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Moropreneur: Weaving a brighter future for Maguindanao


 UNITED. A group of Maguindanoan women share a meal during one of the events of The Moropreneur Inc

MANILA, Philippines – Google “Maguindanao,” and the word “massacre” would appear in the search results. The tragic 2009 incident that left 58 journalists and civilians killed, dubbed as the worst case of election-related violence in the country, has tainted the province’s image since.

Together with other individuals who believe in building a better Maguindanao, Selahuddin Yu Hashim, chair and executive director of The Moropreneur, Incorporated (TMI), aims to change the narrative of his province marred with conflict, calamities, and poverty. And he does not want to do it through aid or charity, but by empowering and investing in Maguindanao’s most valuable resource – its people.

Hashim illustrates the stark contrast between Maguindanao today and the predominatly Muslim province generations ago.

"As internally displaced persons, we have seen that the most challenging part of recovery and rehabilitation is the sustained support in enhancing the skills of the people, access to financial and market opportunities, and the need to improve creativity and innovation to fuel the positive change. Many have aspired to change their situation but there is no enabling environment for them to grow," he said.

"And yet, we grew up listening to the stories of the glorious period of our forefathers. Amidst century-old conflicts, natural disaster and other man-made crisis, the Bangsamoro and indigenous people are peace-lovers, caretakers of nature, artists, musicians, singers, dancers, people with good foods and appetite, and successful entrepreneurs," Hashim added.

Complex challenges in Maguindanao

In 2015, Hashim and other like-minded individuals established TMI with the goal to “enable the tri-people (Bangsamoro, Indigenous People, and Settler) communities especially women, youth and people with disability to become productive citizen of this country.”

The organization’s name is a play on the words "Moro" –  for Bangsamoro or the Muslim population of the Philippines – and "entrepreneur" to highlight the innate entrepreneurial skills of the Bangsamoro and indigenous people.

“We believe that the Moro’s skills as traders and their peculiarity to help one another needs to be cultivated to create more positive networks of social entrepreneurs," Hashim said.

This is not an easy task for a province ranked among the poorest in the country, and with one of the lowest labor force participation rate.

It is not just armed conflict that has hindered Maguindanao's development, but the layers of conflict, recurring natural disasters, and political turmoil. “These result in serious damages to the welfare and development of communities,” Hashim said.

Oftentimes, children and youth are forced to skip school while and families have no choice but to live in fragile shelters. Persons with disabilities experience even more depressing conditions while women, youth, and children become more vulnerable. And even if they return to their communities, many have difficulty restoring their lives because of the cost and limited opportunities.

Innovative solution through the Moropreneur

TMI aims to fulfill the organization’s mission by collaborating with key stakeholders to provide comprehensive capacity building, establish or strengthen climate-resilient and community-based micro-enterprises, and create positive and innovative networks of communities promoting positive values, unity, social and economic wellness and well-being.

BUSINESS WITH A PURPOSE Personnel of The Moropreneur, Inc. and one of its partner organizations, the Islamic Relief Worldwide-Philippines.

“We believe that economically empowered families will have the ability to address their needs such as health and nutrition, education, environmental protection, cultural preservation and participation in the fashioning of sustainably peaceful and developed communities,” said Hashim.

Lifting each other and rising together

One of TMI’s most recent initiatives is the All-Inclusive Growth Activities Towards Development And Poverty AlleviaTion (ANGAT-DAPAT). In English, it means, "We must rise."

True enough, the program aims to help people rise and break free from the cycle of indigence through capacity building. They began with the poorest communities whose residents are more prone to falling deeper into poverty if not given the proper support and intervention.

“Whatever little resources they possess (i.e parcel of land, farm) have been reduced further either by conflict or by encroachment of the marsh into their communities,” explained Hashim.

TMI takes a multiple approach in ensuring that these vulnerable communities are secured. Aside from capacity building, TMI also provides a voice for the people and helps strengthen local government and agencies to support these communities.

TMI also chose to focus on capacitating women, who have fewer opportunities in the province, where only 4 in 10 women are employed. TMI believes this is key in making the program sustainable. “As they say, improving the lives of the women will make a better family. And improved families will make a better, peaceful and progressive society.”

Mindanao, where Maguindanao is locted, hosts 5 of the 10 poorest provinces in the country. Yet, because of its land proportion and rich natural resources, Mindanao greatly contributes to the country’s overall development. By empowering local industries, TMI does more than servicing the poor communities but contributes to Maguindanao’s role in nation building.

Building on gifts, talents of locals

To date, TMI has engaged with 10 communities through baseline study and skills assessment, and skills-based training. The initial output is promising.

The products range from apparel made of water hyacinth, rice-based food products, mats and decorative items made of pandan, products made from coconuts and corn, hydrophonic vegetables, and inaul or traditional hand-woven fabric. Each item builds on the unique strength of the community – proof of the diverse natural resources and innate talents of Maguindanao’s people.

Throughout the entire program, the community remains central and involved – from consultation, organizing, capacity building, planning, and participation. “This is critical to the success of the project as it instils ownership and sustainability of the program by the community,” Hashim said.

With the help of different government agencies, more production and management training will be held to improve and enhance these products. TMI also partners with different business chambers to help market the products.

“We will also be creating innovative platforms that will create a demand in the market through tapping hospitality industry, specialty stores, and global markets," Hashim said.

Better and brighter Maguindanao

TMI invites groups or individuals who want to support the ANGAT-DAPAT program, to visit the communities. Those unable to visit can still help through the following means:

  • Provide or sponsor training
  • Provide platforms that would connect the communities to a larger market
  • Help share stories so more will be inspired and moved to action

Hashim shared his personal view of the future of his people. “I have always dreamed that a better Maguindanao is not just about ending poverty and conflict but seeing every family and individuals living a life with dignity, participating in community-building, and promoting coexistence which allows everyone to be empowered, responsible and caring for one another.”

It would take years to fully understand the intertwined social, political, and economic issues of Maguindanao, and even more years to fully address them. TMI remains positive. By carefully weaving together the natural gifts of the people and the region’s rich culture, interventions anchored on empowering communities, and the common aspiration to uplift the lives, a better Maguindanao is possible. – Rappler.com

Roanne Duran is a former writer of ABS-CBN. She is now working at Unilab Foundation. This article was also published in The Good Movement website.



On Marcos centennial, a call to post artworks about martial law atrocities


NEVER FORGET. Molotov Pilipinas calls out artists from all over the country to post creative works to remember the Marcos atrocities. Photo courtesy of Molotov Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – On Monday, September 11, Ferdinand Marcos would have turned 100. His family and supporters have kicked off year-long activities to celebrate the Marcos centennial. Artists and activists are counterning those with activities designed to remind the public of atrocities committed under the late dictator's martial law. 

Molotov Pilipinas, a creative community, called on artists from different parts of the country to post their protest works on social media on September 11. They intend to depict the outrage against the "culture of violence" that pervades the country, the group said. 

Malacañang declared September 11 this year a "special non-working day" in Ilocos Norte, home province of Marcos, who was overthrown and sent into exile by the 1986 People Power Revolution. (READ: Malacañang declares holiday in Ilocos Norte for Marcos' 100th birthday

Molotov Pilipinas will also hold an event on September 9, Saturday, at Tomatokick Morato called "Blow Out," where different artists will be performing.

Aside from the birth anniversary of Marcos, another date in September expected to rekindle online discussions is September 21. It was on this day in 1972 that the former strongman issued Presidential Decree Number 1081, placing the Philippines under martial law.

The social media activity of Molotov Pilipinas comes a year after a furious debate about "acts of historical revisionism" erupted online after the "government's Official Gazette posted a photo of Ferdinand Marcos on Facebook."

Among the personalities who warned about "historical revisionism" was Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

Aside from posting artworks, netizens have expressed online their disdain for the commemoration of the centennial of the birth of the disgraced former president. There were others, though, who displayed their devotion to Marcos. 


<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/905676085001568256">#Marcos100 - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



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The government allowed the Marcos family to bury the remains of the ousted president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani with military honors on November 18, 2016. (READ: Marcos buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani)

President Rodrigo Duterte said recently the Marcos family was open to returning to the government "some" of their ill-gotten wealth. (READ: Duterte: If I were Marcoses, I'd return wealth for immunity) – Rappler.com 


LOOK: Flooding hits Davao City due to heavy rain


FLOODING HITS DAVAO. Commuters in Davao City are stranded due to flooding triggered by heavy rain Thursday night, September 7. Photo courtesy of Davao City Public Safety and Security/911

MANILA, Philippines – Many commuters were stranded at Victoria Plaza along Bajada St in Davao City due to flooding triggered by heavy rain Thursday night, September 7.

The area is prone to flooding during rainy season, according to McAdrian Cobero, information officer of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region XI.

Water rose fast, Cobero said, adding that it took 30 to 45 minutes for the flood to subside.

In a thunderstorm advisory issued by state weather bureau PAGASA Thursday afternoon, Davao residents were advised "to take precautionary measures against heavy rains, strong winds, lightning and possible flash floods."

As of posting, floodwaters in Davao City have already subsided.

How to report floods

When flooding hits your area, you can send photos and post status updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtag #FloodPH. The posts should be set to public.

Reports can also be sent via SMS to 2929 for Smart and Talk N' Text subscribers.

Text Format: FLOODPH <Street, Barangay, City> <Describe Flood>
Sample Text: FLOODPH Bajada St Victoria Plaza Davao City knee-high 

Flood reports can also be posted directly on the Agos map, powered by eBayanihan. Rappler's MovePH team will monitor the map and alert the public and authorities. – Rappler.com


How the deaf use social media for their advocacies


SIGN LANGUAGE. Faculty members and students of DLS-CSB's School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies take part in the Social Good Summit 2015. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler MANILA, Philippines – When their own family doesn’t know sign language, confusion follows. For deaf children, understanding what their families talk about during lunch or dinner is an everyday challenge. They have difficulty watching the news on TV, or learning how to cook and drive.

Without knowing how to communicate well, deaf children have difficulty developing the values, attitude, and behaviors that are key to their personality. As a result, they become lonely. 

Many in the deaf community turn to fellow classmates and schoolmates in schools where sign language is practiced. They also find comrades online – on social media, where one can be understood through the written word or signed conversations recorded on video.

The deaf community in the Philippines is also going online to push for advocacies that will help make life much easier for the sector. (READ: Can PH become a ‘deaf-inclusive’ country?)

Relying on social media

The deaf community relies on social media platforms that allow visual communication, such as Facebook and Facebook Messenger, where they can post videos and pictures. 

Instagram is also popular because of the visual nature of the photo-sharing app.

One app that has been particularly popular with the deaf community is Glide, a video chat app launched by an Israeli startup. What makes the chat app a hit for deaf people is the ability to leave a video message for recipients. It’s also easier for deaf people to send video of a signed conversation rather than typing the message. The asynchronous nature of the app’s video messaging feature also prevents both parties from signing simultaneously and interrupting the conversation.

Pushing for FSL

In the Philippines, the deaf community is also using Facebook to push for advocacies and to keep themselves informed about news and current events. 

The MATA News Facebook page, for instance, provides news for the deaf community, with videos showing presenters signing news reports.

On Facebook, the Philippine Society of the Deaf is active in posting news for updates on the passage of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) bill. 

The passage of the FSL bill is very close to the heart of the deaf community. Currently, the deaf community uses FSL, American Sign Language (ASL), and Signing Exact English (SEE).

Many want to push for FSL, highlighting its importance in the identity of the Filipino deaf community and its role in removing barriers of accessibility in the lives of deaf Filipinos. FSL, after all, has its own culture. It also has its own syntax in terms of sign.

In August, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV urged lawmakers to pass a bill seeking to declare FSL the national sign language of the Filipino deaf.

Aquino authored Senate Bill 966 or the Filipino Sign Language Act, which was incorporated in Senate Bill 1455, introduced by Senator Nancy Binay.

If enacted into law, FSL will be the official mode of communication of the deaf for government services. It will also be used in broadcast media, schools, and workplaces.

Why FSL is important

According to Precious Benitez, a deaf student from the College of St Benilde, FSL is important for deaf children because it also helps them form their identities as Filipinos. 

"Imagine if they used ASL, but they are not American nor were they born in America. We are Filipino and must use Filipino sign language. We are using our own sign language. If there are words we lack, we can borrow some from countries, but this is only temporary language," Benitez said in sign language.  

"But if we have our own sign language and deepen [it], we don’t need to borrow. We become 100% Filipino with our 100% Filipino sign language. Unfortunately, most deaf people learn MCE [manually coded English], SEE and ASL – that’s a problem," Benitez added.

For student Ana Dominique Limbaring, FSL can open up opportunities for the deaf who want access to countless offices, hospitals, and other workplaces.

She added that it will also highlight their advocacy for inclusivity in many workplaces, schools, and even media.

“If the FSL bill is passed, our advocacy will be further noticed. Its purpose is for hearing people to be aware about FSL, so they can be given an interpreter who uses FSL, not SEE. This will also lead to better access to hospitals and healthcare. This is why the FSL bill is important,” she said.

Limbaring also said that FSL is important to their identity.

“Why do we need Filipino? So we can communicate more. Imagine, the deaf community will have no means of understanding one another. That is the reason why FSL is a big help to the deaf community – it shapes and deepens our culture, shows our uniqueness, and furthers the appreciation of the deaf identity,” she said. – Rappler.com

Princess Tadeo is a Rappler intern

VIRAL: Motorist helps elderly woman cross Quezon Avenue


'FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED'. An unidentified motorist helped an elderly woman cross the busy street in Quezon City. Screenshot from Jerremie Villanueva Facebook post

MANILA, Philippines – A viral video showing a motorist helping an elderly woman cross the streets has drawn recognition and praises from netizens. 

Since Facebook user Jerremie Villanueva posted the video on September 7, it has gained 154,000 views and thousands of engagements in less than 24 hours. 

According to Villanueva, the incident happened along Quezon Avenue corner Scout Borromeo in Quezon City at around 11 am on September 7.

The owner of the video lauded the motorist for prioritizing the safety of the elderly woman over his motorcycle, which was at risk of being stolen or towed as he just left it the side of the road to help the elderly woman to cross the busy road. He was seen putting his hand up to signal approaching vehicles to make way for the senior, who appeared too frail to walk up and down a footbridge, and accompanied her across the road.

The motorcycle rider even waited until the elderly woman got on a bus.

Villanueva said the act of kindness had his "faith in humanity restored."

Special lanes bill

Aside from putting the spotlight on kind acts, the viral video also highlighted the need for better facilities for pedestrians like the elderly woman, to help her cross the street safely.

Last year, House Bill 6505–  which seeks to provide special lanes and mechanisms in crossing the street for persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and pregnant women – was referred to the House committee on social services.

The  proposed Special Lanes and Mechanisms in Crossing the Street Act of 2016 seeks to create special lanes for crossing the street with distinguishing features for easier access and accommodation, for the exclusive use of persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

At present, many roads have designated footbridges to ensure pedestrians' safety while crossing the road, but PWDs, the elderly, and pregnant women have difficulty accessing or are not physically able to use them.

Under the proposed measure, pedestrian-controlled crossings will be provided with enhanced features to assist the disabled, such as tactile cones near or under the control button which rotate or shake when the pedestrian signal is green – the image of a “green man” which will help the visually impaired.

Other mechanisms being pushed in the bill are a tactile surfacing pattern within adjacent footways to help visually impaired pedestrians know when they have reached the other side and an audible or beep signal system to help signify when it is safe to cross or not cross the road.

When Rappler checked with the House of Representatives, the bill is still  pending in the committee level since it was referred to the panel on May 23, 2016.

In the Philippines, motorists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable to road crashes. According to the 2014 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, 1,287 elderly people aged 60 and over died because of a road crash. (READ: Road deaths in PH: Most are motorcycle riders, pedestrians )

In 2016, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority recorded a total of 195 fatalities and 4,913 injuries among pedestrians. – Rappler.com

Killing of Grade 12 boy raises fears among Baguio students


STOP THE KILLINGS. 'Oblation' in University of the Philippines-Baguio Campus is covered in black and red to condemn the killings in the country. Photo by Cielo Marie L. Esmeria/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Students in Baguio City voiced their concerns over the recent killing of Vaughn Dicang, a Grade 12 student who was reported missing on September 1.  

Vaughn Dicang's body was found in a creek on Thursday, September 7.

"Nung nabasa ko 'yung balita, nagulat ako. Hindi na kasi ito 'yung Baguio na dinatnan ko. Hindi na ako panatag na maglakad sa labas tuwing gabi dahil baka maulit lang ang trahedyang ito," Isabel Shafa told Rappler. 

(I was shocked after reading the news. This is not the Baguio that found before. I don't feel safe going outside at night anymore because the incident might happen again.)

Hannah Faye G. Cacayorin, a University of the Philippines-Baguio student, felt similarly. 

In an interview, Cacayorin described that before President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath on June 2016, Baguio City felt very safe. Now, however, crimes appear to have significantly increased, making it unsafe for teens to roam around the city without a companion, especially at night.  

"What happened to Vaughn is really frightening and saddening at the same time. The recent killings are very alarming, especially (since) many victims are from the youth sector," Sean David Marco, also a UP Baguio student, remarked. 

He added that even though this latest killing may seem like an isolated case from the ones in Manila, Filipinos must still call for justice and condemn the killings that are happening in the country. 

"We must stay vigilant on the actions of the current administration regarding these cases especially as this is not the safe Philippines they have promised us," Marco said.

At the University of the Philippines-Baguio Campus, the Oblation statue was covered in black and red to condemn the killing of Dicang. 

While speculation regarding linking the case to the killings of Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, and Reynaldo de Guzman are circulating on social media, Baguio City police chief Senior Superintendent Ramil Saculles urged the public to avoid accusing the police as the perpetrators of the Grade 12 boy's untimely death. 

Currently, an autopsy is being conducted to determine Vaughn Dicang's cause of death. (READ: Except for killings, all crimes drop in Duterte's 1st year— With reports from Cielo Marie L. Esmeria /Rappler.com

IN PHOTOS: Lumad rally vs killings in Mindanao


STOP THE KILLINGS. Lumad protesters and activists gather in front of the Philippine National Police in Quezon City. All photos by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Lumad protesters and activists held a rally amid the killings in their community in front of Camp Crame in Quezon City on Friday, September 8.

The demonstration comes after the killing of 19-year-old Grade 6 student Obillo Bay-ao in Talaingod town in Davao del Norte. (READ: TIMELINE: Attacks on the Lumad of Mindanao)

According to minority group alliance Sandugo, Bay-ao was killed by a member of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) which is under the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (READ: What the Lumad are fighting for)

The Lumad also marched to condemn martial law in Mindanao which complicated their situation due to increased militarization in the area.

"Duterte even promotes these attacks through the blessing of his 'flatten the hills campaign' donned in his ambitious war on drugs," Save Our Schools Network Mindanao (SOS) spokesperson Rius Valle said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened to bomb Lumad schools, alleging that they taught students to be subversives and communists. The military clarified, however, that Duterte was "just communicating a tough stance."

Here some of the photos of the rally:

– Rappler.com

Human rights and children's groups alarmed at teenager killings


JUSTICE. The groups say justice is something to be fought for. It does not fall from heaven. Photos by Jerome Ignacio

MANILA, Philippines – Human rights activists, children's rights organizations, national minorities, and youth groups staged a protest along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City on Friday, September 8, to cry for justice for the consecutive killings of young people all around the country.

17-year-old Kian delos Santos, 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, and 14-year-old Reynaldo Santos were recent additions to the list of victims of the drug war. (READ: LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte's drug war

Meanwhile, Grade 6 Lumad student Obillo Bay-ao was allegedly killed by a paramilitary force in Davao del Norte on Tuesday, September 5. (READ: Grade 6 Lumad student killed in Davao del Norte)

The said groups condemned the deaths of the people they called "the future of this nation."

After the program, the protesters burned an image of President Rodrigo Duterte as a gesture against the rampant killings. 

"All 3 died before they reached 20 years old. And all 3 were killed by state forces," said Moro and Indigenous Peoples (IP) group SANDUGO in a statement. 

"We call the people to raise their voices and unite against the fascist and violent programs," they added. (IN PHOTOS: Lumad rally vs killings in Mindanao)

Nikki Aserios of SALINLAHI Alliance for Children's Concerns expressed her fear for minors as the victims of the killings become younger and younger.

According to her, vthe iolence has to stop and due process must be upheld. 

Their group fights for the human rights of children. One of their advocacies is fighting the call to lower the criminal liability in the country. 

"One of the services we provide is psychosocial intervention to the kids who suffer trauma, especially the Lumad children," she said in Filipino. 

Aserios said that the manifestations of trauma to these children are very much evident as seen in their abnormal sleeping patterns. 

They said justice doesn't fall from heaven. Instead, it is something to be fought for. – Rappler.com

Drug rehab to get P2 billion cut under 2018 nat'l budget



MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto questioned the P2.31-billion budget cut on the proposed funds for operations of government-run drug rehabilitation centers under the 2018 national budget bill on Saturday, September 9.

The budget for Department of Health-managed rehabilitation facilities will go down to P759.6 million – a whopping 75% decrease from this year's P3.08-billion budget.

"The word from the DOH is that private donations will make up for the difference. If that is the case, DOH should submit a listing of where the replacement funds would come from because that is too big a vacuum to fill," Recto said.

Under the proposed budget, the DOH and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) has a combined allocation of P164.8 billion – 9% higher from 2017's P151.3 billion budget.

"The unofficial explanation is that the so-called 'mega-rehab centers' will be built by private donors. Fine. But what about the manning of those centers? The training of personnel? Are the funds sought enough?" he added.

Local governments have partnered with the DOH and some private organizations have donated money for the construction of regional rehabilitation centers in Isabela, Mountain Province, Palawan, Zamboanga City, and Taguig City.

During the budget deliberations in August, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said the budget removed from the centers will be used instead for funding barangay and rural health units.

They are also being eyed to fund medical services for the military, a need Duterte has repeatedly emphasized.

The reduced P759.6-million budget will be used in running 14 centers, including the "mega-rehab" center donated by Chinese businessman Huang Rulun in Nueva Ecija.

Recto questioned whether the funds sought for the operation of the centers will be enough.

"The existing policy is still 'save the users' and not 'salvage the users.' For as long as that policy remains, then government is duty-bound to help those who have volunteered for treatment by providing a new path to a better life for them," Recto said.

Rehab and 'Tokhang'

The senator said that the policy on the anti-drug campaign "hinges not on the mass killing of drug dependents but on their mass rehabilitation."

"Di ba ang approach ngayon ay tokhang – toktok-hangyo? Ang sabi ng mga pulis, doon sa mga gustong magbago, magsabi lang at tutulungan namin kayo," Recto said. (READ: PH can't win war on drugs with guns alone)

(Isn't the approach now is 'Tokhang' – Toktok-hangyo (knock and appeal)? The police said those who want to change their ways will only have to appeal and they will be helped.)

The total number of alleged drug personalities killed in legitimate operations is at about 3,500 as of July 26, the Philippine National Police said. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')

Among those killed during operations are minors and college students.

Recto said that law enforcement should be able to "stop the supply while health officials help the victims under a comprehensive program." (READ: Rehab advocates can work with Duterte gov't in 'healing' addicts – priest)

The DOH, in a briefing paper, gave assurances that facilities included in the Health Facilities Enhancement Program will form part of government network to help drug dependents. The program has a proposed budget of P29 billion.

"Again, if that is the intention, Congress must be given the details," Recto said.– Aika Rey/Rappler.com

WATCH: How a barrio teacher made learning science easy


SCIENCE MADE FUN. A teacher in a barrio in Tagaytay City makes learning science fun to students. Photo by Vee Salazar/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – During a typical school afternoon, 40-year old Jennifer Manalo Rojo would dismiss her class for lunch break. 

"Class, are you ready?" Teacher Jenny would ask the class soon after they finish their meals. 

A resounding "yes" would echo within the 4 corners of the small room. The wide-eyed students gave all their attention to their teacher in front. 

The one-hour break is something her class has always looked forward to for it served as an opportunity for the students to learn and play at the same time. 

With puzzles and games, Teacher Jenny would use the remaining time during lunch break to engage her class of 30 Grade 5 students with their lesson for the day. 

Rojo does not teach physical education or art, as others might first guess. She teaches an oft-avoided topic: Science. 

Teaching science 

How can we make science an easy-to-learn topic at school?

This is the question that teacher Jenny, a teacher at the Neogon Public Elementary School in Tagaytay, tried to answer herself. 

Rojo has been teaching for 21 years already, specializing in science. Throughout her teaching career, she observed how students have had a hard time studying mixtures, anatomy, and other topics under her subject. 

“Kasi ang science, tinuturo siya nang English. So ‘yung nakita kong difficulty sa mga estudyante, they cannot express themselves in English and they cannot understand science easily kasi nga ang vocabulary nila ay medyo mababa,” Rojo said. 

(Science is usually taught in English. With their poor English vocabulary, I observed that they would have a hard time learning the subject because they cannot express themselves well in English.)

With this observation, Rojo created the Joyful Enrichment in Science vocabulary (JenSci vocabulary) worksheets in the form of puzzles and games. 


The goal of the innovation, according to Rojo, is to sow early interest in science among her students. The initiative proved to be very helpful to her students. 

“As I assessed, nakatulong siya sa (pag-improve) sa vocabulary ng mga bata. In fact, nakatulong siya para mag-increase yung aming National Achievement Test result in Science. From 2014 to 2015, nagkaroon siya ng, I think, 30% increase on our NAT result in Science,” Rojo said. 

(As I assessed, it helped in improving the vocabulary of the students. In fact, it helped in increasing our National Achievement Test result in Science. From 2014 to 2015, I think, there was about a 30% increase on our NAT result in Science.)

A look into the bigger picture showed that the achievement rates for Science among 6th graders in the Philippines showed a slow increase from 2014 to 2015. 


Achievement Rate among Grade 6 pupils
(Based on National Achievement Tests)
Source: Deped data as of September 2015



School year



















This doesn't necessarily mean good news. 

Despite this slow increase, the Philippines missed its Millenium Development Goal to provide education for all in 2015. Worldwide, the global report released by Education for All in 2015 showed that only a third of the world’s countries succeeded in their efforts to provide universal basic education. 

Zooming into the Philippines, the report also showed that only 69% of grade school graduates from poor families move to high school. This is a dismal number compared to the estimated 94% graduates from rich families who were able to get their secondary education. 

In other words, the Philippines still has a long way to go to make quality education accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status. 

Development goals 

The progress made at Neogan Elementary School through the innovation introduced by Rojo is considerd important especially within the context of the Social Development Goal 4 which aims to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.”

Under that goal, participating nations like the Philippines should "ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development" by 2030. 

While Neogan Elementary School is only a tiny barrio school located at a more rural area of Tagaytay City, its small leaps in the field of education reflects significant strides in the nation's struggle to make education inclusive.

"Siyempre, lalo na sa ganitong barrio school, kung may 30 students ako. Siguro walang 10 na masasabi kong magagaling. Karamihan nasa average. Tapos makaka-encounter ka ng talagang hirap talag matuto. Yung mga may learning disabilities. Challenge yun sa part ng teacher katulad ko kung paano mo mapapatuto," Rojo shared. 

(I have 30 students at this barrio school. Of this figure, only 10 could be considered exceptional. Most of them are average. I would also encounter students who really have a hard time leanring – those with learning disabilities. That is a challenge for teachers like me: to make sure they learn) 

Teaching as passion

DEDICATED. Neogan Elementary School teacher Jennifer Manolo Rojo works outside of teaching hours to work on materials to simplify hard concepts into easy-to-understand visuals. Photo by Vee Salazar/Rappler

Despite these challenges, Rojo works hard to make sure her students learn from her. 

Aside from creating the vocabulary, she also developed the Mobile Sci-Hub/Lab – a house-inspired instructional material meant to simplify into visuals some hard-to-grasp scientific concepts. 

She did all these outside her work hours. 

"Hindi alam ng karamihan na kapag teacher, hindi ka lang basta nagtatrabaho. Kailangan mo talaga yung puso. Kailangan kasma yun kapag teacher ka," Rojo explained.

(What many people don't know is that when you are a teacher, you don't simply work. You need passion. That is a requirement when you are a teacher) 

Fortunately, her contributions to Neogan Elementary School did not go in vain. 

Rojo is one of the recipients for 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos award

This year, Metrobank awarded 4 teachers, 3 soldiers, and 3 police officers. Each awardee received a cash incentive of P1 million, a gold medallion, and a trophy.

In 2016, Rojo also received the Regional Gawad Patnugot Outstanding Elementary Teacher Award from DepEd Region IV-A. 

She said she dedicates her awards to her old and present students.

"Simple naman ang pangarap ko. Kung hindi man sila maging katulad ko, at least maging successful sila in the future – na matulungan nila ang mga magulag nila. yun ang lagi kong pinapaalala ko sa kanila," Rojo said.

(I have a simple dream: If they can't be like me, I want them to become successful in the future so they can help their parents. That's what I always remind them)– Rappler.com

LOOK: Kids try out 'Master of Disaster' board game


MASTER OF DISASTER. Kids at the Batang Emergency Response Team (BERT) camp at the CAMANAVA Science and Technology Fair play the "Master of Disaster" board game. Photo by ASSIST

MANILA, Philippines – When you were a child, did you know how to prepare for disasters?

Now, kids will have an opportunity to learn about disaster preparedness in a fun way – through a board game.

The Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) introduced a disaster preparedness board game to elementary students during the National Capital Region Batang Emergency Response Team camp on September 5 to 7.

The "Master of Disaster" board game, designed for children 9 and above, aims to teach kids at an early age about preparedness and response should a disaster strike.

"ASSIST created the Master of Disaster because there is a need to teach people to be more proactive about their safety. This is especially important in disaster-prone areas like the Philippines that is no stranger to fires, storms, floods, and earthquakes," ASSIST Project Manager Ariane Lim said.

According to Lim, the game is set in the Philippines to make it more easily to relate to. "It has undergone consultation with different subject matter experts to make sure that we teach the children the correct information in the best way possible," she said.

PREPARED. The board game Master of Disaster is designed for kids 9 and above to teach them disaster preparedness and response at an early age. Photo by ASSIST

Lim also said that the board game may also be played by children with special needs. "The game allows children with special needs to be aware of basic disaster response which may teach them to be more independent," she said.

The game was piloted with around 200 students and 75 teachers inside and outside the metro, according to Lim.

In 2015, risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft found that 8 out of 10 most disaster-prone cities in the world is located in the Philippines. 

Besides the risk of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods, the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons every year.

The strongest and most devastating in recent history was Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) which hit the Philippines in November 2013 and claimed at least 7,000 lives.– Rappler.com

Companies band together for Marawi relief


VOLUNTEERISM. Hands on Manila will be gathering 27 companies to volunteer for Servathon 2017 in benefit of the Marawi victims. Photo from Hands on Manila Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Around 27 companies and over 1,000 employees will come together and volunteer at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) for the annual service marathon called Servathon, on September 23, Saturday.

Hands on Manila Foundation organized the event with the theme “Mobilizing Manila for Hope in Mindanao.” They will be assembling kits containing basic necessities for the communities in Mindanao.

According to Hands on Manila program manager Mai Mislang, they asked the people from Mindanao on what daily necessities they need.

“The servathon this year is very special because we have a very particular cause, and that is helping out people in Marawi,” she said.

The volunteers are divided into 9 groups where there will be 30 members. The groups will be assembling different kits like soaps and mobile learning games for the Marawi victims.

At the end of the program, the kits will be turned over to the International Care Ministries (ICM) and the Community and Family Services International (CFSI).

Some of the companies that will be participating are Aboitiz Foundation, Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, American Express, Baker & McKenzie, BPI Foundation, Cardinal Health, Casas +Architects, Inc., Cibo, Concepcion Carrier, Far Eastern University, ICTSI Foundation, Manulife, Northern Trust, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Transmarine Carrier, QBE, Raffles/Fairmont, Republic Cement, Rockwell Land, Romulo-Mabanta Law Office, Roxas Foundation, Roxas Holdings, Inc., True Value, Visa, Wells Fargo and Zendesk.

The war in Marawi has been ongoing for more than 3 months now. The war also prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the Mindanao region. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao) – Rappler.com 

VIRAL: Toddler with no helmet behind motorcycle rider


UNSAFE AND ILLEGAL. A video shows a toddler riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Screenshot from Pinoy Law Breakers Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Social media users expressed anger over a video showing a toddler aboard a motorcycle, positioned behind the rider and without a helmet.

The video, posted by Facebook page Pinoy Law Breakers, has drawn hundreds of comments criticizing the motorcycle rider for bringing a toddler along and exposing the child to unsafe conditions.

In the video, the rider was wearing a helmet while the baby seemed to only be strapped to the rider's body.

According to the Facebook post, the person who took the video tried to catch the attention of the rider but to no avail. 

Illegal, unsafe

The motorcycle rider in the video is violating the law.

Under Republic Act 10666 or the Children's Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015, riders of two-wheeled motor vehicles are not allowed to travel with a small child on board. This has been implemented nationwide since May 19 this year. 

According to the law's implementing rules and regulations, a child is only allowed to board a motorcycle on the following conditions:

  • If the child passenger can comfortably reach his or her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle
  • If the child's arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle rider
  • If the child is wearing the standard protective helmet or gear

The toddler in the video clearly did not meet any of the conditions stated by the law.

Violators of the law, like the motorist in the video, will be charged P3,000 to P10,000, with a month-long suspension of license for the third offense.

According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), motorcycle riders are the most common road crash victims in the Philippines. They have been the top victims of road crashes in Metro Manila since 2010.

Children are also at risk on the road with an average of 671 road crash fatalities involving children from 2006 to 2014, according to figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

Among children, the most vulnerable are those 5-9 years old, and those 10-14. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)

In 2014 alone, 253 children aged 5-9 and 195 children aged 10-14 died. – Rappler.com

LGUs told to prepare for Typhoon Talim, low pressure area


PREPAREDNESS. The NDRRMC conducts a pre-disaster risk assessment meeting in preparation for Typhoon Talim and the low pressure area east of Quezon. Photo from NDRRMC

MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the entry of Typhoon Talim into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) held a pre-disaster risk assessment meeting with concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) on Monday, September 11.

In its bulletin issued past 11 am on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Talim remains outside PAR, at 1,300 kilometers east of Northern Luzon. When it enters PAR, it will be given the local name Lannie.

The bulletin also noted the low pressure area (LPA) located 400 kilometers east of Quezon that is bringing moderate to heavy rain to the Visayas, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila.

Oplan Listo

Responding to this, the NDRRM Operations Center raised its alert status to blue in preparation for the effects of the typhoon and the LPA.

Residents in areas likely to be affected are advised to take the necessary precautionary measures and are alerted against possible flooding and landslides. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">JUST IN: The NDRRM Operation Center has just raised Blue Alert Status in preparation for LPA and Typhoon &quot;TALIM&quot; (International Name) <a href="https://t.co/bczDrA1gfj">pic.twitter.com/bczDrA1gfj</a></p>&mdash; NDRRMC (@NDRRMC_OpCen) <a href="https://twitter.com/NDRRMC_OpCen/status/907095218763137024">September 11, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> 



The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also advised the concerned LGUs to follow measures outlined in Oplan Listo.

Oplan Listo uses a disaster preparedness manual first adopted by the DILG when Typhoon Ruby hit in December 2014. It provides mayors and other local government disaster management agencies a checklist that enumerates what should be done before, during, and after typhoons. 

Minimum critical activities that LGUs should be enforcing in affected areas include the following: 

  • Secure power, water supply, and communications
  • Start preemptive evacuation
  • Announce forced evacuation 
  • Prepare list of evacuees
  • Distribute relief packs and conduct mass feeding
  • Stop traffic in landslide-prone areas

The manual includes flowcharts that correspond to 3 phases of critical preparedness actions – Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. It also contains a tropical cyclone information board and minimum actions to guide mayors. 

CHARLIE. A set of preparedness actions that LGUs should undertake before a typhoon makes landfall. Infographic by Oplan Listo/DILG

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already prepositioned food and non-food items in its Central Office, as well as field offices. The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, said medical supplies and equipment are on standby.

The public is advised to stay vigilant and follow the orders of local government officials in their respective areas. 

The 1991 Local Government Code and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 mandate local government units to be on the frontline of emergency measures during disasters. – Rappler.com

Check if your mayors are taking these minimum preparedness activities that LGUs should be enforcing in areas expected to be affected by Typhoon Talim. Tell us how prepared your LGUs are through email (move.ph@rappler.com) or Twitter (@moveph).

Stay alert and ready with the latest weather and disaster information through Agos.

UP Board of Regents approves GE reform proposal


GE REFORM. From 45 required minimum GE units, the subjects would be trimmed down to 21 required units

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents (BOR) approved UP Diliman’s proposed General Education (GE) Reform in the 1,330th BOR meeting on September 7, Thursday, reducing to less than half the required GE units of each student. (READ: Narrowing UP Diliman's GE program is a disservice to PH)

The results of the meeting were announced only via an online post 3 days later on Sunday, September 10.

With the decision, UP Diliman students will only be required to take a minimum number of 21 GE units – far less than the current 45 required GE units. 

When the reform of curriculum was proposed, faculty, students, and staff, organized  the alliance UP Sagip GE which called for a GE curriculum which was “critical, holistic, nationalist, and service-oriented.”

Supporters, on the other hand, argued that the move is the university's way of responding to its 21st century learners. (READ: UP’s new GE curriculum: Should Diliman make the shift?)

“The Student Regent strongly manifested her opposition on the board’s approval of the GE Reform based on the grounds that the Philippine education’s orientation must be directed towards serving the people,” the UP Office of the Student Regent said in a statement.

Student Regent Shari Oliquino was the only dissenter of the curriculum reform among the board's 11 members.

The statement of the student regent also added that the reduction of the required GE subjects is not the solution to the nation’s ongoing educational crisis.

“Moreover, UP students do not gain anything under this reform. It merely aims to change our educational programs along with K-12 and ASEAN integration to better meet the fulfillment of the business sectors that include big foreign corporations.”

The reform came about due to the implementation of the K to 12 program because some GE courses were already expected to be included in the senior high school curriculum. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12).

“We will continue to register our opposition,” said Oliquino in a phone interview.

The student regent said they will stage a series of mobilizations on Tuesday, September 12, at the AS lobby in UP Diliman, to express their disappointment and protest towards the BOR's decision.

UP Diliman was the last of the premier state university's 8 constituent units to vote on whether or not it will shift to a GE curriculum that is "interdisciplinary" in nature, but with less units: a range of 21 to 36, from the current 45.– Rappler.com


#FloodPH Alert: Flooded areas in Metro Manila on September 12


MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of its landfall, Tropical Depression Maring is bringing moderate to heavy rain to the regions of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Bicol, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa, as well as the province of Pangasinan.

Due to the heavy rain, classes were suspended in several cities and provinces on Tuesday, September 12. 

State weather bureau PAGASA earlier said it is expected to make landfall in the vicinity of Mauban, Quezon before 10 am.

Below are photos of the resulting flood from the rainfall on Tuesday. (READ: #FloodPH: Mga dapat gawin kapag bumaha):

As of 8:30 am: Gutter-deep flood at the corner of Quirino avenue and Taft avenue in Manila. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="es" dir="ltr">Quirino | Taft <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FloodPH?src=hash">#FloodPH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LanniePH?src=hash">#LanniePH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaringPH?src=hash">#MaringPH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalangPasok?src=hash">#WalangPasok</a> <a href="https://t.co/XQpcBSjVME">pic.twitter.com/XQpcBSjVME</a></p>&mdash; brigette the unicorn (@prittiebridge) <a href="https://twitter.com/prittiebridge/status/907386213811724288">September 11, 2017</a></blockquote>

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8:45 am: Water has reached the roofs of houses along Gumamela St, Roxas District, Quezon City.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FloodPH?src=hash">#FloodPH</a> has reached the roofs of houses along Gumamela St., Roxas District, Quezon City. Photo by <a href="https://twitter.com/joanjoyie1995">@joanjoyie1995</a> <a href="https://t.co/BqMSKRo6rx">pic.twitter.com/BqMSKRo6rx</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/907415443605929985">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
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9 am: Marikina river water level also rose to 14.9 meters, according to the Marikina City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office


<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMarikinaRescue161%2Fphotos%2Fa.351041678326556.78914.349166318514092%2F1430776307019749%2F%3Ftype%3D3&width=500" width="500" height="561" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>



<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here&#39;s a video of the Marikina river as of 8am today. Video by Agos volunteer Edgar de Jesus <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LanniePH?src=hash">#LanniePH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaringPH?src=hash">#MaringPH</a> <a href="https://t.co/0pO46Iosiu">pic.twitter.com/0pO46Iosiu</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/907402881006944256">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Meanwhile, below is a list of flooded areas in Metro Manila according to the Metro Manila Development Authority:

As of 5 am:

  • Taft Manila from PGH to U.N. Ave. NB/SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • EDSA Shrine NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • EDSA P.Tuazon NB/SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

5:10 am: EDSA Quezon Ave NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

5:30 am:

  • E. Rodriguez intersection. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • EDSA P. Tuazon Tunnel NB. Not passable to vehicles due to flooded lanes.

5:40 am:

  • EDSA Boni SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • C5 Eastwood SB/NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

5:56 am: E. Rodriguez Araneta Petron NB/SB. Knee deep. Not passable to light vehicles.

5:58 am: Commonwealth Winston SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:15 am: EDSA P. Tuazon Tunnel NB/SB. Knee deep. Not passable to light vehicles.

6:20 am:

  • EDSA MRT Taft Rotonda SB/NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • Balintawak A. Bonifacio SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:23 am:

  • SM Center Point. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • Araneta Maria Clara SB/NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:24 am: RMB Poreza EB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:28 am: C5 Ortigas Sevice Road SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:46 am:

  • UN Otis SB/NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.
  • Plaza Dilno SB/NB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:54 am: Quirino Pedro Gil EB/WB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

6:58 am: Quezon Ave. Biak na Bato WB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

7:29 am: Taft Kalaw. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

8:29 am: España Lacson WB. Not passable to light vehicles.

1:24 pm: Ortigas Flyover SB. Gutter deep. All lanes passable.

2:40 pm: 

  • EDSA Corinthian NB. Gutter deep.
  • Rizal R. Papa. Waist deep. Not passable to all types of vehicles. 
  • EDSA Muñoz Landers NB. Gutter deep.
  • E. Q. Ave. svc. rd. NB. Knee deep. Not passable to light vehicles.
  • EDSA Balintawak to NLEX Exit. Above gutter. 
  • EDSA Oliveros. Above gutter. 

4:30 pm:

  • EDSA Corinthian NB. Gutter deep.
  • Rizal R. Papa. Waist deep. Not passable to all types of vehicles. 
  • E. Rodriguez (Araneta). Knee deep. Not passable to light vehicles.
  • Maria Clara Araneta Ave. Knee deep.
  • España Blvd. / Antipolo to Maceda EB. Gutter deep.
  • España Blvd. / P. Noval to Lacson EB/WB. Knee deep. 

4:36 pm: Maria Clara Araneta. Chest deep. Not passable to all types of vehicles.

8:25 pm: 

  • Rizal R. Papa. Gutter deep.
  • España Blvd. / Antipolo to Maceda EB. Gutter deep.
  • España Blvd. / P. Noval to Lacson EB/WB. Gutter deep. 

The MMDA said flood has subsided in the following areas as of 8:25 pm:

  • EDSA Ortigas after F/O SB.
  • EDSA Santolan svc. rd. NB
  • EDSA P. Tuazon Tunnel NB/SB
  • EDSA Aurora Tunnel NB/SB
  • EDSA Muñoz Landers NB
  • E. Q. Ave svc. rd. NB
  • EDSA Balintawak to NLEX Exit
  • EDSA Oliveros
  • Roxas Blvd. Heritage to Libertad
  • Maria Clara, Araneta Ave.
  • Manila, Lacson Ave. Fajardo
  • Domestic Terminal 1
  • Andrews Ave.
  • Araneta Ave., Kaliraya to Victory
  • EDSA Corinthian NB

How to report floods

The public can send photos and post status updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtag #FloodPH. The posts should be set to public.

Reports can also be sent via SMS to 2929 for Smart and Talk N' Text subscribers.

Text Format: FLOODPH <Street, Barangay, City> <Describe Flood>
Sample Text: FLOODPH Quirino Roxas Blvd, along Taft Ave Southbound, Manila Gutter deep passable to vehicles.

Flood reports can also be posted directly on the Agos map, powered by eBayanihan. Rappler's MovePH team will monitor the map and alert the public and authorities. – Rappler.com

Over 100 families evacuated due to flooding in Davao City


FLOODED ROAD. Heavy rains have flooded roads especially in Bunawan which connects Davao City to Panabo City. Photo by Xtian Joseph Villareal Serrano
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – At least 164 families were evacuated in this city due to flooding caused by heavy rains late Monday night, September 11.

Heavy rains caused rivers to swell to critical levels at around 11:30 pm on Monday, prompting village officials in affected areas to issue a forced evacuation alert.

Among the affected villages was Barangay 74-A in Matina, where 507 people were affected by the flooding as of 1:30 am on Tuesday, September 12.

The rains had stopped but some roads remained flooded, impeding traffic in some areas.

On Thursday, September 8, Davao City also experienced heavy rains that stranded motorists and commuters. – Rappler.com

Cop who operates 'colorum' jeepneys threatens MMDA officer


THREAT. MMDA enforcer Nebrija (left) posted a video on Facebook showing police officer SPO2 Aguilar (middle) threatening them not to tow his 'colorum' jeepney. Screenshot from Edison Bong Nebrija Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines – A policeman apparently met his match when he attempted to intimidate and even "bribe" an officer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) who apprehended the driver of a colorum jeepney owned by the cop.

MMDA traffic supervising officer for operations Edison Nebrija posted the video of the encounter on Facebook, which involved Senior Police Officer 2 Ariel Aguilar.

Nebrija said in a phone interview that traffic enforcers flagged down a  jeepney driver when he loaded and unloaded passengers in a prohibited zone on September 8.

He said that the jeepney driver tried to flee when he was caught operating without proper documents and a franchise. The driver even hurled his license at authorities when the traffic enforces caught up with him, and even left his jeepney in the middle of the road. 

As the MMDA prepared to tow the vehicle, Aguilar arrived with the jeepeny driver, who turned out to be his nephew, and accused the MMDA men of illegal towing.

Nebrija tried to explain their procedures to the driver and the policeman. He said that if they had any complaint regarding their manner of enforcement, they could file it with the Traffic Adjudication Board. 

ARIEL AGUILAR. SPO2 Ariel Aguilar is the traffic enforcer of Quezon City Sector 6 who claims to own the towed 'colorum' jeepney.

Aguilar then threatened Nebrija,  "Subukan ninyo hatakin 'yan, magkakamatayan tayo (Try towing that and we'll both end up dead)!"

It was found out that the towed jeepney was the fourth jeepney of Aguilar to be  impounded by MMDA enforcers since September 6, or when the MMDA began the operation under the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT). 

"This is the 4th jeepney na na-tow sa kanya for two days. Then apparently, [may nagsabi sa amin na ] 20 to 25 [jeepneys] ata iyong pag-aari nya na pinoprotektahan niya," Nebrija told Rappler. 

(This is his 4th jeepney to be towed in two days. Then apparently, [someone told us] that he has about 20 to 25 jeepneys, I think, that he is trying to protect.)

After the incident, Nebrija said that Aguilar even tried to bribe him in exchange for the release of the towed vehicle. He even accused the MMDA men of "carnapping."

"Inofferan pa niya ako: Puwede ko ba dito na bayaran? Pakawalan 'nyo na 'yan. Bitawan mo na lang sa may Quezon City Memorial, bayaran kita dito (He even offered to pay me. He said: Can I pay you right here? Release it. Just leave it at the Quezon City Memorial. I'll pay you right here)," Nebrija recalled.

Nebrija shared his frustration and disappointment  with Aguilar as the latter was a traffic enforcer who violated the laws he was supposed to uphold.

"This is why we can't solve the traffic problem in [the area of] Quezon City Memorial Center. Despite how many times you apprehend them, they will always return on the road because they are well protected. When you apprehend them, a policeman will protect them," Nebrija said in Filipino. 

As of September 12, Aguilar was relieved of his post as a traffic enforcer and was demoted to sentinel duty at the gate of Camp Karingal in Quezon City. 

The IACT focuses on clearing out road obstructions such as illegally parked vehicles, among other objectives.

It seeks to address traffic problems through inter-agency coordination and pooling of resources and personnel through joint operations involving the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Highway Patrol Group (HPG) , and local governments.

Aside from Metro Manila, IACT will also be implemented in Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite. – Rappler.com

#FloodPH Alert: Flooded areas outside Metro Manila September 12


MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Maring has been affecting not only Metro Manila but also nearby provinces as it made landfall on Tuesday, September 12. 

Maring landed in the vicinity of Mauban, Quezon, at 9 am, and was traversing the area of Metro Manila and Laguna according to the 11 am report of state weather bureau PAGASA. (READ: Tropical Depression Maring makes landfall in Quezon)

Most of the affected provinces were in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and the province of Pangasinan. 

6:16 pm: A couple of buses were stranded in Calauag, Quezon due to landslide.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A couple of buses are stranded in Calauag, Quezon due to landslide <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaringPH?src=hash">#MaringPH</a> Photo by Agos volunteer riders <a href="https://t.co/hiQHkz4fbR">pic.twitter.com/hiQHkz4fbR</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/907427753028227072">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

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6:19 pm: Zero visibility in Antipolo.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">To everyone who&#39;s driving or travelling during this weather, please please please be safe. :pray::pray::pray: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaringPH?src=hash">#MaringPH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Maring?src=hash">#Maring</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalangPasok?src=hash">#WalangPasok</a> <a href="https://t.co/f6V16tksXs">pic.twitter.com/f6V16tksXs</a></p>&mdash; Jessa Jane Epoc (@theezerbride) <a href="https://twitter.com/theezerbride/status/907428318294634496">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

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7:08 pm: Flooding in Atimonan, Quezon 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">

<p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Keep safe sa mga kababayan ko sa Atimonan, Quezon. My friend sent this photo of Maharlika Highway <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaringPH?src=hash">#MaringPH</a>

<a href="https://t.co/Ar5f1emehy">pic.twitter.com/Ar5f1emehy</a>

</p>&mdash; Leia Campomanes © (@leidicamp) 

<a href="https://twitter.com/leidicamp/status/907440649846136832">September 12, 2017</a>


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7:19 pm: Lopez, Quezon, was not spared from flooding as well.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="es" dir="ltr">Lopez, Quezon. <a href="https://t.co/ItrplQBXgc">pic.twitter.com/ItrplQBXgc</a></p>&mdash; Marian :kiss: (@marianenteria) <a href="https://twitter.com/marianenteria/status/907443574651863040">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote> 

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7 am: SM City, Bacoor, Cavite was submerged in knee-deep flood. 


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9am: People were stranded in Calauag, Quezon due to landslide.


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10 am: Rescue operations were done in Barangay Sampaloc and Barangay Biñan in Pagsanjan, Laguna. Video courtesy of MDRRMC Pagsanjan. 


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12:15 pm:  


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How to report floods

The public can send photos and post status updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtag #FloodPH. The posts should be set to public.

Reports can also be sent via SMS to 2929 for Smart and Talk N' Text subscribers.

Text Format: FLOODPH <Street, Barangay, City> <Describe Flood>

Sample Text: FLOODPH Quirino Roxas Blvd, along Taft Ave Southbound, Manila Gutter deep passable to vehicles.

Flood reports can also be posted directly on the Agos map, powered by eBayanihan. Rappler's MovePH team will monitor the map and alert the public and authorities. – Rappler.com

Guide to Marikina River's alarm level system


MARIKINA RIVER. In this file photo, a man watches the water level along the Marikina River. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Whenever heavy rain hits Metro Manila, the water level along the Marikina River is one of the things being closely monitored by local officials.

In the past, the bursting of the river banks not only caused massive flooding in Marikina City and other parts of Metro Manila but also displaced hundreds of families living near the river.

"Kapag umuulan, 'yung water from Marikina River bumabagsak sa Pasig River at Laguna de Bay. Kung bumabaha sa Marikina River, babagsak 'yan sa kalakhang Maynila," explained Jun Bautista from the flood control office of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

(When it rains, the water from the Marikina River flows to the Pasig River and Laguna de Bay. When areas around the Marikina River experience flooding, the floodwaters also flow to other parts of Metro Manila.)

To prevent heavy flooding in Metro Manila, Bautista said the MMDA would directly divert water to the Laguna de Bay through the Manggahan Floodway. 

Marikina City has a 3-stage alarm level system for the Marikina River, based on the depth of water in the river below the Sto. Niño Bridge:

  • Alarm Level 1: when the water is 15 meters above sea level, means "prepare" 
  • Alarm Level 2: when the water is 16 meters above sea level, means "evacuate" 
  • Alarm Level 3: when the water is 18 meters above sea level, means "forced evacuation"


To forecast and monitor flooding, the local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office in Marikina has installed at least two water level monitoring equipment along the Marikina River. 

The river monitoring sensors from the Department of Science and Technology are installed at Tumana Bridge and Sto. Niño Bridge. These sensors are able to "accurately measure and determine the floodwaters in real time."

When the river's water level rises, the local DRRM office in Marikina uses a siren to alert surrounding communities of the current alarm level.

According to Marikina City's public information office, the towns of Malanday, Nangka, and Tumana are considered critical areas.

The 27-kilometer river connects to a number of tributary waterways which drain into 4 municipalities and one city in Rizal province, and 3 cities in Metro Manila. – Rappler.com