Today on Rappler.
Story 1: PETILLA: POWER RESTORED IN YOLANDA-HIT AREAS
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla says power is restored "100%" in all areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda, international name Haiyan.
And so he will keep his post.
Petilla earlier vowed to resign if the Energy Department fails to restore power in all areas devastated by Yolanda by Christmas eve.
That may sound like good news but Petilla points out that while all towns and municipalities are connected to the grid, some houses are still without electricity.
Petilla explains connecting homes to power sources is the responsibility of local government units.
Rappler’s news team on the ground confirms thousands of families in typhoon-hit Leyte will be spending Christmas eve in the dark.
An official of Leyte II Electric Cooperative Inc or LEYECO II tells Rappler, power has been restored in only 36% of its service areas in Tacloban, Palo and Babatgon.
LEYECO II says only 2.2% of its 35,000 consumers have electricity and it needs another 6 to 7 months to restore power to all households.
LEYECO II is one of several power distributors in the province.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: LEYECO II is the acronym for Leyte II Electric Cooperative, not LERECO II. We apologize for the mistake.
According to a December 24 report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council power has not been completely restored in some provinces and municipalities in the regions of MIMAROPA, the Bicol Region, Western, Central and Eastern Visayas.
Story 2: CHRISTMAS IN BOHOL: SIMBANG GABI IN THE RUINS
Residents of Loon remain faithful to the centuries old tradition of Midnight Mass or Simbang Gabi.
They wake up before dawn to hear mass at a makeshift chapel, beside the rubble of their centuries-old church, Our Lady of Light.
The residents bring their own plastic stools with them with the remaining church pews almost always full.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook Central Visayas in October and Loon was one of the hardest hit.
For many survivors, losing their church was a heartbreaking blow.
Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Mederoso tells the congregation not to lose faith in God.
He said, “We saw this side of God in October 15. A strong God.”
The bishop adds, “He is a God who will wipe away the tears of his children.”
On Tuesday, the parish unveiled plans for St Joseph Husband of Mary Oratory to serve as a "transitional" church.
Story 3: DESPITE DISASTERS, PH EXPECTS A MERRY CHRISTMAS
Despite several deadly disasters including a killer typhoon and a powerful earthquake, Filipinos still expect a merry Christmas this year.
A survey from the Social Weather Stations says 62 percent of people look forward to a happy Christmas.
This is down slightly from 64 percent in 2012 and 2011.
Those expecting a sad Christmas in 2013 stood at only 9%, the same level as last year.
The Philippines suffered several harrowing disasters IN 2013-- super typhoon Haiyan in November, a 7.1 magnitude quake in October, and the attack of separatist rebels in September.
The survey found that in the central islands, which bore the brunt of the disasters, the number of people expecting a sad Christmas rose to 11 percent this year from seven percent last year.
Those in the central islands expecting a happy Christmas fell to 57 percent this year from 66 percent last year.
Story 4: POPE'S ENVOY TO SPEND CHRISTMAS IN LEYTE
The ambassador of Pope Francis in the Philippines arrives in Leyte Tuesday to lead Christmas celebrations in the province worst hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
The apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, will lead the Christmas Eve Mass in Palo, Leyte at 10 pm on Tuesday.
Palo Archbishop John Du says Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Our Lord's Transfiguration in Palo.
On Wednesday, Pinto will celebrate Christmas Mass at the Sto Niño Church in Tacloban, the city hardest hit by Haiyan.
Du said Pinto is “determined” to visit Leyte.
“I will sleep wherever you sleep,” Pinto told the archbishop Du.
Story 5: NPA REBELS TORCH TAXIS
Police say communist rebels in Davao del Norte torched 3 taxis barely an hour before their 48-hour Christmas truce took effect.
Regional police spokesman Chief Inspector Jed Clamor says New People's Army or NPA guerrillas burn the 3 cabs of Holiday Taxi about an hour before midnight when their truce started.
Clamor says, "This was planned. They hired the three taxis in different areas had them go to Panabo City in Davao del Norte and then they pointed guns at the drivers and commandeered the taxis.”
Police suspect the incident was part of an extortion attempt against the taxi company.
The NPA has long extorted money from rural businesses to raise funds.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, which controls the 4,000-strong NPA earlier declared a 48-hour Christmas truce on December 24 as well as another 48-hour ceasefire on New Year's Eve.
Story 6: CHINA TO FORMALIZE REFORMS TO ONE-CHILD POLICY, LABOR CAMPS
China's top legislative committee will formalize reforms to unpopular decades-old policies.
This includes abolishing "re-education through labor" camps and increasing exceptions to the one-child limit.
The ruling Communist Party announces the changes among a raft of pledges after a key gathering in November.
China Daily reports, "The NPC Standing Committee will vote on the proposal as early as Saturday which, if passed, will mark the end of the half-century old system of re-education through labor.’
China introduced re-education through labor in 1957 as a speedy way to handle petty offenders but the system, which allows a police panel to issue sentences of up to four years without going to trial, was abused.
Reforms being considered to the one-child policy will allow couples to have two children if either parent has no siblings.
The exception is meant to counter China's looming demographic problems including a swelling elderly population, shrinking labor force and gender imbalance.
The one-child policy was imposed more than three decades ago to prevent overpopulation.
Story 7: The wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.
At number 1, Eyewitness accounts say South Sudanese soldiers carried out a string of ethnic killings, including a massacre, house-to-house killings and rapes.
Two witnesses say they were arrested along with 250 other men, herded into a police station in the capital Juba and then fired on.
The spiral into chaos started as fighting in the world's youngest nation started on December 15, between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his rival Riek Machar, a former vice president who was sacked in July.
At number 2, US President Barack Obama signs up for health insurance to promote his own controversial health care reform legislation.
The gesture was symbolic, as Obama receives health care from the military, as all presidents do.
He also has a White House medical team at his disposal.
The Affordable Care Act is designed to offer insurance to millions of Americans who have never been able to get it.
But a litany of problems with the government website, healthcare.gov, plays into the hands of Republicans, who say the federal government has no business intervening in the private health care.
And at number 3, More than 450 imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood members launched a hunger strike Monday over their "inhuman treatment" after being jailed following the military's overthrow of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected leader.
They say they were "banned from family visits, legal counselling, medical care, and they live in overcrowded and unhygienic cells."
Story 8: BRITAIN PARDONS GAY WORLD WAR II HERO
Britain granted a posthumous royal pardon to Alan Turing, the World War II code-breaking hero who committed suicide after he was convicted of the then crime of homosexuality.
He died in 1954 after eating an apple laced with cyanide, two years after he was sentenced to chemical castration for the "gross indecency" of homosexuality.
The coroner ruled it was suicide although that has since been questioned.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain in 1967.
Turing is seen as the father of modern computing and played a pivotal role in breaking Germany's "Enigma" code, which some historians say brought an early end to World War II.
Story 9: DESIGNER OF AK-47 DIES
Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the fabled AK-47, the weapon of choice for guerrillas, died Monday, December 23, at age 94.
Though he designed a weapon that became synonymous with killing, he was seen in the Soviet Union as a national hero and symbol of a proud military past.
AK-47's name stands for "Kalashnikov's Automatic" and the year its final version was designed, 1947.
The Kalashnikov automatic quickly became prized for its sturdy reliability in difficult field conditions.
Kalashnikov said he never intended for the AK-47 to become the preferred weapon in conflicts around the world.
Story 10: MAYWEATHER 'CHRISTMAS CARD' MOCKS PACQUIAO
It's the holidays and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr is in a jolly mood.
A post on the undefeated American boxer’s social media accounts shows a meme featuring 8-division world champion Manny Pacquiao praying Mayweather calls him to set up a fight after being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.
Mayweather calls it his "Christmas card to the world."
The latest move from the crafty boxer adds another chapter to the endless speculation and discussion of possibly meeting the Filipino fighter in the ring.
In the press conference after his comeback win against Rios, Pacquiao said he will fight anyone, including Mayweather, as long as they are ready to step into the ring with him.
Newscast Production Staff