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Filipino youth lead nationwide 'walkout' for freedom and democracy


 YOUTH-LED. Students from different universities in Metro Manila gather at Morayta before heading to MEndiola on Friday, February 23. In this photo, students shake hands with farmers from Eastern Samar. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Students from various schools and universities “walked out” of their classrooms on Friday, February 23 to join the nationwide protest for rights, freedom, and democracy

At least 200 protesters, according to Manila Police District, marched from Morayta to Mendiola, Manila holding up streamers and placards expressing their disdain for the Duterte administration’s anti-poor and anti-people policies.

The Filipino youth also carried the protest online, pushing the hashtag #WalkOutPH to one of the top trending tweets on Friday afternoon. The hashtag racked up more than 3,000 tweets and at least 2.6 million impressions on Twitter. 

Specifically, students from University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Sto Tomas, Polytechnic University, San Sebastian College, University of the East, Far Eastern University, and National University participated.  (READ: Oldest alliance of college editors to stage nationwide protests February 23)

According to Anakbyan, protests were also held in numberous centers across the country, including UP Baguio, UP Pampanga, Bulacan State University, Holy Angel University, UP Los Baños, Crossing Calamba, UP Visayas Miag-ao, UP Tacloban, Colon in Cebu City, and UP Mindanao. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Thousands join nationwide walkout vs Duterte

Among their many advocacies, the students emphasized their call for free education in all levels, demanding the full implementation of the Free Tuition policy to stop the collection of miscellaneous and tuition fees, and its “exorbitant increases” in private schools.  (READ: UP chancellor endorses February 23, 24 activities vs EJKs, attack on press freedom

They also noted the “commercialized character” of the education system of the country, especially in the the implementation of the K-12 program, which only added financial burden to many Filipino families. 

“Instead of promoting holistic, quality, and accessible education, the state has only maximized it to promote business interests of private and foreign investors,” Kabataan Partlist representative Sarah Elago said in statement.

Justice in journalism 

One of the hundreds of students who joined the protest was Sheerah Escudero, who braved to speak on stage for the first time as a youth leader.

Escudero, an officer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and a student at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa spoke about the importance of small schools like hers to join nationwide protests.

“Not only big universities should join protests like this, because it's not only them who see the abuses and the impunity propagated by this administration,” she told Rappler in Filipino.

Apart from being a youth leader, Escudero’s motivation is also rooted from a personal experience being a sister of a victim of extrajudicial killing. 

It was ironic, she said, how she pushed her school newspaper to make noise about the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos last year, and then witness her own brother go through the same fate only after a month since the teenager’s death. 

WALKOUT. Hundreds join the nationwide 'walk-out' on Friday, February 23. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

“Even before my brother became a victim, I already saw what was wrong in this system—the impunity, the silencing, the extrajudicial killings,” Escudero said.

“Now that it’s become personal, I realized who else will speak if not me? Who else will seek for justice, if not me?”

Since the incident, Escudero has joined several gatherings and protests for victims of extrajudicial killings, and continues to write for her school newspaper. 

She noted the importance of journalism, including student journalism, in fighting this culture of violence and disinformation propagated by the government.

“If they see you resist, they will either bully you or fight you with disinformation,” she said, “that’s why it’s important for even small newspapers like ours to join protests like this, so that they know that we too see what is wrong.”

Not just a youth protest 

Apart from students, the crowd was also joined by other sectors including fishermen, vendors, and jeepney drivers who took a break from their daily grind to march to Mendiola.

They are deemed to be the most gravely affected by the current administration’s “anti-people policies,” specifically the “Oplan Tanggal Bulok, Tangal Usok,” the modernization of PUVs, and the Tax Reform for Accelaration and Inclusion or the TRAIN law.

ADMINISTRATION. Caricatures of the several personalities from the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte lead the nationwide protest in Mendiola. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

These also came after President Duterte implemented a salary hike for police officers and soldiers, all the while “ignoring” the calls of teachers, government employees, and laborers for fare wage. 

“Various issues plague our society today,” Elago said. “All sectors are hit by Duterte’s policy of strengthening neoliberal attacks, kill, kill, kill program, and economic sellout. He draws different weapons against people. No one is safe.” 

And so while the rally is dubbed a “youthquake protest,” Elago said that it had turned int a “people-quake” as different sectors joined the youth on the streets.

“The youth will continue to fight outside the 4 walls of their classrooms to push for basic socio-economic reforms that are not only beneficial to the youth, but to all marginalized and oppressed sectors of the society,” Elago said. – Rappler.com

Calabarzon overall champion in National Schools Press Conference 2018


OVERALL CHAMPION. Calabarzon is recognized as the overall chamption for NSPC 2018 in Dumaguete City. Photo from Department of Education

MANILA, Philippines –  After a week-long competition among the Philippines' best campus journalists, winners of the 2018 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in the secondary level were announced on Friday, February 24.

Reigning champion Calabarzon remained undefeated, as the Department of Education awarded the region in its sixth year as NSPC overall champion. 

The region was hailed as the top-performing region after dominating both individual and group events in the secondary region. (READ: Campus journos 'defend press freedom' during NSPC 2018 awarding ceremonies

This year, the NSPC was held in Dumaguete City, the hometown of the education secretary. 

Below is the full list of the winners in the NSPC 2018 secondary division, based on reports:


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Central Luzon

  3. National Capital Region

  4. Bicol Region

  5. Mimaropa


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Bicol Region

  3. Northern Mindanao

  4. Ilocos Region

  5. Davao Region

  6. Central Luzon

  7. NCR


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Central Luzon

  3. NCR

  4. Mimaropa

  5. Cagayan Valley

  6. Caraga

  7. Bicol Region



  1. Bicol Region - Verwen Cogasa

  2. Cagayan Valley - Marvin Idos

  3. Caraga - Alie Peter Neil Galeon

  4. Calabarzon - Mike Nikko Tagundon

  5. Calabarzon - Lorenz Martin Valeriano Gody

  6. National Capital Region - Francesca Alexis Santiago

  7. Calabarzon - Princess Stephanie de Guzman


  1. Northern Mindanao - Keith Isaac Apor

  2. National Capital Region - Vanessa Kate Manzano

  3. Central Visayas - Pamela Eyre Victoria Lira

  4. Bicol Region - Micah Alexandra Layosa

  5. Bicol Region - Vitus Adornado Moron

  6. Caraga - Lestyll Basan

  7. Caraga - Ivanbert Damasco


  1. Davao Region - Rhoda Janela Lanciola

  2. Western Visayas - Ron Winston Sabordo

  3. Calabarzon - Sophia Isabel Laxamana

  4. Northern Mindanao - Maea Kaye Carriedo

  5. Davao Region- Marian L. Ambrocio

  6. Zamboanga Peninsula - Tricia Magne de Leon

  7. ARMM - Evan Louise Banzuelo


  1. ARMM- Alryyan M. Arja

  2. Northern Mindanao- Norman Calib-og

  3. Bicol Region - Felimon Gozun Jr

  4. Zamboanga Peninsula - Normela Patricia Burigay

  5. Central Visayas - Mel Ann Shane Lauran

  6. Caraga - Alfer Joe Franz

  7. Eastern Visayas - Gabriel Louis Peralta


  1. Central Visayas - Bielland Scott Areglo

  2. Ilocos Region - Lester James Adrian Milan

  3. Calabarzon - Francine Kyle Yacat

  4. Mimaropa - Bea Mae Punongbayan

  5. CALABARZON - Joanne Eupan

  6. Ilocos Region - Paolo Gabriel Herrera

  7. Caraga - Kerby Kent Tagulao


  1. Calabarzon - Jaymark Vincent Garcia

  2. Calabarzon - Laurence Arambulo

  3. Davao Region - Jayar Osmeña

  4. Eastern Visayas - Gabriel Dela Peña

  5. Zamboanga Peninsula - Crisbel Mendoza

  6. National Capital Region - Tedie Villacuatro

  7. Ilocos Region - Chandler Dann Tomaneng


  1. Central Luzon - Jose Rodolfo Lingat

  2. Bicol Region - Mary Loraine Bazar

  3. Central Luzon - Jan Angeli Dela Cruz

  4. Caraga - Marielle Aliah Gelsano

  5. Calabarzon - Paul Jimuel Rosales

  6. Soccsksargen - Jose Delviemar Albano

  7. Davao Region - Charles Vincent Famila


  1. National Capital Region - Sofia Urielle Rinon

  2. Ilocos Region - Jan Wilfredo Caprizo

  3. Cagayan Valley - Andrea Monica Simon

  4. Ilocos Region - Kristine Menor

  5. Western Visayas - Yziel Gale Alagos

  6. Northern Mindanao - Felisa Melanie Fay Bascug

  7. Calabarzon - Paola Jane Vargas

COLUMN WRITING (Exhibition contest)

  1. Ilocos Region - Kimberly Joyce de Vera

  2. Eastern Visayas - Claire Angelie Cabisay

  3. Calabarzon- Sophia Isabel Laxamana

  4. Calabarzon- Pauline Pauni

  5. Soccsksargen - Dwayne Raedhen Cabel

  6. Zamboanga Peninsula - Nelsa Shaih

  7. Caraga - Mart Alupan


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Cordillera Administrative Region

  3. Bicol Region

  4. Caraga

  5. National Capital Region

  6. Ilocos Region

  7. Northern Mindanao


  1. Central Luzon

  2. Cagayan Valley

  3. National Capital Region

  4. Calabarzon

  5. Caraga

  6. Bicol Region

  7. Soccsksargen


  1. Central Luzon - Estephany Rivera

  2. Cordillera Administrative Region - Christine Joy Peralta

  3. National Capital Region - Rica Mae Cattl

  4. Calabarzon - Pyxries Zeus Legazpi

  5. Calabarzon - Nicole Angela Anacay

  6. Ilocos Region - Joan P. Reyes

  7. National Capital Region - Ericka Castillo


  1. Central Luzon - Rica Marie Uy

  2. Soccsksargen - Princess Matas

  3. Cordillera Administrative Region - Marvelous Athena Wilson

  4. Soccsksargen - Aliah Baito

  5. National Capital Region - Princess Anne Evangelista

  6. Davao Region - Hannah Maj Piccio

  7. Central Luzon - Tom Joshua Navarro


  1. Central Luzon

  2. Cordillera Administrative Region

  3. Cagayan Valley

  4. Davao Region

  5. Calabarzon

  6. Zamboanga Peninsula

  7. Western Visayas


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Central Luzon

  3. National Capital Region

  4. Cagayan Valley

  5. Cordillera Administrative Region

  6. Central Visayas

  7. Davao Region


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Ilocos Region

  3. Central Visayas

  4. Cordillera Administrative Region

  5. Cagayan Valley

  6. Eastern Visayas

  7. Caraga


  1. Cagayan Valley

  2. Calabarzon

  3. Cordillera Administrative Region

  4. Central Luzon

  5. Central Visayas

  6. Ilocos Region

  7. National Capital Region


  1. Calabarzon - Francis Alwin Bautista

  2. Mimaropa - Water O’neil De Leon

  3. Calabarzon - Alliah Dana Uy

  4. Central Luzon - Paul Roman Bagtas

  5. Central Visayas - Glenn Joseph Egoy

  6. Western Visayas - Ma Abby Genevieve Peñaflorida

  7. Bicol Region - Althea Mela


  1. Western Visayas - Kaye Pauline Larroder

  2. Mimaropa - Sophia Timbreza

  3. Calabarzon - Rachel Ivy Reyes

  4. Central Visayas - Andrea Claire Cenabre

  5. Calabarzon - Patrick Lenard Laano

  6. Caraga - Rogiemar Claire  Magomayao

  7. Western Visayas - Elaisha Pomida


  1. National Capital Region - Maeyern Anezka Avenhuro

  2. Northern Mindanao - Reese Nathja Chiong

  3. Central Luzon - Catherine Gamboa and Gem Collins Santiago

  4. Calabarzon - John Rebo Santos

  5. Central Visayas - Cebu City National HS  (No name)

  6. Bicol Region - Rose Brandon Imperial

  7. Cagayan Valley - Aejaver Omnes


  1. Mimaropa

  2. Central Luzon

  3. Central Visayas

  4. Ilocos Region

  5. Calabarzon

  6. Soccsksargen

  7. Caraga


  1. Western Visayas

  2. Davao Region

  3. Bicol Region

  4. NCR

  5. Ilocos Region

  6. Central Luzon

  7. Northern Mindanao


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Mimaropa

  3. Central Visayas

  4. Central Luzon

  5. Northern Mindanao

  6. NCR

  7. Caraga


Pagsulat ng Opinyon/ Column (Exhibition contest)

  1. NCR: Rona Carmi Padua

  2. Zamboanga Peninsula - Rojan Macarion

  3. Central Luzon - Amadine Bertillo Bitoon

  4. Caraga - Natalia

  5. Calabarzon - Rachelle Mecaela Baxal

  6. Soccsksargen - Aubrey Maye Arrieta

  7. ARMM - Renz Marion Suarez

Pagsulat ng Pangulong Tudling

  1. Calabarzon - Mark Lester Andrei Cuzet

  2. Bicol Region - Trisha Bitara

  3. Western Visayas - Shaira Mae Mariano

  4. Calabarzon - Rachellen Mecaela Baxal

  5. Central Visayas - Amadine Bertillo Bitoon

  6. Cagayan Valley - Angelo Maalihan

  7. Western Visayas - Carl Joel Tilos


  1. Central Luzon - Paul Daniel Palad

  2. NCR - Marielle Bencoere

  3. Bicol Region - Harmon Lloyd Maronilla

  4. Eastern Visayas - Hannah Grace Pahapay

  5. Ilocos Regino - Reden Christian Mercado

  6. Northern Mindanao - Alexander Bello Jr

  7. Davao Region - Johnferi Duquillo


  1. Calabarzon -  Key Angely Ferrer

  2. Soccsksargen - Ronajean May Lavado

  3. Central Visayas - Gamaliel Jordan Languido

  4. NCR -  Alieah Grace Rabaca

  5. Davao Region - Cheene Jean Languido

  6. Central Luzon -  Karl Angelo Orcine

  7. Central Luzon - Jericho Estrella


  1. Davao Region - Tom Aaron Rica

  2. Mimaropa - Josell Geron Nazareno

  3. Calabarzon - Carl Joshua Doria

  4. Ilocso Region - Clydel Bautista

  5. Western Visayas - Karleo James Cabana

  6. Mimaropa - Arian Marie Mendoza

  7. Northern Mindanao - Eulil Villalon


  1. Mimaropa -  Mark Jairus Teves

  2. Calabarzon - Emmanuel Esmilla

  3. Mimaropa - Kier Ambrocio

  4. Soccskargen - Arnold Licatan

  5. Zamboanga Peninsula - Neil John Bonggol

  6. Mimaropa - Jeffry James Paner

  7. Central Luzon - Nemesis Manahan


  1. Calabarzon - Angelo Cariño

  2. Central Luzon - Veronica Agustin

  3. Soccskargen - Jancarl Criz Leonez

  4. Northern Mindanao - Melly Grace Refretuada

  5. CAR - Charlyn Lumichao

  6. Eastern Visayas -  Lovelle Aldaba

  7. Davao Region - Ralph Victor Oldeban


  1. CAR - Erica Janine Sayaan

  2. Northern Mindanao - Cris James Camaylongan

  3. Ilocos Region - Van Jasper Biado

  4. Ilocos Region -Winnette Wangel Sanida

  5. Calabarzon - Nhorie Mae Quidlip

  6. Eastern Visayas - Jasril Aurora Remoleno

  7. Bicol Region - Levi Ivan Delgado


  1. Bicol Region - Kyla Marie Pusing

  2. Caraga - Nicomedes Pagala

  3. Zamboanga Peninsula - Shiela Jean Enguito

  4. Northern Mindanao - Seth Russel Castroverde

  5. Soccsksargen  - Brandon Kinz Julius Jaugan

  6. Caraga - Rhyxon Namugay

  7. Davao region - Angel Mae Solon


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Central Visayas

  3. NCR

  4. Eastern Visayas

  5. Western Visayas

  6. Cagayan Valley

  7. Soccsksargen



  1. Bicol Region - Xavier Axl Roncesvalles

  2. Davao region - Michel Rema Tumulak

  3. Caraga - Jonnalyn Portugal

  4. Central Luzon - Charmagne Solart

  5. Bicol Region - Angelica Primee

  6. Eastern Visayas -Carl Ryeo Bohol

  7. NCR - Jerudga Khaizzen Micah Japzon



  1. Caraga - Donabelle B. Echo

  2. Central Luzon - Ralph Anthony Del Rosario

  3. Central Luzon - Anthony James Bayo

  4. Soccsksargen - Faith Joy Domingo

  5. Bicol Region - Nel John Emmerson Cruzada

  6. Mimaropa - Aeron Sales

  7. Caraga - Vergil S. Mondia



  1. Bicol Region 

  2. Ilocos Region 

  3. Eastern Visayas 

  4. Caraga 

  5. Mimaropa 

  6. Northern Mindanao 

  7. Zamboanga Peninsula 



  1. Caraga

  2. Bicol Region

  3. Eastern Visayas

  4. Davao Region

  5. Calabarzon

  6. Ilocos Region

  7. Zamboanga Peninsula


  1. Caraga

  2. Northern Mindanao

  3. Mimaropa

  4. Soccsksargen

  5. NCR

  6. Central Luzon

  7. Eastern Visayas 


  1. Caraga

  2. Eastern Visayas

  3. Bicol Region

  4. Davao Region

  5. NCR

  6. Mimaropa

  7. Northern Mindanao 


  1. Central Luzon

  2. Calabarzon

  3. Northern Mindanao

  4. NCR

  5. Ilocos Region

  6. Caraga

  7. Cagayan Valley 



  1. Calabarzon - Jethro Matthew Antenor

  2. Calabarzon - Julianna Gabriele Milabilen

  3. Ilocos Region - Irish Stephanie Caoile

  4. Davao Region - Adrian Alvin Almonte

  5. Eastern Visayas - Francheska Anne Queroda

  6. Bicol Region - Brian Joseph Nava

  7. Eastern Visayas - Edward Mercado 


  1. Central Luzon - Nicole Anne Simon

  2. Mimaropa - Noreen Jemima Gonda

  3. Calabarzon - Rhea Mae Ramirez

  4. Ilocos Region - Anjanette Cayabyab

  5. Socssksargen - Joshua Soriano

  6. Mimaropa - Beatrix Carmela Estrella

  7. Central Luzon - Bianca Mae Alferez

Natatanging Video Journalist 

  1. Mimaropa - Van Cliff Carmona

  2. Davao Region - Kryshll Jemino

  3. NCR - Miguel Umali

  4. Calabarzon - Rusly Xavier Herrera

  5. Ilocos Region - Vladimir Andre Lugo

  6. Eastern Visayas - Karyl Oliva

  7. Bicol Region - James Mallapre Jessie Jean 


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Central Luzon

  3. Zamboanga Peninsula

  4. NCR

  5. Eastern Visayas

  6. Cagayan Valley

  7. Mimaropa 


  1. Mimaropa

  2. Davao region

  3. Ilocos Region

  4. Calabarzon

  5. Eastern Visayas

  6. NCR

  7. Central Luzon


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Davao region

  3. Eastern Visayas

  4. Ilocos Region

  5. Caraga

  6. Central Luzon 


  1. Calabarzon

  2. Mimaropa

  3. Eastern Visayas

  4. Central Luzon

  5. NCR

  6. Ilocos Region

  7. Davao Region

Dubbed as the "Olympics of Campus Journalism in the Philippines," NSPC gathers the best budding journalists from all over the country. In 2017, Rappler provided full coverage for the campus journalism event. – Rappler.com 

UPLB students win award for promoting agriculture


 LAKBIOTEKNOLOHIYA. UP GRAINS representative Albert Caraan receives the Lenovo Tech Visionary Award during TAYO Awarding Ceremonies on February 22, 2018, at AG New World Manila Bay Hotel. Photo by Keb Cuevas/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Breaking stereotypes about agriculture, the UP Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society (UP GRAINS) from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) rose as one of this year's Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) on Thursday, February 22.

Through their project LakBioteknolohiya, UP GRAINS also received the Lenevo Outstanding Tech Visionary award. 

"The goal of this project is to encourage younger generations to pursue agriculture-related courses correcting the perception as a poor man's profession and fighting the stigma against agriculture in general," said TAYO representative Albert Caraan.

TAYO AWARD. UPLB GRAINS representative Albert Caraan receives TAYO Award, posing with NYC Chair Aiza Seguerra, Senator Bam Aquino, former NYC Chair Dingdong Dantes, TAYO partners and sponsors. Photo by Keb Cuevas/Rappler

Using technologies and modules developed at UPLB, they provide hands-on exercises on urban farming and biotechnology experiments. (WATCH: Helping farmers through agricultural biotechnology)

Since 2015, UP GRAINS has provided educational trainings to more than a thousand students and teaching professionals in the far-flung areas of Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Norte, and Pangasinan.

'Iskolar para sa Bayan'

Amid attacks and threats against protesting UP students, UPLB professor Allen Nazareno said it is everyone's right to express and fight for what they believe in. 

"Each UP student is taught to have an open mind (about) what is happening in the society. UP students engage themselves in different activities that they think will help (marginalized) communities... so that even in their own small ways, they can contribute significantly to the communities they touch," said Nazareno, also UPLB's Student Organizations and Activities Division Head.

For the past years, the University of the Philippines has been represented consistently in TAYO and other annual youth awards. (WATCH: Empowering housewives through social enterprises)

Nazareno hopes that community projects of UP students serve as a good example for the Filipino youth to follow. – Rappler.com

UP GRAINS is a partner organization of Rappler's civic engagement arm MovePH. For more information on how you can help or be part of UP GRAINS, check out their stories on X. 

Do you want your organization to be part of MovePH's X Network? Email us at move.ph@rappler.com!

WATCH: Juan Miguel Severo performs spoken word poem at the Mendiola walkout


SPEAK UP. Spoken word poet Juan Miguel Severo performs a piece slamming the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in #WalkOutPH. Photo by Micah Simon

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from students from various universities and local sectors, artists like Juan Miguel Severo also participated in the youth-led march for freedom and democracy #WalkOutPH on Friday, February 23. 

Severo, a spoken word artist and an actor, is famous for his performances that usually delve on unrequited love. What is unknown to many is that he also tackles themes related to his advocacies.  (READ: IN PHOTOS: Thousands join nationwide walkout vs Duterte)

In the protest, he recited his piece "Teorya ng Paglikha," a spoken word poem he wrote following the decision of President Duterte to allow former president Ferdinand Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 2016.  (READ: TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy)

Severo shared in an interview with Rappler that he also experienced being accused of wasting the money of the government for joining in rallies.

"Minsan na rin nasabihan na walang utang na loob ako bilang iskolar ng bayan para sa pagwawalk out, sinasayang ko daw ang pera na binibigay samin ng gobyerno di umano," he said, "Pero hindi eh, responsibilidad ng mga estudyante, ng mga mag-aaral na magsalita para sa kanilang mga hindi magagawa pa na makapagsalita."

(Being a scholar, there are times that I was told I was wasting the money of the government because I joined walkouts... But I think it is the responsibility of the students to speak out for those who can't speak.)

He acknowledged that responsibility comes with having a bigger platform to influence others.

"I do acknowledge my priviledge. I do acknowledge that I have a bigger platform. As much as I enjoy having this kind of platform, there's also a responsibility that comes with it. There are youth who are following me, and I don't want to disappoint them by staying silent," Severo said in a mix of Filipino and English.

He said that he knew some celebrities who also share the same views but are still reluctant to go out to the streets. (READ: PH celebrities express support for Rappler, press freedom)

"Marami sa mga tao in the showbiz industry are actually against din sa kung anong nangyayari sa kasalukuyan. It just so happened na siguro, I don't know, parang napipigilan sila ng kanilang stature or ng kanilang posisyon para magsalita," Severo said. 

(There are people in showbiz who are actually against what's happening now. Maybe it just so happened that, I don't know, maybe there's something holding them from speaking up.)

He added that he believes in the power and capacity of those in the entertaintenment industry to become a positive influence to the public. 

"I am waiting for them to speak up. Kung ang mga celebrities ay may kakayahan na magbenta ng mga produkto sa kanilang mga followers, most likely ay meron rin silang kakayahan na magbenta ng tamang idea sa mga to, kaya nilang magbago ng isipan ng maraming tao," Severo said.

(I am waiting for them to speak up. If celebrities have the capacities to sell products to their followers, most likely they also have the abilities to share correct ideas and change people's perspective)

When asked if he's afraid of what might happen after joining the protest, Severo answered "Takot? No. Bago ako maging artista, Pilipino muna ako. Bago ako maging artista, estudyante muna ako. Kaya 'yung pagka-Filipino ko dapat parati ang lagi kong inuuna kesa sa celebrity status."

(Scared? No. Before I am a celebrity, I am a Filipino first. Before I am a celebrity, I am a student first. My being a Filipino is the first thing I think of first over my celebrity status.) — Rappler.com

How Guimaras got rid of coal


COAL-FREE. The declaration of a coal-free Guimaras was made during the visit of the Rainbow Warrior, as part of its Climate Justice Ship Tour in the Philippines. Photo by Noel Guevara/Greeenpeace

MANILA, Philippines – At 29%, coal-fired power plants remain the country's largest energy source as of 2017. After all, it is considered the cheapest source of energy.

The province of Guimaras, however, is bent on leading the way to change this. 

On Saturday, February 24, during the visit of Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin and the municipal mayors of the island made a brave declaration: Guimaras is the first coal-free province in Visayas. 

"We want to show the world that we don't need dirty energy to power development.  The people of Guimaras have embraced renewables over dirty, polluting energy. We want to show that a sustainable development path, powered by renewable energy, is not only possible, but more viable. And we hope that our humble example will resonate to other provinces and to the world," Gumarin said.

Wind power

The province has a long history of resistance against fossil fuels. 

In August 11, 2006, Guimaras experienced a devastating oil spill that affected 46 barangays and 6 municipalities.  Operated by Petron Corporation and Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation, the M/T Solar I sank off the waters of Panay Gulf, reaching 245 kilometers of coastline and affecting 1,128 hectares of mangrove area. 

Four years laterin 2010, the province took a strong position against a coal-fired power plant being proposed at that time in neighboring Iloilo City. 

These incidents resulted to the province's embrace of the wind power as their energy source of choice.

“Our people here in San Lorenzo know the benefits of harnessing the blessings of nature to power our development. Here, we have no coal, thus the absence of all the ills and harms dirty energy bring​s​ with it. Today is a victory for our people and our municipality, and I believe, for the whole of Guimaras,” said Ninfa Gajo, mayor of San Lorenzo town.

In 2014, the Department of Energy (DOE) established the 54-megawatt wind farm in  San Lorenzo – a wide plot of land with 27 wind turbines that stand approximately 123 meters tall. 

Rainbow Warrior

WELCOME. Students from Suclaran welcome the crew of the Rainbow Warrior during the visit of the Rainbow Warrior, as part of its Climate Justice Ship Tour in the Philippines. Photo by Noel Guevara/Greeenpeace

The declaration coincided with the Climate Justice Ship Tour in the Philippines and the visit of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior

According to Greenpeace, the stop in Guimaras gives focus to the initiatives of communities in their resistance against coal and rising up to the renewable energy challenge that should encourage other communities and local government units to do the same.

“The commitment to go coal-free means that the whole of Guimaras is pursuing a sustainable development path and is a clear manifestation of communities themselves taking the lead towards reclaiming their rights to a healthy environment and stable climate,” said Khevin Yu, Climate & Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines. 

“Additional coal plants means we will have a bigger problem in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to stop coal locally, and this is what Guimaras is doing now,” Yu added. – with a report from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com 

What's next for youth after walkout for democracy?


FROM UST TO MORAYTA. Students shake hands with farmers from Eastern Samar. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — After the nationwide protest for rights, freedom, and democracy last Friday, February 23, organizers said they are lining up their next big activity on March 8, in commemoration of International Women's Day.

Anakbayan national secretary general Einstein Recedes noted that during the presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, youth-led movements proved the power of the masses.

"Hindi pa tapos. Hindi dito sa araw na ito natatapos ang ating protesta, dahil mas malaking protesta ang ilulunsad ng kabataan sa March 8 sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Kababaihan," said Recedes.

(We're not yet done. Our protest will not end today, since the youth will launch a bigger protest on March 8, International Women's Day.)

According to Gabriela members who joined Friday's #WalkoutPH, they will continue to participate in protests against the administration because of the lewd remarks President Rodrigo Duterte has made about women.

Last February 7, in a gathering with former New People's Army members, Duterte joked that soldiers should shoot female rebels in the vagina. He has also made several rape jokes in the past – a habit which Malacañang has downplayed by claiming that the "masses get him." 

In another speech, the President joked about luring tourists to the Philippines using "42 virgins." (READ: From 'fragrant' Filipinas to shooting vaginas: Duterte's top 6 sexist remarks)

These remarks contradict Duterte's vow to "fight for the rights of women and children" during the International Day to End Violence Against Women last November 25.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Gabriela Women's Party have condemned the actions of the President.

Recedes said protests across the country seek to raise awareness of the problems in the education system, press freedom, extrajudicial killings, violence, human rights, and issues concerning farmers, fishermen, and drivers. – Rappler.com

Young Maranao advocate says empathy key to promoting peace, dev't


PROMOTING PEACE. Jamil Faisal Adiong, a 21-year-old resident of Lanao del Sur, receives the Sultan Kudarat Award for Peace and Development for his various advocacy efforts aimed at promoting peace in Mindanao. Photo courtesy of Jamil Adiong

MANILA, Philippines – Empathy is key to promoting peace and development, especially in Mindanao. 

This is the message of 21-year-old Maranao Jamil Faisal Saro Adiong, after he received   the Sultan Kudarat Award for Peace and Community Development in late January.

The award is an annual academia-based recognition organized by the Federation of Muslim Students and alumni of the Mindanao State University in General Santos City.  This year's ceremony marked the 14th anniversary of the awarding tradition, held at the Green Leaf Hotel in General Santos on January 22.

"Try to imagine how different others' problems are and how important it is for us to understand peace and development. Without peace and development in Mindanao alone, it wouldn't be able to grow in all aspects. Even the smallest town in the Philippines, it will always affect the whole country, the economy," Adiong said in an interview with Rappler.

A graduating student of Political Science at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Adiong dedicated the award to his fellow Maranaos who survived and continues to reel from the devastating impact of the Marawi siege and severe Tropical Storm Vinta

Potential of Mindanao 

"This is an award of the strong Maranaos, who, despite losing their homes in the Marawi siege, have embattled fear and doubts for peace. This is an award of the resilient Maranaos, who, amidst the catastrophic Vinta, have risen with renewed hope for development. To all my fellow Maranaos, this is yours, claim it," Adiong said in a Facebook post a couple of days after the awarding ceremony.

Adiong said his personal struggle with acculturation when he left his hometown Lanao del Sur to study in Cebu City is nothing compared to the struggles of his fellow Maranaos. 

Adiong told Rappler in an interview that ironically, he started his advocacy to promote peace and development among his fellow Maranaos in Lanao del Sur and surrounding provinces when he moved to Cebu City.

"Sobrang development dito sa Cebu City, parang naiinggit ako (Cebu is so developed, I got kind of envious). I started questioning the reality– bakit walang ganito sa Bangsamoro, sa amin sa Marawi (how come we don't have the same in Bangsamoro, in our hometown, Marawi)? Ano ba'ng meron dito na wala doon? Doon, (What's the differense between the situation here and there)? I started looking for motivation. I started to open myself to the community and volunteered in some outreach programs," he said.

After leaving his hometown, Adiong said he realized the potential of Mindanao to prosper if only peace reigns in the community.  (READ: Mindanaoan youth: 'We want just and lasting peace'

Last year, the World Bank said in a report that 37% of the country's poor population live in Mindanao, which is home to 15% of the Philippines' total population. In fact, the World Bank said Mindanao continues to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to shared prosperity.

The lack of economic growth in Mindanao is largely attributed to the long-standing armed conflict in the region. 

Advocacy efforts 

This is the image that Adiong wants to help change. The young advocate said that not everyone in Mindanao has the privilege to go to school and understand the importance of community development.

For example, in urban areas like Cebu and Manila, Adiong said that the problems may only range from lack of Wi-Fi or chairs. In rural areas, however, the reality is more grim. 

"When you ask them about Wi-Fi, some students don't know what it is. We visited an elementary school washed by Typhoon Vinta, there's one book that the teacher was able to save during the flood, and they are using it for all low-grade level students. If you're going to look at their facilities, it's really not good. Aside from lacking of chairs, there's also only few usable classroom," Adiong said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Realizing how much conflict has hampared progress in Mindanao, Adiong pushed for projects and campaigns aimed at turning the situation around.

The young Maranao also knew that the elusive goal of achieving peace in Mindanao can only be done through a collective effort. This is why he urges the youth, through his projects, to put themselves in the shoes of others.

Adiong established #PeaceNaTa, a social movement that "campaigns to reconcile the history-old gap between Moros and non-Moros in the Philippines through peace education and retelling of history."  When the war in Marawi took place, Adiong also initiated  Tabang Sibilyan Visayas, a volunteer-driven relief operation for those directly affected by the war.

Adiong pursues these efforts, driven by his ambitious vision for Mindanao. 

"I dream for peace in Mindanao – a kind of peace that encompasses the meaning of social, political, economic, and ecological peace; a kind of peace that promotes human dignity and mutual respect; a kind of peace that fosters a culture of dialogue; a kind of peace where the people speak and the government listens," Adiong said. 

"In whatever way it is, I see Mindanao as a home and always will be, regardless of how and what it was, it is, and it could be," he added. — Rappler.com

Jamil Adiong is a Rappler's mover in Cebu communities.


DSWD, other agencies send one of largest food assistance to Albay


HELP. DSWD and other government agencies send-off more than 30 trucks of relief assistance for the families affected by Mayon eruption. Photo by Vee Salazar/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – More than 30 trucks of relief assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies left the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City on Tuesday, February 27, for the families affected by Mayon's eruption.

"It was one of the largest send-off operations since the eruption of Mayon volcano," said DSWD OIC Secretary Emmanuel Leyco, who led the ceremony with Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, who is also executive director for disaster risk and reduction management, and Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard  Eje.

The fleet carrying 36,100 food packs is expected to arrive in Guinobatan, Albay, on Wedenesday, February 28.

In an interview, Leyco said the department was preparing for the continuous volcanic activity of Mt Mayon.

"The eruption is continuous. It's not the dramatic kind of eruption, where there's one explosiion and that's it. There's continuous flow of lava. That's why we're thinking and preparing for long-term assistance in this situation. Maybe for another two months, we should always be ready," Leyco said in Filipino.

Leyco said there are individuals who keep going back to the 6-7-kilometer danger zone. He reminded them to cooperate with the local government units and stay in the evacuation centers for safety.

"I guess we really need to give them a livelihood far away from the volcano. This is not only a temporary response, but we need to provide the people with a long-term and more durable, more permanent response. The danger-zone should be a no-man zone," he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

He also said that the department has spent approximately P60 million for aiding those affected by eruption.

"The DSWD has released around P60 million. Other agencies might have spent P100 million already, but the budget are in preposition, we allocated budget for assistance, for funds," he said.

The department's Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau is targeting to deliver a total of 458,250 additional food packs to Albay.

The department is also looking for volunteers to help in the continuous preparations for those affected by the volcanic activity.

In the latest report of the Disaster Response Operations, Management, and Information Center 16,106 families or 61,886 individuals are still taking temporary shelter in the 57 evacuation centers in Albay. – Rappler.com


[Right Of Way] MMDA responds to 'The Fault In Our Signs' series


For the past few episodes of Right Of Way, road safety advocate Vincent Lazatin called the attention of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on problematic road signs and pavement markings in Metro Manila. (WATCH: The fault in our signs – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

Vincent sits down with MMDA director Neomie Recio, officer in charge of the Traffic Management Office. Among other things, Recio explains the reason why MMDA's signs are wordier compared to international standards.

Watch the interview here on Rappler. – Rappler.com


Covering disasters: Expert tells media not to focus on death toll


The agricultural damage of Typhoon Lawin in 2016 was not reported by the media who are focused on reporting fatalities, an expert on natural hazards said. File photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A disaster risk reduction expert said on Thursday, March 1, journalists covering disasters should go beyond reporting mass casualties, complaining that they fail to look at other forms of losses.

"I’ve always been asking media: why is it that when they cover hazards and their impacts, they only cover those that have deaths?” said Dr Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay, director of the University of the Philippines' Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP NOAH) project, responding to a question at the ASEANnale forum at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

"If there are mass casualties in a certain area, they report it repeatedly. For good reason: it’s captivating. They earn money from it,” he added. 

Lagmay compared the media coverage of super typhoons Haiyan and Lawin: “[In Lawin], there were not many deaths, but there were lots of losses in agriculture and livestock and crops, etc. And they didn't cover that. What happened was that there was not a lot of aid to help people who were suffering from their losses, in terms of crops and livestocks.”

Fact Check: Media organizations, not just Rappler, also report on housing and infrastructure damage, as well as agriculture, and fisheries losses. These information are routinely included in the updates issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as well as by various departments. 

Below are samples of Rappler reports on some of the biggest disasters:

Disaster beat reporters needed

Lagmay also emphasized the importance of having experienced reporters covering disasters.

"On media practitioners.... I've always said to NDRRMC, that there should be a mainstay in NDRRMC. Because every time we talk to them, they are newbies. They don't know what happened in the past and they have to upgrade their knowledge about disasters, concepts, hazards, and so on and so forth,” he said. 

According to him, it’s important that there are "permanent" people reporting on disasters.

"What's happening now is, because people get transferred from one place to another, the people that we need to communicate disasters and disaster-related information, we lose that opportunity to be able to get the people to be informed well. And sometimes, that information could be critical,” Lagmay said.

The Philippines is a disaster-prone country, battered by about 20 tropical cyclones every year. In 2015, a research showed that 8 of the 10 most disaster-prone cities in the world are in the country. 

Lagmay presented on Thursday 2010 data from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, which showed that the Philippines is the most disaster-prone among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation. – Rappler.com 

Expert: PH tech, understanding of disasters 'at par with world's best'


BEST TECH. Dr Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay (middle) said that the technology used by the Philippines and its understanding of natural hazards is at par with the best in the world. Photo by Don Kevin Hapal

MANILA, Philippines – An expert on natural hazards said on Thursday, March 1, that Filipinos are at par with the world's best in terms of understanding disasters and the technology they use in disaster risk mitigation.

Dr Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay made the statement at the ASEANnale forum at the University of the Philippines, in response to a question from Rappler. He said this is most likely because Filipinos “get a lot of experience" dealing with disasters.

Lagmay said the Philippines has invested a lot in technology and human resources devoted to understanding natural hazards, so that it can equip itself against disasters that batter the country every year.

"Way back in 2012, the government in the Philippines invested a lot of money to make use of technology for us to gather data and understand the problems that we have, relating to CCA, for climate change and disaster risk reduction,” Lagmay said during the forum.

"Without that investment, we would not have been able to understand the problem. Of course…if we don’t understand the problem, we cannot find the solution,” he added.

Lagmay said while outside help is welcome, it's important for the Philippines to have its own capacity and local resources to solve disaster-related problems.

"We have all of those. I believe that we have all of the best technologies, we can apply it, use those technologies and science. The Filipinos can do it, we understand it, and we devote a lot of time to helping ourselves,” he said.

Having worked with other experts from around the world, including those from countries in Europe, the United States, and ASEAN countries, Lagmay said that the Philippines is “up there” when it comes to having the tools and understanding of natural hazards.

"Why? Probably because we get a lot of experience from the consistent battering from hazards,” he said.

For example, Lagmay said that the Philippines is among the few countries which invested in LiDAR technology which can be used to "repeat scenarios of hazards, not just on historical records, but for the future" and helps build disaster-resilient communities.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.

Open source

On disaster management technologies, Lagmay emphasized the importance of having open data, or data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone. 

"No amount of technology that we have, if we don't share it, will be effective or maximized, if we don't share," he said.

According to him, this is one way to gain the trust of people in different communities. 

"If they feel that you're not sharing the data with them (communities) or that you're not trying to get them to validate the science that you're trying to get them to understand, then a problem happens," he said.

Project NOAH

Lagmay is the director of UP’s Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP NOAH) which undertakes disaster science research and development, use cutting edge technologies, and recommend information services for disaster prevention and mitigation efforts.

The program, once the government’s flagship platform for natural disaster information, was established in 2012 in response to then President Benigno Aquino III's order to provide "a more accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system, especially in high-risk areas" in the country.

Project NOAH helped reduce disaster risk in connection with at least 13 severe hazard events, including Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) in 2014.

The government however, stopped Project NOAH in March 2017 due to "lack of funds." UP eventually decided to adopt the program. – Rappler.com

8 reasons why the Rainbow Warrior rocks


CLIMATE JUSTICE. Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior joins Philippines communities in their call for climate justice. File photo by Noel Guevara/Greenpeace

MANILA, Philippines – Greenpeace's most iconic ship, the Rainbow Warrior, came to the Philippines on a 20-day journey to campaign for climate justice.

Too much of a mouthful? Here are 8 reasons why you may want to see her and fall in love with her as she sails the islands of our beautiful country. (WATCH: Rainbow Warrior calls for climate justice in PH)

1. She's one of the greenest, cleanest ships in the open seas. 

RAINBOW WARRIOR. The Rainbow Warrior is under full sail off the Queensland coast during the 'Save the Reef' tour. File photo by Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace

As the first ship in the fleet designed and built specifically for Greenpeace, the Rainbow Warrior is one of the most energy-efficient ships in the high seas today.

The ship sails primarily under wind power. Its 55 meter-high A-Frame mast system – one of the highest in the world – can carry far more sail than a conventional mast of the same size. This is the first time this design has been installed on a vessel of the Rainbow Warrior's size.

As it sailed in Guimaras, the ship broke its speed record sailing on pure wind power at 13.5 knots, mirroring how the island province has successfully been harnessing the strength of this natural source of energy.

2. She takes her name after a Native American prophecy.

FLAGSHIP. Detail of the peace dove and rainbow emblem at the bow of Greenpeace's new flagship, the Rainbow Warrior III, at the Broadway Pier in Fell's Point. File photo by Eric Spiegel / Greenpeace

"When the world is sick and dying, people will rise up like Warriors of the Rainbow…"

The original Rainbow Warrior was named after the Warriors in a North American Cree Nation prophecy. Our sisters and brothers at Greenpeace saw it fit to name our flagship after that, and in a way, through our kickass campaigns, pitch our share to make the prophecy come true.

3. Rainbow Warrior captain Hettie Geenen is one of the few women captains sailing the seas today.

This magnificent ship is helmed by a woman, Hettie Geenen. Her first trip on the Rainbow Warrior – then as a third mate in 1999 – was during the Toxic-free Asia Tour, with a stop in Manila.

Hettie has a remarkable background combining studies (Psychology, Social Studies, Nautical Studies) with being a self-employed furniture-maker and a full-time captain with Greenpeace. She's the perfect example that what a girl wants, a girl gets, through sheer determination, hard work, and perseverance – be it either on land, on air, or on sea.

4. The Rainbow Warrior belongs to a fleet of ships with really awesome campaign runs.

Courtesy of Greenpeace

The Greenpeace fleet of ships is a unique asset in the battle to save planet Earth and protect the global commons. These ships – the Rainbow Warrior, the Esperanza, and the Arctic Sunrise – are used at the forefront of Greenpeace campaigning, often sailing to remote areas to bear witness and take action against environmental destruction.

At present, the Arctic Sunrise is on its 3-month expedition in the Antarctic with Javier Bardem, Alison Sudol, and Stranger Things star David Harbour to highlight the urgent need for the creation of an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary to safeguard species like whales and penguins.

Meanwhile, the Esperanza – the largest ship in the Greenpeace fleet – is in France and has just finished a successful ship tour in La Rochelle. 

5. Many celebrities sailed onboard the Rainbow Warrior.

File photo by Joselito Sepe/Greenpeace

"Bayaw" Jun Sabayton sailed onboard the Rainbow Warrior from Manila to Guimaras and experienced firsthand how this awesome ship operates. Rock icon Dong Abay also joined the second Rainbow Warrior during the Philippine leg of its 2010 Turn the Tide tour. Radiohead's Thom Yorke also sailed with the Rainbow Warrior on the vessel's maiden voyage in 2011.

6. In the Philippines, she took on Shell and told them head-on to face their responsibility.

In one totally badass protest action, the Rainbow Warrior carried a banner in front of the Shell oil refinery in Batangas to tell them that the rights of the people and the planet should not be sacrificed in the name of profit. This was part of a bigger action where 6 all-women Greenpeace activists climbed the oil refinery to unfurl a banner with the same message.

Oh, did we say badass already?

7.She came to the Philippines to fight for climate justice.

For the first time in its colorful history, the Rainbow Warrior is sailing in the name of climate justice and amplifying the voice of the climate impacted.

She is sailing to Tacloban, the area most ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), and where the Waray people are reclaiming their lives and telling their stories to the world on a journey to hold big polluters accountable.

8.You can't sink a rainbow, dude.

In an attempt to "neutralize" the ship ahead of its planned protest against the French nuclear testing in the Moruroa Atoll, French secret service agents in diving gear had attached two packets of plastic-wrapped explosives to the ship, killing Fernando Pereira, a photographer who sailed with the first Rainbow Warrior to document the protest.

The Rainbow Warrior has been bombed, slammed, and rammed by governments and corporations who see Greenpeace and its ships as a stumbling block to their plans in plundering the environment and the people, but alas, as the saying goes: You can't sink a rainbow.

It is time to stand up for climate justice, guys. Come aboard and check out what Greenpeace Philippines and the rest of the Rainbow Warrior crew are up to – and we're up to something good, we promise! – Rappler.com

Angelica Carballo Pago is a media campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia who is based in the Philippines.

Wanna get involved? Sign up on www.greenpeace.org.ph/balangaw for more information on the Balangaw: the Climate Justice Ship Tour. 

Thanks to netizen’s request, Cebu City library will be open 24/7


Photos courtesy of Tommy Osmeña Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines – Soon, students who need to study overnight will no longer have to stay in coffee shops and fast food restaurants – at least in Cebu City.

Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña announced on Tuesday, March 6, the city library will be open 24 hours to cater to the needs of the students, especially at night.

This came after netizen Mitch Roldan made the suggestion on Osmeña's Facebook page.

"Mayor, I'm also hoping and praying that you will consider having the public library be open for 24/7for us students who really need to study in a library setting," Roldan's comment read. 

She also added that this would be more beneficial for students instead of staying in fast food chains. (READ: How community libraries can change lives)

She said library users wouldn't mind paying a small fee for the services. 

The mayor replied: "Ok! Give me a week."

On Monday, March 5, the mayor posted a screengrab of Roldan's comment with the caption, "Many students would find this useful yes?"


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Less than 24 hours after posting the screenshot, Osmeña posted an update, saying that Rizal Public Library is being outfitted for 24-hour use. 

"Beginning Friday, the library will be open until midnight. It is now also open 7 days a week. After all the necessary upgrades are in place, it will be extended to 24-hour operation," the post reads. (READ: WATCH: Book Stop Project brings libraries to communities)

The mayor also added that additional personnel is being hired. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) and Wi-Fi routers will also be installed. 

"I did not know how important this was to students until you brought it up. You made it happen," the mayor said, thanking  Roldan. 

Other netizens welcomed this move, saying that this would greatly help the students. 


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Roldan, in a message, said she was surprised when the mayor replied to her comment, but she didn't expect the action would be this fast. 

"I thank him so much for considering it and putting the students' future first," she told Rappler. 

She also asked her fellow students to take this opportunity as an inspiration for them to study harder, and eventually give back to their parents and the country. 

Mitch Roldan is a 4th year electronics engineering student at the Cebu Institute of Technology University.

As of posting, Rappler is still waiting for Mayor Osmeña's reply to our message asking for more details. (READ: The Librarians: A Rappler Profile)

In the Philippines, public libraries are usually open at the same time students are in school. While some libraries implement a no-noontime-break policy, others observe the business-like 8 am-12pm and 1-5 pm operating hours. – Rappler.com 

National Youth Commission celebrates women's month with march, forum


EMPOWERING WOMEN. NYC youth volunteers and workers march along West Avenue in Quezon City in celebration of women's month. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — In celebration of women's month, the National Youth Commission (NYC) launched the "Young women, Inspiring women" march and forum to recognize outstanding female advocates in their chosen field at the NYC office in Quezon City on Wednesday, March 7.

Hundred of youth volunteers and workers walked along West Avenue in solidarity of women empowerment. The activity aims to raise awareness and inspire the public to take action for their advocacies.

Among the ladies who were given recognition are Trizia Ann Magalino of Teach for the Philippines, Abegail Mesa of Rescue Kabataan, and Anna Venturina of CancervantsPH. They shared their personal stories of success and struggles in their organization, advocacies, and careers.

"Puso. Kailangan may puso ka sa ginagawa mo to sustain an organization. Hindi yung gagawin mo lang ang isang bagay para lang may pang-instagram ka," Venturina said when asked on how to preserve an advocate organization.

(You should put your heart in doing what you want to be able to sustain an organization. Don't do something for the sake of Instagram followers)

Rhea Peñaflor, NYC Assistant secretary representing Visayas, told Rappler the activity aims to break the barrier between women. They also want to show support to various women organization in all aspect of their life.

"This will be a series of activities. We want empowering women to be a continuous advocacy, not just only every March. We hope that these inspiring women will bring fire to younger women so they will have the courage to step up," said Peñaflor in mix of Filipino and English. 

Peñaflor also encouraged all women to continue voicing out their opinions and standing by their advocacies.

"Let us all be that woman who inspires the next woman we see, meet or know. May all women make it as a way of life to inspire their fellow women; and may all women continue to participate in all meaningful conversations of the world," she said.

On March 8, various sectors and women organization will hold a nationwide protest for rights, freedom, and democracy in commemoration of International Women's day.

Here are some photos of the event: 

NYC Young Woman Inspiring Woman. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

— Rappler.com

UP student regent calls for donations following UP Shopping Center fire


MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Student Regent of the University of the Philippines called for food and cash donations for victims of the fire that razed the UP Shopping Center on Thursday, March 8.

Past 7 am on Thursday, fire hit the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Shopping Center. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) declared fire out at 8:53 am.


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Those who want to help in kind or in cash may drop off their donations in the following places:

  • Office of the Student Regent, located in Vinzons Hall
  • College of Arts and Letters Pavilion,
  • Palma Hall lobby
  • Matanglawin Publication Room in Ateneo de Manila University.

For more details, contact 09067720608.

According to the UP Diliman website, the Shopping Center "provides basic needs for students, faculties and employees" such as fast food, computer shops, and photocopying services, among others. 

Netizens, including students from other schools, took to social media to express their grief over the incident.

The fire that hit the shopping center is the fourth incident at the university in a span of 3 years. Other areas in UP struck by fire were CASAA and the Alumni Center also known as Fonacier Hall, in 2015, and the UP Faculty Center in 2016. – with a report from Bong Santisteban/ Rappler.com

Netizens express grief over razed UP Shopping Center


MANILA, Philippines – Netizens expressed grief over the fire that hit the University of the Philippines - Diliman Shopping Center (UP SC) on Thursday, March 8. 

According to netizens, the shopping center is more than just a building. They said  the shopping center, which houses several canteens and printing shops, serves as their go-to place for their  academic and personal needs. 

UP alumni, state scholars, and even students of neighboring schools took to social media to share their fondest memory at the shopping center, pushing the keywords "UP Shopping Center" to the top of trending topics on Twitter as of 12 pm on Thursday. 

"Today, we face yet again another tragedy with the burning of our beloved Shopping Center. With it comes not only memories of beloved times, but the livelihood of many of our members in the UP community," the UP Student Council said in a statement posted online.  (READ: UP student regent calls for donations following UP Shopping Center fire

"How many more buildings must burn, and lives be worsened before action will be taken to ensure the safety of our facilities?" the student council added. 

The fire that hit the shopping center is the fourth incident at the university in a span of 3 years. 

In June 2015, a fire hit the CASAA, another iconic canteen at the university, due to a gas tank leak.  A month after, another fire burned down the Alumni Center also known as Fonacier Hal.

For UP Professor Eloi Hernandez, the fire at SC reminded her of the devastating fire that engulfed the UP Faculty Center, more than a year ago in April 2016. The Faculty Center houses the offices of at least  250 faculty members. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The trauma is real. When I heard the sirens close to our house, my heart raced as I relived the UP Faculty Center Fire. I lost 80% of my books there and most of my life’s work. UP Shopping Center is gone, guys.</p>&mdash; Eloi Hernandez (@badassprof) <a href="https://twitter.com/badassprof/status/971546943498240000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 8, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Below are some of the tweets of netizens following the fire incident: 


<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/971596333629939713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Fire at UP SC - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


In a callout made by Rappler, netizens also shared the things they would miss about the UP Shopping Center.

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rodic&#39;s, fruit shake sa dulong stall, ice cream malapit sa fruit shake, BE Scientific</p>&mdash; mlb (@mlb0010) <a href="https://twitter.com/mlb0010/status/971621542474874880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 8, 2018</a></blockquote>
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What are your fondest memories at the UP Shopping Center? – Rappler.com 

LOOK: Cebu City library to start 24/7 operations on March 8


Photo from Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Earlier than promised, Cebu City’s Rizal Library will be open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week starting Friday, March 8, after a netizen’s request online got the attention of Mayor Tomas Osmeña. 

Osmeña initially promised the library’s operations will be extended until midnight by Friday, while it’s still preparing to shift to a 24-hour operation. However, on Thursday afternoon, March 8, he announced on his Facebook page that the library already has “enough staff" to keep operate nonstop.

"Mitch Roldan, two days ago, I said that Rizal Library’s hours will be extended to midnight starting Friday. I lied. 24/7 operation will commence tomorrow,” the mayor wrote. 

Osmeña said additional air conditioning units will be running in two days and that wireless internet will be up in a week. Electrical outlets will also be installed in the floors, and a printer and photocopier will be available. Coffee is also for sale, while and a small store selling snacks will be put up outside.

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In the long term, the mayor promised, other rooms in the building will be repurposed to “give students doing group work a place to talk.” The hall above the library will also be renovated to make more reading space. 

A netizen’s request

This all happened after netizen Mitch Roldan made the suggestion on Osmeña's Facebook page.

"Mayor, I'm also hoping and praying that you will consider having the public library be open for 24/7for us students who really need to study in a library setting," Roldan's comment read.

She also added that this would be more beneficial for students instead of staying in fast food chains. 

To this, the mayor replied: "Ok! Give me a week."

On Monday, March 5, the mayor posted a screengrab of Roldan's comment with the caption, "Many students would find this useful yes?"

Less than 24 hours after posting the screenshot, Osmeña posted an update, saying that Rizal Public Library is being outfitted for 24-hour use.

After hearing about what happened in Cebu City, the Quezon City Public Library also said that they're considering opening for 24 hours a day.

"We just met about it, we are studying the proposal," Mary Ann Bernal, head of QCPL Readers Services, said on Thursday, March 8. – with a report from Bong Santisteban/Rappler.com

[Right of Way] Taking the MRT during rush hour

Pass or fail? Women journalists rate PH presidents on respect for press freedom


MANILA, Philippines – In celebration of International Women's Day, several veteran women journalists were asked to rate the 6 post-EDSA Revolution presidents on their respect for press freedom under their watch.

During the Forum on the Role of Women in Media at the University of the Philippines in Diliman on Thursday, March 8, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) Executive Director Malou Mangahas asked the 4 journalists to rate former presidents Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Rodrigo Duterte.

On the panel were Chuchay Fernandez, managing editor of Interaksyon; lawyer Jo Clemente, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) chair; GMA-7 reporter Kara David; and Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN lifestyle content head.

Aside from rating the presidents on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 1 being the highest – they were also asked to share their experiences on how the presidents dealt with the media. (READ: From Cory to Rody: Presidents and their beef with Palace reporters)

Corazon 'Cory' C. Aquino

Fernandez rated Cory Aquino's relationship with the press a 2.

"It doesn't mean that her relationship with media was perfect, in fact, she was the target of a very publicized boycott, but there are times that the Malacañang Press Corps said that she stands out from the rest," Fernandez explained. 

She also added how Mrs Aquino answered difficult questions from the press after 7 coup attempts. 

"She gets questions like, 'Are you going to declare martial law to deal with this?' Sometimes she was 'hiding under the bed,'" Fernandez added. 

Fernandez was referring to the claim of the late journalist Louie Beltran in his Philippine Star column that Mrs Aquino got so frightened during the December 1989 coup attempt that she literally hid under her bed. She filed a libel suit against Beltran in 1991. (A Manila court ruled in her favor, but the Court of Appeals eventually overturned the decision.)

David and Clemente also gave Mrs Aquino a 2 rating.

Fidel V. Ramos

Fernandez described Ramos as "seems open but not really" especially when there were questions about governance and the "politically-sneaky" move to change the Constitution. 

Fernandez recalled that Ramos was already a darling of the press when he was defense chief during the first Aquino administration.

Fernandez gave Ramos a 3, David gave him 2.5 to 3, while Drilon gave Ramos 3 to 4. 

Joseph E. Estrada

Estrada liked to talk to the press, according to Fernandez. He didn't shun ambush interviews and was very accessible. However, this changed when he was hounded by controversies.

"When crunch time came, he revealed his true colors. When the Manila Times incident came, he became paranoid, and also to Inquirer, when he called for the boycott of advertisers," Fernandez said. "He can be very charming but at the same time, can do lethal moves," she added.

In 1999, Estrada filed a P100-million libel suit against The Manila Times over an article he claimed attacked his “reputation, honor, and dignity” and “honesty and integrity as a public official.”

Fernandez and David gave Estrada a 4.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

David recalled that Arroyo was really difficult to interview. She said she never had an interview with Arroyo in her entire presidency from 2001 to 2010.

She said that Arroyo did not usually grant press conferences, but when she did, the questions and those asking questions were screened. No ambush interviews were allowed.

Arroyo, whose administration was hounded by corruption allegations, did not entertain political questions. Fernandez said this was apparently because Arroyo was very "testy and insecure" when it came to the media when she became president.

David and Clemente gave Arroyo a 4 in terms of respect for press freedom.

Benigno S. Aquino III

Aquino was very open and talkative, as described by David. The problem, however, was that becaue he talked too much, David found it difficult to get soundbites from him. 

Recalling her experience with Aquino, David said,  "Magtatanong ka sa kanya, tapos ang gagawin niya ang maghihistorical background, tapos makaklimutan na niya ang sagot niya (If you asked him a question,  he will give you a historical background, and then he would eventually forget his answer)."

Aquino is known for giving lengthy context to his responses.

The 4 women journalists agreed that Aquino had a good relationship with the media throughout his term, but not as good as his mother, Cory Aquino.

Rodrigo R. Duterte

Drilon said while there appears to be a free press in the country, actions taken by the President himself have created a "chilling effect" on the media.

"There are appearances na mukhang free [press], but parang nakakatakot eh. Kahit walang threats of arrest, and just the specter na pwede kang masara, 'di ka mabigyan ng franchise – may chilling effect 'yun," the former Bandila anchor said

(It seems like a free [press], but it seems intimidating.  Even if there are no threats of arrest, and just the specter of the possibility of being shut down or they will not issue a franchise [to operate] – it has a chilling effect.)

Drilon was apparently referring to the threats made by Duterte against media groups that he believed were "unfair" to him, like Rappler, which is under threat of closure, and ABS-CBN.

Clemente, for her part, said:  "When you wake up each morning, something might happen. Who are they going to incarcerate again, and things like that."

Duterte got a failing mark from the journalists  in terms of respect for press freedom.

Journalists (from left to right) Kara David, Ces Drilon, Chuchay Fernandez, and Jo Clemente share their ratings on how the 6 post-EDSA presidents respect press freedom. Photo by Bong Santisteban/Rappler

Women in Media

David, in an earlier statement, said the status of women in media is not far from the general status of women in the Philipines. 

"You can see in television and in other forms of media that there's still a stereotype in women, there's still objectification of women, then I don't think we've come far enough," she said. 

She also pointed out that even government officials are the ones who degrade women in the first place.

"It doesn't help when the highest officials of the country are saying words or phrases that are obviously sexist or derogatory to women," she said. 

It can be recalled that then President-elect Duterte was called for wolf whistling  GMA 7 reporter Mariz Umali. As a presidential candidate, Duterte was highly criticized for his rape joke involving an Australian missionary.

Fernandez urged other women journalists to keep fire of truth-telling burning.

"Always keep in our hearts the passion for safeguarding public interest for they remain timeless," she said. – Rappler.com

'Abante babae:' Thousands march to uphold women's rights


Various groups gather at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to commemorate International Women's Day. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — Wearing white, pink, and purple, thousands of women activists, youth organizations, workers, and various sectors paraded from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola in commemoration of International Women's Day on Thursday, March 8.

The female advocates protested several issues involving women's rights, contractualization, abuses and killings.

A modern-day Gabriela Silang started the movement in front of Department of Labor and Employment's office in Intramuros and demanded to end contractualization in the Philippines(READ: Ending contractualization needs 2 urgent actions from Duterte)

They also condemned the misogynistic acts of President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies.

Joms Salvador, Secretary General of Gabriela Alliance of Women, said that Duterte might have forgotten the importance of women.

"Kung iniisip mo na hinugot mo sa tadyang ang kababaihan, nagkakamali ka. Dahil ikaw ay isinilang sa mundong ito mula sa sinapupunan ng kababaihan, kung meron kang dapat galangin walang iba kundi ang kababaihan!"

(If you thought that women came from men's rib, you are wrong. Because you came intto this world from the womb of a woman. If there's someone that you should respect, it should be these women.)

Duterte made several rape jokes in the past – a habit which Malacañang has downplayed by claiming that the "masses get him." He also joked about luring tourists to the Philippines using "42 virgins." (READ: From 'fragrant' Filipinas to shooting vaginas: Duterte's top 6 sexist remarks

These remarks contradict Duterte's vow to "fight for the rights of women and children".

In an interview, Emmi de Jesus, representative of Gabriela Partylist in the congress told Rappler that mass movement should be done often to raise awareness to the public.

"Tuloy tuloy lang ang programa. Sa loob ng kongreso yung mga issue na sinusulong ay rights and welfare for women and basic sectors, pero naniniwala ako na ituloy talaga ang organizing sa labas, kasi ang mas makakapagpasya naman ay yung movement ng masa sa labas ng kongreso" said de Jesus.

(In the congress, we'll continue to raise issues like rights and welfare for women and basic sectors. But I believe that organizing mass movements on the street should be done because those who can really decide are the movements of the masses outside Congress)

She added, "Dapat ang babae sa lipunang ito ay kilalanin natin, ang pinakamalaking ambag natin ay maging bahagi ng produksyon, maging bahagi ng kilusan para sa pagbabago, maging bahagi ng militanteng galaw ng mamamayan at huwag tayong pumayag na ipagpatuloy ng kasalukuyang sistema ang mababang pagtingin sa kababaihan."

(Women should be treated right in the society. The biggest contribution of the public is to be part of the movement for change, and to continue to fight the abuses on women)

According to Anakbayan national secretary general Einstein Recedes, they are lining up the next activity on March 23, in remembering the calvary of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the agony of the workers in the current administraiton.

Here are some photos of the activities in Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola:

Artists perform at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to commemorate International Women's Day. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler


Various groups gather at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to commemorate International Women’s Day. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler


Several student artists, activists and poets also joined the nationwide protest in their respective provinces. Below are some of their posts online:

{source}<a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/eyabigan/timelines/972072060611477504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">International Women&#39;s day - Curated tweets by eyabigan</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

– Rappler.com