’s College on Tuesday, July 18.

President Duterte is set to deliver his second SONA at the House of Representatives on Monday, July 24, but these youth movement says their assessment of the administration is the accurate one. (READ: Tell the #StoryOfTheNation through photos)  

“We stand here today to tell this government that the millennials are watching. That you are not blind. The youth will not be fooled by fake news and information on social media,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros to her young audience in her speech at the gathering.

According to her, the cyberspace is the domain of the millennials and no old men in Malacañang know it better than they do.

Hontiveros, herself a Scholastican, started as an activist at the age of 15.

“We will take back the democracy they are stealing from us. And we know this darkness will pass because you, the young, have the light,” she said.

The youth have spoken 

“It’s time to resist in a time of corruption and extrajudicial killings. There is a need for hope and to break the apathy within us, the youth. It always starts with us. They must listen to us,” said Shibby de Guzman. 

De Guzman is one of the many faces of #YouthResist. The 13-year-old Scholastican has been a victim of cyberbullying after a photo of her at a rally during the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos went viral. 

WEEK BEFORE SONA. Students of the St. Scholastica's College along with various activist groups rally outside the college in Manila on July 16, 2017 against the thousands of extra judicial killings involved in the drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte, a week before his 2nd State of the Nation Address. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Despite the backlash she experienced, the grade 9 student said nothing can stop her from doing something for her country.

“I think it’s too much already, the amount of impunity and violence in this culture that is being inculcated in our people. When you go on social media, the people's mentality is, extrajudicial killing are the norm,” said Millennials Against Dictators co-convener Karla Yu.

According to Yu, the fight starts with speaking up: “It starts with making the young people feel that we have the strength in our numbers and that there is reason for us in fighting and hope in getting things better.”

She encourages young people to voice out their opinions despite the detractors, and to turn their online activism to offline activism.

“Everybody’s paralyzed [to take action] because of social media trolls. There are actual threats that you might actually die when you speak up about this. You might get jailed like Senator Leila De Lima if you actively oppose this government and its policy of extrajudicial killings,” she said. 

De Lima lauds #YouthResist 

Despite being detained in Camp Crame, Senator Leila de Lima commended the organizers of the "Youth SONA," especially on fighting against extrajudicial killings, yesterday.

"The youth have broken their silence over the crooked governance of the Duterte administration, including its spreading of fake news to destroy its critics, while diverting us from the real issues, and the continued killings under the bloody war on drugs and the chaos in Mindanao,” she said in a statement.

De Lima, a fierce critic of the President, is detained in Camp Crame over drug-related charges, filed by the justice department after she reopened the Senate investigation into extrajudicial killings.

"May the voice of the youth, our children, wake up our countrymen to the truth. The deception is too much. The killings have to stop. It's time to start the change that we all have truly aspired for," the senator said. – Rappler.com

A Journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Danielle Nakpil is a former Rappler intern.

#ThinkPH 2017: How tech trends shape industries


MANILA, Philippines — Is the acceleration of technology outpacing our ability to harness it in everyday life?

With the growing popularity of innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), it can certainly feel that way.

But Accenture Philippines’ Digital Lead JP Palpallatoc is confident we’re leaving this mindset behind. During his talk about digital trends for this year’s #ThinkPH Summit, he said: “We’re learning to take control of technology. The future will be shaped by people.”

At the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, JP presented key insights from Accenture's annual study called Tech Vision. This year, it was conducted among 5,400 business and tech leaders in different industries.

Learn how technology will change lives in new ways with Accenture’s forecast for 2017 below.

AI is the new UI

“AI is permeating every user interface. If we do it right, technology disappears and becomes very natural,” said JP.

There’s more to it than self-operating robots. Its integration into our usual digital tools is executed so seamlessly, we’re probably not even aware that some functions are made possible by it.

Love Spotify? The personalized playlists the app prepares for each user is run by AI. It learns from human input and banks on this for future recommendations or features.

“Humans and machine working together, that’s what we need to develop,” added JP.

Ecosystem Power Plays

Each company has their own niche of target markets or ecosystems. By building strategic partnerships with players from other industries, businesses can widen their reach.

“The key decision a company needs to make is which partners or alliances they need to play with, which particular platform they want to use,” said JP.

A perfect partnership should be mutualistic. Aside from creating new markets or improving logistics, these collaborations offer consumers new products to complement the services the other platform provides.

Workforce Marketplace

The workforce structure is getting a makeover. Old, rigid hierarchies are making way for an expanding talent pool.

It gives room for organizational flexibility. “The workforce marketplace is about the rise of external talent platforms, the rise of gigsters,” said JP.

And it’s already happening. It’s common for local companies, even the big ones, to outsource talents, using freelancing and crowdsourcing platforms such as raket.ph.

A liquid workforce delivers speedier, cost-effective services without compromising high quality. But more than that, it transforms company-employee relations, allowing creative and personal growth.

Design for Humans

To effectively interact with customers and provide them solutions, companies must possess an in-depth understanding of their needs and preferences.

“Companies will be using human behavior behavioral science in implementing customer experience,” said JP.

A customer’s relationship with a company is largely built on the effectiveness of the online experience they offer. This is why an understanding of human behavior is crucial when designing applications.

“We’re generating a lot of personal information and data. By combining human centric design and data, we are now creating a hyper-personalized experience,” said JP.

The Uncharted

The digital evolution comes with new tools and services. It even creates new industries.

But since this is completely uncharted territory, there are no rules.

“Some of the government regulation and rules are not able to catch up with digital disruption. It’s the responsibility of digital pioneers to make and define the rules of the game,” said JP.

Grab and Uber, for example, are new modes of transportation. Do these ride-hailing apps need to comply completely with existing regulations? It’s up for debate.

A more advanced digital era is definitely in the future, but it’s not the robot-dominated world some imagine it to be.

Making it human-centric and establishing rules will ensure that it creates solutions, not problems. As JP said, “Technology is being designed by the people, for the people.”

Learn more about about Accenture's Tech Vision here. — Rappler.com