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Agri sector gets only a fourth of Yolanda rehab funds – budget watchdog


MANILA, Philippines Nearly two years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) first made landfall in Eastern Samar, only a fourth of the funding requirement for the agricultural sector has been released.

In a press release last November 4, Wednesday, budget watchdog Social Watch Philippines stated that only P1.045 billion ($22.26 million) was released to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2014.

For 2015, DA requested only P1.217 billion ($25.91 million). As of August 2015, the Department of Budget and Management has not released funds but DA has started the bidding process for infrastructure-related projects, according to Social Watch.

Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, who convenes Social Watch, said that "with the devastation suffered by the agricultural sector, releases for the allocation lodged under the PCA and DA reached only 27% and 29%, respectively."

According to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan (CRRP), funding requirement for DA and the Philippine Coconut Authority is both at P10 billion ($212.98 million) each.

Briones also compared the differences in releases with other agencies. She said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development received 122% of their funding requirement while the Department of Interior and Local Government got 121%. (READ: 'Mismatch' in Yolanda resettlement fund estimates – watchdog)

Briones said that they monitored DBM reports of fund disbursements through press releases from July to August 2015.

Briones said that "they have not heard from the DBM any more fund releases for both the DA and the PCA since October 2014."

Absorptive capacity

According to the budget watchdog, their study indicated the limitations of the DA and the PCA to spend the funds and implement their livelihood projects. (READ: Where are we after Yolanda?)

The delays in implementation, according to the watchdog, was caused by limited personnel in the agency. (READ: SONA 2015: Aquino admits need to do more after Yolanda)

The approved budget is also mainly for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses or Capital Outlay, and no budget support was provided for additional personnel and even for the operating cost to implement the projects.

Briones reiterated her group's recommendation for President Aquino to form a separate agency with funds and powers to hold the agencies accountable to their commitment to the CRRP. (READ: SONA 2015: How Aquino fared in disaster management since Yolanda)

She also said that a clear monitoring system should be in place.

"Disaggregated data should be released to identify budget items for Yolanda reconstruction alone and those for other equally important disasters that struck the country."

Reconstruction efforts

Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, chairman of the Committee on Urban Development, Housing, and Resettlement, expressed dismay "at the pace of government's recovery and reconstruction efforts."

A press conference was supposed to be held by the Senate Committee last November 4 but was cancelled. (READ: PH's Yolanda rebuilding 'inadequate' – UN)

According to the National Housing Authority report to the committee, only 16,544 units have been substantially built of the 205,128 houses required since recovery phase from Yolanda.

In the NHA report submitted to the committee, Iloilo has the most number of houses that are completely built at 1,692 units, followed by Tacloban City at 660 units and Capiz at 626 units.

In Tacloban, around 6,000 houses are yet to be completely built while no housing units were constructed in provinces of Palawan, Cebu, and Biliran as of September 30.

Of its total funding requirement, only P27 billion ($575.04 million) has been released by the DBM.

"At the rate they’re going, they are building only 9,000 to 10,000 units a year," Ejercito said, noting that "If nothing changes, NHA might only be able to accomplish the target of 205,128 houses in the next 18 years." – Rappler.com

*$1 = P46.95

Reformat the gov't: Yaya Dub hackers hold Million Mask March


ANONYMOUS. Photos taken at the event reveal a passionate, but non-violent, protest of nearly one hundred people, most wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask that has since been associated with the group. Photo courtesy of Anonymous Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - On Thursday, November 5, ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous Philippine's hosted its Philippine rally of the internationally-organized Million Mask March.


The Anonymous-led march swept the globe across 675 cities, protesting censorship, corruption, war and poverty.


The event in Manila took place on Mendiola Street. Photos taken at the event reveal a passionate, but non-violent, of nearly one hundred people, most wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask that has since been associated with the group.

The rally is the culmination of their wide-spread defacement of Philippine government websites just a few days earlier, on November 3. Among the URLs hacked on that day were the local websites for Iloilo, Butuan, and Zamboanga del Sur, as well as some minor pages for the Department of Health (DOH).

Most of the defaced pages broadcasted a video message comparing the current national government to a corrupt computer system “prone to bugs and crashes.”

{source}<div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/www.anonymous.ph/photos/a.876307005719270.1073741828.876252195724751/1217466044936696/?type=3" data-width="500"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/www.anonymous.ph/photos/a.876307005719270.1073741828.876252195724751/1217466044936696/?type=3"><p>TAMA NA ANG...</p>Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/www.anonymous.ph/">Anonymous Philippines</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/www.anonymous.ph/photos/a.876307005719270.1073741828.876252195724751/1217466044936696/?type=3">Monday, 2 November 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>{/source}


In line with the apocalyptic demands the group is known for, the video mentioned the need for such a government to be “reformatted,” as if it were a corrupt computer system.

While the motives of the group in its international form are generally broad, ranging from the promotion of internet freedom to combatting wealth inequality, their overarching ethos is defined by a deep-rooted mistrust of perceived abuses of power by government and large corporations.

In the Philippines, Anonymous specifically protested against government corruption, using online platforms to call for a redistribution of power away from the corrupt hierarchy.

In 2012, Anonymous Philippines vandalized the websites of various government agencies to protest the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The hackers recently defaced the website of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to express their contempt of the unreliable service and supposedly deceptive practices of local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

On Tuesday, November 3, it also hacked the Twitter account of Maine Mendoza, who plays the popular Yaya Dub character in a segment on the noon-time show Eat Bulaga. – Rappler.com 

Lorenzo Benitez is a Rappler intern. He is an incoming Cornell University student.  

Fil-Ams demand China exit from disputed sea


This file photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Stringer/AFP

CALIFORNIA, USA – While Filipino Americans celebrated The Hague arbitral tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China, they lost no time in challenging the Asian giant.

“ChExit,” Rodel Rodis demanded, borrowing from the acronym used by proponents of the movement for the United Kingdom to separate from the European Union. “The world should condemn China's invasion and should increase pressure on China to exit Philippine waters now."

He added: "Boycott China-made products."

Rodis, president of the United States Pinoys for Good Government, led allies in a march from St. Mary’s Cathedral to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to protest against China.

“Since the Philippines filed its claim in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, China has occupied seven of the shoals and islets in the West Philippine Sea and has converted them into artificial man-made islands where they have constructed port facilities, airport runways and even surface-to-air missiles,” said the lawyer and former Filipino American studies professor. 

“China is threatening to do the same to the Scarborough Shoal which is only 125 miles from Luzon. The UN arbitral tribunal's ruling today strips China of any legal basis to justify its naked invasion of Philippine territories.”

The international tribunal concluded that China has no legal standing in its claim to majority of the South China Sea, or what Filipinos call the West Philippine Sea. (READ: 'TIMELINE: The Philippines-China maritime dispute' )

China rejected PH claims and jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal, calling instead for bilateral negotiations.   

It also rejected the tribunal's decision. “China will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” said President Xi Jinping.

Loida Nicolas Lewis, US Pinoys for Good Government chair based in New York, said she was hopeful despite China's defiance.

"China may have snubbed the decision but she cannot hide from the condemnation of countries that believe in the rule of law,” she said at a rally facing the Chinese Embassy and the United Nations in Manhattan. 

“Our next move is to start a worldwide campaign. If China remains deaf to international  opprobrium, (our plan) is to campaign for international boycott of made-in-China goods. China may not listen to public criticism but she will listen when her pocketbook is in danger of being depleted. That is a better move than war.”

While activists assembled in festive fashion in key cities on the West and East Coasts, proudly waving the Philippine flag and flashing posters vilifying China, some pondered the actual impact of the ruling.  

“The tribunal decision is meaningless unless it can be enforced,” San Mateo County community leader and media pundit Guy Guerrero weighed in. “It is too early to rejoice and celebrate."

"War is not an option," Guerrero, a US Navy veteran, said. "Economic measures could work, but that requires cooperation and coordination with other nations, an option (that), needless to say is almost impossible to achieve.  Look at the turmoil now in Europe over the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.”

The US State Department appealed for calm.

"This decision can and should serve as a new opportunity to renew efforts to address maritime disputes peacefully,” it said a statement.

Prayers for peace were made at the St. Isabella Catholic Church in San Rafael, north of San Francisco, where Pastor V. Mark Reburiano spoke about human rights that morning of July 12.

"May all our leaders foster always peace and stability, including political and economical stability. May all of us be mindful always of the goods and resources of Mother Earth meant to be shared for the welfare of all. May we always respect countries and their territorial boundaries so as to avoid conflict and division amongst us," he said.

"May we move forward to be able to use appropriately the natural resources that are in Scarborough, with the hope that it will help the country which has Scarborough's legal and territorial right eliminate poverty, create more jobs and improve the quality of life of its people."

From her South San Francisco home, Alice Bulos - spiritual mother of the FilAm political community, applauded those who stoked protest against what they blasted as China's "bullying" the archipelago.

"We must use our power to protect Filipinos everywhere," she told Rappler.

Colma Council Member Joanne Del Rosario, the first FilAm woman to become mayor in the 9 counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, was both proud and relieved. She is the sister of former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, who led the Aquino administration team that brought China to court. – Rappler.com


San Francisco Bay Area-based Rappler contributor Cherie M. Querol Moreno is editor at large of FilAm publications Philippine News and columnist of Philippines Today US.

Are you an OFW? Join Rappler's online community, BalikBayan.

DBM to recommend P3.35-T national budget for 2017


NEW SPENDING POLICY. Press briefing by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on the 2017 budget. Photo by @PTV4ph

MANILA, Philippines – Budget  Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced on Thursday, July 14, that he will recommend a P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017 to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The amount is 11.6% higher than the current 2016 budget.

This will be the first budget to be approved by Congress under the Duterte administration, which assumed office on June 30.

Early preparations for the proposed 2017 president's budget, however, was still undertaken during the Aquino administration. The budget cycle typically starts with the budget call, which, for 2017 budget, was released by the budget department in January 2016. (Read: Next president limited by Aquino admin budget for 2 years – Briones)

In a previous press briefing, Diokno, who also served as budget secretary under the administration of former President Joseph Estrada, announced that they plan to review the proposed president's budget saying there is still "enough time" for said review.

Highlights of how the 2017 budget is shaping up, based on statements made by Diokno so far:

  • Bottom-Up-Budgeting should go back to late Interior Secretary Robredo's idea which limited it to poorest towns
  • Higher public expenditures on vital infrastructure, equivalent to 5-7% of the gross domestic product (plans to have a non-stop infrastructure construction 24/7 including nights & weekends)
  • The Conditional Cash Transfer Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will have a budget of P54.9 billion but efforts will be made to reduce leakages
  • Lawmakers will be allowed to propose projects

Diokno also vowed to curb underspending which he earlier described as "epic incompetence" on the part of the Aquino administration.

Under the Constitution, the President is required to submit to the Congress, within 30 days from the opening of every regular session, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing which serves as basis of the general appropriations bill. – Rappler.com

Duterte admin to drop expanded BUB program – Diokno



MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration is dropping the expanded version of the grassroots program, Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) used by its predecessor, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced on Thursday, July 14.

Diokno said in a news briefing on the proposed 2017 national budget that the expanded BUB program of the previous administration was nothing but a "political tool,"  state-owned PTV4 reported.

{source} <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sec Diokno says no BuB (bottom-up-budgeting) in 2017 budget bec it is a political tool by the administration <a href="https://t.co/Jtpjfhusq5">https://t.co/Jtpjfhusq5</a></p>&mdash; People&#39;s Television (@PTVph) <a href="https://twitter.com/PTVph/status/753479018754695168">July 14, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> {/source}

The BUB is a program initiated by the Aquino administration that allowed local groups, usually led by nongovernmental organizations, to consult with communities and pick from a list of projects to implement.

It originally covered only the poorest municipalities, but has since been expanded to include other areas as well. Diokno wants to revert it to the original area of coverage, as envisioned by the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo.

In April 2016, the budget department, then headed by Secretary Florencio Abad, announced that funding for 2017 BUB-proposed projects totaled P35 billion

As of April, the program has funded about 14,325 projects from 1,514 cities and municipalities. 

Inclusive program

Amid concerns that the BUB would be scrapped altogether, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Vice Chairperson Ruperto "Ka Uper" Aleroza, defended the program, saying that it has benefited the poorest towns in the country. 

"Stopping the program will have a huge impact on the projects that have already been started in poor communities," Aleroza told Rappler in Filipino. 

As an example, Aleroza cited the shelter program funded under BUB which will benefit fisherfolk living in 22 coastal towns that are vulnerable to disaster hazards.

"Under BUB, the process is inclusive. It involves villages and civil society in the decision-making process," Aleroza added, addressing comments from the Duterte administration that the program has been politicized.

He gave assurances that the program has built-in mechanisms that protect it from corruption, such as a grievance system from the regional to the national levels. 

A partner agency in the implementation of the program, NAPC ensures civil society and other stakeholders participate in planning, implementing, and monitoring the projects.

The representatives of 14 sectors under NAPC are pushing for the continuation of the program in its present form, according to Aleroza. 

They are meeting new NAPC convenor Liza Maza on July 20 to present a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to sustain the program that has been expanded to include almost all towns and, eventually, villages. – Rappler.com


Kuwait sets minimum wage for maids in first for Gulf


NEW DECREE. Kuwaiti Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah (C) talks with MPs during a parliament session in Kuwait City on July 3, 2016. File photo by Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP

KUWAIT CITY – Kuwait has set a minimum wage for its hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian domestic workers, in a first for Gulf states which have come under widespread accusations of abuse.

A decree issued by Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah set the minimum wage at 60 dinars ($200) a month and also granted domestic staff a raft of other rights, Al-Anbaa newspaper reported on Thursday, July 14.

Kuwait is the first country in the Gulf to regulate the work conditions of domestic staff through legislation and Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other rights groups have urged others to follow suit to tackle widespread abuses.

The decree, which sets out measures to implement a landmark law adopted by parliament last year, also requires employers to pay overtime for any extra hours worked.

It grants domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, a 12-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month a year at the end of contract.

The estimated 600,000 maids in Kuwait are among at least 2.4 million working at homes across the Gulf. They are not covered by ordinary labor legislation.

HRW and other groups have documented widespread abuses, including non-payment of wages, long working hours with no rest days, physical and sexual assault, and no clear channels for redress.

In its 2016 Trafficking in Persons report, the US State Department upgraded Kuwait from tier 3, the worst level, to tier 2 while keeping it on watch list, citing an improvement in its treatment of migrant workers, including maids.

The report places the other 5 Gulf Arab states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates – at the same level as Kuwait.

'Forced labor'

It moved Oman to watch list after reports of abuses.

HRW warned on Wednesday, July 13, that many foreign domestic workers in Oman are trapped in abusive employment and urged the sultanate to reform its "restrictive" immigration system.

The New York-based watchdog said that some of the 59 domestic workers it interviewed described "abuses that amounted to forced labor or trafficking."

Its report documented how Oman's visa sponsorship system for workers, known in Gulf countries as kafala, and the lack of labor law protection, leave migrant domestic workers "exposed to abuse and exploitation."

HRW has repeatedly urged Gulf states to reform their labor laws to cover domestic workers and provide them with "equal protections" available to other workers, and to revise the kafala system.

The kafala system, or sponsorship, has been criticized as a form of bonded labor or even slavery.

It restricts most workers from moving to a new job before their contracts end unless their employers agree, trapping many of them.

In November 2014, Gulf and Asian labor ministers agreed on a series of initiatives aimed at boosting protection and improving conditions of employment for foreign workers in the Gulf.

Ahead of the conference, GCC labor ministers agreed on minimum terms in the contracts of domestic staff to improve their working conditions.

The terms included entitling domestic workers to a weekly day off, annual leave, and the right to live outside their employer's house.

The contract was also to limit the working day to 8 hours.

Bahrain reformed its labor law to extend some benefits to maids, while Saudi Arabia issued a decision last year limiting the hours worked by domestic staff to a maximum of 15 per day and granting one month's leave after two years of service.

Most of those regulations, however, lack enforcement and have not been successful in halting abuse against domestic staff, human rights groups say. – Rappler.com

Lawmaker wants crisis management team for laid-off Middle East OFWs


LAID OFF. ACTS-OFW says thousands of OFWs are affected by the economic downturn in the Middle East caused by terrorism, armed hostilities, and steep declines in the global prices of oil. File photo by Fayez Nureldine/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – To assist overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were laid off due to the "economic downturn” in the Middle East, ACTS-OFW representative John R. Bertiz III proposed on Thursday, July 14, the creation of a crisis management team.

A former OFW himself, Bertiz filed House Resolution No. 13, urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to form a joint team to look into the plight of OFWs whose "respective companies in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East went bankrupt."

"The apparent lack of coordination and policy consensus between the two departments continues to be felt on the ground by affected OFWs across Saudi Arabia and in some other areas across the Middle East, leading their families at home and workers onsite to the edge of desperation, if not depression,” Bertiz said in his resolution.

Bertiz said that thousands of OFWs were affected by the financial difficulties of major Saudi trading and construction companies. 

According to a press release from the party list, reports sent to them show that thousands of OFWs are affected by the economic downturn in the Middle East caused by terrorism, armed hostilities, and steep declines in the global prices of oil. 

“Every effort must be undertaken by Philippine diplomatic offices in the Middle East and in some other parts of the world to ensure that OFWs fighting for their legal rights to full compliance be successfully pursued in the name of labor justice and human rights,” Bertiz explained. 

The neophyte lawmaker also noted that many OFWs bear the brunt of austerity measures being implemented by private companies that have declared, or are suspected to be on the road to, financial bankruptcy.

“Our OFWs remain stranded in work camps and accommodation awaiting the payment of back wages and end-of-service benefits for more than a year, with some workers suffering inhumane conditions,” Bertiz said. – Rappler.com

P2.6 billion spent on CSR programs in 2015 - LCF


COMMITTED. Members of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) receive their plaque of recognition for their many years of membership in the league. Photo by Dulfo P. Dulfo/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – With a staunch promise to prioritize poverty alleviation programs, the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) affirmed its commitment to sustainable and meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices as it celebrates its 20th year.


The conference kicked off with more than 80 corporate foundations and organizations expressing their support for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGD), a list of 17 global goals focusing on improving access to education, better health, an end to poverty.


LCF Chairman and Bato Balani Inc. Executive Director Natalie Christine V. Jorge said that the foundation realizes its big role in bringing progress through ending poverty, especially when more than 26% of Filipinos live below the poverty line, according to the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.


For 2015, LCF-member companies spent a total of P2.6B for their CSR programs, with 90% of this amount coming directly from the companies. Jorge added that 40% of CSR funds were spent on education, followed by health, and disaster risk reduction management programs.


“As we all know, poverty and economic growth is not the responsibility of government alone. The success of our individual and collective programs showed the potential in the private sector, and CSR can make this country great,” Jorge stressed.


Established in 1991, LCF advocates for better and more sustainable CSR practices among its members.  LCF also established the Corporate Social Responsibility Institute and is a founding member of the ASEAN CSR Network.


Stewardship in CSR


Since 2001, it has organized a Corporate Social Responsibility Expo and Conference to showcase the programs of its members. This year’s theme is “Co-creating the future through CSR” as LCF looks back on its formative years and charts its future.


LCF Conference keynote speaker Ong Boon Hwee of the Stewardship Asia Center in Singapore stressed that the 20th year of LCF is not just a time to celebrate, but to reflect as well.


“Business companies are the back of society, they draw resources from the society's resources. It is important therefore to give back to society,” Ong stated.


Ong, a business leader who promotes stewardship and governance of companies and organizations across Asia, emphasized the importance of stewardship in becoming good leaders.


“Stewardship is embedded in the Asian culture. If applied to a business, stewardship is how a business can grow not just to survive… Stewardship is about taking responsibility and having a heart for the community,” Ong said.


Enterprise development


Senator Cynthia Villar also spoke of the need to improve the life of indigent communities by giving them the tools and support to be more productive members of society.


Villar, also the managing director of Villar Foundation known for its livelihood projects, said

her target is to provide one livelihood project in each of the 1,600 cities in our country throughout her lifetime.


“Equipping people with technical expertise is not enough. And there is a need to train people to think like entrepreneurs. [Teach them] to handle finances, and instill in them the discipline needed to run their own businesses. As a social entrepreneur who wants to leave a legacy, livelihood skills training is still important, and should continue,” Villar said.


The LCF hopes that through the collaborative programs of its members, the country can move one step closer to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. – Rappler.com


Dulfo Dulfo majors in Journalism in UP Diliman. He aspires to be a broadcast journalist and a lawyer someday. He is a current intern at Rappler. 

TIMELINE: anti-corruption initiatives in the Philippines


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has a long history of corruption embedded in its institutions. Historians say that the narratives go as far back as the Spanish era when encomienderos, or the tax collectors, kept the supposed monarch tribute for themselves.

Over 3 decades ago, dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos empowered cronies, siphoned government wealth, and left the country in 1986 with an astounding $26.7 billion in foreign debt. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data)

The government has since passed several laws to combat corruption. 

In 2010, President Benigno Aquino Jr captured the presidency, running on an anti-corruption platform, Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path). Believed to have won in part because of the alleged corruption of the previous Arroyo administration, he pursued a number of reform initiatives.  

Yet despite the laws and reform initiatives, the Philippines is still perceived as one of the most corrupt nations in the Asia Pacific region. 

Perceptions regarding the level of corruption in the country somewhat improved for the period 2012 through 2014. By 2014, the Philippines ranked 85th out of 175 countries, up from its ranking of 94th in 2013 and 105th in 2012.

As the country approached the 2016 elections, however, the Philippines' corruption perception ratings dipped again. In the 2015 CPI report, it slid to 95th among 168 countries included in the CPI with a score of 35 out of a possible 100. 

Observers say that, to a large extent, it is discontent over Tuwid na Daan that fomented the social media-powered movement that propelled Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency under the rallying call: "Change is coming."  

The big question is: what needs to be done next? 

To help put the issue in perspective, Rappler compiles a list of the country's efforts to fight corruption, post-Martial Law, in an interactive timeline below.

To navigate, click the arrow to the right. Then you can click either to the left or to the right to go forward and back in the timeline, to see anti-corruption laws and programs enacted by the government starting with the administration of former president Corazon Aquino.


<div class="blob-full">

<iframe src='https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3/latest/embed/index.html?source=1J_HS6qTK5JKrWcWnn2NMGjixmiSyf1TSbb70-wwn-us&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650' width='100%' height='650' frameborder='0'></iframe>




CODE-NGO to Diokno: Reconsider plan to drop BUB


MANILA, Philippines – Reconsider the decision to scrap the Bottom up Budget (BuB) program.

This was the appeal of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno after he announced the Duterte administration’s plan to drop the expanded version of the program.

In a news briefing on Thursday, Juy 14, Diokno said that BUB in its present form would be discontinued. He added that the program was “politicized by the previous administration.”

The program “enabled local civil society organizations (CSOs) and local government officials to jointly identify priority anti-poverty projects which would then be included in the budget of the national government agencies," said CODE-NGO executive director Sixto Donato Macasaet.

According to Macasaet, BUB promoted people’s participation and allowed communities to identify projects to be included in the budget of national government agencies.

The BUB originally covered only the poorest municipalities, but has since been expanded to include other areas as well. Diokno wants to revert it to the original area of coverage, as envisioned by the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo.

In April 2016, the budget department, then headed by Secretary Florencio Abad, announced that funding for 2017 BUB-proposed projects reached P35 billion. The program has funded about 14,325 projects from 1,514 cities and municipalities.

Under the BUB, each municipality and city is allocated at least P15 Million a year for priority anti-poverty projects in their area. These projects are identified by a Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT), half of the members of which comes from local government officials and the other half comes from local CSOs.  The local CSOs are elected by an annual assembly of CSOs active in the municipality or city.

Macasaet urged Diokno to conduct a thorough review of the program before it is scrapped.

“Local governments and local CSOs should also have a say on how the national government allocates its budget.  They should not be limited just to their IRA allocations,” Macasaet said.

They are not alone in this call. The representatives of 14 sectors under the  National Anti-Poverty Commission are also pushing for the continuation of the program in its present form.

They are meeting new NAPC convenor Liza Maza on July 20 to present a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to sustain the program that has been expanded to include almost all towns and, eventually, villages. – With a report from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com


When a child raises a child


FAMILY. Bernadette plays with her son, Joel. Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Save the Children

MANILA, Philippines – She moved in with her “husband” at 13.

The age of consent under Philippines laws is 12, one of the lowest in the world.

Although not married, they call each other “asawa” (spouse). Bernadette met her husband one February afternoon in her neighborhood.

Bernadette was 13, clad in sando and worn-out slippers. The “husband” was 25, sweaty from a day of driving a pedicab.

Barely a child herself, Bernadette started living with him in a makeshift home in a community of informal settlers in Navotas City.

Her family hails from Aklan. The promise of better lives pushed them to leave home.

HOME. Bernadette lives in Navotas City. Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Save the Children

Too soon, too fast

Bernadette has always dreamed of becoming a teacher, she still does, even though it has been a while since she last set foot in a school.

In the Philippines, 13.3% of Filipino girls aged 6 to 24 are out of school, government statistics show. Bernadette is one of them, quitting school just after second grade.

It was a choice between food and school. Bernadette could not have both.

At 13, Bernadette earned her first P1,000 as a housekeeper in the Divisoria area. She spent her youth cleaning someone else’s mess. But her story is not unique. As of 2014, there were over 23,000 working Filipino children under 14 years old.

At 17, Bernadette gave birth at home, with the help of a manghihilot (traditional healer).

Now 18, Bernadette just recently quit her job. Her nights and days are now fully devoted to Baby Joel, who just turned one.

“I want him to be a policeman,” Bernadette said in Filipino. As early as now, Bernadette is worried about Baby Joel’s life as a policeman. “Delikado (dangerous),” she whispered.

Baby Joel, however, has a more urgent concern: Will he even make it to his next birthday?

Staying alive

Police work requires great physical and mental strength, which Baby Joel lacks these days.

BABY JOEL. Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez

At age one, Baby Joel is just too thin, slow, and sickly. He is severely malnourished, which means he is 10 times more at risk of dying.

A child’s first 1,000 days could shape her or his future. Poor nutrition during this crucial stage affects a child’s physical and cognitive health, with effects lasting until adulthood.

This means Baby Joel, if left untreated, could experience permanent and irreversible health defects. At worst, he could die.

Bernadette’s strategy for getting by? "Utang (borrowing money)," she said.

At only 18, Bernadette has already surpassed several challenges. Her biggest fight so far is keeping Baby Joel alive.

To do so, Bernadette is undergoing nutrition and childcare training from barangay health workers, who were trained by non-governmental organization Save the Children.

Bernadette also enrolled Baby Joel in Save the Children’s Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition program that provides treatment to children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.

At the same time, parents like Bernadette and her partner are being taught family planning and reproductive health, as part of Save the Children’s programs.

Before Baby Joel was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition, Bernadette did not give much thought to what goes in and out of her baby’s mouth. Neither did she care much about his health as a woman and as a mother.

Now that Baby Joel is on his way to recovery, Bernadette is doing her best to ensure that her baby can enjoy as many birthdays as he can. To do that, she knows she needs to take care of herself too.

Sana makatapos anak ko ng pag-aaral,” said Bernadette. “Ako naman, sana makabalik sa pag-aaral balang araw. Gusto ko maging titser.” (I hope Baby Joel could finish his studies. I want him to become a policeman. As for me, I’d like to go back to school someday. I want to be a teacher). – Rappler.com

Fritzie Rodriguez is a development writer for Save the Children. She is a former journalist who covered issues on LGBT, women, and children’s rights.

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent children’s organization working on children’s health, education, and protection. For those who want to be part of its fight against child malnutrition, kindly visit #LahatDapat, Save the Children’s nutrition campaign. You can also donate online hereSave the Children is currently encouraging 1,000 people to donate P1,000 each in 1,000 hours (42 days). Proceeds go to its nutrition programs. To participate in the #1000ChallengePH, go here 

WATCH: 5 things OFWs in Turkey shouldn't do after the coup



UNREST. Turkish soldiers stand guard at the Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA


MANILA, Philippines –  Families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Turkey need not worry: the bloody coup attempt in the Middle Eastern country, did not hurt any of the nearly 3,500 Filipinos there, according to Consul General Robert Ferrer, Jr.

"All Filipinos are safe in Turkey," Ferrer said in a Skype interview with Rappler Saturday night, July 16.

"Sanay na ang mga Filipinos dito sa Turkey sa krisis (Filipinos in Turkey are used to dealing with crisis). They area a resilient group. They are supportive of each other," he added.

Turkish authorities said they had regained control of the country hours on the same day, after quashing a coup attempt that claimed more than 250 lives and left nearly 3,000 discontented soldiers detained. 

After the bloodiest challenge to his 13-year rule, President Reccep Tayip Erdogan urged his backers to remain on the streets to prevent a possible "flare-up" of Friday's chaos in the strategic NATO member of 80 million people.

Ferrer said that the Philippine embassy in Turkey advised members of the Filipino community to "stay indoors and to keep in touch" through the embassy's Facebook page or emergency hotline 905375772344. 

“Even as the Turkish government has announced the end of the crisis, we urge all Filipinos to remain on alert and vigilant,” Ferrer stressed.

The consul general also advised all Filipinos in Turkey to keep the following reminders in mind:

  • Iwasan iyong mga matataong lugar (Avoid crowded areas)
  • Huwag gamitin ang pampublikong sakayan (Don't use public transport)
  • Iwasang lumapit sa mga embahada ng anti-ISIS coalition (Don't go near embassies that belong to the anti-ISIS coalition)
  • Huwag sumama sa mga political rallies (Don't join political rallies)
  • Huwag tumabi sa mga himpilang pulis at militar (Stay away from police or military posts)

Ferrer also gave assurances that the embassy is ready with a contingency plan that includes evacuating OFWS from crisis areas if the need arises. – Rappler.com

Environment groups call on Duterte to end coal projects


FIGHT VS COAL. Former Batangas City Councilor Kristine Balmes shared insights during the forum together with representatives of Piglas Pilipinas, on the struggles of fighting coal operations. Photo by AC Dimatatac

MANILA, Philippines – Climate advocates are asking the Duterte administration to ban new coal-fired power projects and instead prioritize the national energy policy review that was launched by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) last month. 

Member groups of Piglas Pilipinas, a nationwide campaign for the Philippines to break free from fossil fuels, renewed their calls in light of the proposed coal-fired power plant expansion project of JG Summit Holdings from 300-MW to 600-MW in Batangas. The JG Summit is a holding company of the Gokongwei Group.

In the forum “Prospects for the Fight Against Dirty Energy Under the Duterte Administration,” they shared insights on the current anti-coal struggle in the Philippines.

Former Batangas City Councilor Kristine Balmes, who is also a member of the Lipa Archdiocesan Ministry for the Environment (AMEn), underlined the efforts of different sectors, including the Roman Catholic Church, in the ongoing struggles against coal projects. 

“In Batangas City, a recent decision by the City Council has allowed the construction of a 600-megawatt coal plant near the Verde Island Passage, a center of marine biodiversity in the country and the world,” Balmes said.

“Despite this, the community as well as people from civil society and the Church, continue to be vigilant in its opposition against the project and has recently found an ally with the provincial governor who has vowed to oppose the project,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ian Rivera of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) noted that while there are 29 proposed power plants adding to the 15 already existing in the country, a number of significant developments have been achieved by the anti-coal resistance in the country.

The groups under Piglas Pilipinas are also hopeful that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, being a pro-renewable energy advocate, will take action. The group calls on Lopez to support the direction of the CCC to subject coal projects for review under the new administration.

Private power generating companies have been moving to construct coal-fired power plants and expanding existing ones in many areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in the last 10-years. 

In Iloilo alone, two new coal plants had become operational in 2010 and another one this 2016. All of these existing plants are up for expansion.

In Barangay Ingore in La Paz, Iloilo City, Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) – a subsidiary of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) by tycoon George Ty of the Metrobank Group – will start the operation of its additional 150-MW from its existing 164-MW coal-fired power plant this July.

On the other hand, another coal-fired power plant in Iloilo Province has also become operational June this year.

Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) has started operating its 135-MW coal plant located in Barangay Puntalis in the municipality of Concepcion.

PCPC is set to generate a combined capacity of 405-MW of coal. It is set to expand by adding two more generating plants at 135-MW capacity, each as part of its three phase plan for Iloilo.
The PCPC is a product of a joint venture between Jin Navitas Resource Inc. of the Rebisco Group and Palm Thermal Consolidated Holdings Corp., an owned subsidiary by A. Brown Company Inc. – a publicly listed company engaged in power generation and renewable energy, agribusiness and real estate.
Both coal-fired power plant constructions in Iloilo City and Concepcion were met with strong opposition from local environment groups, non-government organizations and faith based institutions, yet it was able to proceed after provincial and national leaders approved the projects. – Rappler.com

Butuan disaster official: Information key to risk reduction


EXPERIENCE. Butuan City DRRM Officer Bong Catedral narrates his experience in rescuing during Agaton. All photos by Pocholo Espina

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines — “Kahadlok (Scary). Traumatic.

These were the first words that Philippine Coast Guard Captain of Arms Randy Gallarion stated as he recalled his experience in rescuing people during the flashfloods caused by Tropical Depression Agaton, last January 2014 in Butuan City.

People were trapped inside their homes, helpless and waiting for the rescuers to come.

To extract the victims, Gallarion, together with his team, had to dive into the murky waters, dodge trees and rooves that were sticking out, not sure if they themselves would survive.

Dili lalim ang pagrescue. Kadto ganing naa pa ko sa CDO sa Bagyong Yoyong sa 2009, nacapsize among rubber boat,” the officer expressed. “Abi nila sa HQ, patay na mi, kay wala na mi ni-report. Naghulat na lang mi hantod sa kamaayo sa ginoo, naay niabot.”

(It is not easy to be a rescuer. When we were in Cagayan de Oro City, during Tropical Storm Yoyong back in 2009, our boat capsized. The Army Headquarters thought we were dead, because we didn’t report back. All we did was wait, and by God’s grace we were rescued.)

Instead of being the rescuers, they became the victims. Mother Nature took its course and hit their boat hard, while the officers were rendered helpless.

Butuan City is no stranger to disasters. It has been hit by several typhoons in the past few years. But in 2014, Agaton ravaged Butuan City and the CARAGA Region, where there was a total of 29 deaths, 4 injured and 38 missing people.

As Bong Catedral, the city's Disaster Response and Early Warning Officer, recounted, 126,000 individuals were displaced, and floodwaters reached 4.6 meters. The worst experience, however, was of a community along the Agusan River, Butuan City’s main waterway, that refused to be evacuated amidst the warnings, Catedral said.

He narrated how families from the distant barangay refused to be evacuated the day before, because every time they are told to evacuate, nothing bad ever happened to them.

Nakahilak ko kay daghan na kaayo ug tawag, pero di na lang nako ginatubag kay mao ra gihapon pirmi. Wa na mi madeploy,” he said as he described the scenario in the operations center of Butuan City.

(I felt helpess because there were a lot of people calling yet we don't have people to deploy.)

Moving Forward

"Mas grabe ba untana to ang flood kung wala lang nakit.anang sinkhole sa dike,” Catedral commented, as he remembered how this whole event could have ended up much worse.

(The flood could have been so much worse if we did not see the sinkhole in the dike.)

He was thankful that the information was reported to them, and they were able to attend to the problem in Butuan’s dike system. Without the information, hundreds more could have been affected along the riverside.

“We move forward by making sure that information is always present. Information is key,” he concluded.

TECHNOLOGY FOR DISASTERS. ERIC Managing Director Bong Grajo lectures DRRM officer on how to use the disaster information system

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Operations Officer Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Sadang also emphasized the importance of public awareness in the grassroots level.

“You will be reverberating the preparedness if every member of the family is aware. Hindi na enough ang family level lang (Family level information is not enough),” he said

Sadang then gives an alternate situation of what could happen without it.

“If a lot of neighbors are not prepared, it would be like the walking dead. There would be looting, and many other complications if information is not present.”

‘Whole of Nation’ approach

In order to forward this public awareness, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), together with groups from various sectors, shared good practices and used technology in disaster communications during the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) “Bayanihan” Summit on Thursday and Friday (July 14-15), in Butuan City.

The event focused on building frameworks on how each sector and region would respond in the event of a disaster. This involved using traditional means of communication such as radios and satellite phones. 

COMMUNICATE. Radio Communications Machines used during the Situationer Activity of the ICT Summit.

The CARAGA Region was lauded by Bong Grajo, Managing Director of Emergency Response Integration Center (ERIC), for having one of the most organized internal communications systems, while being equipped with the most number of satellite phones, generators and laptops.

However, beyond the internal and traditional communications, the event also highlighted NDRRMC’s disaster information mobile app Batingaw, volunteer-created ERIC, as well as Rappler’s Agos-eBayanihan, which were introduced and tested by the participants.

Rappler MovePH Executive Director Rupert Ambil provided a different perspective with the use of social media. 

“We are like an audit system of what the government provides,” he said.

With the use of social media, Ambil added that the world of communication has changed. Social media has become a tool for social good, which allows a normal citizen to report events happening on the ground.

Lt. Col. Sadang, acknowledges that the government needs all the help they can get. Times have changed and the “whole of nation” approach is already called for.

“We need the 3Ps. P+P+P=0. Mathematically wrong, but in disaster response it is correct. People + Public + Private = Zero Casualty,” joked Sadang in a mix of English and Filipino. 

He iterated how important it is for multiple sectors to work together to produce the zero casualty during disasters. If there was one P removed from the equation, then it would no longer equate to zero.

Hindi kami ang Harry Potter ng DRRM. Hindi namin kayang mag-isa. Kung kaya namin eh di sana ganun na lang (We are not the Harry Potter of DRRM. We can't do it alone. If we could, we would do it like that),” the AFP officer added as he acts like he is wave a wand. — Rappler.com

Born and raised in Butuan City, Pocholo Espina is a Rappler Mover and a Health Science student of the Ateneo de Manila University.

UP group lauds Duterte's efforts to seek peace


SOLVING PEACE. Piece by piece, a puzzle depicting peace was formed by the speakers of the press conference. Photo by Rambo Talabong

MANILA, Philippines – An alliance of peace advocates in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman lauded the peace efforts of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

KALINAW UP, a broad alliance of peace advocates led by UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, held a forum on Friday, July 15, where they expressed support for the Duterte administration.

The new administration is pursuing peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

'Reach out'

According to Tan, the university should also "reach out to more sectors" to achieve peace.

"I still hear my colleagues saying, 'Nako mga komunista na iyan, may tiwala ba tayo sa kanila? (They're communists, should we trust them?) I say, 'Ang mga komunista ba may tiwala sa gobyerno natin?' (Do communists trust our government)?" Tan said. "They're not doing enough, we also need to change our government."

Meanwhile, professor Gerry Lanuza of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) and Nelin Estucado of the Alliance of Contractual Employees in UP said their views are aligned with the 12-point program of the NDFP.

Lanuza went as far as calling the program "the only solution" to the conflicts.

As early as the campaign period, Duterte had spoken to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and promised there would be a ceasefire should he win the presidency.

Formal talks with the communists will begin in the 3rd week of July.

Future of the Bangsamoro

UP Institute of Islamic Studies chairperson Jamel Cayamodin also believes Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president, is fully aware of and can address the Bangsamoro people's plight.

"It is a rare trait for a president to admit the sins of the past and the deficiencies of the government with respect to minority Muslims in this country," added Cayamodin.

The Sharia councilor, however, also urged Duterte to be mindful of continuity in the peace process. The peace initiatives under the terms of Aquino and Arroyo, according to him, went to waste "and the stakeholders of the peace dividends are left frustrated."

Duterte previously met with the leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). MNLF chairman Abul Khayr Alonto said in June that they were eyeing a "Moro Conference" to craft a new Bangsamoro law that would finally end decades of conflict in Mindanao. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong is a student of the Ateneo de Manila University. He is also a Rappler intern.

Netizens on #CorruptionPH: Come forward to report cases


MANILA, Philippines – The country remains perceived as one of the most corrupt nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2015, for instance, the Philippines slid to 95th out of 168 countries, with a score of 35/100.

It previously ranked 85th out of 175 countries in 2014.

Last May, more than 16 million Filipinos elected Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency. Duterte had promised the nation that "change is coming" – vowing to curb illegal drugs, crime, and corruption in just 3 to 6 months.

In light of Duterte's promise to go after the corrupt, Rappler held an online discussion on corruption using the hashtag #CorruptionPH on Friday, July 15.

Here's what social media users had to say about the issue:

#CorruptionPH online Reach

To map the extent of the online conversation, we ran Reach, Rappler's social listening tool. Reach monitors specific keywords to identify social media influencers, visualize the discussion, and identify participants' roles in the discussion.

Based on the data, the online discussion reached 123.5 million impressions, or "the times a user is served a tweet in timeline or search results."

There were also 127 unique authors, with the conversation peaking at around 1:45 pm.

Experiences in corruption

Several instances of corruption were cited during the discussion.

According to Twitter user Yemma Judilla, corruption has been institutionalized in government offices such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue. She added that bribery has followed an elaborate scheme over the years.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> Corruption is institutionalized, esp BIR, says a former employee. Bribery is systemized. This must be stopped <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Yemma S. Judilla (@yemmasjudilla) <a href="https://twitter.com/yemmasjudilla/status/753842257506164736">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Corruption also breeds negative consequences. Gemma Mendoza, head of Rappler's Research and Content Strategy, pointed out that even the drug problem is rooted in corruption.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Yup. Even the drug problem is rooted in corruption <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://t.co/oW5Wmg8cJ5">https://t.co/oW5Wmg8cJ5</a></p>&mdash; Gemma B. Mendoza (@gemmabmendoza) <a href="https://twitter.com/gemmabmendoza/status/753819307927142400">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Twitter user @PHVoteNetizen noted that corruption is also present in transactions at the Land Transportation Office, such as getting a driver's license. This, said the user, leads to more traffic offenders on the road.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> LTO Fixers. Many gets driver&#39;s license even they have not actually passed the test. Kaya daming traffic offenders.</p>&mdash; PHNetizen (@PHVoteNetizen) <a href="https://twitter.com/PHVoteNetizen/status/753823286924939264">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Others who joined the discussion called for the persecution of those who engage in corrupt practices. They also urged the public to report such cases.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> government should remove and prosecute everyone who did corrupt deeds (bribing, stealing, killing, etc.) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Miguel Lopez (@migsglopez_) <a href="https://twitter.com/migsglopez_/status/753826941015252992">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Citizens also need to realize their role in keeping gov&#39;t in check. Gov&#39;t cannot fix itself. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Bantay.PH (@BantayDotPH) <a href="https://twitter.com/BantayDotPH/status/753837791482515456">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Issues in reporting

While some highlighted the need to report corruption cases, others are wary that people's lives could be put in danger.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> Opo dapat. Subalit anung proteksyon ang kayang ibigay sa amin kapag meron kaming gustong e report? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Ladie Lina Bernal (@ladiebernal) <a href="https://twitter.com/ladiebernal/status/753832656714903552">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/gemmabmendoza">@gemmabmendoza</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> A person should be able to report crimes without the worry someone will come after you.</p>&mdash; w milton (@whycani) <a href="https://twitter.com/whycani/status/753833827072487424">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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On the issue of security, Department of Education communications manager Nash Tysmans said the public should not lose trust in the country's institutions.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> Reporting anonymously or not will still mean trusting that person you report to can act on your grievances. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Nash Tysmans (@nashtysmans) <a href="https://twitter.com/nashtysmans/status/753835095929217025">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> We should not be afraid of our institutions or breed distrust among them otherwise, people lose. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; Nash Tysmans (@nashtysmans) <a href="https://twitter.com/nashtysmans/status/753835278456852480">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Bantay.PH, a civil society organization pushing for good governance, echoed Tysmans' sentiments.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH">@MovePH</a> More than anonymity, people need to see that it works - implemented sanctions and improved processes.</p>&mdash; Bantay.PH (@BantayDotPH) <a href="https://twitter.com/BantayDotPH/status/753836674690363396">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Meanwhile, Twitter user I Am D Champ believes that responsible journalism also helps in curbing corruption as it influences the mindset of the people.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a> A very responsible media is needed to change to the mindset of Filipinos. Subscribers believe in media reports <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a></p>&mdash; iam_dchamp (@exponent3k) <a href="https://twitter.com/exponent3k/status/753839286672248833">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Role of social media

Several netizens said that social media can play a key role in the reporting of corruption cases.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">As a millennial,I&#39;ll use the social media in reporting cases of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a> .It&#39;s also a good way to be socially relevant. <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a></p>&mdash; Charmaine Distor (@charmainedistor) <a href="https://twitter.com/charmainedistor/status/753842694422573056">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Indeed, knowledge is power &amp; with social media, the power is within your fingertips in reporting cases of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a> . <a href="https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom">@rapplerdotcom</a></p>&mdash; Charmaine Distor (@charmainedistor) <a href="https://twitter.com/charmainedistor/status/753848620630159360">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You have a social media account, you are more powerful than you think. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CorruptionPH?src=hash">#CorruptionPH</a> <a href="https://t.co/tCSNftB6H8">https://t.co/tCSNftB6H8</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/753845122844889088">July 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Want to know how you can report incidents of corruption? Send a message to @MovePH on Twitter. You can also share your thoughts about corruption on X– Rappler.com

UP Visayas' first summa cum laude is next student regent


STUDENT LEADER. Raoul Manuel is the 34th UP student regent. Photo from UP Visayas' official Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Raoul Manuel, who graduated as the first Summa Cum Laude of the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas with a degree in BS Applied Math in 2015, is set to serve as the 34th UP student regent in the academic year 2016-2017.

Manuel was elected during the 42nd General Assembly of Student Councils held in the UP Los Banos on Sunday, July 17. Other nominees for the post were BA Film student Josiah Hiponia and BS Biology student in Mindanao Omid Siahmard. 

A Diliman nominee, Manuel is preceded by the 33rd student regent and Community Development major Miguel Pangalangan. As the next student regent, he will represent the 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students of the UP system in the Board of Regents, the state university’s highest policy and governing body. (READ: UP Visayas valedictorian: Gamitin ang talino para magsilbi sa bayan)

Sa paggampan ng responsibilidad, alam nating hindi tayo nag-iisa dahil kasama natin ang mga estudyante at mamamayang patuloy na ipinaglalaban ang karapatan sa edukasyon, lupa, trabaho at sahod,” Manuel said, thanking everyone who congratulated him for becoming the next student regent. 

(In performing this responsibility, we know that we are not alone because we are accompanied by the students and the public in fighting for our rights to education, land, work, and wage.)

The BS Applied Mathematics major finished his 4 years in the Visayas campus with a general weighted average of 1.099. He is currently taking up his Masters degree in Applied Math in UP Diliman. 

Prior being elected as the next student regent, Manuel served as the chairperson of KASAMA sa UP,  a system-wide student council alliance in the university. In his graduating year, he served as student council chair of the university's College of Arts and Sciences. He also actively participated in student protests.

Manuel was a recipient of the UP Presidential Scholarship from 2012 up until graduation. He was also a BPI Anak Expat awardee in 2013, Mga Bagong Rizal: Pag-asa ng Bayan national awardee in 2011, and second placer in the 2011 National Philippine Statistics Quiz.

For 4 years, he managed to balance his academics with his role as a student leader. He has a long list of student affiliations, including Youth Act Now and LENTE. He also spoke often to students about campus leadership.

"As an Iskolar ng Bayan, I had to open my eyes to the realities around me and look for ways to become active in the affairs inside and outside of the university. My UP education instilled in me a desire to use my potentials to advance genuine social change," he said in a previous interview. – Rappler.com

ASEAN architect: Higher standards needed in PH architecture


HIGHER STANDARD. Architect Robert Mirafuente (middle) with agripreneur Arsenio Barcelona (left), and engineer Arnel Alvarez (right) take the stage during an open forum at the 13th Green Forum organized by the Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines (Green AP), July 15. Picture by Tessa Barre/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – ASEAN-accredited architect and Frima Global Home Corporation President Robert Mirafuente called for the raising of standards in the field of architecture in the Philippines by actively participating in the ongoing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration efforts.

Speaking at the 13th Green Forum organized by the Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines (Green AP) on Friday, July 15, Mirafuente said that most architects in the Philippines have only completed their undergraduate degrees while their counterparts in ASEAN countries have masteral and doctorate degrees.

“Unfortunately for Filipino architects, we are only at level 6. But many of our counterparts in the ASEAN region are at level 7 and level 8," said Mirafuente, pertaining to the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), a national policy describing the levels of educational qualifications.

According to the PQF, architects with undergraduate degrees fall on the sixth level while those who have obtained masteral and doctorate degrees are on the seventh and eighth levels, respectively.

To remedy the gap, Mirafuente recommended the implementation of the Architecture Act of 2004 or RA 9266, specifically Article IV, Section 28 which encourages “Continuing Professional Development."

Continuing professional development, according to RA 9266, refers to a “sustaining and progressive learning process that maintains, enhances, or increases the knowledge and continuing ability of architects.” However, this development is only “voluntary” for architects.

“We are just waiting for the signature of President Duterte...Once passed into law, 30 units of CDP becomes a requirement for the renewal of license for architects," Mirafuente said.

ASEAN accreditation

Mirafuente also pointed out that only 52 out of the 39,000 registered architects in the Philippines, not including the 2016 board passers, are ASEAN-accredited. 

"ASEAN architects" are architects of ASEAN-member nations “permitted to work as a Registered Foreign Architect (RFA)” in any other ASEAN-member nation, provided that domestic laws and regulations of the host country applies, based on the 2007 ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Architectural Services.

The agreement aims to facilitate mobility of architects in the region, to exchange information in order to promote adaption of best practices on standards of architectural education and to craft collaborations based on fair distribution of resources.

Thus, Mirafuente urged all Filipino architects to apply for the accreditation since they are hoping to have “borderless practice” of architects within ASEAN nations by 2020. – Rappler.com

Tessa Barre studies journalism at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. Rambo Talabong studies Communications at the Ateneo de Manila University. Tessa and Rambo are Rappler interns. 

Frustration, anger over NAIA runway closure


APPEASEMENT. Royal KLM staff address passenger concerns for the cancelled flight due to the closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Photo courtesy of Manja Bayang

MANILA, Philippines – Stranded and tired passengers who were affected by the emergency closure in one of the runways of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) aired their frustration on social media on Monday, July 18.

While not surprised, many netizens vented about the hassle the delay caused them. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/CebuPacificAir">@CebuPacificAir</a> Delayed na naman po ang flight frm Mnl-Bcd.Sana po mag-abiso po tayo ng mas maaga hndi yung boarding time na.D lhat my pera.</p>&mdash; Ryan E. Ferrer (@ryanferreroh) <a href="https://twitter.com/ryanferreroh/status/754982543485612032">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Naia runway shuts down for repairs..cebu flight was told to return to cebu..expected 11pm to open again..what a long day.</p>&mdash; eric baena manalang (@ebmanalang) <a href="https://twitter.com/ebmanalang/status/754971535132078080">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/klm?src=hash">#klm</a> authorities address passenger concerns.flight cancelled due to closure of airport in Manila. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/taipei?src=hash">#taipei</a> <a href="https://t.co/RKVmWQOGrz">pic.twitter.com/RKVmWQOGrz</a></p>&mdash; Manja Bayang (@manja_bayang) <a href="https://twitter.com/manja_bayang/status/754970034401792000">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/naia_miaa">@naia_miaa</a> everyone&#39;s flight is delayed. My girlfriend can&#39;t get home before sunset! expected landing at 12:55 and now still in Clark.</p>&mdash; Christian Flores (@PhilanDroz) <a href="https://twitter.com/PhilanDroz/status/754967737735139328">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Some flights had to be diverted to Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga due to the delay. 


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So daughter1 invited 16 friends Fr the UK to visit the Phils, all their flights diverted to Clark because of NAIA runway problems</p>&mdash; Kaye Tinga (@kayetinga) <a href="https://twitter.com/kayetinga/status/754967569514176512">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Some found humor in the situation.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">That moment when the runway is like &quot;Nope&quot; you shall not pass <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NaiaRunway?src=hash">#NaiaRunway</a></p>&mdash; Victoria (@05mariavictoria) <a href="https://twitter.com/05mariavictoria/status/754974741308461056">July 18, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Better safe than sorry

DAMAGE. The flaps of the EVA Air 272 were severely damaged by foreign object debris at the end of runway 24. Photo courtesy of Kurt Cabillon

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced on social media that an "emergency runway closure" was implemented on runway 06/24 due to a soft spot on the runway that could damage aircraft using it.

The airport authority said the runway is closed until 10PM to allow for asphalt overlay. 

A post by netizen Kurt Cabillon showed the damaged flaps of EVA Air flight 272 bound for Taipei. The starboard, or right, side was severely damaged allegedly by foreign object debris at the end of runway 24. 


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MIAA announced it will forego its regular runway cleaning from 1:30 AM to 3:30 AM to make up for the influx of diverted flights. – Rappler.com

UN PH chief: 'Social enterprises means to achieving SDGs'


 2030 NOW. The Sustainable Development Goals are presented during League of Corportate Foundations forum on July 15. Photo by Danielle Nakpil / Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Just like all correctional facilities in the Philippines, the Naga City Jail looked no different. The women inmates lived in cramped prison cells with barely no room for breathing. Most of them rarely had visitors, while others were already abandoned by their families. Many fall into the pit of depression and some even try to commit suicide.

These are women who were involved in illegal drugs, theft, murder, and other criminal offenses. These are women who will carry the tag of being law offenders for the rest of their lives. The future does not seem to be hopeful for them even as they exit the prison gates.

Despite these, one entrepreneur still chose to believe in the capability of these inmates to turn their lives around. Determined to push this cause forward, Paul Orpiada of the Karaw Craftventures built a skills development program to help rehabilitate the women inmates of the Naga City Jail. (READ: [Executive Edge] The Filipino inmates’ right to livelihood)

He teaches them how to make toys, keychains, bags, shirts, and other merchandise for them to still be able to send money to their families outside the prison bars. Through the Karaw Craftventures, the prisoners acquired a set of technical skills that they can use to earn a living once they get out of prison.

The Karaw Craftventures of Orpiada is one example of many other social enterprises that build their business models and strategies around corporate social responsibility (CSR), in order to effectively achieve the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through baby steps.

The main goal of the 2030 agenda is to basically alleviate poverty, fight injustice, and control climate change in 14 years, among other socil issues. Social entrepreneurs like Orpiada try to fight this from the bottom up.

Supporting social enterprises 

Orpiada is one of the social enterprises supported by the BPI Foundation, which has been reaching out to various communities for 37 years.

“We’re really looking for social enterprises. They’re not your regular capitalist enterprise that will make a good product but they really innovate in a way that they help people get out of poverty. They really bring a lot of people with them when they succeed,” said BPI Foundation Communication and Project Officer Ebony Lautner.

She added that the foundation tries to build an ecosystem for inclusive growth, and the Karaw Craftventures is an example of a social enterprise that invests in the growth of a particular community.  

“These are the types of enterprises we really love to support because they’re so smart and creative and the way they look at their business model, they make sure that a part and parcel of it is a community of people,” Lautner said.

Going beyond CSR 

Several national and multi-national companies in the Philippines have been practicing CSR through their respective foundations for decades. The League of Corporate Foundations alone has 80 members from different foundations and organizations who practice CSR and vow to help achieve the SDGs through it. (READ: P2.6 billion spent on CSR programs in 2015-LCF)

But more than practicing philanthropy and good will, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ola Almgren said that businesses must incorporate CSR to their business strategies in order to effectively achieve the 17 SDGs.

“I believe that corporations today need to go beyond corporate social responsibility to support the sustainable development goals. That means really to work them into their core business strategies,” he told Rappler.

According to Almgren, taking this step will not only sustain the environment and people from different marginalized sectors, but will also sustain the corporations themselves.

“For the business sector, there’s never been a more critical time to change the way we do business, including corporate social responsibility and integrating the sustainable development goals in your core business strategies."

“While CSR is not just good will, now is the time to move beyond good will and advocacy and show leadership, innovation, and share resources,” Almgren stressed in his speech on the second day of the LCF anniversary expo on Friday, July 15, at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

Sharing of resources

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one in four Filipinos live in poverty. One out of 10 live in consistent poverty, which means not having enough resources to sustain themselves for a day. Moreover, thousands of Filipino families still don’t have access to clean energy.

“One out of ten Filipinos do not have electricity in their homes. That is a huge opportunity for innovation, and for investment. The corporate sector really has a contribution to make,” Almgren said.

The UNDP resident representative believes that the success of the 2030 agenda lies in a strong partnership between the government and the corporate sector. But having not enough resources from the government especially in third world countries, gives opportunity for corporations to invest and contribute more.

“The corporate sector has a greater resource to manage than the national government.”

According to Almgren, corporations must take personal and corporate responsibility on how they do business. Both huge companies and humble social enterprises have a role to play in achieving the 2030 Agenda as they partner with the United Nations and the government.

“I believe that there are many, many opportunities for us to work closely together. But above all, we need your contribution to the achieve agenda 2030 of the sustainable development goals,” Almgren urged businessmen. – Rappler.com

Danielle Nakpil is a Rappler intern and a student of the University of the Philippines - Diliman.