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Civic groups offer 10 recommendations to make ASEAN inclusive


'INCLUDE US'. Multinational civic groups call on ASEAN member states to include marginalized sectors in talks to address pressing social issues in the region. Photo by Iona Finlay Medoza/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines - Voices from the margins are not being heard at the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila, various civic groups from across the region said on Tuesday, November 14.

"These biggest sectors of the community have been excluded from the process," according to Dr Eduardo Tadem, a convenor of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference and ASEAN People's Forum (ACSC/APFP).

Members of the multinational coalition expressed their disappointment over ASEAN's alleged failure to recognize the social cost of migration, its impact on families that were left behind, the harassment of Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the 'horrendous' treatment of victims of human trafficking.

They stressed that the protection of basic human rights in the region is "inadequate."

The coalition, which is composed of civic society groups that represent 10 ASEAN countries, wanted "real" representatives of the people at the summit. It believes that the international gathering of leaders is being dominated by business interests that caused economic, social, and environmental crises across the region. (READ: Who are the ASEAN dialogue partners in Manila?)

Mainly a business meeting?

According to Tadem, the ASEAN summit mainly talked about issues that are related to business like how to increase exports and how to promote investments.

"ASEAN is really basically an organization of the region's political oligarchs and business interests, and they've excluded 99% of the people in the region," he added. 

The gathering of civil society groups which Tadem helped convene stressed that the ASEAN integration and migration policies continue to neglect realities such as large displacement of people from their lands, labor mobility, and different migration flows. 

The unrecognized number of migrant workers found in the low-skilled and informal economy also contributed to this failure, the group said. 

10 basic solutions

To address these problems, ACSC/APFP proposed the following basic solutions:

  1. Put a social dimension to the ASEAN integration with emphasis on the rights of the people, particularly the marginalized and discriminated sectors.
  2. Uphold human rights and rule of law.
  3. Review the ASEAN principle of non-interference and advance democracy in decision-making. 
  4. Forge regional solutions to regional disputes like territorial claims and the like. 
  5. Adopt international laws and policies which adhere to human rights standards, labor laws, and laws on refugees. 
  6. Expand spaces for people's participation.
  7. Build capacities for people empowerment. 
  8. Prioritize people's agenda over corporate interest. 
  9. Support people's alternative regional integration. 
  10. Respect struggles of collective resistance.

The coalition of civic groups called on ASEAN member-states to partner with civic and non-governmental organization to create a just, equitable, and humane region that advances programs and policies that are people-centered.- Rappler.com

ASEAN, East Asia vow to step up efforts to end hunger in the region


ASEAN PLUS THREE. The leaders of the ASEAN Plus Three, which includes ASEAN member-states, People's Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, pose for a photo during the 20th APT Commemorative Summit. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Asia is committed to step up its fight against hunger.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in food security on Tuesday, November 14.

The ASEAN Plus Three (APT), which includes the ASEAN member-states, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, met on Tuesday to discuss the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of APT Cooperation and the APT Leaders' Statement on Food Security Cooperation.

In their 15-point statement, the leaders committed to a "strong determination to enhance cooperation in food security by encouraging countries in the region to take effective measures." (READ: Toward an effective ASEAN strategy against hunger)

In a nutshell, the APT leaders agreed on the following:

  • Support policies and actions towards ending hunger and achieving food security within the region
  • Encourage regular policy dialogues among ASEAN member-states and Plus Three countries
  • Increase private sector participation in policy discussions and foster an environment for public-private-partnerships
  • Promote exchange of information and experiences to improve an agricultural investment environment
  • Enhance competitiveness for farmers, small-scale producers, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and those engaged in agribusinesses


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During the 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in 2012, the ASEAN declared that food security is a state which "remains a major challenge for ASEAN and the world as a whole, at a time of high commodity prices and economic uncertainty."

According to a 2017 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 60 million people in Southeast Asia remain undernourished despite vast improvements in gross domestic product and rising agricultural productivity.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of the United Nations hopes to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The APT countries committed to "strengthen efforts to implement the commitments" under SDG 2. To achieve this, the leaders are looking at enhancing the engagement through the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry Plus Three meetings.

They also support the implementation of the ASEAN Integated Food Security Framework and the strategic plan of action from 2015 to 2020 in the region.

Recognizing the adverse impact of climate change in food security, they also committed to strengthen coordination between countries and to support policies that improve comprehensive grain production capacity within the region. (INFOGRAPHIC: How climate change harms the ASEAN food basket)

Noting the importance of regular policy dialogues, the APT leaders said they will continue to convene the APT Food Security Cooperation Strategic Roundtable Conference to enhance information exchange. They are looking at the possible establishment of an information sharing system for partner countries.

The leaders are also looking at promoting food conservation and waste reduction to achieve food security. – Rappler.com

Environmental group slams Trudeau's 'inaction' on Canada trash in PH


ASEAN SUMMIT ROCKSTAR. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sends many Filipinos into frenzy during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Like his first visit to the Philippines in 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent Filipinos into frenzy during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila. However, not everyone is amused. (READ: 4 truths about Justin Trudeau)

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its dismay over Trudeau’s “gross indifference” to the garbage controversy that involves a 1,300-ton trash that Canada dumped to the Philippines in 2013.

When he was confronted about the issue in a media briefing on Tuesday, November 14, Trudeau said it is now possible for his country to bring back the garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines but he did not make a full commitment to remove the it out of the country.

With the “legal barriers” out of their way, Trudeau explained that it is now possible for his country to bring back the 103 container vans of trash illegally dumped in the Philippines.

He added that the Canadian and Philippine governments need to iron out and determine where the financial responsibility for the shipment of the container vans falls.

When Trudeau visited Philippines in 2015 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, he said that “there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed.”

“Trudeau’s apathetic inaction only reinforced our belief that the ‘Canadian solution’ he spoke about in 2015 on the sidelines of the APEC Summit was nothing but an empty promise,” said EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero.

Lucero hoped the world leader's latest response is not another empty promise.

The Canadian trash controversy was among the topics Trudeau discussed with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their brief conversation on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit.

“I expressed to President Duterte the assurance of my officials here in the Philippines and back in Canada that we will continue to work on this and hopefully resolve this.” – Rappler.com

How to make a social enterprise idea stand out


MANILA, Philippines – There can be many proposed ideas to solve problems in society. However, not all ideas can stand out.  (READ: Standout solutions: The winning ideas from #HackSociety 2017

In the Philippines, a study shows there are already 164,473 social enterprises contributing to poverty alleviation. These innovative social enterprises have been trying to solve different problems. 

During the ASEAN + Social Good Summit held at the Rappler HQ on Monday, November 13, various experts and social entrepreneurs discussed different insights on how to make a social enterprise idea thrive.

According to Percival Cendeña, a former commissioner at the National Youth Commission, what makes millennials move forward with their ideas is their pasaway mindset.

"In Filipino, we have this term called pasaway which can be translated into English as being unruly or the refusal to follow rules. You can't just give millennials a problem and say there are no solutions. They will always find answers to the solution," Cendeña said.

He added that a good thing about millennials today is that they don't stop seeking and coming up with bold and crazy solutions for the problems that the elders might have given up on. 

Two of the panelists during the discussion served as perfect examples. 

Cristina Guanzon and Pauline Guanzon are sisters who founded E.A.R.S by Innovable, Incorporated.

E.A.R.S. stands for  Early Action Response System, which offers a wearable device for the deaf. It has a sensor and vibration system that can serve as a safety assistant for the deaf in public places.

Born with a disability, Cristina chose to seek solutions that can help her. She did not let her disability define what she can and cannot do. 

Pauline said that it was the disability that served as the greatest motivation for her sister to innovate. 

"People with disabilities are not less of a person. They just have different strengths and abilities. [Christina] wanted to prove that she is not just this, she can do so much more," Pauline added. 

Katrina Chan, Executive Director of QBO Innovation Hub, also shared what talents they look for in millennials today.  

"There are so many ideas and innovations out there but it's really the entrepreneurs that understand the problem, validate with their customers, and execute solutions that enjoy success and make an impact," she said. 


Just like any other startups, aspiring social entrepreneurs must be aware of the inevitable challenges they will face as they turn their ideas into actions. 

Pauline Guanzon shared one important tip in times of trying times. "Stand firm on your why because your who and how might change," she said. 

She added that there might people who will bring you down but what is important is that you find the right people to work with.

Another tip would be to check the replicability of the idea or solution.  "How do you develop a franchise for a certain idea? Try to imagine your program in a different place. If it works, then it is a better idea. Imagination and collaboration will play a big role," Cendeña shared.

Chan, for her part, urged millennials to not be afraid of failure. They might encounter a stumbling block as they go through the journey but what matters is how they use the stumbling block to move forward. (READ: A tip for startups: Dare to Fail )

"It's okay to fail. As long as you learn from it, maybe you pivot, maybe you do something else but it's the whole experience of going [on] and innovating with a purpose that what we are all going for," she said. – Rappler.com

Doctors reattach severed arm of woman in MRT accident


ACCIDENT. Blood is seen on the platform of the MRT3 Ayala Station after a woman lost her right arm in an accident on November 14, 2017. Photo by Celia Eya Castillo

MANILA, Philippines – In a positive turn of events, surgeons on Wednesday, November 15,  successfully reattached the severed arm of a woman who had figured in an accident at the Metro Rail Transit-3 just the day before.

Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said 24-year-old Angeline Fernando had a successful operation Wednesday morning, and would be under observation at the Makati Medical Center for a few days.

"Angeline's arm is reconnected to her body; the bone, the nerve and vessels are reconnected. She is under observation at least until Friday," Chavez said. 

Fernando fainted as she alighted the train around 2:30 pm on Tuesday. She fell on the railway tracks, and her right arm was caught in between the first and second train cars.

Chavez said that according to the Fernando's mother, Gloria, Angeline has a history of fainting spells.

"Nahihilo si Angeline minsan 'pag maraming tao. Lumalabas siya minsan sa simbahan 'pag nagsisimba kami kasi nahihirapan siya huminga 'pag maraming tao," Chavez said.

(Angeline sometimes gets dizzy when there's too many people. Sometimes, she has to leave the church since she experiences difficulty in breathing when there's too many people.)

Chavez earlier confirmed that Fernando's arm was cut near her armpit.

According to a witness, Fernando tried to climb back onto the station's platform but no one responded right away.

The Department of Transportation promised that the MRT-3 management will help Fernando’s family with the medical bills. – Rappler.com


Violence marks ASEAN 2017 protests in Manila


VIOLENCE. At least 123 protesters are injured from the scuffle that ensued between protesters and riot police on Monday, November 13. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – For 6 days, from November 9 to November 14, thousands took to the streets of Metro Manila to protest against the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings hosted by the Philippines.

Violence marked the wave of protest actions as riot police struggled to keep the mobilizations under control.

The groups protested a wide range of issues including extrajudicial killings and violations of human rights linked to the Duterte administration's war on drugs, the government’s “extravagant hosting” of the Summit, the visit of US President Donald Trump to the country, and the countries' use of fossil fuels, among other issues. 

Violence and injuries

Riot police used water cannons, truncheons, and ear-piercing sonic alarm against protesters. These led to violent standoffs that resulted in hundreds injured from both police and protesters.

Defending these tactics, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said that protesters overstepped, leaving cops with no choice but to fight back.

"Sinadya 'nyo 'yan. Kayo naman ang unang nanakit. Kayo naman ang unang naging marahas, so wala kaming magagawa," Dela Rosa said in a news briefing.

(You chose to do it. You were the first to hurt [the police] initiated the violence. You were the first ones to become violent, so we were left with no choice.)

BIGGEST. At least 2,000 protesters join the November 13 rally along Taft Avenue as the ASEAN 2017 Summit officially opens a few kilometers away. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

The most tense scuffle that ensued between police and protesters happened along Taft Avenue on Monday, November 13, as the ASEAN Summit officially opened a few kilometers away at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).  

Police who responded to this demonstration were outnumbered as at least a thousand protesters attended the rally. (IN PHOTOS: At least 2,000 attend protests on day one of ASEAN Summit)

At total of 123 activists were injured according to the Health Alliance for Democracy after the outnumbered cops used water cannons and truncheons against those who attempted to break the police barricade set up along the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue.

Around 20 other protesters and 20 cops were also injured earlier on Sunday, November 12, at Plaza Salamanca, a square near the US embassy, after demonstrators attempted to go nearer a zone marked off-limits to demonstrators.

Arrest and cases

Police arrested a protester "in the act of throwing stones” at the rally near the US embassy on Sunday.

Joint Task Group Peace and Order (JTG PO) representative Police Superintendent Ronald Hipolito said the protesters starting throwing stones despite them “exercising maximum tolerance.”  They supposedly arrested Karapatan member Neil Legaspi, while the police were dispersing the violent crowd.

Protesters, however, told a different story.

According to Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, Legaspi was driving the van owned by Karapatan for paralegal assistance during rallies when he was supposedly accosed by the police.

ARREST. Police and human rights group Karapatan tell different stories surrounding the arrest of Karapatan member Neil Legaspi on Sunday, November 12. Photo by Karapatan

Palabay said that Legaspi was forced out of the van, his hands handcuffed by two policemen – dentified by Karaptan as a certain PO1 Agcamanan and PO2 Bigcas of the Regional Public Safety Battalion, under the leadership of Task Force ASEAN.

Police filed a case against Legaspi and two protest leaders –  former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño and Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes – after the incident.

The police complaint claimed that Casiño, Reyes, and Legaspi violated the Public Assembly Act of 1985 by committing breach of peace, assault, and disobedience and resistance to authorities.

Palabay downplayed these as nothing but “trumped up charges.”

We are in fact mulling countercharges of carnapping and illegal search and seizure against CIDG operatives O. Silla, E. Ocampo, R. Siochi, J. Florendo, and Padua and TF ASEAN officials regarding this,” Palabay said in a statement.

On Tuesday, November 14, Legaspi was released by the police, with the charges against him referred for further preliminary investigation.

Protest gimmicks

RALLY. More than a hundred students and youth organizations hold a lightning rally at SM MOA Globe Rotonda on November 12, 2017, during the ASEAN Summit gala night at the SMX Convention Center. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

There was no shortage of protest gimmicks in the 6 days that activist groups claimed the streets to show their frustrations and dismay at the country's leaders who were meeting for the ASEAN Summit. (READ: Small group of ASEAN protesters reach PICC gate

Greenpeace also painted protest graffiti on the pavements of the Summit venue to send this message to US President Trump: "Climate change is real." (READ: Greenpeace taunts Trump in protest graffiti)

FASCIST SPINNER. Protesters burn a 13-foot tall effigy of US President Donald Trump on Monday, November 13. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

On the night country leaders were having an elaborate 4-course dinner at the ASEAN gala, urban poor group Kadamay organized a boodle fight among homeless Filipinos in Mendiola to juxtapose the "ruling elite’s dinner [with] that of ordinary poor Filipinos."

Bayan also unveiled the "Fascist Spinner," a 13-foot effigy of Trump that featured 4 rotating hands shaped into the swastika symbol. "In his own country, Trump has been described as fascist and has been blamed for the rise of neo-Nazi groups," Bayan said in a statement.

On the last day of their protest, militant groups burned a modified US flag at Mendiola as they condemned the bilateral meeting between Trump and Duterte which they described as "a sell-out of Filipinos."

At least 60,000 security personnel were deployed during the ASEAN Sumit. The Crowd Disturbance Management (CDM) team, tasked to deal with the protest rallies,was part of the ASEAN security team. 

Below are some photos taken on the last day of protests for the ASEAN Summit:

MODIFIED FLAG. Protesters prepare a modified US flag which they set to burn on the last day of the ASEAN Summit. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler


HUMAN RIGHTS. As the ASEAN Summit wraps up, activists highlight the issue of human rights. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

LAST DAY. Hundreds join the rally on the last day of the ASEAN 2017 Summit hosted by the Philippine government. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

BURN. Protesters burn the modified US flags during the last day of the ASEAN Summit. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

– Rappler.com 

No more ASEAN lanes along EDSA, Roxas Blvd – MMDA


MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on  Wednesday morning, November 15, ended the implementation of the special lanes for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings.

In a message to reporters, MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago confirmed that there would be no more ASEAN lanes along EDSA and Roxas Boulevard in Pasay CIty, following the departure of world leaders who attended the summit.

"As per approval of (ASEAN Security) Committee Chairman Catalino Cuy and ASTF (ASEAN Security Task Force) Commander Nap Taas, per recommendation of MMDA, ASEAN lane along EDSA is terminated, including the opening of Roxas Boulevard," said Pialago.

The ASEAN lanes are special lanes for exclusive use by summit delegates. (READ: What happens if you breach the ASEAN lane?)

The implementation of the special lanes caused heavy traffic on Saturday, November 13, prompting actress and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 Maria Isabel Lopez to remove the divider cones in an attempt to "outsmart" traffic.

Lopez was later issued a summons by the Land Transportation Office. She might lose her driver's license permanently due to her behavior.

The  ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings were held from Sunday, November 12, to Tuesday, November 14. It was attended by leaders of ASEAN member countries, and 11 dialogue partners including US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and People's Republic of China Prime Minister Li Keqiang. – Rappler.com

PH leads call for innovative climate finance for vulnerable countries


COP23. Senator Loren Legarda leads the Philippine delegation at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany

BONN, Germany – Senator Loren Legarda, the head of the Philippine delegation at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), called for a more innovative climate financing on Tuesday, November 14, in Bonn, Germany.

Legarda said that the Philippines particularly needs to get international climate finance support for data gathering and capacity building. 

 “Having a deep understanding of our vulnerabilities will enable us to plan better and smarter,” Legarda added.

According to the Senator, while the Philippines needs to ensure that the pledges in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) amounting to 100 billion dollars in public finance annually are delivered with the right balance, this figure pales starkly in comparison to private finance, which the country needs to tap with urgency.

“We need financing and de-risking facilities that unlock investments in critical infrastructure assets outlined in the vulnerable country-led Climate Infrastructure Blueprints, including urban services, transport, water, energy, sustainable landscapes, and ocean and coastal ecosystems,” Legarda said.

Sustainable climate insurance

Meanwhile, the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) led by Ethiopian Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Kare Chawicha Dabessa also presented an Islamic finance-related insurance facility on the sidelines of the global climate negotiations.

With Legarda and Dabessa, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) climate finance advisor Sara Jane Ahmed talked about Sustainable Insurance and Takaful Facility (SITF) as an example that would “enhance the acceptability of the insurance product and aligns incentives to pursue mitigation and adaptation activities.”

Takaful (insurance) is a “cooperation between members of a community whereby each member undertakes to contribute a certain sum of money to a fund which will be used mutually to assist the members against a defined loss or damage,” according to ICSC. (READ: COP23: Plea for 'urgent action' on climate shadowed by Trump)

“We need more solutions such as the SITF to build resilient and sustainable communities and economies in our vulnerable countries,” said Legarda.

“There is a disconnect between the funds and those who want to implement the projects; banks should lend more to green investments and less to coal or fossil fuels,” she explained.

Rethinking insurance for vulnerable countries

Ethiopia, the chair of the CVF and Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20), welcomed the initiative to provide access to innovative climate and disaster risk finance to vulnerable countries including sustainable insurance scheme. (READ: Syria to join Paris climate pact, isolating US)

“What we are doing is rethinking insurance to enable the ‘thriving’ of our vulnerable countries. We must use innovative financing and insurance to close the slow onset and fast onset event protection gap. We must incentivize adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures. And we must promote low carbon infrastructure investments,” said Ahmed.

Dr Saleem Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD), and Dr Ainun Nishat, climate change specialist of the BRAC University, also discussed climate finance solutions in Bangladesh. (READ: Tiny Fiji looks for global impact at Bonn climate talks)

The event “Innovative Climate Finance Strategies and Instruments by and for Climate Vulnerable Countries” was organized by ICSC, the Philippine government delegation, and the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies. - Rappler.com

Mickey Eva is currently the Regional Campaigns Communication Officer for Climate Action Network.

Pasig, Legazpi showcase urban climate solutions at UN climate conference


CLIMATE CHANGE. ASEAN cities present sustainable climate change mitigation initiatives during the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany. Photo by Mickey Eva

BONN, Germany – Philippine cities Pasig and Legazpi as well as other Southeast Asian cities showcased innovative urban solutions related to climate adaptation and mitigation on the sidelines of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany on Tuesday, November 14.

At a side event, Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal and Pasig Environment and Natural Resources Office head Raquel Naciongayo shared how their cities are  moving toward low carbon and resilient urban development. (READ: Climate change: Why PH should care)

Many participants of the annual global climate conference commended Pasig City's “Bayanihan sa Daan” Sustainable Transport Program, which is a Galing Pook Award recipient. Launched in 1993, the annual Galing Pook Awards had recognized innovative LGU programs that served as models of good governance.

“It is built upon the concept of Bayanihan to enhance the community spirit in the city,” said Naciongayo, reffering to the city's award-winning project. 

With a budget of approximately $1 USD, Naciongayo also discussed plans to integrate hybrid solar panels in all of the city's 42 public schools, stressing that the local government unit hopes to turn Pasig into a "Green City." (READ: WATCH: Why it's time to act on climate change)

Legazpi City, which is known for its zero casualty record during disasters, also highlighted the importance of community-based climate adaptation initiatives. 

“After the devastation of the 2006 Typhoon Reming, we’ve learned our lesson – that communication protocol is very important, it’s about shared responsibility and the concerted efforts of our people,” according to Mayor Rosal, the focal Mayor for the Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP).

Since then, Legazpi has been recognized as one of the most competitive cities by the Asian Institute of Management and a recipient of the Gawad Kalasag Awards of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) a number of times. (READ: Young people see climate change as top global challenge)

Other ASEAN countries

Other speakers in the event included Oswar Muadzin Mungkasa, Deputy Governor for Spatial Planning and Environment of Jakarta and Hoang Thi Huong Giang, the program’s Country Liaison Officer for Vietnam. Both cities are aiming to build green communities. 

Mungkasa said that one of the Indonesian capital's goals is to introduce climate mitigation initiatives that promote energy efficiency. (READ: PH one of 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change)

On the other hand, Hanoi is seeking to ensure the "sustainable development of the city with comprehensive infrastructure while conserving the ecology as well as culture and heritage,” Giang said.

Experts also acknowledged the importance of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration in building urban resilience.


“ASEAN integration has been a hot topic. We need to explore synergies on urban data systems and continue to work together,” Ranell Dedicatoria, Regional Coordinator of ICLEI’s Ambitious City Promises, said.  – Rappler.com

Mickey Miguel-Eva, a Climate Reality Leader, is the Regional Campaigns Communications Officer for Asia with the Climate Action Network, a network of about 1,100 NGOs in over 120 countries. He studied BS Geography at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.

Environmental groups urge PH, ASEAN to join global coal phase-out


COAL PHASE-OUT. Powering Past Coal 
Alliance urges Philippines and the rest of the ASEAN nations to rid of coal. Photo courtesy of Catherine Abreu

BONN, Germany – Environmental groups called on the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to follow suit as 27 countries and states commit to phasing out coal at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) on Thursday, November 16, in Bonn, Germany.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance, led by the UK and Canada, announced the declaration amid a global effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature increase as set in the Paris Agreement.

The signatories committed to “phasing out existing traditional coal power in their jurisdictions, and to a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage within their jurisdictions,” the declaration read. 

The alliance also includes non-government partners, such as businesses, that pledged to excluding coal as a power source for its operations.

“Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states. Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity,” said Claire Perry, UK Minister for Climate Change and Industry.

According to a report by Berlin-based climate science and policy institute Climate Analytics, a coal phase-out by 2030 in the EU28 and the OECD and by 2050 in the rest of the world is necessary to meet the climate goals.

The alliance – currently composed of Alberta, Angola, Austria, Belgium, British Columbia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Fiji, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Ontario, Oregon, Portugal, Quebec, Switzerland and Washington – aims to grow to 50 partners by next year. 

Regional trend

Data from the ASEAN Center for Energy (ACE) showed that coal is also projected to rise in the whole ASEAN region from 47 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 261 GW in 2035, making up to 55% of the region’s electricity generation.

The region’s energy demand is growing twice as fast as China, according to the World Energy Outlook 2017 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) released Tuesday, November 14.

“Fifteen percent of the new coal-fired power plants will be in Southeast Asia. We are going into the opposite direction in the global decline. We need to stop building new coal fired power plants, for the benefit of the local communities who suffer from its adverse impacts,” said Wanun Perpimbul, Director of Climate Watch Thailand.

Nithi Nesadurai, Regional Coordinator of Climate Action Network Southeast Asia (CANSEA), noted that, with the increasing trajectory of coal use in all ASEAN countries, "we need to exert serious pressure to intervene to phase out coal in the region."

“All our countries have committed to the Paris Agreement and to a low carbon development pathway, so there's no excuse to move away from coal like the rest of the world,” he added.

“By working together in removing barriers and addressing cross-border issues on utilizing renewable resources, the ASEAN can enhance its understanding of and implement a transition to renewable energy,” remarked Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of Jakarta-based think tank Institute for Essential Service Reform. 

Coal on the rise

Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed that coal dominates the Philippines’ energy mix, making up approximately 45% of the country’s total power generation. It is projected to increase over the next few years to address a growing energy demand. (READ: Climate group calls on ASEAN leaders to shift to renewable energy)

But Rodne Galica of the Climate Reality in the Philippines said there is reason to hope. 

“Philippines’ energy policy is towards the shift to renewables, considering the fact that we have that commitment to the Paris Agreement. Our national renewable energy plan and energy policies should be reviewed for it to fit in the Paris Agreement commitments,” Galicha said. 

Riedo Panaligan, Executive Director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST), also echoed this and supported the call made by the Powering Past Coal Alliance, urging Philippines to rid of coal. 

According to her, transitioning to renewable energy is the future. 

“The cost of renewable energy systems, especially solar PV technologies, is dropping every year and it can already compete economically with coal-based energy sources and other fossil fuels,” Panaligan explained. – Rappler.com 


Mickey Miguel-Eva, a Climate Reality Leader, is the Regional Campaigns Communications Officer for Asia with the Climate Action Network, a network of about 1,100 NGOs in over 120 countries. He studied BS Geography at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. 

Why Lumad groups are camping outside DepEd


CAMP OUT. The Save our Schools Network leads Lumad groups in calling on DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to recognize all Lumad community schools in Mindanao. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Around a hundred Lumad children and members camped outside the Department of Education on Thursday, November 16.

On the narrow sidewalk along Meralco Avenue in Pasig City, Lumad groups set up tarpaulins and mats in a bid to call on DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to recognize all Lumad community schools in Mindanao and condemn supposed military attacks against schools for Lumad.

They are planning to camp out on the sidewalk for at least a week or until their appeals are heard.

“As the executive in this department, Sec. Briones has the power and authority to facilitate the immediate release of the permits of these schools,” Rius Valle of Save our Schools Mindanao said.

Securing permits

According to Valle, over a hundred Lumad schools are still processing permits to operate.

In an interview with reporters, Briones said there is no problem with the permits so long as the schools applying for them go through the process required by the education department. Briones added that Undersecretary Alberto T. Muyot personally went to Cotabato in the past week to look into this problem.

“We treat all schools equally. To be able to register, there are some requirements. For example, you have a clear and permanent site so the kids will know where to go. For example, you have to have qualified teachers who will teach. You also have to follow the curriculum,” Briones said.

In fact, there are at least 2,900 schools in the Philippines that cater to more than 2.9 million indigenous students. All of these schools went through the proper process to secure permits. 

There are no exemptions to the process, according to Briones.

“We apply the same policy to all schools which they should comply with. If they are not registered, we cannot monitor them,” the education secretary added, citing the case of Madrasah or Muslim schools in the country.

“Nearly every mosques has a Madrasah school. They follow the curriculum. They teach Arabic. They teach the Islamic faith but at the end of the day, the child is able to apply to other schools if the child wants to," Briones added. 

Attacks against schools?

Aside from securing permits, the Save our Schools Network is also calling for the condemnation by the education department of the attacks, given the “continuing military attacks on almost all over 200 Lumad schools in Mindanao.”

“Sec. Briones should issue a statement condemning military attacks on schools and investigate the allegations of connivance of DepEd regional offices with the military in closing down Lumad schools in Mindanao,” Valle reiterated.

Responding to this, DepEd said that it maintains and honors its commitment to leave no learner behind. "The Department has and will never condone activities that imperil the security of its learners, teachers and personnel, and enjoins all education stakeholders to commit in enforcing the same," DepEd said in its statement. 

DepEd also said that the education secretary has been campaigning that all schools in the Philippines must be respected as zones of peace. 


Lumad groups, led by the Save our Schools network, have been struggling to raise awareness about the plight of Lumad children since July. According to them, the extension of the declaration of martial law early in July has displaced hundreds of students in Mindanao

They even wrote letters addressed to President Duterte in a bid to stop martial law in their hometowns. But these calls fell on deaf ears.

Some 3 months since they came to Metro Manila to raise awareness about their plight, the Lumads have still not gone home. Most of them have no houses to go back to. – Rappler.com

Commuters share most horrible MRT experiences


MANILA, Philippines – With glitches and technical issues now a part of the daily commute on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), netizens who ride the train line vented their concerns and frustrations on social media.

The Service Status section of the DOTr MRT3 website shows daily technical issues that had disrupted train operations as well as the schedule of its riders.

On Friday morning, November 17, barely an hour after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) assured the public that the MRT3 maintenance team is "working overtime" to keep the trains running smoothly, passengers were again unloaded at the southbound track of the Santolan Anapolis station because of a technical problem.

The day before, MRT passengers were offloaded and forced to walk from the Ayala Station to the Buendia Station after a train car was decoupled from the train body. 

On Tuesday, November 14, a passenger lost her right arm in an accident at the Ayala Station. Her arm has since been successfully reattached after hours-long of operation.

'Bad expereince'

The daily glitches, according to MRT commuters, are no longer acceptable. Some of them took to social media to share their most horrible experience on the train. (READ: MRT and the violence of our mass transport system

Their experiences range from accidents, mugging, long lines, and jampacked coaches. Here are some of them:


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Facebook user Charlie Columna, who has been taking the MRT for over a decade now,  witnessed its slow and agonizing deterioration. He also noted that this was the result of the failures of previous administrations to address the problem. (READ: Going beyond #MRTChallenge

"If you were handed over a terminally-ill patient who wasn't given proper medical care by its previous doctors, the only thing you can do is ease its pain until it's time for him to go. At the MRT's current state, no amount of patching up or Band-aid solutions will make it run smoothly," Columna said. 


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Movie lines 

On Twitter, some netizens even borrowed famous movie lines that reflected their sentiments about the MRT.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">“Ayoko ng tinatapakan ako. Ayoko ng masikip, ayoko ng mabaho, ayoko ng walang tubig, ayoko ng walang pagkain, ayoko ng putik!”<br>- Maricel Soriano, Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit (1984)</p>&mdash; Renèrys Targaryen (@Rene_Gandeza_Jr) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rene_Gandeza_Jr/status/931066221188886528?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">&quot;walang himala!&quot;</p>&mdash; Rachel Peralta (@table_runner) <a href="https://twitter.com/table_runner/status/931175965471805441?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">&quot;Once, twice, thrice—gaano ba kadalas ang minsan?&quot;<br>– Hilda Koronel, Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (1982)</p>&mdash; Renèrys Targaryen (@Rene_Gandeza_Jr) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rene_Gandeza_Jr/status/931066411291574272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Some just can't help but feel pure disgust with the daily train malfunction.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">&quot;Alam ko na pagod na pagod ka na. Pero sana wag mo naman ako iwan sa ere. I mean sa riles pala.&quot;</p>&mdash; hopia mani (@hopiabulag) <a href="https://twitter.com/hopiabulag/status/931135971818536960?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There are people behind running the mrt. To them, quit your jobs! All of you do not have the right to be there and get paid!</p>&mdash; Eliot (@kimmyungjung) <a href="https://twitter.com/kimmyungjung/status/931203258567159808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Just like what that usec said the other they, MRT is improving. From &#39;tirik&#39; 2 to 5 times per day, now somebody had her arm cut and now a detached &#39;bagon&#39;. He should stop bragging about MRT &#39;improvements&#39;</p>&mdash; tuphe (@x2fer2008) <a href="https://twitter.com/x2fer2008/status/931059695682338816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Many are asking when – if at all – the good, clean, and professional-looking MRT of the early 2000s will ever make a comeback. – Rappler.com

What do you think about our transport system? Share it on X

Fewer MRT3 trains, new operation schedule as Christmas season nears


UPGRADE. MRT implements new hours. File photo by Mark Z. Saludes/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) is cutting its operating hours short beginning Friday, November 17.

Starting Friday, the new operation schedule is shortened by an hour to give way for longer safety checks.

On regular days, operation will start later at 5:30 am daily and will close earlier at 10:30 pm. The last revenue train from North Avenue station will depart at 9:10 pm, while the train from Taft Avenue will depart at 9:50 pm.

Headways of each train during weekdays is expected at 5.5 minutes and 7.5 minutes during weekends.

The MRT3 management also announced that only 15 trains will be in use during weekdays, lower than the usual 15 to 18 trains in operation per day.

Meanwhile, the number of trains available for use on weekends remains the same at 12.

The previous schedule of MRT3 starts at 5 am and closes at 11 pm.

The change was made for longer maintenance schedule following a recent detachment of train cars on Thursday, November 16. It forced passengers to walk along the tracks between Ayala and Buendia stations.

Senator Grace Poe called for a temporary shutdown of operations for longer safety checks but MRT3 operations director Mike Capati said it will only bring grave inconvenience to the riding public.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that there is no need to suspend operations and gave assurances to the public that the train system is safe for its riders to use despite safety concerns.– Rappler.com

Iona Finlay Mendoza is a Rappler intern

MMDA to riders on EDSA: Stay on motorcycle lanes starting November 22


DRY-RUN. The MMDA conducts a dry-run on the motorcycle lane implementation on Friday, November 17. Photo by MMDA

MANILA, Philippines – Starting Wednesday, November 22, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will strictly enforce the motorcycle lane policy on EDSA.

The MMDA announced on Friday, November 17, that it will conduct a two-day dry-run of the implementation of the of motorcycle lanes or blue lanes along EDSA on November 20 and 21. Stricter enforcement will begin the following day, November 22. An initial dry-run was conducted along Orense in Makati on Friday.

Violators will be apprehended via the no-contact apprehension policy to avoid obstructions. They will be fined P500 per violation.

According to MMDA Assistant General Manager for Planning Jojo Garcia, this is for the safety of motorists, noting that motorcycle riders are most prone to crashes. 

“We’re doing this for the safety of our motorcycle riders. ‘Di niyo alam na sa pagsingit-singit ay marami ang naaaksidente. Iniiwasan lang natin iyan. Walang kalaban-laban ang motorsiklo kapag binangga iyan,” he said.

(We're doing this for the safety of our motorcycle riders. For your information, crash incidents happen as motorcycles squeeze in between vehicles. We're trying to avoid that. Motorcycles are helpless when they figure in a crash with another vehicle.)

Criticisms from motorists

However, the proposed implementation has drawn criticisms from motorists.

Shaun Roberts, a motorcycle rider for more than 30 years now, shared that he is completely against the policy because it brings more harm than good to motorists. 

Motorcycle riders will be strictly required to stay on the motorcycle lane, but it will be a shared lane with other private vehicles.

"How will it promote our safety if cars are allowed to be in that motorcycle lane? It is even more dangerous for us to be sandwiched between cars," he told Rappler in a phone interview. 

Jobert Bolanos, the interim chairman of Motorcycle Rights Organization, also expressed the same sentiments. 

"Legally, they cant impose it because everyone who has a vehicle has a road user tax. [By limiting motorcycle riders in one lane], you already eliminate equal protection form the law," Bolanos said.

He added that implementing the policy will result in unfair treatment of riders.

"Motorcycles are discriminated on this one because they are put in a lane and threatened with apprehension. They are basically segregated [when] in reality, everyone on the road suffers from lack of discipline," Bolanos said. 

"What gives the cars more right than a motorcycle? The only thing that this can work is for them to give us our lane. We are asking for equal rights. Whatever is short for those equal rights is discrimination. That is our frustrations as motorcycle riders. We are fed up." Roberts meanwhile said.

The motorists believe that the policy will not promote road safety and discipline. Bolanos said that authorities should focus on strengthening existing policies instead of implementing a new one. He cited the faulty licensing system and the weak and selective enforcement of enforcers as the root causes of the problem.

Roberts and Bolanos also said that the motorcyle lane policy may encourage corruption because of the inevitable apprehensions on motorcycle riders.

According to data, motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable to injuries on the road. Some 19,852 cases or 65% of patients injured were riding a motorcycle. (READ: Road deaths in PH: Most are motorcycle riders, pedestrians)

Motorcycle riders have constantly been the top victim of road crash injuries since 2010. From 6,244 injuries in 2010, the number of recorded injuries increased to 19,852 in a span of 5 years. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)

Across the country, 10,012 people died due to road crashes in 2015 – a 45.76% increase from 6,869 deaths recorded in 2006.– Rappler.com 

Schedule of events: World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims


MANILA, Philippines – More than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

Road crashes do not only result in injuries or fatalities to victims but also affect the families and friends who lost their loved ones.

Every year, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims is commemorated on the 3rd week of November. It was observed by RoadPeace in 1993 and has been observed and promoted worldwide by several non-governmental organizations.

The day of remembrance aims to "respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering." It also serves as an opportunity to give awareness to the public on the enormous scale and impact of road crash injuries and fatalities.

Several advocates and stakeholders will hold events to remember the families and the victims of road crash incidents. Here are some of the activties:

Metro Manila

November 19, UP Town Center, Quezon City

The Department of Transportation will hold a motorcade in Quezon City on Sunday. The motorcade will start at 7 am from UP Town Center along Katipunan Avenue and will go around Commonwealth Avenue.

As part of DOTr's commitment to reducing road traffic fatalities, the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan 2017 to 2022 will be launched on Sunday.

November 19, Manila Ocean Park, Pasay

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will hold a post-crash training on Sunday at the Manila Ocean Park. The event will be from 11 am to 5 pm.

As part of the activities for the World Day of Remembrance, a first aid and basic life support training will be given to attendees. A talk on safety procedures while on the road will also be given.


Negros Occidental


November 19, Negros Occidental

Project CARES with the Philippine Association of Medical Technologist (PAMET) invites the public to a blood donation drive on Sunday. Interested groups and individuals may collaborate with any PAMET chapter in Negros Occidental to donate blood.



November 28, Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo

The Department of Health Region VI will hold a motorcade on November 28 as part of the activities of the Violence and Injury Prevention Program unit of the department.

Assembly time will be at 7:30 am at Trenas Boulevard in Lapaz, Iloilo City. The motorcade will go around the city proper, Lapaz, and Jaro districts. A program at the Eon Centennial Hotel Resort and Waterworld in Alta Tierra, Jaro, will follow.– Rappler.com

Protests more 'amazing' in PH: Trump effigy wows Jimmy Kimmel, foreign netizens


AMAZING. American television host Jimmy Kimmel praises the 13-foot tall effigy of US President Donald Trump. Screenshot by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – American late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took notice of the effigy of US President Donald Trump that was set on fire by protesters during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13.

In a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the popular TV host  said that the US President received an "exceptionally warm welcome" from Filipinos, before showing clips from the protests in Manila. (IN PHOTOS: At least 2,000 attend protests on day one of ASEAN Summit)

"Comparatively, our protests here suck. I mean, where did they get that giant Trump fidget spinner? That's amazing!" Kimmel said. (READ: Why groups are protesting Trump's PH visit


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This 13-ft effigy of US President <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realDonaldTrump</a> features him with 4 arms shaped into a swastika symbol. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASEAN2017?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ASEAN2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/CKmuL48XTO">pic.twitter.com/CKmuL48XTO</a></p>&mdash; Raisa Serafica (@raisaserafica) <a href="https://twitter.com/raisaserafica/status/929863824022237185?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Created by the Filipino artist group Ugat Lahi, the effigy featured Trump with 4 arms resembling the Nazi swastika, a symbol of auhoritarian rule, hatred, and anti-Semitism. Trump has long had a following among white supremacist groups attracted to his nationalist rhetoric on immigration and other hot-button issues.

Behind Trump's legs, a caricature of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte can be seen crouching.

Kimmel also described Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as "an absolute lunatic" and a "murderer." 

"He encourages the police to kill people who use drugs. No trials. They just kill people. Of course, he and Donald get along," Kimmel said.

Duterte's violent anti-illegal drugs campaign has drawn criticism from both local and international communities. Latest "official" data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows that at least 3,850 people have been killed in police operations, while at least 2,290 others were killed mostly by unknown vigilantes.

The protesters burned the effigy as they marked the fifth day of their protests during the ASEAN Summit. (READ: Violence marks the ASEAN 2017 protests in Manila)

Foreign netizens react

Other foreign netizens were also amused by the Filipino-made effigy. Below were some of the tweets they posted after seeing the Manila protests:


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">That....is creative. Filipinos got this protest thing down. Wow.</p>&mdash; ¤Lily¤#BTSintheUSA (@BTSonyeo) <a href="https://twitter.com/BTSonyeo/status/929951976632107009?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr">Bravo, Manila!</p>&mdash; Dem Texas Girls (@TexDem16) <a href="https://twitter.com/TexDem16/status/929940555030818816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Amazing. This is better than anything I&#39;ve seen Made in USA by us in the resistance!</p>&mdash; Don Johnson (@offgrid2010) <a href="https://twitter.com/offgrid2010/status/930235894476562432?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Now that is art and the truth.</p>&mdash; Olivia Layton (@ktea11) <a href="https://twitter.com/ktea11/status/930076392418627584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">THAT is the most beautiful anti drump effigy I’ve ever seen! Bravo <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/aseansummit2017?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#aseansummit2017</a> protesters!</p>&mdash; FranIAm (@Franterest26) <a href="https://twitter.com/Franterest26/status/929977137636839424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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What can you say about the the effigy? Share your thoughts on X– Rappler.com 


Marcos not a hero, critics assert a year after hero's burial


MARCOS LOYALISTS. Supporters of former president Ferdinand Marcos gather in Manila on November 7, 2016, to show their support for the late dictator. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A year after the late dictator was buried a hero, critics asserted that former president Ferdinand Marcos should not have been buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).

On November 18, 2016, the late dictator was "stealthily" buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani after the Supreme Court cleared all legal obstacles to a hero's burial for him. (READ: TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy)

This led to nationwide protests as activists rejected Marcos' "elevation as a hero," citing human rights atrocities and systemic plunder during his 21-year regime. (READ: Marcos years marked ‘golden age’ of the PH economy? Look at the data)

A year later, various groups and individuals continued to protest against the hero's burial for Marcos.

Several groups reiterated their call to exhume Marcos' body to prevent historical revisionism. 


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Meanwhile, Marcos loyalists celebrated the first year anniversary of Marcos' burial by paying tribute to the late strongman.

'Just bury the dead'

While many groups and individuals called on the public to "never forget" the atrocities of the Marcos regime, supporters made a call to "move on."


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Some cited the infrastructure built during the Marcos years to prove his "heroic qualities."


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See the netizen's sentiments on the issue below:

– Rappler.com

Student-led org helps nurture Cagayan De Oro's local artists


MUSIC AND NARRATIVES. Members of the Dire Husi Initiative performed on November 11, Saturday, to narrate their own personal stories and how it changed since they joined the organization

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A student-led organization in Cagayan De Oro City is advocating the promotion of local art using the skills they have learned from their business classes.

The Xavier University (XU) Junior Marketing Association (JMA), a co-curricular organization of the Business Administration program under the university's School of Business and Management, has engaged in a collaborative partnership with the Dire Husi Initiative, a local art advocacy group.

A fellowship composed of artists who primarily devote their craft for indigenous-inspired music, handiwork, and performance art, Dire Husi Initiative is a non-profit organization in CDO known for helping its member overcome personal, social, and economic problems, by using art as an avenue for change.

The name comes from the Cebuano word "dire," which means "here," and the Manobo word "husi," meaning "here." (READ: Dire Husi Initiative: Kagay-anon artists show art can change lives)

“Before these artists joined Dire Husi, they had difficulty in letting go of their past, but because of music and art, their lives have changed forever,” said Business Administration student Jerome Malack.

Initial steps

One of the initial activities conducted was a concert that showcased 4 Dire Husi artists' talents and skills, held at XU's theater earlier in November.

Known locally as “Ang Kusog sa Tingog (The Power of a Voice): A Dire Husi Story", 4 artists narrated their lives through traditional dance, music, and original songs.

Tapping the tambol (wooden hand-made drums), strumming guitar strings, and shaking cans tied on strings, they shared how they were able to win over social and economic challenges by working hard to pursue their passion.

One of them was once a calamansi street vendor, another was a motorcycle driver. Like most members, they became part of the Dire Husi fellowship in order to belong and to commune with a livelihood in earning through art.

Some of their handicrafts, such as key chains and dream catchers, were displayed and sold alongside the tickets outside the theater.

Empowering passion for profit

Providing opportunities to pursue passion and to sharpen skills are among the objectives of the partnership.

XU-JMA and Dire Husi Initiatives both aim to maximize their members' potential.

"Dire Husi has been in existence for 10 years now,” said the organization’s chairman and founder Rhyan Casiño. “We are hoping that we can inspire young people to pursue their dreams.”

A painter, sculptor, craftsman and a composer, Casiño has been organizing street art in CDO, such as performing pyro dances in the city's Divisoria for sight and spectacle, one of the many activities of Dire Husi last summer.

On the other hand, XU-JMA also aims to help the local art scene grow.

“Today’s generation of art is commonly defined by pop culture and mainstream media,” Malack pointed out. “But the kind of art that Dire Husi creates goes deeper than what is popular.”

“They give out something unique and authentic which makes it worthy of being appreciated by the people,” he added.

As long-term plans for the collaboration are currently being discussed by both groups, another concert might be held during the Xavier University Festival Days this late November and early December.

“Through this partnership, it is both XU-JMA and Dire Husi’s goal to inspire each and every person to explore and assess the special skills we have, and to discover what [every person] is truly capable of becoming,” Malack stated.

With the opportunity to enhance their skills to prepare them for their profession after they achieve their degree, the students of XU-JMA took the responsibility for a social cause which is part of the university’s formative mission for its students to become “men and women for others.”

“The students don’t have to wait until they finish school to make an impact to the community,” Petalcurin added.

Impact, in this matter, does not rely solely on honing one’s own capabilities, but in providing avenues for others to do the same. – Rappler.com 

Angelo Lorenzo is one of Rappler’s Lead Movers in Cagayan de Oro. Besides writing features, he works in the city’s local government unit. 

LOOK: Protesters bring shovels near Marcos grave


HUKAYIN. Anti-Marcos group Block Marcos staged a protest in front of the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, 2017. Photo by Twitter user @nicadoom

MANILA, Philippines – An anti-Marcos group reiterated their call to exhume the body of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos from the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) by bringing shovels as symbols of protest.

Anti-Marcos group Block Marcos staged a demonstration in front of the Heroes' Cemetery on Saturday, November 18.

In a statement, Block Marcos renewed their call to "unearth the dictator."

"We gather once again to remind this regime and its enablers that we will never grow tired of taking to the streets until Marcos’ remains – and all the horrors of dictatorship that he symbolizes – are exhumed from the Libingan ng mga Bayani," the group said.


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Block Marcos said that they will never consider Marcos a hero despite being buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.

"One year ago today, thousands of us gathered to tell the Marcoses and the Duterte regime that we would not take their vulgar abuse of power sitting down. We took to our Heroes' Cemetery, our shrines and monuments, and our streets to assert that Ferdinand Marcos was not and will never be a hero," the group said.

"We remember their shameless disregard for justice, lest we lose sight of our duty to confront the threat of a complete regress into dictatorship that we are now facing," Block Marcos added.

Known for his close ties to the Marcoses, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the burial of the late strongman at the Heroes' Cemetery. This was a move affirmed by the Supreme Court with a vote of 9-5. (READ: TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy)

On November 18, 2016, the Marcoses took the country by surprise as the late dictator was "stealthily" buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani 

It prompted a series of protests organized by Martial Law victims and human rights advocates.– Rappler.com

How to buy products of craftsman born with no hands


VIRAL. Andy Villaruel creates miniature tricycle in Dumaguete City for a living. Photo by Naoki Mengua/Rappler

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – Remember Andy Villaruel, the craftsman born with no hands who went viral in 2016?

In a recent interview with Rappler, Andy shared how the videos and stories about his work creating miniature tricycles in Dumaguete City pushed him to prove even more that disabilities do not limit anyone. 

According to him, going viral on social media helped change his life for the better.

"Nagpapasalamat ako doon kasi dagdag inspirasyon 'yun para sa akin tapos nakapagbibigay ng mensahe na nakakataba sa puso. Nakakadagdag po ng tiwala sa sarili ko," he said. (I am thankful because their messages inspired me to work harder. It boosted by self-confidence)

Diligent and hardworking

Julius Lusaya, his employer, said that their sales skyrocketed since the Rappler video of Andy was uploaded online.

But even as their sales doubled, Andy did not give up on the job – unlike many of the people Julius trained.

"'Yung mga tine-train ko, hindi nila kaya. Siguro kasi dito sa amin, 'yung mga bisyo, tulad ng inom at paninigarilyo, bawal 'yan sa akin. Kaya siguro di nila ma-resist rules ko,” Julius said. 

(The people I previously trained gave up. Maybe it is because vices like drinking and smoking are not allowed here. I think they were not able to resist my rules.) 


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Before working for Julius, Andy himself was a frequent smoker and drinker. But with his determination to succeed at work, Andy was able to get rid of these vices, according to Julius.

Currently, Andy is helping send his younger sister to college.  He also plans to study again so he can do more at work.

"Si Andy, determinado pa talaga. Balak pa nga niya mag-electronics. Tinuturan ko rin siya. Balak ko papaaralin ko na lang siya sa TESDA," Julius said.

(Andy is really a determined person. He even wants to study electronics. Sometimes I teach him. I also plan to send him to TESDA to study electronics)

Buy a tricycle

Those interested to buy miniature tricycles may do so by visiting their Facebook page

For Andy, buying a tricycle he made means more than just a simple purchase from Dumaguete City. 

"'Pag nag-order ka nito, hindi ka lang bumili ng isang souvenir mula dito sa Dumaguete. Bumili na rin kayo ng isang gawa ng akalaing mong tao na may kapansanan at wala nang magawa sa buhay. Tumulong na rin kayo sa kapwa niyo," Andy said.

(When you order one, you don't just buy a souvenir from Dumaguete. You also buy one from a person with disability, whom others may initially judge as incapable or worthless. If you buy one, you are also helping others.) – Rappler.com

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