Rappler Newscast | January 16, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- International police investigate a child sex abuse ring in the Philippines.
- The National Bureau of Investigation says online sex trade has become a ‘cottage industry’ in the Philippines.
- A US Senate report says the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans in 2012 could have been prevented.
Story 1: INT'L POLICE PROBE PH CHILD SEX ABUSE RING
An international probe cracks down on a pedophile ring which streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the Internet.
Under Operation Endeavour which spanned a dozen countries, 29 people were arrested, including 11 in the Philippines.
Three other ongoing probes identified 733 suspects globally.
Fifteen child victims aged between six and 15 are rescued.
Britain's National Crime Agency or NCA says Operation Endeavour began in 2012 with the discovery of obscene video clips on a British pedophile's computer.
The agency says abuse in developing countries is a --quote-- “significant and emerging threat.”
It adds, --quote-- “extreme poverty, the increasing availability of high-speed internet and the existence of a vast and comparatively wealthy overseas customer base” drove the industry behind the exploitation of children.
The Australian Federal Police says it served six search warrants under the international operation that led to the arrest of three Australians.
Story 2: NBI: ONLINE SEX TRADE COTTAGE INDUSTRY IN PH
The Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation or NBI says the “cash for cybersex” scheme is a growing trade.
NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division chief Dante Bonoan says online sexual exploitation has become a --quote-- “cottage industry,” where syndicates move operations to different homes to create cybersex dens.
Bonoan says these dens are usually located in poor areas.
In most cases, parents or older family members are involved in the prostitution of a minor.
The NBI says this setup makes it difficult to identify abusers, with children often afraid to speak out against their own families.
Some community members also benefit from the cybersex industry as a source of income.
In 2012, an NBI entrapment operation led to the capture of a couple allegedly running a local child sex abuse ring in Cordova City, Cebu.
Story 3: DESPITE GRAFT POLL, PALACE WON'T CERTIFY FOI URGENT
Despite a survey saying more businessmen support the Freedom of Information bill or FOI, Malacanang says it won’t certify the bill as urgent.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma says President Benigno Aquino cannot push his allies in Congress to ensure its passage.
In a press briefing Thursday, Coloma says...
“The President abides by the Constitution. Certifying bills urgent is only allowed under specific instances.”
Urgent bills have priority in deliberations, and may be passed on second and third reading on the same day.
On Wednesday, the Social Weather Stations released its 2013 Survey of Enterprises on Corruption.
It said 56% of 951 businessmen saw “a lot” of corruption in government.
Those who said corruption will be reduced by passing a strong FOI law went up from 78% in 2009 to 88% in 2013.
The Senate passed the FOI bill, but the hurdle has traditionally been the House of Representatives.
The FOI bill aims to promote transparency by providing a system for citizens to access government documents and information.
Coloma says the Aquino administration already --quote-- “implemented the principles of FOI in concrete measures.”
On Wednesday, Aquino launched the Open Government Data-Philippines, an online platform that makes government data publicly available.
Story 4: NEW NBI CHIEF: LOW PROFILE, FROM THE FIELD
Veteran field investigator Virgilio Mendez is the new director of the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI.
Mendez takes his oath before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday, January 16 – 36 years since he first joined the bureau as an agent.
Mendez was deputy director for regional operations services since 2011.
Described by insiders as low-key and not associated with politicians, Mendez spent years in Mindanao honing his skills as investigator.
He has a long list of successful arrests, including the suspects in the brutal killing of Kae Davantes.
He was also the lead investigator in the Atimonan shootout and supervised the investigation of the Cagayan De Oro bombing.
De Lima hopes Mendez' appointment will create a ripple effect to boost the performance of those in the bureau.
She says, “Besides the obvious experience that an insider will bring to the NBI leadership, it will also serve as a confidence booster for those serving in the NBI."
Story 5: 'PH TO GROW ABOVE 6% UNTIL 2016'
The World Bank says the Philippine economy is expected to grow above 6% until 2016.
In its 2014 Global Economic Prospects report, the agency says the Philippines will grow 6.5% in 2016, when the Aquino administration ends its term.
The World Bank says consumption and sustained remittance inflows will remain the key drivers of the economy.
Reconstruction efforts will also help drive growth, offsetting the impact of widespread damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan.
The World Bank says growth is estimated to be 6.9% in 2013.
Story 6: BRACE FOR MALAYSIA CRACKDOWN, OFWs WARNED
The Philippines warns overseas Filipino workers or OFWs to prepare for Malaysia’s crackdown on undocumented foreigners beginning January 21.
The Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia tells Filipinos to make sure their immigration or work documents are in order.
The embassy also says Malaysia will detain illegal workers while arranging deportation.
Those who leave voluntarily will face fines.
In its latest estimate, the Commission of Overseas Filipinos puts the number of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia at 200,000 as of December 2010.
The crackdown is estimated to affect 6 out of 10 Filipinos in Malaysia.
Story 7: BENGHAZI ATTACKS WERE PREVENTABLE: US SENATE REPORT
A US Senate report says the attacks that killed four Americans in Libya in 2012 could have been prevented.
The report, released Wednesday, came after Senate Intelligence Committee investigators conducted hearings and interviews with survivors…
of the September 2012 attack that targeted the US diplomatic facility and the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed in the attack.
The report says the State Department failed to follow warnings to boost security, despite the worsening security environment in Libya.
In a statement, the panel says, “The committee found the attacks were preventable based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya…and given the known security shortfalls at the US mission.”
Story 8: OFWs TURNED HUNGRY AND HOMELESS
They’re hailed as heroes propping up the Philippine economy, but some overseas Filipino workers don’t always come home with a success story.
David Lozada reports.
EUGENE ASIO, FORMER OVERSEAS WORKER: Itong mga agency na ito kapag nasa labas kami ang tawag sa amin bagong bayani kasi 100% remittance tumatakbo dito sa Pilipinas. Noong wala na kami, wala na rin silang paki-alam. (These agencies call us heroes when we’re abroad because 100% of our remittance goes to the Philippines. Now that we’re no longer useful, they don’t care about us anymore.)
Heroes don’t always succeed.
Eugene Asio is a former OFW who worked in factories in the Middle East and Africa.
Nowadays, he collects bottles in the streets and goes to soup kitchens to survive.
EUGENE ASIO, FORMER OVERSEAS WORKER: Napunta lang ako rito dahil sa hiring ng trabaho. Kaso hindi naman ako natuloy kaya naubusan na rin ako ng pera. Dito na rin ako ngayon sumasama sa feeding. Sa gabi doon ako natutulog sa bay walk. Gabi gabi yun. Kapag umulan, hahanap ako ng building sa tagiliran. Makatulog lang. (I came here to Manila to fix my job hiring requirements. It didn’t push through and I had lost all my money. That’s why I join these feeding programs. I sleep every night in baywalk. When it’s raining, I look for buildings nearby.)
There are many like Eugene walking the streets of Manila.
DAVID LOZADA, REPORTING: Former OFWs like Eugene go here in Liwasang Bonifacio every morning to get their breakfast from different charity groups. They go to other feeding programs in Manila to get their lunch and dinner.
Arthur Villeta waits for free food from benefactors.
He was a fashion designer of the Brunei royal family for 9 years until a stroke ended his career.
He got accepted in other jobs abroad but he couldn’t pass the medical exams.
He says he has not received any support.
ARTHUR VILLETA, FORMER OFW: Yung sabi nila kapag OFW ka, priority ka ng gobyerno. Sabihin mo daw lahat. Pero hindi naman nangyayari yun sir. Kung priority ka, dapat paglapit mo unahin ka. Kapag nakita yung case mo dapat unahin ka. Pero wala eh. (They say OFWs are prioritized by the government. You just need to tell them your problems. That’s not true. If we’re really important to them, they should give us support. They should immediately act on our cases. But that’s not what happens.)
Like Arthur, Eugene says he has lost faith in government.
EUGENE ASIO, FORMER OVERSEAS WORKER: Hindi naman ako puwedeng lumapit sa OWWA. Hindi naman ako puwedeng humingi doon ng financial support...Magbibigay lang sila kung ika’y papaalis na. (I couldn’t ask help from OWWA. They only give financial support when you’re already leaving.)
Despite the government’s goal to reduce the number of Filipinos leaving, a report in June says, the number of OFWs increased steadily through the decades.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has reintegration programs available for repatriated OFWs.
Neither Eugene or Arthur benefited from these.
Both men hope they can still go abroad.
They see it as the only solution to their hardships.
EUGENE ASIO, FORMER OFW: Umaasa na lang ako na baka sakaling may makatulong. Sa skills ko, kailangang kailangan yung skill ko sa mga planta, makakabalik ako sa abroad. Pero yung uuwi ako, hindi ako uuwi hanggang hindi ako nakaka-abroad. (I’m still hoping that someone will help me. I know that my skills are needed abroad. I won’t go back to Davao until I’ve gone abroad again.)
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, Police arrest two suspects Wednesday for the alleged gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi.
The victim says a group of men attacked her after she got lost on her way to her hotel.
Her mobile phone and cash were also stolen.
This is the latest in a series of shocking sex crimes reported in India.
At number 5, Afghan president Hamid Karzai accuses the United States of killing 7 children and a woman in an airstrike in central Afghanistan.
A statement from Karzai's office says --quote-- "As a result of bombardment by American forces last night in Siahgird district of Parwan province, one woman and seven children were martyred and one civilian injured."
Karzai often uses accidental shootings and misguided airstrikes to criticize foreign countries and stir public anger.
And at number 7, the Filipina caregiver who won Israel’s “X Factor” competition can’t sing as a professional.
A spokeswoman for Israel’s population and immigration authority says Rose Fostanes can only work as a caregiver, according to the law.
In other countries, winners of the competition are awarded recording contracts.
Fostanes has worked overseas for more than two decades to support her family.
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|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|