Channel: Move.PH
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

[Right Of Way] Special Episode: Interview with Michael Brown, security and enforcement advocate


Road safety advocate Vince Lazatin talks to Michael Brown, security and enforcement advocate.

Formerly of the US military, Brown once served as a consultant for the Metro Manila Development Authority during the Aquino administration.

Watch this full discussion on enforcement and traffic issues – an excerpt of this appears in the Right Of Way episode 'Stop human traffic cones' – Rappler.com

Rappler Talk: UP History's 1st female summa cum laude on tips for studying, success


Bookmark this page to watch the interview with Chiqui Agoncillo on Saturday, April 14, 4 pm.

MANILA, Philippines – In 2016, Chiqui Agoncillo successfully etched her name in the history of her college department by being the first female summa cum laude with a BA Kasaysayan degree at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. 

Agoncillo is also known to be the fourth person to graduate summa cum laude from the same department. 

What made history attractive to a young Filipino like her? What are her tips to UP students who are struggling with their studies? What would she advise young Filipinos who would like to learn more about history? How did her liberal arts education influence her world view and shape her decisions? 

These are just some of the questions that Agoncillo will answer during her discussion with MovePH's Raisa Serafica at 4 pm on Saturday, April 14, to talk about her UP education, studying history, and the importance of liberal arts education.  – Rappler.com 

UST student affairs office suspends recognition of new orgs


SUSPENDED. The suspension comes after the hazing case of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died last year after undergoing the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity. Wikipedia File Photo

MANILA, Philippine –  The University of Santo Tomas Office for Student Affairs (OSA) has suspended the recognition of new student organizations.

In a memorandum dated April 3. OSA said it would not accredit new student organizations for school year 2018-2019, but did not state any particular reason.

The memorandum said that “specific details” regarding the recognition of fraternities and sororities would be issued separately. 


<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fvarsitarian%2Fposts%2F10155284221851288&width=500" width="500" height="645" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>


Copies of the memorandum were distributed to student organizations, colleges, and local administrative units on Friday, April 13. 

The memo was issued weeks after the arrest of suspects in the fatal hazing of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III. Castillo died in September 2017 after undergoing the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity (READ: UST law student Horacio Castillo III dies in suspected frat hazing).

During a Senate hearing on the hazing incident last year, if was discovered that the fraternity was able to present during the UST college freshman orientation in August last year, even while it was supposedly under suspension.

OSA Director Socorro Guan Hing, however, said during that hearing that it was only by September – prior to Castillo’s death – when the fraternity's suspended status became official (READ: Aegis Juris not an accredited UST organization in 2017).

Nilo T. Divina, UST Law dean and a member of Aegis Juris himself, had clarified that the fraternity was still deemed to be compliant with its accreditation in June last year.

Guan Hing stated before the panel that the college’s freshman orientation was not meant for recruitment. “There is also a schedule for recruitment done by organizations which come after they have been recognized. If and when recruitment really happened, that was not authorized,” she said then.

In a statement released on February 18 regarding the expulsion of 8 law students linked to Castillo’s case, the OSA said it conducted a seminar for organization advisers and student leaders on the Anti-Hazing Law and recommended a review of the UST Student Handbook as well as organization accreditation processes.

In the same statement, the office also said that it issued an indefinite moratorium on recruitment and activities of all fraternities and sororities in UST following the incident. – Rappler.com

WATCH: E-jeepney lady driver on the joys of driving


MANILA, Philippines – Maria Theresa Castañas Centeno, an electric jeepney driver in Filinvest, Alabang, shows that women can do anything.

Centeno was a former lady guard at a warehouse in Parañaque, who shifted to driving an e-jeepney.

According to her, it's easier to drive an e-jeepney than the road workhorse we've been used to. Besides the convenience of driving an automatic engine, e-jeepney drivers like her also earn a fixed salary.

She also believes that women can drive e-jeepneys better than men.

"Based on my experience – mas magaling. Kasi ako, maingat ako eh. Para bang komo nanay na ako, mas mahaba pasensya namin. Lalo na du'n sa mga makakasabay mong mga pasaway, mapagpapasensyahan mo eh. Mapagbigay, maasikaso sa unit," Centeno said.

(Women are better drivers. I think it's because I am a mother, and we have more patience, especially for those who are arrogant and rude. We can tolerate them. We take care of the unit properly.)

"Siyempre 'pag nanay ka, babae ka, siyempre mas gusto mo unit mo malinis, 'yung matutuwa ang pasahero sa 'yo," she added.

(If you're a mother, a woman, of course you want your unit to be clean, so that your passengers will be happy.)

She also encourages other women to try driving an e-jeepney as a source of income. – Rappler.com

Teach for the Philippines' Clarissa Delgado is Obama Foundation Fellow


MANILA, Philippines – Teach for the Philippines co-founder and chief executive officer Clarissa Delgado was selected as a 2018 Fellow of the Obama Foundation.

Delgado joins 19 other Obama Foundation fellows from 11 countries around the world. They are the fellowship program's first class.

On its website, the Obama Foundation said the 20 inaugural fellows "are powerful examples of the many pathways we can take to improve our communities."

"These leaders are working hand-in-hand with their communities to build better futures. They understand that creating change often requires reaching out across the lines that divide us. And their successes to date show how collaborative, community-driven work can lead to strong, imaginative, and long-lasting solutions – even on some of our most intractable and polarizing problems," the foundation added.

According to The Guardian, this year's fellows also include a South African activist, Koketso Moeti, and an Afghan refugee, Zarlasht Halaimzai.

The Obama Foundation Fellowship is a two-year, non-residential program which offers "hands-on training, resources, and leadership development to equip fellows to scale the impact of their work."

"Fellows participate in 4 multi-day gatherings where they collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward," former US president Barack Obama's foundation said on its website.

The Obama Foundation said Delgado's work with Teach for the Philippines involves "redesigning teacher training to address the reality of students' poverty and helping public school teachers become community leaders."

Since 2013, Teach for the Philippines has been enlisting young leaders to teach for two years in public schools nationwide. The non-profit organization is currently working with 29 placement schools across 17 local governments.

Delgado was one of the recipients of the first Rappler Move Awards in 2015. She later became a panelist at the 2016 Move Awards.

Read about the rest of the Obama Foundation 2018 Fellows here. – Rappler.com

[Right of Way] Part 1: How to untangle Sucat, PH's most complex intersection?


Rappler Talk: U.P. Resilience Institute Director Mahar Lagmay on open data and disaster resilience


MANILA, Philippines – How can we ensure that every Filipino is prepared for disasters?

One of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, the Philippines is exposed to several natural hazards such as floods, storm surges, landslides, and earthquakes.

There is no lack of data on this stored in government databanks, waiting to be unearthed.

Rappler reporter Aika Rey speaks to Mahar Lagmay, University of the Philippines (UP) Resilience Institute Executive Director, about his new book Open Data Law for Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction.

The book discusses the need to keep data open, and how it can be used to ensure that communities are resilient to climate change and disasters.

Lagmay heads the UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center, which used to be a project by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). He is also an academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology and a professor at the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences.

He had received several awards for his work on natural hazards. In 2015, Lagmay was the first Asian to receive the Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union.

Tune in to Rappler Talk on Saturday, April 21, at 3 pm.— Rappler.com

Pass law on easy data access to save lives from disasters – Lagmay


OPEN DATA. UP Resilience Institute executive director Mahar Lagmay says keeping data open is important in preparing for disasters. Rappler screenshot

MANILA, Philippines – Ensuring access to data helps save lives.

In a Rappler Talk interview, Mahar Lagmay, executive director of the University of the Philippines (UP) Resilience Institute, highlighted the importance of open data in disaster resilience.

"A lot of scientists have agreed that data should be made open. It's for the public good. It's for humanity and it's very important that we observe this – we implement this – to save lives," Lagmay told Rappler.

In his new book Open Data Law for Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction,the multi-awarded scientist discussed the need to keep data open as it empowers people to work together to achieve resilience.

Open data, as Lagmay defined, is not limited to digital formats of databases downloadable online. He said that these should be "available in bulk and should be free of charge, or with no more than a reasonable production cost."

He added that open data should also allow people to "use it, reuse it, redistribute, and intermix" with other datasets, without any conditions, except for attribution.

Lagmay argued that a clear policy on open data should be legislated to achieve the Philippines' sustainable goals as well as save Filipinos from disasters and the effects of climate change.

"There are already policies and that is a good step forward. It's best that we put it into law, so that there's accountability. And by putting it into law, the guidelines are clear and we know where we are," Lagmay said.


The Philippines is among the founders of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that aims to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Since the OGP's founding in 2011, the Philippines has developed action plans – such as the Philippines-PGP National Action Plan and the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 – to ensure good governance conditions through open data initiatives.

The Duterte administration, through the landmark Executive Order (EO) No. 2 or the  Freedom of Information EO, also allowed for the executive branch to implement open data initiatives, but with limitations. (READ: How serious is the Duterte administration about FOI?)

Despite a good number of measures by the Philippine government, Lagmay said a "culture of open data" has "yet to be seen."

He added that critical datasets for disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change, and environment are not available for the public in government databanks.

"I hope to see with all of these policies that have been put in place that in the near future, the same or the equivalent as what we see as 'open data' in the US or in Europe be available here as well," Lagmay said.

Whole-of-society approach

Scientists and engineers are not the only ones who should use data, added Lagmay.

"It should be a whole-of-society approach," he said, where stakeholders from various fields work together to achieve disaster resilience.

"In order for that to work, you must have open data. You must have open access, open knowledge, and open source – all of these openness – so that you can build trust. How can you build trust if you keep data from the other person?"

He noted the importance of open data in a whole-of-society approach to DRR.

"If we don't do that (implementation), the whole effort for disaster risk reduction will fail. That has been the lesson that we've seen repeatedly in past disasters," he said.

One of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, the Philippines is exposed to several natural hazards such as floods, storm surges, landslides, and earthquakes. (LOOK: Project Agos)

According to a 2015 study, 8 out of the world's 10 most disaster-prone cities are in the Philippines. The study also showed that the country ranked 80th out of 198 countries for resilience. – Rappler.com

WATCH: Woman officer trailblazes gender equality in the Philippine Army



MANILA, Philippines – There's a new chief in the Army Gender and Development Office in the Philippine Army. She's Lieutenant Colonel Raquel Vilchez, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sanghaya Class of 2000. 

Vilchez shares valuable insight into instilling gender equality in the military. Her experience as a mother in the Army and her well-honed competitive instinct comes in handy in her new role. 

Vilchez tells Rappler how she juggled career and family, and how she earned the respect of her peers and superiors in a male-dominated world.

Before this, she was part of the Directing Staff of the Capability and Technology Wings College of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Australian Defence College from 2016 to 2017. She also served as the Chief of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Evaluation Branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from 2010 to 2012, and Chief of the Weapons Systems Branch of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs of the AFP in 2012.

She tells Rappler that she would have succeeded when the day comes that there would be no need to distinguish females from the male warriors. – Rappler.com

Not 'just' a maid: How this center trains Hong Kong OFWs


READY FOR TAKE OFF. From learning how to cook to knowing their rights, the Fair Training Center makes sure that aspiring domestic workers are fully prepared for life abroad. Photo from the Fair Training Center

MANILA, Philippines – When we hear about domestic work, many of us think of thankless, unglamorous, or menial work.

The Fair Training Center (FTC) in Parañaque City believes this shouldn't be the case. 

For FTC, it starts with teaching the workers they can be professionals, too. 

FTC is an accredited training and assessment center that aims to reinvent pre-departure training for migrant domestic workers. 

Launched in 2016, FTC began as an offshoot of the Fair Employment Foundation's Fair Employment Agency. Despite the agency's rigorous vetting process, the foundation found that up to 4 out of 10 first-time overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong got terminated because they weren't ready to work and migrate. 

This was where FTC came in, with a curriculum that prepares workers holistically for life overseas. 

"When they get here, they say, 'I'm just a maid.' We tell them to remove the 'just,'" said FTC Executive Director Aimee Gloria. "We tell them, 'Just like you, your employers have dreams. If you're not there, they wouldn’t be able to chase after theirs.'" 

Learning the ropes

The training at FTC covers all the basics, and more than these.

One of a worker's first struggles in Hong Kong, for example, is adjusting to new homes and learning to use unfamiliar tools and appliances.

That is why FTC's facility in Parañaque was especially designed to let their students simulate life in a Hong Kong residence. There, they learn how to use common equipment like washing machines and food processors.

LOCAL COOKING. Students of FTC are taught to understand Hong Kong recipes and ingredients. Photo from the Fair Training Center

They are also taught basic skills like cooking local recipes, buying ingredients from Hong Kong markets, using public transportation, and even filling up forms at the immigration. 

The workers also learn to respond to difficult scenarios, like for example when they are accused of stealing. The center not only teaches them safe and professional ways to deal with these situations, but also how they can prevent these from happening in the first place.

More importantly, FTC helps workers understand the service contracts they're signing, for them to not only know their rights, but also what's expected of them. "It goes both ways. The employer also has to be satisfied with their (performance), as in other jobs," Gloria explained.

Being professionals 

To be treated as professionals, students of FTC are taught to think, talk, look, and act as such. They don't call them helpers, but workers. 

LIKE A PRO. Workers are taught to think and act like a professional. Photo from the Fair Training Center

With this, FTC wants workers to realize their importance – that they're doing more than just grunt work. 

Their students are also taught to really project themselves as professionals. They learn how to dress and behave as any professionals would, as well as how they can communicate themselves better and maintain a good relationship with their employers.

What makes their training special is that the workers are not just trying to "professionalize" to please their employers. At its core is making them appreciate their job better – for them to realize it's a dignified work that they can be proud of, and that it can also be fun.

Being emotionally, financially prepared

Another important aspect of FTC's training is emotionally preparing their workers for life away from their families.

DREAMS. When asked about their dreams, one of FTC's students wrote that she wants to "extend the life" of her sister. Photo from the Fair Training Center.

They are not only given tips on how they can communicate with their families in the Philippines, but also how they can maintain a healthy relationship.

They learn, for example, to set a regular schedule for them to call their children, and use this time to ask about school and talk about their daily lives, instead of just getting angry over the phone.

This would lessen frustrations for both the worker and their children, making them feel that things are still the same despite the distance.

Both the workers and their families are also made to realize how important it is for them to set financial goals before leaving.

Workers are encouraged to talk with their families about their dreams, and quantify them into goals that they will all work together for. They also taught financial literacy, and how they can make the most out of their earnings.

This way, the workers would know when it's time to come back and they can make sure that their sacrifices won't be all for naught.

But what really makes FTC's training special is what allows them to resonate with their students better:  their trainers are former OFWs themselves. They are not just outsiders sharing tips about the unknown. Instead, they are giving students a part of themselves: experience and passion they’ve earned through years of service.

"Our trainers really pour their heart and soul into teaching what they've learned," Gloria said.

The center is relatively new, and they face many challenges, like convincing aspiring domestic workers to invest in training.

But with passion in their hearts and genuine concern in their mind, the future is looking bright for Gloria, her team, and the 157 workers they've already helped. – Rappler.com

To learn more about the Fair Training Center, you may visit their website or send an email to Aimee Gloria at aimee@fairtraining.org.

Journalists on fighting fake news: Be more discerning, take a stand


 Veteran journalist Marites Vitug says that to earn the public's trust on media, news organizations should be transparent whenever their journalists commit mistakes. Photo by Neren Bartolay

LAGUNA, Philippines – Be more discerning about what you read and share online, and don't fall victim to fake news.

This was the response of the panelists at the #FactsMatterPH forum "Disinformation and Online Threats to Press Freedom and Democracy" when asked how ordinary citizens can take part in preventing the spread of disinformation online. 

During the forum held on Monday, April 23 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), community journalist Ricarda Villar of The Los Baños Times stressed the importance of filtering stories online.

She compared it to how people choose the photos they post on their social media accounts.

"Kung anong effort ang ginagawa mo sa pagpili ng profile photo o pagpili ng filter sa susunod mong Instagram post ay dapat ganoong effort din ang gagawin mo sa pagpili ng news na binabasa mo at shine-share online," said Villar.

(Your level of effort in choosing your next profile photo and Instagram post should be the same level of effort in choosing the stories you readand share online.)

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Secretary General Dabet Castañeda-Panelo said what distinguishes journalists from bloggers is that they maintain accountability for their stories.

"Newsgathering is a long process. News that you read and watch on television undergo a thorough process of vetting and verification. Unlike stories from fake websites, they do not have editors who vet information," said Panelo.

Meanwhile, Julianne Afable, editor-in-chief of UPLB's official campus publication The Perspective, shared that campus journalists are also on the receiving end of hatred online. Afable said that their Facebook page also gets trolled whenever they publish stories that do not favor the students.

"Mayroong mga comments ng mga trolls sa page namin to the point na nagme-message talaga sila sa page namin. Sinasabi nila na fake news daw 'yung pina-publish namin pero hindi naman," added Afable.

(There were comments from trolls on our Facebook page saying that our news was fake but it's not.)

Earning public trust

Veteran journalist and Rappler editor-at-large Marites Dañguilan Vitug said that to earn the public's trust, news organizations should be transparent whenever their journalists commit mistakes. 

"Trust is earned through time. Efforts of news organizations should be doubled in selecting stories they write and publish on their websites," said Vitug.

According to Vitug, journalists should go beyond the 5Ws and 1H of news reporting. "Journalists should add perspective to their stories. The challenge is how they will make people care [about] their stories. It is one of their core roles."

For Rappler's Stacy de Jesus, news organizations should take time to visit their communities and talk to them. According to her, there is so much anger online and it thrives from propaganda machines which aim to discredit the media.

"When you meet them in person and talk to them face to face, you'll get to know if you have their support in a very civil manner unlike those happening online," De Jesus shared.

De Jesus also stressed that while the work of journalists should speak for itself, if they just let the lies against them spread, their credibility will suffer.

"What we do is go out and talk to people to really hear the sentiments. At the end of the day, our job is to report news and tell stories. We get distracted of the attacks we get online, nawawala 'yung point ng trabaho (we forget the essence of our work)," De Jesus said.

This was echoed by Panelo: "Social media is not the world. Turn off your phones and go outside. Go to communities and know their stories."

Collective effort

Journalists during the forum agreed that the fight against fake news should be a collective effort between the media and the people. 

Journalists on Monday, April 23, say people should be more discerning of the stories they read and share online during the #FactsMatterPH forum in UPLB. Photo by Haylyn Gamboa

According to Villar, people should not be passive, and should not expect that journalists will always do the job. For her, the public should do their part too.

"If you enjoy all the freedoms in this country, you also have a role to play," she added. 

De Jesus, meanwhile, advised people to stand up for the truth.

"Take courage – the courage to stand up for the truth, the courage to speak truth to power, the courage to hold the powerful accountable. That's what we should all be doing. They are public servants and their job is to serve the public."

Afable also asked people to avoid sharing fake news online, and to take a screenshot instead of the post and add comments to debunk the lie.

At least 250 campus journalists, student organization leaders, school paper advisers, and other stakeholders in Laguna attended the latest #FactsMatterPH forum in Laguna. 

How about you? How can you take part in preventing the spread of fake news online? Join the discussion online by using #FactsMatterPH. –Rappler.com

Sugarcane vinegar production helps Batangas families cope with disasters


MERYENDA. Analyn prepares snacks and beverages in an afternoon in Batangas. Photo by Luis de la Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Analyn Maligaya is a 42-year-old housewife from Batangas. She divides her time as a Pangtawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program community volunteer, member of the Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Kanlurang Batangas Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Nagkasama), and a wife to a former truck driver partially debilitated by an accident.

“When my husband had to temporarily leave his job to recuperate from the accident, it became difficult for us to make both ends meet,” Analyn narrated  in Filipino. In front of their home, Analyn sells snacks and beverages to support her family of 6 children and 4 grandchildren.

In the past years, they regularly suffered from floods during the monsoon season, and they were able to cope because her husband had a regular source of income. But this year will be a different story for Analyn's family if a strong typhoon comes by.

“We are barely getting by. I cannot imagine how we can make it without help as typhoon floods our home and prevents me from selling,” she said.

Analyn is just one of the many mothers in the Philippines who bear the brunt of searching for alternative livelihood opportunities to support the family in times of disasters or emergencies.

In a situation where the family income is just enough, accidents and natural calamities could disrupt a family’s financial capacity. This is especially true for families with only one source of income. Families with limited sources of livelihood are considered by many as less resilient to the adverse impacts of natural calamities and family emergencies.

According to a study by the United Nations Development Programme, “resilient households were consistently described as households with greater income and assets built through diverse sources.”

The extreme unpredictability of climate conditions as a result of climate change likewise affects the livelihood condition of Analyn’s neighboring farming households in Western Batangas. In 2013, for instance, sugarcane farm productivity was at its record low after two major typhoons hit the country.

This has placed households in a plight similar to Analyn's. Women had to look for alternative livelihood sources to ensure that the needs of their households were met.

Addressing the challenges in Western Batangas

In 2015, United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) supported a project that aims to reduce women’s vulnerabilities to climate and human-induced disaster risks in coastal, upland, and lowland fishing and farming communities in the provinces of Quezon, Kalinga, and Batangas. The Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development was commissioned to implement the project in Batangas.

EMPOWERED. Women from NAGKASAMA produces sugarcane vinegar to support their livelihood. Photo by Luis de la Rosa

One of the major accomplishments of the project was enabling women beneficiaries to put up a sugarcane vinegar production and marketing enterprise as livelihood. Because canes are often submerged in flood during monsoon seasons, most can no longer be processed into sugar and are therefore rejected by the mills.

Because sugarcane vinegar does not require as much “sugar” from the canes, the facility will be able to convert rejected canes into a potentially profitable product  vinegar. This means that income from rejected canes can still be recovered from the vinegar processing facility.

Analyn and 17 other women participated in the project and were trained by the Department of Science and Technology and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University. Participants were involved in all aspects of business planning. They have decided to call their product “Sukâ ni Nanay” (Mother’s vinegar).

Just this February, they produced 1,362 liters of sugarcane vinegar. With support from the Cooperative Development Authority and Department of Trade and Industry-Balayan, the products are being distributed in Tagaytay, as well as in other small stores in neighboring municipalities.

Improving disaster resilience and increasing incomes

“Our efforts are paying off. Our income from vinegar production is already helping in our day-to-day expenses. We are able to pay our electricity and water utilities from our salaries as workers in the Nagkasama vinegar production venture, and we have more left to provide food for our families,” Analyn said. “While there were setbacks in terms of learning the process, we are able to slowly organize our group and made our production levels efficient.”

“In the future, I hope that the vinegar processing facility does not only increase our income, and provide some security [for] my family. I hope it expands to cover more women in need of extra income, and at the same time help sugarcane farmers suffering from income loss because their flooded canes are no good for sugar mills. We still have a long way to go, because we’re just starting, but things are looking up.” – Rappler.com

Luis de la Rosa is the National Advocacy and M&E Officer of Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CARRD), a not-for-profit organization that promotes farmers’ access to productive resources and enable them to make informed decisions about environment-friendly, non-discriminatory and sustainable livelihoods.

Rappler Talk: Meet the Filipino Columbia University student who won a Pulitzer


MANILA, Philippines – Columbia Journalism School graduate student Mariel Padilla was in the middle of her class when she learned that she won a Pulitzer Prize on Friday, April 20.  (READ: Reuters journalists win Pulitzer for reporting on Philippine 'drug war'

The 23-year old student, whose parents are both Filipinos, grew up in Ohio, United States. 

Padilla worked as an intern for The Cincinnati Enquirer during the summer of 2017. In September that year, the local paper published an in-depth report entitled “Seven Days of Heroin,” visualizing addiction and detailing the effects of heroin on the community.  

The hard work of the 59-member Cincinnati Enquirer team, including Padilla, earned it the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. The awarding body described the report as a "riveting and insightful narrative and video documenting seven days of greater Cincinnati's heroin epidemic, revealing how the deadly addiction has ravaged families and communities." 

At 3 pm on Friday, April 27, Padilla will talk to MovePH's Raisa Serafica about the Pulitzer award, her experience as a newsroom intern, and the importance of local reporting. – Rappler.com 

'Try and try': Bar 2017 takers say failure is not the end


TRY AND TRY. This is Leslie Llagas (left) and Katherine Macoroy's 4th Bar exams, and their hopes to pass this year's Bar exams has never been this high.

MANILA, Philippines - How many times do you have to try in order to succeed?

Leslie Llagas and Katherine Macaroy taken the Bar Exam 4 times already. Despite failing several times previously, their hopes to be licensed lawyers someday never faltered.

Llagas waited outside the Supreme Court since 8 am on April 26 with hopes of seeing her name listed in the roll of new attorneys. (READ: Bar Exam results 2017: 25.55% passing rate)


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This is Leslie Llagas’ 4th Bar exam. Her hopes to be included in the roll of new attorneys has never faltered despite failing several times. With the release of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAR2017?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAR2017</a> results today, her life is about to change. || via <a href="https://twitter.com/bongsant1steban?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bongsant1steban</a> <a href="https://t.co/hPFUNidUy6">pic.twitter.com/hPFUNidUy6</a></p>&mdash; Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/989317666518196224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Tough questions

"Kinabahan po ako. Pang-apat ko na po itong take. Pero kung anuman ang lalabas na resulta mamaya, tatanggapin natin ng bukas sa puso," Llagas told Rappler. (I'm worried. This is my 4th time to take the Bar Exam. Whatever may come out of the results later, we will accept with open hearts)

Llagas, a law graduate from San Sebastian College, also said that despite taking the Bar many times, she still had difficulty answering the exam questions. 

"Every year pahirap nang pahirap po ang mga tanong kaya pressured pa rin po," she added (The questions keep getting tougher every year that's why I'm still pressured

Macaroy, a law graduate from Silliman University, said her inspiration for passing the Bar was simple: she doesn't want to go to school anymore.

"Ayaw ko na pong bumalik sa pag-aaral, pagod na pagod na po ako," she said. (I don't want to go back to school anymore. I'm tired)

In the Resolution on Reform in the Bar Examinations, after failing a third time, an examinee will only be allowed to retake the Bar after taking a one-year refresher course. (READ: Mark Simondo of University of St La Salle Bacolod tops 2017 Bar Exams)

Both Llagas and Macaroy took the required one-year refresher course before retaking the Bar for a 4th time.

Moment of truth

Around 1 pm on Thursday, April 23, the Supreme Court started flashing the list of successful Bar takers. There was a celebration all around,

Llagas was seen wiping away her tears. She didn't pass this year, her 4th attempt. "Babawi nalang po tayo sa susunod na taon," she said. (We'll try again next year)

Macaroy, on the other hand, made it to the list. "What a relief," she said with wide smiles.

She also noted that this year, an extra dose of prayers made it possible to realize her dream.

"Study wise, you should never go to Bar Exams unprepared, so more dasal talaga," she said. (You really need more prayers)

This is not yet the end for both Llagas and Macaroy. Llagas said she will try her luck again next year, while Macaroy will start a new chapter in her life, this time as a full-fledged lawyer.

As cliche as it may sound, Llagas and Macaroy are the best examples of the old adage,  "Try and try until you succeed'  - Rappler.com

WATCH: 'Anak, pasado ka!' and other victorious 2017 Bar moments


ECSTATIC MOTHER. Editha Billones calls her daughter Zandalee to inform her she has passed the 2017 Bar Examinations. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – It is a moment like no other. 

Every year, the Supreme Court (SC) opens its doors to the public for a spectacle. Names of successful Bar examinees are flashed on a giant screen and the court grounds transform in an instant.

On Thursday, April 26, there was a long, anxious wait before Bar chairman Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin took the stage to announce the results past 1 pm. A couple of hours earlier, media had reported that only 25.55% passed one of the hardest licensure examinations in the country. (FULL LIST: Bar Exam 2017 passers)

When they learned of the passing rate – a dramatic drop from the 59.06% the past year – the father of this year's topnotcher Mark John Simondo thought that his son wouldn't make the cut.

The Simondos learned of the good news in Bacolod. Simondo is a graduate of the University of St La Salle, where he also earlier earned his Nursing degree.

At the SC grounds in Manila, parents volunteered for the task of waiting under the heat to spare their children the nerve-wracking suspense.

'Huwag ka nang umiyak!'

Names arranged alphabetically started scrolling from the giant screen, and shortly after, there was a scream from the back.

It came from Editha Billones who didn't know what she would do first: jump for joy, focus on the screen to make sure she read it right, or call the person who had been waiting all morning for the phone to ring.

"Anak, pasado ka! Nandito ang pangalan mo, nakita ko na anak! Huwag ka nang umiyak! (My child, you passed! Your name is here, I saw it. Don't cry!" Editha told her daughter Zandalee, a graduate of Arellano University.

Sought for an interview, Zandalee politely declined and said: "This is my mother's moment, and not mine."

She added: "It's enough that my mother has all the attention she deserves. After all, she taught me how to read and write, and without learning these skills, I would not have survived the Bar."

Ilocano fathers Jerome Bello and Tomas Torralba held each other so tightly you would think they were longtime friends. But in fact, they just saw each other again that morning, after going to the same university way back in the 1980s.

Their sons Jaymart Bello and Klinton Torralba took the Bar. Both passed, with Klinton ranking 9th.

"Para akong hinimatay dahil sa galak at saya. Kung puwede nga lang lulundag hanggang langit dahil sa kasiyahan ko. Hindi po namin inaasahan, ang dinadalangin ko lang ay makapasa. Kahit 75% lang ay masaya na kaming mag-asawa," Tomas said.

(I felt like fainting out of joy. If only I could jump until I reach the skies to express my happiness. We didn't expect this because we only prayed that he would pass. My wife and I would have been happy even if his grade was only 75%.)

The tearful parents of Neneth Aporo, a new lawyer from the University of the Philippines, also said: "Tapos na ang paghihirap namin. Napakahirap ng inabot naming mag-asawa." (Our hardships are over. My wife and I sacrificed a lot.)

God's gift

Russell Jay Tagama hugged his wife, who spoke for the new lawyer in the family: "We've been waiting for this. This is God's grace. We're so thankful. This is a nice gift to our children, to our parents."

Anne Lorraine Diokno of San Beda College in Manila screamed from the top of her lungs in the middle of the SC grounds when she read her name.

Clasping a rosary, she said: "This is for my mom, this is for my family, Lord this is for you, thank you. All the sleepless nights, all the nerves, it's all worth it."

Five of Diokno's batchmates from San Beda landed in the top 20 this year. San Beda and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) each had 5 topnotchers to share the recognition of having the most graduates on the list.

The University of San Carlos in Cebu, which produced the 2016 topnotcher, had 3 graduates in the top 20 this year. Ateneo de Davao University produced the 3rd placer.

Other schools with graduates in the top 20 include St Mary's University, University of San Jose Recoletos, Xavier University, St Louis University, University of Cebu, and Jose Rizal University.

The usual top performing law schools, the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines, managed to land in the top 20 this year – top 14 and top 20 respectively – after missing the top 10 last year. – Rappler.com

2017 Bar exam topnotcher wants to be a lawyer for the poor


LA SALLE'S PRIDE. Bar examination 2017 topnotcher Mark John Simondo (right) holds a press conference in Bacolod City on Thursday night, April 26, 2018, hours after the Bar exam results are announced. He is with (from left) former University of Saint La Salle College of Law dean Ralph Sarmiento, USLS president Brother Kenneth Martinez, and USLS College of Law dean Rosanne Juliana Gonzaga. Photo by Marchel P. Espina/Rappler

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Mark John Simondo, the 2017 Bar examination topnotcher from the University of St La Salle (USLS) here, said he wants to be a lawyer for the poor.

In a press conference Thursday night, April 26, Simondo said he made a promise to God that, if he would pass the Bar exam, he would help those in need of legal assistance, especially the poor. 

“If I pass this, I promised that I will use my license for the good of the people. I passed, so I guess I have to make good on my promise to serve the people,” said the 31-year-old newly-minted lawyer.

Simondo graduated from law school in 2017 as valedictorian. 

Prior to law school, he was a registered nurse. He graduated magna cum laude in nursing from USLS in 2009.

He said he changed his career path because “I was not exactly the best nurse out there. I had a lot of close calls as a nurse.... Hospital was not for me.”

This is the reason he chose law because it is “far away from the hospital.”

Aside from doing public service, he said he is also inclined to take business or corporate law. 

“I think my passion is in that field, but I am open to any other options right now,” he said, adding that oath-taking is still a month away, so “I still have time to plan what I really want to do.”

When asked if he would also pursue a career in the government, he said it is “not the only option” if a lawyer wants to serve the public. He said lawyers are officers of the court, and it’s their job to administer justice, but it’s the responsibility of both public and private sector lawyers as well. 

At the press conference, USLS president Brother Kenneth Martinez, USLS College of Law dean Rosanne Juliana Gonzaga, and former dean Ralph Sarmiento joined Simondo.

Simondo is the first topnotcher the law school ever produced since its inception 25 years ago. 

They said they are honored by what Simondo had achieved.

“Our hearts are filled with gratefulness for this blessing, and our spirit is truly joyful as we come together to share the achievements of our law students, wherein 12 of them passed the Bar exams, with Simondo being the topnotcher,” Gonzaga said.

Sarmiento described Simondo as brilliant in his understanding of the law, has very sharp analytical skills, and has superb writing skills. 

“Since the first year, I already saw his potential to become a Bar topnotcher. In fact, I was able to post my congratulation photo on Facebook right away because I had already prepared that several days ago,” the former dean added. – Rappler.com 




Photo congratulating 2017 Bar topnotcher ready days before results, says USLS prof


BACOLOD, Philippines – Days before the results of the 2017 Bar exams were announced, and Mark John Simondo emerged with the highest rating, his former professor at the University of St La Salle (USLS) College of Law had already prepared a poster he would publish on social media to congratulate him. 

“From the very first day in law school, I already saw his potential,” Ralph Sarmiento, former dean of the USLS College of Law, shared during a press conference Thursday night, April 26. 

Sarmiento, who himself placed 10th in the 1997 Bar exams, said his congratulatory post for Simondo was already edited in Photoshop several days before the results were out, “waiting only for the post button to be clicked.”

“I think I was the first one to post a picture congratulating Mark as soon as the results came out. My wife Ollie told me, ‘Siguro ma-top guid ni si Mark mo, kay this is the first time you prepared an edited na congratulations.’ (Maybe your student Mark will top [the exams], because this is the first time you prepared an edited congratulatory [poster]). And I told Ollie, my gut feeling tells me Mark will top the Bar exam,” said Sarmiento.

{source}<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fattyralph%2Fposts%2F10156849314807437&width=500" width="500" height="509" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>{/source}

The law professor said his certainty was sealed during a Constitutional Law 1 lecture, where Simondo gave a brilliant answer to one of Sarmiento’s most difficult questions, which he usually asks his students every year.

“It [was] a very complicated problem about the relationship of the bill of rights and the powers of the state,” recalled the professor. “I think he was really designed and destined to top the Bar,” he added.

From then on, he made sure to monitor Mark’s progress in law school, checking up on him up to the time Mark was about to take the Bar exams.

Sarmiento, who was dead set on making Mark realize his potential, talked to him seriously on his 3rd year and 3 months before the Bar.

“I told him, ‘Mark, I can no longer teach you anything, I can no longer correct you in the way you answer, you answer better than the way I answered 20 years ago when I took the Bar in 1997, and I’m sure you will go beyond my place in the Bar exams,’” said Sarmiento, who was even more awed with Simondo when he checked his written answers on his notebook.

This level of confidence in him overwhelmed Simondo – but in a positive way.

In Thursday's press conference, Simondo said he felt pressured, but a good kind of pressure.

“It was the good kind of pressure. You know, like in a car, one way to make a car faster is to add pressure to it, you use turbo charger for that. And so this confidence, this belief, it’s like a turbo charger; it added pressure, but the good kind of pressure. And it ultimately helped me become who I am,” said Simondo.

Graduated as the valedictorian of the USLS Juris Doctor Class of 2017 and the Best Thesis awardee, Simondo was previously a nursing student in USLS who graduated magna cum laude.

However, despite what would look like excellence in his undergraduate studies, Simondo eventually learned that the medical field may not be his to tread. It took some painstaking first-hand experience in the hospital, failing to land a place in the Top 10 during the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination, innumerable prayers and pleadings for signs that rerouted his path "as far away from the hospital as possible," Simondo shared.

Even as he finally took his first steps on the forkroad between law and medicine, he still had room for reservations. So, once again, he prayed and asked for a sign: if he gets 2.0 or better in a class he had the most difficulty with, then law is what God wanted for him. And he received exactly 2.0.

Incidentally, that class was Constitutional Law 1, the same class where Sarmiento foresaw Simondo topping the Bar. More than just a class to be passed, it was the "make or break" moment for Simondo’s career path.

And, as it turned out, that was the moment the 2017 Bar Exams topnotcher was made.

“It made me feel very happy [to have met those] expectations. I did my part and I did not come up short. It made me feel satisfied and fulfilled,” Simondo said upon hearing the sentiments of his former professor.

Garnering a score 91.05% came as a shock to Simondo, who told the media that he estimated his results to be around 84 at the highest and 74 at the lowest.

However, his friends and classmates disagree. For them, it was a given for Mark to top the Bar.

It would have been a surprise if he did not top the bar! Mark topped every test in law school and we were together during Bar review. I saw how he prepared and studied for this. Everyone who knew Mark knew how capable he was in conquering the Bar,” said Katrina Tan, a friend of Simondo and fellow Bar passer.

I am sure that those who know Mark, myself included, all believed that he would ace the Bar Exams,” said Leanna Torrato, who was Mark’s teammate in several Moot Court competitions.  “I've never seen him have a bad recitation or a bad exam score.

He is described as a serious, dedicated, and diligent student, but also humble and approachable. He is said to be the go-to guy for when his classmates have questions or need opinion on a legal matter.

Say you are confused about a certain legal question, we say, 'Ask Mark,'" Torrato said.

However, perhaps just like the regular board taker, even someone with Simondo’s capacity had his share of doubts.

His girlfriend Anya Yusay, who is also currently taking up law in the same university, shared that she and Mark talked every night when he was reviewing for the Board. He would share how exhausting the experience was and Yusay would just listen and try her best to encourage him.

Simondo shared in an interview with the media that he studies an average of 8-9 hours daily, and pushes it to 12 hours during vacations, which Yusay said was just normal in law school.

Yusay, who is set to take the 2020 Bar Exams, shares that this inspires her to also do good in her endeavor.

Simondo expressed interest in corporate law, but said that he is not closing the doors to the possibility of public office. However, he "definitely" will not run for office. (READ: 2017 Bar topnotcher wants to be a lawyer for the poor) – Rappler.com


New York lawyer passes PH Bar: She’s coming home soon


PHILIPPINE BAR. Neneth Aporo obtained her law degree from the Hofstra University in New York. She passed the Philippine Bar on April 26, 2018.

MANILA, Philippines – Triumphant cries rang throughout the Supreme Court (SC) grounds on April 26. Among those who contributed to the euphoric mood in Padre Faura were Bonifacio and Elsie Aporo.

They had just seen the name of their daughter, Neneth, scroll down the giant screen that flashed the 1,724 successful examinees of the 2017 Philippine Bar Examinations. Only a fourth, or 25.55%, passed the gruelling licensure examinations for lawyers.

“Tapos na ang paghihirap namin. Napakahirap ng inabot naming mag-asawa (Our hardships are over. My wife and I sacrificed a lot),” said a crying Bonifacio.

Neneth is now a Philippine lawyer.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WATCH: Mr and Mrs Aporo’s reactions when the name of ther daughter Neneth flashed on the SC screen as one of those who passed the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/2017Bar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#2017Bar</a> <a href="https://t.co/53koXYDgyl">pic.twitter.com/53koXYDgyl</a></p>&mdash; Lian Buan (@lianbuan) <a href="https://twitter.com/lianbuan/status/989411081863888896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 26, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

New York Bar

Truth be told, their sacrifices have already paid off two years before. In July 2016, Neneth passed the New York Bar.

She is the pride of her father, who had always wanted to become a lawyer but couldn’t because his family could not afford it.

Born in Quezon, Bonifacio worked as a security guard to send himself to school to take up criminology. He became a policeman, and with wife Elsie, raised a family in Tondo. (FULL LIST: Bar Exam 2017 passers)

“He used to say, if only he had money he could be a lawyer too. Then he would understand what his friends in the village talk about. We’re from Tondo so it was a big adjustment when we moved to a subidivision in Quezon City,” Neneth told Rappler.

Neneth finished her undergraduate degree in consular and diplomatic affairs at the De La Salle College of St Benilde. 

With a merit scholarship and her parents pitching in for other funding needs, she took up law at the Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. She took and passed the New York Bar two months after graduation, or in July 2016.

‘Crazy idea’

Neneth had what others told her was a “crazy idea.”

She wanted to come home and take the Philippine Bar. To do that, she must study a year in a Philippine law school. (WATCH: 'Anak, pasado ka!' and other victorious 2017 Bar moments)

“After graduating law from New York in May 2016 and taking the New York bar in July 2016, I immediately flew to the Philippines to start a new journey. It was a huge risk because I had to decline job offers without any assurances that I will still get any when I return,” Neneth said.

Neneth said that she was “back and forth” the Supreme Court to figure out how she would be eligible to take the Philippine Bar.

“The Office of the Bar Confidant said that I’m the first foreign juris doctor to brave the Philippine Bar. Someone even asked me what gave me the crazy idea to do it,” she said.

She was eventually accepted to the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law.

Her UP story also includes a story of failure, where she failed and had to retake Civil Law.

“I cried so hard. I had to grit my teeth whenever I switched my common law hat to civil law. It was my first time to fail a subject in my entire life. The professor, who failed me, even told us in the beginning of the class that she knew none of the students she failed was able to pass the Bar. I’m humbled to break the record,” she said.

PROUD PARENTS. Neneth Aporo's parents Elsie and Bonifacio wait for the announcement of results of the 2017 Philippine Bar Examinations at the Supreme Court on April 26, 2018. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

Coming home

Neneth remembers the  4 Sundays in November 2017 at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) as not exactly going well. She didn’t know the dress code, and she didn’t have the proper pens.

“I thank all my classmates who donated their gel pens to me that day. I can still remember your names and faces,” she wrote on Facebook. She said she cried in the shower after the fourth and last Sunday.

In January 2017, she left the Philippines and flew to New York to take her oath. By February, she got a job as an associate at the Sidrane & Schwartz-Sidrane, a New York firm.

Her field is commercial and real estate law – surely the right path to power and money. (READ: 'Try and try': Bar 2017 takers say failure is not the end)

A path she “doesn’t mind” letting go of.  Crazy as some may see it, she appears to be so natural about it, almost as if it’s a decision that doesn’t need much explaining.

“I really want to be a public attorney and eventually retire there (the Philippines) too. I want to apply for the Public Attorneys Office (PAO),” she said.

In a country whose national narrative is migration, either for better or for worse, Neneth’s story is a refreshing one, an affirmation of sorts that a country many have left is worth returning to.

She marks her story with 4 words we hope to hear from more Filipinos who go away.

“I’m coming home soon.” – Rappler.com

#25SecondsForPressFreedom: Journalists explain why press freedom matters


FOR PRESS FREEDOM. Renowned journalists around the world discuss the importance of press freedom in upholding democracy. Screenshots from UNESCO Youtube videos

MANILA, Philippines – Around the world, press freedom plays a big role in preserving democracy. But in many countries, journalists have faced growing threats as democratic institutions also come under attack.

In fact, in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders noted the "growing animosity towards journalists" worldwide. Political leaders, added the media watchdog, have openly encouraged hatred and hostility against the media.

In the #25SecondsForPressFreedom campaign by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), journalists and press freedom advocates around the world discuss why press freedom matters.

The campaign is in line with the 25th World Press Freedom Day on Thursday, May 3.

No press freedom, no democracy

Among the journalists featured is Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa. Rappler has been the subject of several complaints filed in 2018 alone amid threats hurled by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: TIMELINE: The case of Rappler's SEC registration)

"Without press freedom, there is no democracy," Ressa said. "Journalists shine the light, but journalists only reflect the power of the people. That shining the light will hopefully inspire our people, our public, to hold power accountable."

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, meanwhile, said press freedom is the rock on which "our societies, our communities, our world" is built on. 

"If we're not free to report the truth then what fills the vacuum? Lies, fake news. And when we don't have the truth, we have dictatorships," she said. "Honestly, the difference between democracies and dictatorship is truth and lies, and as I said that is what press freedom is all about."

Journalist Carmen Aristegui, who has exposed high-level corruption in the Mexican government, said freedom of expression is the mother of all freedoms.

"But it is not enough to be free to think, to be free to investigate, to have an opinion, or to disagree," she said. "It is crucial to be free to publish and for the people to be informed without censorship, harassment, or violence."

'Not a crime'

Wearing a shirt stating that journalism is not a crime, Al Jazeera's Femi Oke called for an environment where journalists can freely do their job without fearing for their lives.

In 2017, 65 journalists were killed in connection with their work, according to Reporters Without Borders. At least 1,035 journalists were killed in the past 15 years alone.

There were also 625 journalists detained last year.

For investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, intimidation and threats have always been part of the job as he worked on exposing corruption and slavery in Ghana in the last two decades.

But having the freedom to write has pushed him to persevere in advocating for human rights.

"One thing that I've learned about the truth is that if you believe in it, you will always be at that little corner where nobody minds you, nobody will smile at you," he said. "Though the holy books always say that the truth will always set us free, for me, press freedom has always set me free."

Harlem Desir, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, highlighted the importance of lobbying for access to free and independent internet.

"There is no strong democracy and strong society with weak media, with weak access to internet," he said. "So I think we must also in 2018 defend this free and open internet as a part of our fight for human rights worldwide." 

– Rappler.com

LIST: Labor Day 2018 activities around the country


LABOR DAY. Various groups are gearing up for a series of protests and activities to observe Labor Day. In this file photo taken on May 1, 2017, hundreds of Filipino workers take the street to call to an end to contractualization. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

(Bookmark and refresh this page for the latest updates on the Labor Day 2018 activities)

MANILA, Philippines – Several groups will hold activities and mass protests across the country on Tuesday, May 1, to observe Labor Day. 

Every May 1, hundreds of Filipino laborers come together and fill the streets with a familiar rallying cry: “Mabuhay ang manggagawang Pilipino!” (Long live the Filipino worker!). The goal of the demonstrations is to bring to the forefront issues such as fair remuneration and labor export policies. (READ: PH Labor Day: A history of struggle

The series of activities this year come on the heels of "a series of workshop mishaps" in the country, including the collapse of a bunkhouse in Cebu City in March 2018 that killed 5 construction workers, the March 2018 Manila Pavilion Hotel fire that killed 5 workers, and the collapse of a tower crane in a Pasay City construction site that killed two on April 10, 2018.

Citing these incidents, at least two labor groups held a prayer and candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday, April 28, to call for better working conditions for all Filipino workers. 

Here is a running list of activities for Tuesday:

Job fairs: 

  • Department of Labor and Employment 
    • In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it organized 53 Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) fairs on Thursday. Check this link for the list of venues nationwide. 

Protests and other activities: 

  • Metro Manila
    • Workers Against Contractualization (WAC) will gather at 7am at the various assembly points: Sta. Cruz Church, Plaza Sta. Cruz, Isetann Recto, Metropolitan theatre. March to Mendiola. Members of the WAC from Marikina City are expected from the Concepcion Church to Marikina Bridge at 6:30 am.
    • Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and the Kilusang Mayo Uno will hold a series of protest activities in Metro Manila carrying the following theme: "Tuloy ang laban, wakasan ang kontraktwalisasyon." (The fight continues, end contractualization). Members of the two labor groups will gather along España Street, Jollibee Welcome Rotonda and at the Maceda street before converging in Mendiola at 10 am for the program.
  • Calamba City 
    • Members of the WAC will gather at the Liana's Supermart along National road in Brgy Parian, Calamba and at the Science Park in Brgy Real, Calamba before converging to the Crossing, Calamba, Laguna for the program scheduled at 9 am. Various unions from the Calabarzon region are expected to join the protest in Calamba City. 
  • Cebu City  
    • Members of the WAC group will hold a protest from 9 am to 11 am at theSM North Reclamation where President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to deliver his Labor Day speech at 10 am.
    • At 8 am on Tuesday, the Cebu Citizens' Assembly will gather at the Sto. Rosario Church before marching to Metro Gaisano along Colon street in Cebu City. 
  •  Bacolod City 
    • The delegation of the WAC in Bacolod City will assemble at the Rizal Park in Bacolod City at 1pm before marching to Bacolod City Plaza to culminate the activity with a program at the Fountain of Justice. Expected to join the march are associations of sugar workers, rural poor from across the Negros province, and members of the 3 unions belonging to the Coca-Cola corporation who face possible retrenchment.
  • Iloilo City 
    •  The Coca Cola Union in Iloilo City will hold a lightning rally at the Jaro plaza at 7 am. 
  • Tacloban City  
    • At 8am on Tuesday, members of the United Sales Force Union - Tacloban, DBSN Farm union from Albuera, and associations of vendors and student activists from Leyte are expected to assemble at the UP Tacloban Oblation for the WAC-organized protest for Labor Day. 
  • Davao City 
    • Members of the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and the Kilusang Mayo Uno will gather at the Orcullo Park in Davao City at 8 am. 
  • General Santos City 
    • Labor union groups and the families and victims of the Malisbong Massacre will gather at the Mindanao State University covered court in General Santos City. Senator Risa Hontiveros along with other local officials and guests will join the event. 

We are updating this article as more advisories come in. – Rappler.com