Rappler Newscast | June 13, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- 13 days after the Serendra gas leak, will Ayala Land take responsibility for the explosion?
- The National Bureau of Investigation recommends filing charges against Coast Guard personnel who shot a Taiwanese fisherman.
- Whistleblower Edward Snowden says the United States has been hacking computers in China and Hong Kong for years.
Story 1: WILL AYALA TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BLAST?
Thirteen days after a gas leak caused the fatal blast at Two Serendra, the president of Ayala Land Inc addresses questions on the incident that killed 3 and injured 4.
When asked if Ayala will take responsibility for the blast, Ayala Land president Tony Aquino refuses to give a categorical answer, saying --quote-- “I think that the government should appropriately be the ones that make the determination.”
Aquino says they need to "redouble" efforts to ensure the safety of tenants, but drops hints unit owners should also share the blame.
In an exclusive interview with Rappler, Aquino says Serendra requires units to install a gas detector.
But he says they do not have control over what unit owners do after that.
Aquino says Unit 501B, the site of the blast, had a gas detector but they do not know if it was properly maintained.
He adds, it is difficult for Serendra to monitor detectors inside units because they had to balance residents’ privacy and security concerns.
Aquino says this is why they --quote-- "need the government to make that" imposition.
TONY AQUINO, AYALA LAND PRESIDENT: I think this is really where the risk comes around because you might be completely safe on your distribution system and all the way to the building system but unfortunately as you start to go into the unit then that is when you have to be able to make sure that other checks are going to be implemented…Very often that's a thing you have to be able to monitor and that's when it is producing difficulty because as soon as you're inside a unit, it is entirely possible that some of these devices, even if they have initially been provided for, may get misplaced, relocated, and as a consequence not be in a position to function properly.
When asked whether the gas supplied to Serendra units have odorants as a safety mechanism, Aquino says they expect the gas suppliers to add odorants.
TONY AQUINO, AYALA LAND PRESIDENT: The odorant is something that is automatically supplied by the LPG gas supplier…Before it leaves their factory they typically would have that already because, again, that's the requirement.
A source familiar with the probe tells Rappler the gas supplied to Serendra is odorless despite BGC's promise of added odorants to easily determine a gas leak.
Since the blast, Aquino says all safety checks in Serendra "have been redone."
Two Serendra's gas supply remains shut off as the probe continues.
Story 2: GAS DETECTORS MADE MANDATORY IN BGC
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says it is now mandatory for all buildings in Bonifacio Global City connected to the piped-in gas system to have a gas detector.
In a forum with stakeholders about the system that supplies Liquefied Petroleum Gas to BGC, Roxas says it is now --quote-- “an imposition” to install gas sensors with automatic shut off valves once a leak is detected.
All buildings are also required to perform checks on their gas system.
The mandatory checks and gas detectors is a result of the deadly explosion caused by a gas leak in a Two Serendra unit on May 31.
Story 3: NBI: CHARGE PCG FOR TAIWANESE MURDER
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirms the National Bureau Investigation recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman.
De Lima also confirms she submitted the NBI’s recommendation to President Benigno Aquino.
On May 10, the Coast Guard says its personnel shot dead a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman after his vessel sailed into Philippine waters.
The shooting caused a rift between the two countries prompting Taiwanese Premier Jiang Yi-Huah to impose a ban on the hiring of Filipino workers.
Both Taiwan and the Philippines conducted a “parallel investigation” on the incident.
The Taiwanese probers earlier reported the PCG had --quote-- “intent to murder” the fisherman.
De Lima says the two investigation teams have not yet shared their reports with each other.
She adds both countries “deliberated and expressed views" during their “closed-door session” on June 6.
But De Lima says, whether Taiwan will find the NBI report acceptable “remains to be seen.”
Story 4: CHINESE DEPORTED SOON? TUBBATAHA EXEC ANXIOUS
The Bureau of Immigration orders the deportation of the 12 Chinese fishermen whose boat ran aground in Tubbataha Reef on April 8.
Tubbataha park superintendent Angelique Songco says the order raises concerns the charges against the alleged poachers would be dropped.
Songco says she fears the fishermen will apply for bail soon and the case against them “could slip through our hands like the ones before it."
She adds, “We could be left holding the statement of account of this case with no one to collect payment from.”
The proposed fine against the Chinese fishermen is estimated at P95 million for poaching and possession of protected species.
Story 5: NANCY BINAY OUTSPENDS POE, AQUINO
Based on documents she submitted to the poll body, senator-elect Nancy Binay spent more than two other winning bets in the May senatorial race.
According to her statement of contributions and expenditures or SOCE, Binay spent more than 128 million pesos, more than what her competitors Grace Poe and Bam Aquino spent.
Based on her SOCE, poll frontrunner Poe spent more than 123 million pesos and seventh-placer Aquino shelled out more than 124 million pesos.
The law requires all candidates to submit their SOCE by Thursday, 5pm.
Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes says they will be open for submissions until 8pm because of the bad weather.
Most senatorial candidates scrambled to beat the deadline, with only 21 out of 33 senatorial candidates submitting on time.
Comelec commissioner Christian Lim says the poll body will not extend the deadline.
Lim says those who failed to submit by the deadline cannot assume office on June 30.
The Comelec will decide whether to fine those who failed to submit by 5pm.
The winners who failed to meet the Comelec's 5pm deadline are Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, and Gringo Honasan.
The Comelec’s Law Department declines to release the SOCEs they have so far.
Story 6: GARY GRANADA ON MUSIC AND SOCIETAL CHANGE
Musical artist Gary Granada talks about the continued inability of society to adequately address poverty.
Granada is best known for his folk and pop songs like Salamat Musika, Kahit Konti, Bahay, Dam, Kanluran and Kapag Natatalo ang Ginebra.
An artist and activist, he bookmarked significant moments in Philippine history with songs of the Filipino experience.
His song “Bahay” is a raw ballad about society's failure to take care of the poor.
GARY GRANADA, MUSICAL ARTIST: Our institutions really [are] not helping out. And this is not something that is just the problem of a few families, or just a few communities or a sector of society, this is...an institutional question. And it is the sheer incapacity of our institutions to respond to a national reality. It begs the question, why?
Granada also talks about how the Philippines changed over the years.
MARIA RESSA: Have things changed?
GARY GRANADA, MUSICAL ARTIST: I think the more compelling question is, change for who? You have an almost 8% growth which means things have changed, but you have an increase in your unemployment. How do you reconcile those two things? If you have a government which has very little imagination other than investors from other countries, open up our property structures, if that's all you can think of, nothing's going to happen to your country.
Granada says social change requires a different set of beliefs other than survival of the fittest.
GARY GRANADA, MUSICAL ARTIST: You have to have some other set of belief systems to make things better for everybody and that means even if you're not as strong, even if you're not as fit as the others, you are entitled to some sufficient provision for you to actually have a meaningful and productive life.
Story 7: WORLD BANK KEEPS PH GROWTH FORECASTS
The World Bank keeps its 2013 and 2014 growth forecasts for the Philippines despite the country's stellar 7.8% growth in the first quarter.
In its Global Economic Prospects 2013 report released Wednesday, the World Bank says the Philippines will grow 6.2% this year and 6.4% in 2014, unchanged from its December and April projections.
The World Bank though cuts its growth estimate for the global economy, saying the world would grow at an annual rate of 2.2% in 2013, down from its January estimate of 2.4%.
Story 8: UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES SUSPEND CLASSES DUE TO HEAVY RAIN
At least 19 schools and universities in Metro Manila suspend classes Thursday afternoon because of heavy rain and flooding in some areas.
Students and commuters were stranded but some chose to brave the flood.
PAGASA says there is no tropical cyclone within the Philippine Area of Responsibility but adds a Southwest Monsoon is affecting Luzon and Western Visayas.
The weather bureau says: prepare for heavy rains, gusty winds and possible flash floods.
Story 9: SNOWDEN: US HACKING HK, CHINA FOR YEARS
US whistleblower Edward Snowden says the United States has been hacking computer systems in China and Hong Kong since 2009 as part of its widespread surveillance programs.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden says the US National Security Agency’s Prism program --quote-- "extends to people and institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China."
Among the targets of the hacking was the Chinese University of Hong Kong and public officials, businesses and students.
Snowden says the hacking targets are part of around 61,000 operations globally.
He says this exposed the --quote-- “hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure."
The former CIA employee has been hiding in Hong Kong since May 20.
He says he will fight attempts of the US government to have him brought back home to face charges.
Snowden says the US government was "trying to bully" Hong Kong authorities into expelling him before he can reveal details of alleged NSA snooping of communications inside the financial and trading hub.
The US Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into Snowden, but the United States has not yet filed an extradition request to Hong Kong.
Story 10: US CONGRESS URGED TO REWRITE SURVEILLANCE LAWS
New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch urges the U.S. Congress to "re-evaluate and rewrite surveillance laws."
The watchdog says the government's surveillance practices already "impinge on privacy in ways unimaginable years ago."
In a statement Wednesday, it says it is --quote-- “deeply troubled by the apparent lack of any consideration by the US government for the privacy rights of non-US citizens.”
Human Rights Watch also urges Congress to create an independent panel with subpoena power to examine current practices and make recommendations “to ensure appropriate protections for rights to privacy."
Photo of modern security camera from Shutterstock.com
Story 11: NORTH KOREA SLAMS SOUTH FOR TALKS FAILURE
North Korea blames South Korean arrogance and deceit for the collapse of planned talks between the two countries.
The two initially agreed to hold their first high-level talks in six years in Seoul this week, but talks were called off following a dispute over protocol.
In a statement, a spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea says, “The South side had no intent to hold dialogue from the beginning. It only sought to create an obstacle to the talks, delay and then torpedo them.”
North Korea says it doubts the possibility of improving relations in the future because of the South’s --quote-- “impolite and immoral provocative behavior.”
Talks were called off after Pyongyang said Seoul’s nomination of a vice minister as its chief delegate was an insult.
The talks would have focused on re-opening suspended commercial projects between the two Koreas.
Story 12: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 8, South African President Jacob Zuma says anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is responding better to treatment on his 5th day in hospital.
Zuma tells AFP, “We are very happy with the progress that he is now making, following a difficult last few days.”
The government describes Mandela’s condition as “serious but stable.”
The Nobel Peace laureate was sentenced to life in prison 49 years ago.
He spent 27 years in prison, freed only in 1990
before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
And at number 10, Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4 zoom, a variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
It comes after the introduction of the Galaxy S4 Active and the Galaxy S4 mini.
Combining features of the smartphone and digital cameras, it allows smartphone users to take digicam-quality photos.
The Galaxy S4 zoom’s main attraction is its 16 megapixel rear camera with a 10x optical zoom, enhanced viewing modes, and a built-in optical image stabilization.
Turning the device around reveals a Samsung Galaxy smartphone powered by a 1.5 gigahertz dual-core processor and 1.5 gigabytes of RAM.
More details are expected to be unveiled at Samsung’s premiere event on June 20.
Story 13: MESSI, FATHER DENY TAX CRIME ALLEGATION
Barcelona football superstar Lionel Messi denies allegations Wednesday he and his father engaged in tax fraud worth more than four million euros or 5 million dollars.
Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi are accused of fiddling the taxes in a legal filing lodged by a financial crimes prosecutor.
The 25-year-old Argentinian and 4-time World Player of the year says he's shocked at the accusation by Spanish financial crimes prosecutors.
In a statement he says --quote-- "We are surprised about this news because we have never committed any infringement."
Messi adds, "We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation."
The Messis are accused of three crimes of defrauding the state of taxes related to income from the use of his image from 2006-2009.
The allegations center on tax declarations made in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|