#ThewRap: Things you need to know, January 15, 2017

Here are the stories you should not miss this Sunday










How's the weekend, Rappler readers?

We're already midway through January, and the have been lots of stories over the past few days. President Duterte again made a public pronouncement about his view on declaring martial law, and will sure to ignite more reactions in the coming days. We've also heard – or rather, read via his Twitter account – from another leader, incoming US president Donald Trump, who lambasted a well-respected civil rights icon.

The past few days also saw the more casual last day of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Philippine visit; successful launch of another SpaceX rocket; the blocking of some porn sites in the Philippines; and news about the non-digitization of Princess Leia in future Star Wars films.

Here's a roundup of the stories you need to know this Sunday:

I will declare martial law 'if I want to' – Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte said that if the situation in the Philippines becomes "virulent," he will declare martial law if he "wants" to. "Kung gusto ko (If I want to), and if it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law if I want to. Walang makapigil sa akin (No one can stop me)," said Duterte on Saturday, January 14, in Davao City. The President was not specific about the potentially "virulent" situation in the country, but before the statement, he was defending his war against drugs. Duterte gave assurances that, if he were to declare martial law, he would only do so with the best interest of citizens in mind.

Trump attacks U.S. civil rights icon on Twitter

President-elect Donald Trump lashed out Saturday, January 14, at a prominent civil rights icon and lawmaker who said he is skipping next week's inauguration ceremony because he sees the New York businessman's election as illegitimate. Trump aimed his latest Twitter blast at longtime congressman John Lewis and the majority-black district in Georgia he represents, drawing widespread criticism just days before the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Successful liftoff for SpaceX rocket

SpaceX on Saturday, January 14, successfully launched and landed its first unmanned Falcon 9 rocket since a costly and complicated launchpad explosion in September. The tall white rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54 am local time (1754 GMT), carrying a payload of 10 satellites for Iridium, a mobile and data communications company.

Health coverage, cheaper meds focus of DOH in 2017

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial says the Department of Health in 2017 will be focusing on universal health insurance coverage and the lowering of drug prices, among other initiatives. "We're focusing on, actually, the 12 legacies of the Duterte administration for the next 6 years, but for this year it's really focusing on the universal insurance coverage, [and] lowering drug prices by making essential drugs and maintenance drugs available to the poorest Filipinos," she said in a January 10 interview with Rappler. Priority programs will also include the annual check-up for the poorest Filipinos, and improving the country's service delivery network.

New 'Civil Defense Authority' eyed for disaster management

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council tackled the proposal to create a new department to be named the Civil Defense Authority (CDA). The CDA will still be in charge of protecting the population from human-made and natural calamities, but it will now be an independent agency with both policy and implementing powers. It's a "much stronger agency than the current one which is the OCD (Office of Civil Defense)," NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad told Rappler.

Low-key 6th anniversary for Tunisia revolution

Tunisia on Saturday, January 14, marked the sixth anniversary of the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali without fanfare, after official recognition of failure on the economic and social fronts. On the anniversary of the uprising which inspired Arab Spring revolts across the region, several protests were staged and the presidential convoy was stoned by demonstrators. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed acknowledged on national television on Friday night, January 13, that authorities had so far failed to address the grievances of the Tunisian people that had fueled the 2011 revolution.

Blocked: Some porn sites inaccessible in PH

Some pornographic websites were blocked in the Philippines as of Saturday, January 14. Top porn sites like Pornhub, Xvideos, and Redtube do not load anymore when accessed in some devices. It appears, however, that this filter does not yet apply across all Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country. As of this posting, there is neither a list of porn sites that would be blocked, nor a list of ISPs that have implemented this filter.

Abe wraps up Davao visit with baby eagle, durian

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe completed his Davao City experience by adopting and naming a Philippine Eagle and sampling some durian on his last day in the country. Abe adopted a female juvenile Philippine Eagle on Friday, January 13, and named it Sakura, a Japanese word that means "cherry blossoms." Immediately after, Abe and President Rodrigo Duterte ate durian, a fruit associated with Davao City and Mindanao.

Miss Universe: Pia Wurtzbach back in PH to crown successor

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is in Manila for the pageant! Pia arrived on Saturday, January 14, and posted a video of herself on Instagram playing with the stuffed carabao that the candidates received upon arrival at their hotel. She tagged her location as Conrad Manila, a hotel in Pasay, Metro Manila, and said in the caption, "Guess who's back to join the fun?" Pia is set to crown her successor on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

No digital Princess Leia in future Star Wars films

The producers behind Star Wars say they will not digitally recreate the late Carrie Fisher's likeness in future episodes of the film franchise. Fisher, who died last month, days after suffering from cardiac arrest, had been expected to have a role in Episode IX, expected to be released in 2019. But Lucasfilm insisted that Episode VIII, due to be released at the end of the year, will be the last one featuring Fisher.

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