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Youth urged to vote in 2019 elections


BRAVE YOUTH. Youth leaders call for a unified action among young Filipinos in the upcoming elections. Photo courtesy of #WeTheBrave.

MANILA, Philippines– Ahead of the 2019 elections, youth leaders urged Filipinos to be critical of campaign platforms and promises, and vote for candidates who will champion human rights.

In a press conference on Tuesday, April 9, national youth movement #WeTheBrave said that young voters have the power to make significant change in the upcoming midterm polls.

According to data from Commission on Elections, the youth – especially those born in the mid-90s and early 2000s – comprise more than 18 million of the registered voters. (READ: First-time voters: ‘As young people, we could change something’)

In an interview, Active Vista's Domar Balmes said that a lot of young people are now disengaged and prefer to avoid talking about political issues. (READ: Laguna youth on #PHVote: 'We will not sell our vote'

"But we still believe that the youth and the youth vote can do a large impact on our nation, and that’s why we are gearing towards a more broad, more creative, and more dynamic collective of young people," said Balmes. 

The #WeTheBrave movement represents some 600 youth leaders of more than 300 youth groups all over the Philippines, including young artists, environmentalists, and mental health advocates.

Courageous youth

Leni Velasco, executive director of Active Vista, disagreed with the notion that the youth nowadays are apathetic, stressing there are several ways that they contribute to society. (READ: Youth groups file ethics complaint vs Aguirre over fake news)

“The courage of the youth of this generation to fight politically orchestrated spread of disinformation, to oppose the creeping authoritarianism, and to stand up against discrimination, misogyny and repression gives a beacon of hope to our people in these dark and trying times,” she said. 

With the May 2019 polls looming, #WeTheBrave suggested 5 "brave" things the youth can do for the country. These include asserting their vision of the future, being at the frontlines of political discourse, joining forces with fellow youth, challenging candidates to help build a better future, and targeting their vote for candidates who stand for human rights.

Youth in the election

#WeTheBrave also presented a youth agenda for human rights. 

“The election is a crucial moment for our country as it shall set the direction of our future as a nation. We, the youth, shape the future of this nation. We are a potent social force. We are one third of the 110 million Filipinos. We have the power to make meaningful change happen,” the group said in a statement.

With Araw ng Kagitingan serving as a timely reminder to take a stand, the movement called on the youth to invoke the courage of national heroes and choose to uphold sovereinty and human rights.

Rafaela David, executive director of the Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN), added the urgency of defending the rights of the youth.

It's very urgent because our rights are being taken away day by day. At 'yung mga kabataang katulad natin, nakikita na lang natin na sila ung nagiging biktima ng patayan, fake news, violence within their campuses, kawalan ng trabaho. And as their rights are being threatened, we say that enough is enough," David said.

(The youth like us are becoming the victims of killings, fake news, violence within their campuses, unemployment.) 

She also called on today's youth to look back at the youth of yesterday. (READ: Cebu youth to fellow voters: Research on Senate bets)

Ang mga kabataan ang pinakaunang magigiting na lumaban sa mga mananakop sa atin. (The youth were first to courageously fight our oppressors.) We take inspiration from them. The youth of yesterday showed us that they can and they have won our rights and our freedom. And we can, again,” David added. – with reports from Jillian Siervo/Rappler.com

Farmers call on gov't to stop farm struggle, pass Coconut Trust Fund


TRUST FUND. Coconut farmers marched from the Philippine Coconut Authority to Mendiola to protest the low prices of copra and to call for the passage of their version of the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. Photo courtesy of Kilus Magniniyog

MANILA, Philippines – Coconut farmers from across the Philippines held a 3-day march, from April 8 to 10, Monday to Wednesday,  in Metro Manila to push for the passage of their original proposal for the creation of a Coconut Farmers' Trust Fund. (READ: 'Na-Duterte kami:'Why farmers feel betrayed by coco levy vetoes)

Comprised of 9 groups, the Kilusan para sa Ugnayan ng mga Samahang Magniniyog (Kilus Magniniyog) started the march at the Philippine Coconut Authority in Quezon City and ended it with a  protest in Mendiola, Manila.

In an interview with Rappler, Kilus Magniniyog leader Ireneo Cerilla said that they were urging President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill his promise of returning the multibillion coco levy funds to the farmers.

Paniningil namin sa inyong pangako bago ka mahalal na Pangulo. Nagkaroon ng covenant at nangako ka na sa loob ng 100 days, maisasabatas mo ang trust fund at matutulungan mo kami,” Cerilla said. (We ask Duterte to fulfill his campaign promise. We had a covenant and he promised that he will implement the trust fund and help us within his first 100 days.)

In February 2019, Duterte vetoed the bill reconstituting the Philippine Coconut Authority, a measure that is critical in ensuring farmers’ benefits through the coco levy bill.

The original proposal of the farmers included key provisions such as a 5-hectare limit on farmer representatives, a trust fund committee that's attached to the Office of the President, and a perpetual trust fund.

These provisions were altered following discussions in Congress.

Justice for farmers

Kilus Magniniyog hopes to reclaim the coco levy funds – money from the taxes that were collected from coconut farmers during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The funds, according to them, were used to benefit the powerful instead of assisting farmers in improving their livelihood. (READ: Coco levy fund scam: Gold for the corrupt, crumbs for farmers)

Sa halip na gamitin ito para sa kapakanan naming mga magniniyog, at isama sila sa pag-unlad ng industriya, napag-iwanan kami at ginamit ang pera para sa pagpapayaman ng iilan,” Kilus Magniniyog said in a statement.

(Instead of using it for the welfare of coconut farmers, and include them in the growth of the industry, we were left behind and the money was instead used to benefit a select few)

Low prices of copra

Kilus Magniniyog also shared how the low prices of copra was killing the livelihood of farmers. 

They estimated that at present, the farmgate price of copra is at P12 and P15.18 in Samar and Quezon, respectively. Meanwhile, the price of a whole nut is at P3 and P4.50 in the same provinces.

There were 75 farmers from different provinces who joined the march. Cerilla said the number of marchers represented the P75 billion that "needs to be given back to farmers".

Aside from the 3-day march, the group also highlighted their more than 40 years of struggle due to the lack of action from the government.

Wakasan ang paghihirap sa niyugan, kalasin ang tanikala ng magsasaka sa pagkokopra. Panagutin ang lahat ng may sala sa magsasaka (End the struggle in coconut farms.  Cut the chains of farmers in the coconut industry. Hold to acount those who abused farmers),” Kilus Magniniyog said in a statement. 

They added that President Duterte can prove his concern for the farmers is to help them reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

"Kung gustong patunayan ni Duterte na may tapang siya at malasakit, ito ang tamang panahon para patunayan 'yan. Tulungan niya kami na maibalik sa amin (If Duterte wants to prove that he is courageous and concerned, this is the right time to prove that. He should help us return what's ours)," they said. – Rappler.com

UP Diliman student council elections see lowest voter turnout in at least 11 years


LOW TURNOUT. University Student Council elections of University of the Philippines Diliman get their lowest turnout in at least 11 years. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines– The University of the Philippines Diliman (UP) student council elections concluded on Thursday, April 11, with a voter turnout of 40.85% of the Diliman student population.

Only 8,564 out of 20,964 students voted in UP Diliman’s student council (USC) elections.

According to Rebel Kuleone of the university’s campus publications, this is the lowest voter turnout of UP Diliman’s USC elections in at least 11 years.

Based on previous Philippine Collegian reports and data from the Office of Student Affairs, UP Diliman’s voter turnout fluctuated between 42% to 51% from 2009 to 2018.

Last year, 42.88% percent of the Diliman student population voted in the USC, dropping by nearly 3% in the 2019 USC elections.


There are 3 dominant political parties in the state university: Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights (STAND-UP), Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA UP), and UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA).

Both KAISA UP and STAND UP took top spots in the USC.

Leading with a total of 3,538 votes, Sean Thakur, incumbent USC vice chairperson and KAISA UP bet, is set to head the USC as its chairperson. Thakur won by 1,370 votes against STAND UP’s Flor Manalo, followed by outgoing USC chairperson and UP ALYANSA bet Kisha Beringuela with 1,872 votes.

Kenneth Eser Jose of STAND UP takes the reigns of the 2019 USC vice chairperson post with 3,374 votes, beating KAISA UP’s Louise Faraon with 1,891 votes, and UP ALYANSA’s Jeremy Civil with 1,843 votes. However, there was also a high number of declared ‘abstain’ votes for the vice chairperson post at 2,083, taking the second spot of highest number of votes for the position in this year’s elections.

Topping the councilor race with 3,995 votes is KAISA UP’s Jesus Reyna III.

The members of the UP Diliman student council 2019-2020 are the following:

USC chairperson: Sean Thakur (KAISA UP)

USC vice chairperson: Kenneth Eser Jose (STAND UP)


  1. Jesus Reyna III (KAISA UP)
  2. Hernan Joseph Delizo (UP ALYANSA)
  3. Tierone James Santos (STAND UP)
  4. Kierra Carlobos (STAND UP)
  5. Lucia Ann Silva (STAND UP)
  6. Lorenzo Miguel Relente (UP ALYANSA)
  7. Froilan Cariaga (STAND UP)
  8. Kevin Van Sulitas (STAND UP)
  9. Jeremiah Velmonte (KAISA UP)
  10. Carl Owen Andal (STAND UP)
  11. Gemina Dela Cruz (UP ALYANSA)

– with reports from Rebel Kule/Rappler.com

Game of poverty


Photo from Shutterstock

People want to be successful. They work hard to achieve their dreams. They tend to push their limits to accomplish something. But does hard work really lead to success?

Society tends to believe the idea that success has a ladder that everyone should climb. It has a formula that people should strictly follow to achieve success. But the reality is that’s not always the case.

Stories of hard work

It was past 8 pm when I met Lola Nida, 68.

She was selling string beans for P35 per bundle. There were 8 bundles left.

I was moved as I watched her eat and sit on an elevated platform beside the building’s stairway while she sold her string beans. I asked her where she was from as she placed my bundle of string beans inside a plastic bag. She told me that she needs to travel to Malaybalay, Bukidnon, at least twice a week, riding a habal-habal (a public transport motorcycle) for an hour to sell her product and another hour to go home. She needs to work hard for her grandchildren.

On my way home, I also met Lola Flora, 62, a balut vendor. During our conversation she told me that she needs to sell balut from 9 pm to 4 am. She sacrifices her sleep yet her income is still not enough for her entire family. (READ: [OPINION] To escape poverty, hard work is not enough)

Meanwhile, Jeffrey, 22, a part-time college student, sells SIM cards every day along the streets. I always notice him when I pass by. According to him, his life is very difficult because he needs to sell the SIM cards to earn at least P150 a day for food, allowance. and other personal expenses.

These are just some of the social realities facing Filipinos, not just Lola Nida, Lola Flora, and Jeffrey.

Filipinos living in poverty

The World Bank reported that there are 22 million Filipinos – more than one-fifth of the population – who still live below the national poverty line as of 2015.

While society romanticizes the idea that “poverty is not a hindrance to success” and  rags-to-riches stories, a majority of Filipinos work hard day and night but their socio-economic conditions remain deplorable.

During graduation, society celebrates the hard work of poor individuals who finished their college degree. But they’re not concerned why most of the poor have not reached the college level.

Sociology taught me that human society is fundamentally socially structured, regulated, and organized. Human social relationships and dynamics are not a product of coincidence but rather arranged patterns. This pattern is called social structure which guides human society, though it could still be oppressive and manipulative. (READ: It’s about privilege, not about working or studying hard)

Sociologists recognize that human actions are shaped by social forces that are far bigger and more powerful than what a person could ever change by himself.

Truly, these words resonate: “Lower income, less educated voiceless people are so much easier to control. Poverty is not by accident, it’s by design.”

Today, I am so alarmed at the growing number of street children and vagrants in our city. Poverty has become so normalized that society tends to believe that the only solution to get out from it is hard work – as if being poor is the lack of an individual’s will to get out from poverty. People usually blame them for being lazy or not working hard. But hard work is not enough. It goes hand in hand with structural change and opportunities. (READ: [OPINION] The persistence of blaming the poor)

Not everyone could climb up the social ladder despite how much effort and hard work they put into achieving success. Does society intentionally forget to care and help those in need? Or is poverty something that can never be eradicated?

It is heartbreaking to see how society has accepted poverty as a normal and incurable social problem.  

Beacon of light

During the tribute to parents before college graduation day, Ariel, a Manobo – one of the 7 tribes of Bukidnon – gave a speech in our school.

I felt his resentment and conviction as he said “Gika-minusan mi tungod kay Manobo mi (We are being underestimated because we are Manobos)!” 

Most of the Manobo in Southern Bukidnon are poor and socially discriminated. Ariel was struggling financially because his parents could not support him. But due to his perseverance and hard work through the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, he graduated this year.

Together with the Universal Health Care Act– a milestone in healthcare reform in the country – these two laws aid Filipinos, especially the poor. However, in reality, they are not at all sufficient to eradicate poverty in the Philippines.

Through changes in the structural level, those who are on the margins of society could be given opportunities to improve their lives.

As the late Nelson Mandela said: “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”

Despite the depressing news from different corners of the world, let’s continue fighting against injustice and inequalities.

There is still hope, so long as we continue dreaming for a better society. – Rappler.com

Jade Harley Bretaña is a college instructor teaching sociology subjects at Bukidnon State University. His research interests focus on marginalized sectors and communities.


Beyond world record, DLSU-D's human formation funds scholarships


ANIMOSAIC 2. Lasallian students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, among others, form the image of its founder, St. John Baptist De La Salle in commemoration of its 300th feast day on Sunday, April 7 at the DLSU-D Track Oval. Photo from Red Axalan

MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) had broken records with its human formation of the Lasallian star and a coin mural of the school logo.

This year,  to commemorate the 300th feast day of its founder, thousands of people held color-coded umbrelllas to form the image of St John Baptist De La Salle at the DLSU-D Track Oval on Sunday, April 7.

About 6,000 students, employees, and stakeholders of DLSU-D participated in the fundraising event dubbed as "Animosaic 2: Humans of St La Salle."

But beyond breaking records, the meaning behind the initiatives is so much greater.  This year, the fundraising event is dedicated to all the scholars and aspiring scholars of DLSU-D.

Formation for a cause

According to Marco Polo, University Advancement Office (UAO) Director and  Animosaic 2 Project Manger, the event is not merely an attempt for the record as participants pitched in to donate to the One La Salle Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Through the P300-registration fee and the donations of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and other stakeholders, the fundraising event was able to collected an estimated gross of P2.5 million and a net of P1.25 million.

The proceeds will all go to  the One La Salle Scholarship Endowment Fund, to be shared by the high school and college divisions.

‘School for the poor’

“Since its launch 12 years ago, DLSU-D has raised close to P300 million in funds and in kind support for various initiatives. Of this amount, close to P70 million is for the scholarship endowment fund. It has helped many academic and financial aid grantees,” Polo said.

Despite the misconception about Lasallian education, the school proves that through different initiatives, it can provide education for all.

“Personally, para sa akin, nakakataba ng puso na natutupad yung mantra ng school na it's a ‘school for the poor.’ We all know that it's important to break the Chinese record pero nilinaw naman talaga doon sa event na para talaga siya sa mga scholar kaya natuwa talaga ako,” Mathew Juganas, a graduating DLSU-D scholar, shares to Rappler.

(Personally, it warms my heart that the mantra of the school which is ‘school for the poor’ is being fulfilled. We all know that it’s important to break the Chinese record but it was clarified that the event is a fundraising event for the scholars so that made me really happy.)

School initiatives for accessible education

Through the years, DLSU-D was able to provide access to quality education for all, especially to the youth of its community.

“It [the event] is very impactful in a way na yes, malamang, hindi na ako 'yung makikinabang since graduating na ako pero mas natutuwa ako kasi para siya sa mga future scholars. Mas marami pang kagaya ko na mabibigyan ng chance na maranasan 'yung Lasallian education,” Juganas added.

(The event still really had an impact on me that yes, I won't be able to benefit from it since I'm graduating, but I got happier because this is for future scholars. There will be more students like me that will be given a chance to have a Lasallian education.)

Aside from providing scholarships, DLSU-D also offers free quality education through the Night College for the indigent working youth of Cavite and the Balik Aral Program for the out-of-school youth.

The Animosaic 2: Human of St. La Salle is only one of the initiatives of DLSU-D to respond to the challenge of providing scholarships, grants, and financial aid to Lasallian students.

“For UAO, we will continue to implement various advancement and resource generation activities to help the priority programs of DLSU-D (STARS): Scholarships; Teacher Trainings; Advocacy Programs; Research; Services and Infrastructure,” Polo said. – Rappler.com

Nicole Anne del Rosario is a Rappler Intern. She is a 4th year AB Communication student of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas.

Glutamax ad slammed for discriminating vs morenas


Background photo from Shutterstock

MANILA, Philippines - Netizens slammed skin whitening brand Glutamax for a series of online ads it uploaded on Facebook on Saturday, April 13.

To launch the new campaign for their Nano White line, GlutaMax released a series of posts on their Facebook page, which netizens said were distasteful in terms of creative treatment.

In the Philippines, whitening brands have been known to brazenly tell women through advertisements that they should have fairer skin to be considered attractive. 

GlutaMax's "Your Fair Advantage" campaign ads sing the same tune. They tell Filipinos that to be fair doesn't just make people see you as "more attractive" or "prettier." The brand goes on to promise added perks to being fair-skinned. 

Netizens, however, were quick to dismiss the ad as promotive of "colorism," citing other advertisements that had the same tones of color discrimination. Glutamax was called out by netizens as capitalists perpetuating a culture of discrimination, inequality, and shaming

While brands have been known to pull stunts like controversial campaigns just to get people talking about their products, questions hound the ethics of such strategies.

What are your thoughts on Glutamax's "Your Fair Advantage" campaign? Do you think it harmed society's views on people of color and beauty, or not? Let us know. — Rappler.com

Choose candidates with environmental agenda – youth leaders


CALL TO ACTION. Youth leaders from across the Philippines gather in a unity declaration protest to stop environmental destruction and push for climate justice. Photo by Claudia Gancayco

MANILA, Philippines – In a unity declaration protest held on Saturday, April 13, in Bacolod City, youth leaders urged the public to be on the lookout for national and local candidates' environmental platforms.

They stressed that the youth must choose candidates who are for the protection of the environment – by opposing the use of coal energy and other environmentally destructive development projects, and pushing for a ban on the use and production of single-use plastic, among others.

These candidates can also show their dedication to saving the environment by holding accountable those companies that extract resources, use huge amounts of energy, and pose harm to surrounding communities.

“If they want the youth on their side, they must be on ours. And if they stand for the rapers of our environment, then they do not have our support,” Rara Ada of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said.   

Climate justice education 

Through the unity declaration protest, youth leaders also demanded that climate and ecological justice education be introduced in schools as part of a holistic education.

"The youth agree that the educational system should be inclusive of climate change and ecological justice in its curriculum, especially in the younger students. The youth will inherit the environment left behind by the previous generations, and they should have a say in how it is cared for," Jean Paul Amit of Youth for Sustainable Change told Rappler. 

Krishna Ariola of Linghod and Youth for Climate Hope explained the role that academic institutions play in helping address climate change, especially with the current political landscape.

"Environmental issues aren't household conversations. The academic sector is a good venue to mainstream these discussions, which should eventually be embodied in our political decisions," said Ariola. 

Youth's declaration and challenge

The protest was part of the two-day National Ecological Justice Youth Summit held in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, the renewable energy capital of the Philippines.

Around 150 youth leaders in community, student groups, and religious organizations from Luzon, Visayas, and MIndanao took part in the summit to discuss possible interventions in pressing environmental issues, including issues affecting their respectives areas.

According to lawyer Avril de Torres of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, the “diversity of the participants shows that environmental consciousness is alive among the youth, and that they are ready to take on the challenges of the future.”

With the Philippines ranking third among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, Ariola told Rappler that this pressing issue should be on top of every politician's agenda.

"Real solutions on environmental conservation and climate action need to be translated into legislation for more efficient, holistic, and sustainable implementation. Policies on climate concerns would ensure proper allocation of budget, manpower, and would enforce drastic system changes," Ariola said.

The summit comes in the wake of Youth for Climate Hope's protest in March, where Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr finally signed an Executive Order (EO) declaring Negros Occidental coal-free and a source of clean and renewable energy– Rappler.com

Advocates call for women empowerment in disaster response


EMPOWERED. Women-led organizations and human rights actors together with Senator Risa Hontiveros (7-R) call for empowerment of women leadership during disasters in the 1st National Womenitarian Summit in Diliman, Quezon City, on April 11, 2019. Photo by Isabel Lupac/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Seeing the capacity of women to respond to calamities and crisis situations in their communities, advocates urged government agencies to provide opportunities for women to take leadership roles.

In the 1st National Womenitarian Summit held in Quezon City on Thursday, April 11, leaders under the Women in Emergencies Network (WENet) shared their efforts to empower women to become effective community leaders every time disaster strikes.

WENet is an alliance of civil society organizations that was formed due to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which left thousands of people dead in November 2013.

"When women are supported to lead emergency responses, they ensure everyone in their community is protected," said Marian Ticzon, project officer of Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan.

Impact of climate change 

Senator Risa Hontiveros explained that women can help offer solutions to address climate change due to their experiences in the community. (READ: How disasters affect women)

She added how during the 55th session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women, the Philippines initiated a resolution that called for equal gender participation in environmental decision-making. (READ: Why gender matters in natural disasters)

"Napakaimportante po na kasali ang kababaihan sa proseso ng paggawa ng desisyon dahil ang mga karanasan ng kababaihan sa komunidad ay maaring makatulong sa paggawa ng programa at polisiya para maagapan ang climate change," said Hontiveros.

(It is very important that women are included in the process of decision-making because of their experiences in the community that might help in developing programs and policies to mitigate climate change.)

Women take the lead

Though disasters cannot be stopped, Vice President Leni Robredo raised how everyone can pitch in to minimize their impact.

Robredo pointed out that among the ways to safeguard vulnerable sectors like women and children is to consider their needs.

She also suggested that women be given opportunities to participate in planning for disaster preparedness as well as post-crisis programs that keep in mind their unique needs and struggles.

She brought up how two years after Yolanda hit Tacloban City, female radio broadcasters conducted a workshop for the creation of a disaster response and rehabilitation community radio station in the city. (READ: ‘Radio from Tacloban, for Tacloban’)

"Women can do more when they are empowered," Robredo added.

Rowena Dacsig, an analyst of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-Philippines, said women can be empowered when their roles as decision makers and leaders are promoted.

"We should also localize our response, build your capacity as the first responders, and be able to build your network and create partnership and alliances," Dacsig added.

Maria Elna Corazon Jazmines, a coordinator of the Citizens' Disaster Response Center, also emphasized that along with empowerment, prevention of disaster risks is just as important.

"Hindi tayo magkakaroon ng magandang emergency response kung hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng preparedness. Hindi natin mapapaliit ang risk for disaster kung wala tayong prevention and mitigation," said Jazmines.

(We will not be able to have good emergency response if we will not have preparedness. We cannot reduce disaster risks if we do not practice prevention and mitigation.)

Face of resilience

Aside from natural disasters, a number of women in the Philippines also find themselves at risk because of internal displacement due to armed conflict and cases of sexual violence and harassment.

During these situations, women tend to keep their struggles to themselves, making it hard to find solutions.

"The more challenging moment...is that when you ask women, 'Are you okay?', they will say they're fine. Are there any reported cases of violence? None.... They [want] to put a face of resilience," said Carol Angir, program manager of ActionAid Australia.

Hontiveros stressed the vital role of women-led support groups in helping victims of trauma and sexual harassment within their communities.

"Mas tumatatag ang community kapag kasali ang kababaihan sa paggawa ng plano at desisyon, dahil magaling [ang] mga babae bilang educator.... Magaling tayong maghanda ng tao at ng resources sa mga ganitong panahon [ng sakuna]," she said.

(The community becomes stronger if women are included in planning and the decision-making process, because women are good at being educators.... We are good at preparing people and resources in times of disaster.) – Rappler.com

Isabel Lupac is a Rappler intern, and a 4th year AB Communications student from De La Salle Lipa.

Group starts petition urging youth, government to act on climate crisis


MANILA, Philippines – A group of “young, earth-loving” individuals initiated a petition seeking immediate action by young people and governments around the world – starting with Filipinos – to address the looming global climate crisis.

Called “I am Climate Justice Movement,” the initiative urges the youth to make a personal pledge to act, in whatever small ways, on the pressing issue of climate change.

According to the group, pro-environment policies have long been on the table, but “the people still seem unprepared for it, the systems barely working to lessen the damage.”

In a Facebook post, Living Laudato Si (LLS) science policy officer John Leo Algo said, “Despite such actions being seemingly insignificant at first glance, imagine the far-reaching effects these ‘little things’ can do if everybody does them,” said Algo.

Once the petition reaches its required 600 signatures, it will be forwarded to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) (through Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr) and other concerned government agencies for them to forward the concern to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Anyone interested to help can get from the group a copy of the petition paper and draft barangay ordinance, which they can present to their village officials for consideration. To prod the barangay council to pass a resolution, the petition needs at least 50 signatures from either registered voters from the barangay or younger people who are represented by their parents. 

If the barangay officials don't take action despite the signed petitions, Living Laudato Si’s partner lawyers and ombudsman will compel them to act.

International citizens may also participate by becoming the group's international partners. The group plans to partner with organizations in other countries for a global campaign.  

The group plans to appeal to the DFA on April 22 to bring their concern to the UNGA in September. An UNGA resolution, the group explained, is needed for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to release an Advisory Opinion that would assist the Philippines and other countries in their legal duties for climate action.

The group has so far kickstarted their activities through discussions in various universities across the country. As of now, the group has filed petitions and ordinances in barangays in Las Pinas, Mandaluyong, Iloilo, Naga, Cebu, Bacolod, and Nueva Ecija, and is currently coordinating with groups in Palawan, Bulacan, Ilocos, and Biliran. This is an attempt to spark action from the local level, the barangay, “where things are personal and problems can be solved as a community.”

Last March, young activists from across the globe emptied their classrooms and marched the streets to call on world leaders to act on the global climate crisis. (READ: ‘No Planet B’: tens of thousands join global youth demo for climate) – Rappler.com

Sofia Virtudes is a Rappler intern. She is a development communication graduate from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.


Holy Week for non-believers



Mama was furious when she heard that one of my titas would be celebrating her birthday in a resort with the whole family. She called her up and asked her why.

After some squabbling, I saw her put down the phone with a disappointed face. I was there, and I felt her frustration too, though I didn't know what to feel. The reason she reacted that way, and that I couldn't say anything, is because my tita's birthday falls on Good Friday this year.

A matter of faith, I thought. A sensitive territory. So I just kept my mouth shut.

I understand where my mama was coming from. She's a devout Catholic – my whole family is – and she wanted us to spend the Holy Week with full veneration. I understand my tita, too. Like my mama, she's also a devout Catholic and has been very active in the church. In fact, they do Visita Iglesia together every Holy Week. This time, however, my tita decided to do something differently, and maybe that's what mom found disappointing. (READ: Overview: Holy Week traditions in the Philippines)

This led me to think of how other people usually spend this week. I know some people who really put their hearts into it – visit churches, do novenas and penance – and I also know some who see it as an opportunity to finally take the vacation they're craving for and go to beaches, take trips out of town, etc.

In fact, this week could be used in all different ways depending on your religion. I, on the other hand, don't have anything planned. The younger me would surely have something Lent-related planned for each day, but the present me, the one who has learned so much about religion and psychology and like the rest who have no work this week, would just like to stay home, please. (ANIMATION: How do Filipinos observe Holy Week?)

For me, this week is just another week, but with more TV specials and more time for introspection.

It's not that I totally turned my back on religion – I still believe in a Higher Power – it's just that there's something beyond the traditions that religions are pushing down our throats that we should be focusing and celebrating more. I believe in something beyond the tall walls of cathedrals and churches, and beyond the hymns and prayers we memorized as a child. 

What I'm trying to point out is that aspect each of us has that may or may not require a religion to flourish: our spirituality.  It's that part of us that compels believers to pray after a long, tiring day, and "non-believers" to just simply look up to the sky and breathe. It's in all of us.

A functioning human recognizes that as they should be mentally, physically, and emotionally well, they should also be spiritually healthy. And come to think of it, this week gives us all an opportunity to focus more on that part of us.

See, if we really look into it, the story about Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection has so many lessons we can use, whether you're a Christian or not.

Aside from the narrative being a great literary inspiration used by artists and other writers, it can also be used as a frame for our individual life reflections. This is because it follows the usual hero's journey, the monomyth by Joseph Campbell, the cycle used in many other stories even before our times of how an ordinary man ascends from his normal life, enters a new world, combats the adversary, and returns home victorious.

That very same cycle is embedded in our psyche because according to Carl Jung, each of us has the "hero archetype" in our collective unconscious. The similarity we have with the Lenten hero can be used for us to relate to his story even more.

The Lent story started when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey – dubbed as the most humble of animals – and was adorned by the people. It ended when he was resurrected, but only right after he was beaten and crucified to death 3 days before.

Many other literary works have explored the idea of resurrection and eternal life. There is the legend of the Phoenix and the fountain of youth to name a few. Clearly, it has something to do with our ancestor's fixation on immortality and dread of death. Now this theme is relatable in a whole new different view – of our rebirth from our own darkness, our own struggles, and the end of a destructive cycle. 

Side by side we're being pelted by conflicts – with ideas, with other people, and even within ourselves – and sometimes their weight is unbearable. And it's all right to give in and let yourself fall to the ground – just as how Christians remind themselves of Jesus' suffering – because we won't be able to ascend to the light without accepting our own shadows first.

It's not something only Christians know. It is actually recommended that we sometimes have to delve into the emotions that are pressing us – to talk about them, to cry, to accept them – before we could actually break away from them. And then, just as how Christians take pleasure in their savior's resurrection from the dead, we too can also rise up, like how a phoenix rises from the ashes. And that for me, is the greatest lesson we can learn from this season: to rise again.

There could really be a lot more to see and realize. We all have a different perspective on things, anyway. What matters is that we confront something within us and take it into the light, and make this week meaningful, not just emotionally, but also spiritually. (READ: Holy Week superstitions in the Philippines)

In the end, it really doesn't matter how you spend the rest of the week. Do whatever you want, if you'd ask me. But instead of looking at this season as something that divides us – between who believes and who doesn't – this could be a ground for all of us to plant our feet on and let ourselves grow spiritually. – Rappler.com

Lorhenz Lacsa writes about psychology and anything pop culture. In his free time, he sings to his imaginary fans in his imaginary rock concerts.

Leyte teachers appeal for better internet connectivity


SEARCHING FOR INTERNET. Teachers from Libertad Elementary School climb mountains to get internet connection. Photo by Joseph Sumayang

LEYTE, Philippines – Facebook user Joseph Sumayang posted on April 11 photos of teachers climbing mountains to get the internet access they needed so they could submit their teaching requirements. It was uploaded to show the challenges of teaching in the rural areas, and with it an appeal for better wireless network connectivity in their area.

Sa makataan-aw ani nga picture, tabangi intawon ninyo nga magka-signal ang Brgy. Libertad, Abuyog, Leyte kay ang mga maestra sa atong eskuylahan kinahanglan pa muadto sa pungkay aron makasagap og signal, maka-internet aron mkapasa sa reports nga kinahanglan. Daghang Salamat," the post read.

(To those who will see these photos, please help us so that wireless network connection can be accessible in Brgy. Libertad, Abuyog, Leyte because our teachers here would have to climb up mountains just to connect to the internet so they can submit reports. Thank you!”)

Joseph has seen how his wife and her co-teachers have struggled to submit their year-end reports and required forms over the years because of the town's poor network signal connectivity. 

DEDICATION: LES teachers try to finish their year-end reports before noon so they could climb up the mountain again for internet connection. Photo by Alvin Advincula/Rappler

His wife, Melbie Joy, the Information and Communications Technology(ICT) coordinator in Libertad Elementary School (LES) told Rappler of their difficult situation .

“Dili lalim. Inig start sa klase, magpasa ug forms. Naa pay mga urgent submissions. Inig undang sa klase, magpasa na pud og forms. Way signal diri sa baryo. Mubaktas pa mi mangitag signal. Pag-abot sa pungkay sa bukid, mukatkat pa og puno aron isang-it ang pocket wi-fi. Kana, maka-send na mi,” Melbie narrated.

(It’s not easy. At the start of the school year, we need to send forms. Apart from urgent submissions, we need to send reports again at the end of the school year. Network service is unavailable in the community so we have to climb up the top of the mountain to search for connection. At times, we need to climb up trees to hang our pocket wi-fi kits. That is how we send reports.)

Admiration and Concern

Netizens commended the teachers for their dedication to do their jobs despite the extreme challenges.  

Some pointed out the high demands and workload of teachers in the Philippines.

Teachers from other parts of the country also shared their sentiments and brought up other issues in the teaching profession.

Some comments on the post also highlighted the need for better working conditions and increased compensation for teachers.

LES principal, Gregorio Betonio, also expressed his concern for the teachers.

“I am always worried. They would climb mountains to look for a stable connection and would stay up until 8 pm without even minding the mosquitoes and the threats of wild animals nearby,” Betonio said.

Betonio added how it would take 30 minutes for them to send accomplished reports—a burden on their part. If errors are detected after a day or more, the teachers are informed of these and they have to edit and resend the reports. 

“One time, we encountered a snake in the mountains. Since then, I don’t go alone. We work together. We look for a stable connection together. We are not hoping for a 4G or an LTE network. We would be happy even with a 3G connection as long as we can easily send reports without climbing up,” Melbie said. –Rappler.com

Jessica R. Alverois a Rappler Mover in Abuyog, Leyte. She is a third year Bachelor of Elementary Education student of Abuyog Community College and is the Executive Editor of Honeycomb.






7 Iloilo churches you can go to for Visita Iglesia


HERITAGE. With its patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova, the Miagao Church welcomes pilgrims with its detailed architectural designs. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – During Holy Week, Catholic devotees visit at least 7  churches to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and reflect on the passion of Jesus Christ as a devotion called Visita Iglesia. (READ: WATCH: Visita Iglesia 2019)

While churches abound in the Philippines, Iloilo province, being one of the earliest places to accept Catholicism, has a lot more to offer with its centuries-old religious structures that witnessed history. (READ: 8 beautiful Metro Manila churches for Visita Iglesia)

Iloilo’s kind of Visita Iglesia is a celebration of one of the Catholic Church’s important seasons while appreciating the province’s heritage. (READ: Virtual Visita Iglesia: Philippine churches in 360-degree video)

Here are some of the churches you can go to for Visita Iglesia in Iloilo:

1. San Joaquin Church

Built in 1869, this Roman Catholic Church firmly stands in the municipality of San Joaquin as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. Different from other churches, it's designed with a militaristic theme as it features the triumph of Spanish soldiers over the  Moors. Approximately 45 minutes away from Iloilo City, visitors can go here by private or public transport.

MILITARISTIC. Sculptures outside the church showcase the triumph of Spanish soldiers against the Moors in the battle of Tétouan. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

2. Miagao Church (Saint Thomas of Villanova Church)

Famous for its artistic sculptural relief, the Saint Thomas of Villanova Church serves as a strong foundation of the Christian faith in Miagao town. The construction of this church was completed in 1797, and served as fortress against Muslim raiders at that time. Miagao Church is 30 to 45 minutes away from Iloilo City.

BAROQUE. The highly ornated facade and bas-relief make this church one of the 4 baroque churches in the Philippines to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

3. Guimbal Church (Saint Nicolas of Tolentino Church)

Completed some time between 1769 and 1774, the parish of Saint Nicolas of Tolentino is one of the oldest in the Philippines. Because of a devastating war and earthquake, this church has been reconstructed twice. Its yellowish color is caused by the construction materials used such as adobe, coral, and limestones. Tourists who want to visit here can take a Miagao or San Joaquin jeepney and can be dropped off at the town plaza.

CENTURIES-OLD. One of the oldest churches in the country that was built in the year 1769, the "yellowish" Guimbal Church's walls are made from adobe, coral, and limestones. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Here's a video Visita Iglesia presented by the Society of St. Paul Philippines - Macau of 7 churches of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres.

4. Tigbauan Church (St. John of Sahagun Church)

Decorated with stone murals and mosaics, the St. John of Sahagun Church is unique for its Latin-American design. It was constructed in 1575, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. 

UNIQUE. The church's facade is adorned with intricate Latin-American design and interior made of colorful stone mosaic portraying the Passion of Christ which took decades to finish. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

5. Molo Church (Saint Anne Church)

The Saint Anne Church is located near the Molo Plaza of the Molo district of Iloilo City. This church is made of coral rocks and limestones, and is also known for its famous two pyramidal red spires. Visitors can get here by taxi or jeepney.

FEMINIST. This only Gothic-Renaissance church outside Manila honors its patron saint - St. Anne along with the 16 images of women saints on each pillar on the aisles of the church. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

6. San Jose Placer Church

The San Jose Church is considered as the first church built in Iloilo City. This religious structure was established by the Jesuits to serve the needs of military forces. It was later used to house the Augustinian order.

HISTORIC. The first church built in Iloilo City, San Jose Church houses the replica of the Sto Niño de Cebu. This is also where Dinagyang Festival is celebrated. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

7. Jaro Cathedral (Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary)

The seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro, this church stands firmly with the history it witnessed. In 1981, then Pope and now Saint John Paul II set foot on its grounds to say a mass and to canonically crown the image of Our Lady of Candles. 

MARIAN. The only cathedral in the province, Jaro Cathedral is home to the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Candles which was canonically crowned by Saint John Paul II during his visit to Iloilo in 1981. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Sources: www.exploreiloilo.comwww.myphilippinelife.comwww.iloilo.net.ph

 – Rappler.com

Carl Don S. Berwin is a Rappler lead mover and a SharePH ambassador in Iloilo City. He is also an Economics student at the University of the Philippines Visayas.

The unspoken dreams of the Bajaus in Leyte


LEYTE, Philippines – What does it mean to be a minority in a postmodern society? For the Bajaus in Barangay Marvel, Isabel town in Leyte, it translates to discrimination, poverty, and inequality.

There is a Bajau community settled under clusters of nipa huts spread along the coastline of Isabel. They fled Mindanao because of the unabated harassment by sea pirates that has affected their livelihood and tranquility. (READ: The Badjao of Zamboanga: Victims of war and relocation)

Gikan jud mi sa Basilan. Ang uban sa Zamboanga. Mibalhin mi diri (Isabel, Leyte) kay kritikal. Daghang gubot didto sa amoa,” said Bajau Tribe Leader Jerry A. Sapayani.

(We came from Basilan while others originated in Zamboanga. We migrated here because of the critical situation. Violence is rampant in our place.)

The Isabel Bajaus are predominantly fishermen making a living using their handmade bancas. Lately, however, some of them have abandoned their nets, spears and boats because these could not compete with the fishing freighters from Hong Kong and Taiwan, which trawl inside Philippine waters.

PLAYFUL. Under the scorching sun, Bajau kids play along the long and winding bamboo bridge leading to their community at Sitio Bawod, Isabel, Leyte on March 26, 2019. Photo by Kristian James Valenzona

Army of almsmen

The dire situation has turned this once tribe of fishermen, who were always associated with the sea, into a group of land-based almsmen.

From the break of dawn until the middle of the night, everyone goes to town begging for money and food. They go barefoot in groups beyond the spiraling bamboo and hanging bridges of Barangay Marvel, Isabel, Leyte.

Anecita Ladja told Rappler that they begged for donations in the streets because ing-ana man ang Bajau.” (It is the Bajau way.) Her reply seemed like a surrender as the Bajaus are known sea nomads who dwelled in the southernmost Philippine waters. 

Each day, random strangers respond differently to their extended palms. Others pity and shell out cash but most people would just avoid their gaze, the Bajau kids said, adding, “Ila man mi husgahan sa among hitsura ug among kinaiya sa daghang tawo.”

(We are judged based on our appearance and the way we behave in public.)

They are shooed away even when they show off their unrivaled Bajau dance with whistles and the beat of their improvised drums made out of empty milk formula cans.

Ang mga tiguwang ra man ang mangayo…. Mangayo ra mi ini’g tingpasko,” Ladja explained.

(The elders are usually the beggars. We only ask for donations every Christmas season.)

As they walk the streets, infants strapped around their mothers' waists cry because of hunger. Their undernourished mothers could not breastfeed babies and they could not afford to buy a infant milk formula.

In most cases, the Bajau women said, a three-in-one coffee mix would suffice as the milk alternative.

Akon a man na silang giingnaan nga muhunong na sa sa pagpangayo og kwarta ug pagkaon kaz mauwaw ta sa mga Bisaya, Sapayani said of their way of living.

(I told them to stop begging for money and food from random people because it is humiliating to ask from Visayans.)

But they are forced to beg. Unsaon man nga dili man pud na sila katrabaho kay wala man na sila ka-eskwela—dili man na sila kabasa ug kasuwat,” Sapayani explained.

(Besides, they are not eligible to apply for white-collared occupations because they haven’t had any kind of education—most of us cannot read and write.)

Only a few of the Bajaus can understand and speak in Cebuano. And this handicap deprives them of jobs.  

But the number of Bajau kids who go to formal schools is increasing. According to Sapayani, there are 26 documented learners from the 48 shanties in their community who go to nearby schools. Two of them are expected to graduate from grade school this year.

While the number seems promising, Sapayani said it is still not enough. 

He also added that since most jobs consider formal education as one of the basic qualifications, it is no wonder the occupations left for Bajaus range from fisherfolks, fake jewelry vendors, carolers, street sweepers to almsmen. 

BABY FACTORY. A pregnant Bajau mother carries her child while treading the narrow bamboo bridge at Sitio Bawod, Marvel, Isabel, Leyte on March 26, 2019. Photo by Kristian James Valenzon

Monstrous raiders

When Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) slammed the country's eastern seaboard, thousands of Filipinos suffered. 

But after the catastrophe, a rumor spread in Leyte about the Bajaus sowing fear and hysteria among those living in the coastlines. 

In 2013, fictitious stories went around through chain text messages about the Bajaus. The fake messages said Bajaus coming from the sea were raiding houses at night. When pursued, according to the text messages, they would run away and disappear into the sea.

Typhoon survivors who believed the story bought tip-sharpened bamboo stems locally called bagakay and installed those around their houses to protect their properties and lives at night.

In spite of baseless rumors against their tribe, Sapayani commented, Okay ra man na’ng yaga-yagaan mi nila basta dili lang mi pasakitan. Naanad na man mi ana.” (It is okay if they will make fun of us as long as they will not hurt us. We are used to it already.)

Although time and the lack of opportunities has made them turn away from their nomadic lifestyle, they still belong to the sea at heart. They prefer to settle near the salty breeze of the ocean as if their lives depended on it. This is understandable. After all, their ancestors have been sea-dwellers for centuries

Here, deep in the heart of a mangrove forest in Marvel, Bajaus have an unspoken dream. They dream that someday it will be a better world for them. A world where people around them will stop the ethnic discrimination and their kids will become professionals. And when that day comes they will no longer be begging in the streets. 

How to help

Sapayani highlighted the importance of education to the new Bajau generations. He told Rappler that donations like school supplies and books are valued. Likewise, any help to motivate the 26 documented to go to school is welcome.

Donors are advised to inform Jerry beforehand because their community is a long walk from the national road.

Donations may be sent using the following details:



Contact Number: +639152373602


Marthy John Lubiano is a Rappler lead mover in Palompon, Leyte. He is a graduating Bachelor of Arts in Communication student at Palompon Institute of Technology and is the Executive Editor of Fulcrum.

Filipinos tweet scenes from magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Luzon


MANILA, Philippines – On Monday, April 22, the same day the world celebrated Earth Day 2019, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocked parts of Luzon island in the Philippines. 

Netizens quickly turned to social media to report their situation and the damage brought by the strong earthquake to their areas. 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology revised the magnitude upwards, after initially pegging the earthquake at magnitude 5.7. In a bulletin, Phivolcs said the epicenter of the earthquake was in Castillejos, Zambales.

As of posting, #earthquake and #quakePH are among the trending topics on Twitter Philippines.

Check out the tweets from netizens:

Tremors were felt in several parts of Luzon. Phivolcs said aftershocks were expected after the quake. – Rappler.com


IN PHOTOS: Evacuations follow after magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits Luzon


Hundreds evacuate in BGC following the strong earthquake on April 22, 2019. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Following a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook parts of Luzon, evacuations of government offices, private offices, schools, and buildings were conducted as a precautionary measure on Monday, April 22.

People in establishments and buildings in several areas – including Baguio City, Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, Taguig City, Makati, and Manila – were asked to evacuate. Several establishments correctly waited for clearance before allowing people back inside. (READ: All you need to know about preparing for earthquakes)

In the event of an earthquake, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recommends that people find a safe exit and move to an open area that's far away from trees, power lines, posts, and concrete structures. 

In a bulletin, the Phivolcs said the epicenter of Monday's earthquake was in Castillejos town in Zambales. The agency warned that aftershocks and damage were to be expected.

Here are photos of some of the evacuations following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake:


BAGUIO. Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler


Quezon City

101 BUILDING. Photo by Twitter user @agneswrites


REGIS CENTER. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler



GREENFIELD. Photo by Twitter user @arbitolmighty


Pasig City

CAPITOL COMMONS. Photo by Rappler



UP BGC. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

BGC. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

BGC. Photo by Marc Salboro

MCKINLEY PARK. Photo by Twitter user @elisi96


TERRA 28TH. Photo by Twitter user @beaswan_


Makati City 

MAKATI. Photo by Mia Gonzales/Rappler

MAKATI. Photo by Mia Gonzales/Rappler



ROBINSONS PLACE MANILA. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler


MovePH heads to PHINMA UI for #MoveIloilo


Facade photo from PHINMA University of Iloilo website

MANILA, Philippines– How can you use social media for social good?

MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, will be heading to PHINMA University of Iloilo (UI) Law conference room for a forum and workshop to promote social good in the digital age at 8:50 am on April 29.

#MoveIloilo, in partnership with PHINMA UI, is the fifth stop of MovePH’s series of roadshows around the Philippines to explain the nature of disinformation and highlight every citizen’s role in upholding democracy– both online and offline.

Participants will get to learn about responsible social media use for advocacies; the specifics of identifying, handling, and preventing disinformation; and the importance of promoting positive online behavior to inspire courage among others.

Tickets to the forum are free, but seats are limited. Register below:

The program is as follows:

8:15 - 9:00 amRegistration

9:00 - 9:15 am

Welcome Remarks
Gian Bermudo
Center for Student Development and Leadership director, PHINMA UI

9:15 - 9:30 amGetting to know you/ Levelling off activity

9:30 - 9:50 amKeynote:
POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Using technology for social good 

Glenda Gloria
Managing Editor, Rappler
9:50 - 10:15 amDiscussion: Digital media etiquette

10:15 - 11:15 amTalk: Being a reporter in the time of disinformation
Camille Elemia
Reporter, Rappler
11:15 - 11:45 amPanel discussion: Why facts matter 

Glenda Gloria
Managing Editor, Rappler

Camille Elemia
Reporter, Rappler

Ted Ong

Kenneth Gadian
Managing Editor, DAKILA Iloilo Collective

Martin Ortiz
President, University of San Agustin Student Government

Francis Allan Angelo
Editor in Chief, The Daily Guardian

Moderated by:

Raisa Serafica
Unit Head of Civic Engagement, Rappler

11:45 am - 12:00 pm


Raisa Serafica
Unit Head of Civic Engagement, Rappler

Be part of the MovePH and Rappler Network to meet like-minded individuals who create ripples of change from all over the Philippines by transforming advocacies and ideas into action! – Rappler.com

Netizens tweet photos, videos after magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Visayas



MANILA, Philippines – After a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Eastern Samar – less than 24 hours after a strong quake hit parts of Luzon – netizens on Tuesday, April 23, quickly took to social media to share the aftermath of the latest tremor in their areas.

Social media users posted tweets and updates on their accounts, documenting the situation in areas affected by the earthquake in Visayas.

The Philippine Red Cross shared a photo of minor damage at the Catbologan City Council office in Samar.

Other netizens shared photos of evacuation conducted in campuses, buildings, and commercial establishments following the strong earthquake, while some showed earthquake damage in their own homes.

There were also posts for prayers for all those affected by the earthquakes.

Intensity V was felt in Tacloban City, Leyte, and in Catbalogan City, Samar. Phivolcs warned that aftershocks were expected.

As of writing, 7 out of 10 Philippine Twitter trending topics were related to the earthquake.

– Rappler.com

IN PHOTOS: People evacuate after magnitude 6.5 earthquake hits Visayas


EVACUATION. Students of Leyte Normal University rush out of their buildings after an earthquake hits parts of the Visayas on Tuesday, April 23. Photo by Oliver Diaz

MANILA, Philippines– After a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck parts of the Visayas on Tuesday, April 23, several schools, commercial and residential buildings, and establishments were evacuated to ensure people's safety.

The earthquake happened a day after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake jolted parts of Luzon on Monday, April 22. 

In a bulletin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake was located in San Julian, Eastern Samar.

The earthquake prompted evacuations in Samar, Tacloban City, Leyte, Bacolod City, Iloilo, and Cebu. People who evacuated were only allowed to enter buildings after they've gotten clearance from the establishments. (READ: All you need to know about preparing for earthquakes)

According to Phivolcs, affected persons may stay indoors if they are already within a structurally sound building or home. As a precautionary measure, Phivolcs advised people to find the nearest exit and move to an open area that's far away from trees, power lines, posts, and concrete structures.

Here are photos of some evacuations prompted by Tuesday's earthquake:


SAMAR STATE UNIVERSITY. Photo by Andrea Mendoza

SAMAR STATE UNIVERSITY. Photo by Andrea Mendoza




TACLOBAN CITY. Photo by Fenna Joyce Moscare/Center for Disaster Preparedness

EASTERN VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY. Photo by Clifford Colibao/Rappler

EASTERN VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY. Photo by Clifford Colibao/Rappler

EASTERN VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY. Photo by Clifford Colibao/Rappler







Bacolod City




Cebu City




Donations pour in for fruit vendor paid with fake thousand-peso bill


FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED. Fruit vendor Solomon Alfanta receives cash donations from netizens soon after he gets paid with a fake thousand-peso bill. Photos by Angelie Mabanta

LEYTE, Philippines – Things went sour for fruit vendor Solomon Alfanta on Easter Sunday morning, April 21, when he was paid a fake thousand peso bill at the New Market Place, Minglanilla in Cebu City.

Alfanta, 76, a resident of Cantao-an, Naga City in Cebu, recalled that an unknown customer duped him after buying a hundred peso-worth of bananas, taking away P900 of his earnings.  (READ: How a street vendor grew up to become the Philippines' Juice King

He didn’t realize this until he used the bill to purchase meat.

“Akong pares kay muona unta og uli. Magpalit unta mi’g baboy nga humbaon balig 200 para iyang madala sa balay, pero, wala man dawata ang usa ka libo. Gibiyaan na lang nako ang gitadtad nga baboy,” Alfanta explained. 

(My wife wanted to go home already. We planned to buy P200 worth of meat and use it to cook humba at home but the vendor did not accept the P1,000. I decided to just leave the chopped meat.)

Reports filed 

On Monday, April 22, Alfanta filed a complaint at the Minglanilla Police Station.

“Pagkauna gibalibaran ko sa mga police. Pero pagka-lunes, naa’y police nga hing-anhi sa amoang balay. Napa-blotter na namo. Giingnan ko sa mga police nga ini’g ila nang madakpan ang nangilad nako, anhion ko nila sa balay. Ila ko’ng pahibaw-on,” Alfanta said.

(At first, the policemen rejected my complaint. But on Monday, there where policemen who went to our house. We filed a blotter against the scammer already. They told me that when they capture the scammer, they will come to my house to inform me.)

Concerned citizen helps

Six hours after the incident occurred, Angelie Mabanta, a resident of Sibunga, Cebu took to social media to document what happened to Alfanta.

Mabanta recounted that she went to the market and noticed the number of people surrounding the old man. 


“Nangompra ko sayo sa buntag. Kani si Lolo gibayran og P1,000 nga fake. Gisuklian pud taw’n niya og P900 kay bali'g P100 man ang gipalit. Unya gibilin ra sad ang saging, dayon hing lakaw,” the post reads.

(I went to the market early. Lolo was paid with a fake P1,000 bill. He gave P900 change since the scammer bought P100-worth of bananas. The bananas were left behind and the scammer walked away afterwards.)

Mabanta also went live on Facebook calling help for Alfanta and thanking those who did.

"Daghan man nitabang. Wala ko magdahum daghan matouch sa post ug sa situation ni tatay," Mabanta shared. 

(Many extended their help. I did not expect that many people will be touched with the post and situation of Alfanta.)

After the post went viral, Alfanta received monetary donations amounting to P52,500 from concerned citizens, including Overseas Filipino Workers from the USA. (READ: 'Tay, may abogado ka na:' Lawyer pays tribute to taho vendor)

“Naabot na jud taw’n siya ug P52,500. Plus naa pa’y mga padala nga wala pa nakuha. Naa pa ma’y sige’g padala,” said Mabanta.

(It amounted to P52,500. Plus, there are still unclaimed donations. There are still people who keep on sending monetary help.)

Mabanta messaged the page Minglanilla Flash Report on Facebook to reach out to more people. Manuel R. Gonzales Jr, the administrator of the page, said that there were also good samaritans who reached out to him since Alfanta had no cellphone at that time. 

“Naa’y mga hing hatag ug kwarta. Naa sa’y mga nanganhi para mopalit sa baligya ni Tatay. Naa po’y naghatag ug bugas sa iyaha,” Gonzales stated.

(Some gave monetary donations. There were also people who bought all of his bananas and there also others who gave rice.)

Mabanta also purchased a cellular phone for Alfanta from the monetary donations given to him. 

For donations, you may send a direct message to Angelie Mabanta on Facebook. – Rappler.com

Larnie Bacalando is a Rappler mover from Palompon, Leyte. She is a graduating Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of Palompon Institute of Technology and is the news director of Fulcrum.







How you can help Aetas in earthquake-hit Pampanga


EVACUEES. Aeta families affected by the Luzon earthquake stay in makeshift evacuation sites on April 25, 2019 at Porac, Pampanga. Photo courtesy of Alyansang Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon

MANILA, Philippines – Aeta families in Porac and Floridablanca, Pampanga, were left shaken following a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday, April 22.

Since the disaster struck, Aetas from the province have been appealing for help and assistance due to insufficient resources.

Those who sought refuge in makeshift evacuation centers in Sitio Cuyukot and Sitio Balangkas in Barangay Camias have been struggling with limited supplies and food, especially with the source of water being located some 3 kilometers away.

Youth group Anakbayan Pampanga has reported that currently, some Aeta children and women have gotten sick with cough, colds, and fever.

In Porac and Floridablanca, several concrete structures – including school buildings, daycare centers, churches, and a barangay hall – were damaged from the Luzon earthquake.


In a phone interview on Friday, April 26, Sonny Serrano, Chairman of the Central Luzon Aeta Association ,said that out of fear, some Aetas chose to take refuge in makeshift evacuation sites on higher ground, far from landslide-prone areas.

Anakbayan Pampanga said that some Aetas in the area have even chosen to stay beside roads or build makeshift shelters just outside their destroyed houses despite the existence of an arranged evacuation site in their corresponding barangays.

Ang problema nga lang namin ngayon ay walang malinis na tubig, sapat na pagkain, gamot para sa mga batang nagkakasakit dahil nalalamigan sa gabi sa pagtulog sa mga tolda. Kailangan rin namin ng flashlights pang-ilaw sa gabi,” said Serrano.

(Our problem now is the lack of clean water, enough food, and medicine for [our] children who are getting sick because of cold nights when sleeping under our tents. We also need flashlights to be used during nighttime.)

Despite the limited supply of food, water, and medicine, Aeta families opted to stay in the makeshift evacuation centers in Sitio Cuyucut and Sitio Sentro, where they feel safer.

Natrauma na kami na baka yumanig ulit yung lupa kaya di kami makabalik sa mga bahay at mga bukid namin,” shared Serrano.

(We are traumatized that the ground might shake again. That’s why we can’t go back yet to our homes and farmlands.)

Pampanga, the hardest-hit province, is under a state of calamity due to the Luzon earthquake.

Anakbayan Pampanga, in partnership with other non-government organizations in the province, initiated a call for donations and volunteers to help the affected Aeta communities.



How you can help 

Those who want to help the Aeta community may do the following:

  • Donate consumable goods, medicines, toiletries, and beddings to Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy:

    • Donations may be dropped off at: Mission with Indigenous People, Gate 1, Holy Family Academy beside Holy Rosary Parish Church Angeles City, Pampanga

    • Mau Miranda: 09171345646

  • Cash donations may be deposited to Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy's Metrobank
    • Bank account name: ALAY BAYAN-LUSON, INC.
    • Bank account number: 052-7-05251627-3
  • Sign up as volunteer at Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy to help with their relief operations:

    • Volunteers may bring water, packed lunch, extra shirt, first aid kit and flashlight.

    • Mau Miranda: 0917 134 5646

– Rappler.com

Isabel M. Lupac is a Rappler intern, and a 4th year AB Communications student from De La Salle Lipa