#ThewRap: Things you need to know, December 28, 2017

Hello! Here are the stories and issues you need to know this Thursday.

A Syrian child smiles as men dressed in Santa Claus costumes walk past destroyed buildings in the eastern Syrian city of Raqa on December 26, 2017.
A US-backed offensive ousted the Islamic State group from Raqa in October but the city has been left ravaged by fighting, and only a small percentage of its pre-war population has returned as the year draws to a close. / AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman

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Hello!

Hello and hope you're having a good Thursday!

The deadly fire at the NCCC Mall in Davao has sparked calls for safer work environments. A bill that would further strengthen protection for workers – in particular, penalizing companies that fail to comply with safety standards – is currently pending in Congress, and a senator appealed for its speedy passage.

In other labor-related news, President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Bureau of Immigration to augment salaries and overtime pay of its workers using the income from express lane fees, a move which the government earlier disallowed.

Meanwhile, as 2017 draws to a close in a few days, why don't you take a look back at the year's biggest stories and issues? Just go to Rappler's year enders, which you can find here.

These stories and more, are in today's wRap.

Following Davao mall fire, gov't urged to prioritize safer workplace bill

Following the blaze at a Davao City Mall that took the life of 38 people, the chairman of the Senate labor committee urged the Duterte administration to prioritize the passage of a “safer workplace" bill.

Duterte OKs use of express lane fees for immigration workers' salaries, overtime

President Rodrigo Duterte will allow the use of income from express lane fees to pay for the salaries and overtime pay of BI employees for 2018, until Congress enacts a new Immigration law that will address their pay problems.

LTFRB suspends 7 Partas buses, 2 jeeps after deadly Christmas Day crash

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) preventively suspended the operation of 7 buses of Partas Transportation and two jeepneys of an operator on Wednesday, December 27.

What Duterte promised mayors in Vinta-hit Lanao del Norte

President Rodrigo Duterte vows to fast-track rehabilitation in Vinta-hit areas, but are the funds for handling disasters in 2017 enough?

Medical evacuations begin from besieged Syria rebel bastion

Aid workers have begun evacuating emergency medical cases from Syria's besieged rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, the Red Cross said on Wednesday, December 27, after months of waiting during which the United Nations said at least 16 people died.

FULL LIST: Winners of the MMFF 2017 Gabi ng Parangal

Musical film Ang Larawan takes home the best picture nod.

The next Manny Pacquiao? No, he's the first Jerwin Ancajas

Jerwin Ancajas admits feeling pressured to live up to the 'next Manny Pacquiao' tag, but he's focused on making his own legacy.

Top photo: A Syrian child smiles as men dressed in Santa Claus costumes walk past destroyed buildings in the eastern Syrian city of Raqa on December 26, 2017. Delil Souleiman/AFP

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