Today on Rappler.
Story 1: APEC STARTS IN SHADOW OF US SHUTDOWN
Asia-Pacific leaders convene Monday for the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia in the middle of global worries over the United States’ government shutdown.
The US shutdown forced US President Barack Obama to skip both the APEC and an East Asia summit in Brunei, leaving the stage clear for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will address a parallel meeting of APEC business leaders.
Obama has been pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.
He was meant to throw his weight behind a potentially decisive round of talks among the TPP countries on the APEC sidelines.
But doubts about the TPP are gaining ground.
China is not party to the TPP, and is instead pushing ahead with a rival mega-trade pact grouping 16 countries in the region.
Story 2: 'INCLUSIVENESS KEY TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH'
President Benigno Aquino highlights the importance of nation-building in ensuring sustainable economic growth during his speech at the APEC leaders’ summit.
Aquino says a stable economy is more than just the numbers.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: The challenge for governments has deepened: When in the past we gravitated towards metrics that reflect merely the wealth collectively amassed by an economy, more and more the task of governments has become ensuring that this wealth is not concentrated in the hands of the few, but rather that it is equitably utilized to raise levels of human development.
The Philippines grew 7.5% in the second quarter of 2013, the fastest in the region, and achieved its 3rd credit rating upgrade recently.
Aquino says economic growth should also be felt by the people, especially the poor.
In his speech, the President highlights his government’s flagship anti-poverty scheme, the conditional cash transfer program.
He also mentions two landmark laws passed in the 15th Congress: the Reproductive Health law and the sin tax reform act.
Story 3: HK JOURNALISTS KICKED OUT OF APEC FOR SHOUTING AT AQUINO
APEC host Indonesia denies stifling press freedom after withdrawing the credentials of several Hong Kong journalists for shouting questions at President Aquino.
Aquino's spokesman says the journalists "crossed the line" by aggressively questioning him about a hostage siege in Manila that left 8 Hong Kong people dead in 2010.
As Aquino entered a meeting of APEC business leaders, the reporters demanded to know whether or not he would meet Hong Kong leader
Leung Chun-ying and apologize to the families of the hostage crisis victims.
Indonesian communications ministry officials say, “We deemed it improper for media to act that way, as they didn't talk normally but they were very demonstrative, like they were protesting.”
The journalists are free to remain in Bali, but could no longer access the media center or venues being used for the summit.
The Hong Kong Journalists' Association protests the move, saying the journalists were just doing their jobs.
Story 4: PH UPHOLDS FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION AMID CHINA WARNING
The Philippines upholds the freedom to navigate the South China Sea after China criticizes the US, Japan, and Australia for --quote-- “interfering” in maritime disputes.
Diplomats from the three countries released a statement affirming respect for international law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says the alliance between the US, Japan, and Australia should not be used as a --quote-- “excuse to interfere in disputes over territorial sovereignty.”
But in a press briefing, Philippine Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda says, “There's such a thing as freedom of navigation. A big percentage of world trade passes through our waters, waters that are a subject of dispute right now.”
The UNCLOS, or the UN convention that governs maritime disputes, upholds freedom of navigation.
Under Article 58, the UNCLOS says a state has the right to navigate another state's exclusive economic zone or EEZ.
But it says a state has “sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources” within its EEZ.
China and the US, among other countries, differ on this point.
China asserts military activities may not be undertaken in the EEZ without consent, while the US believes the EEZs are international waters where freedom of navigation is assured.
Story 5: NAPOLES DEFENSE: WHERE IS BENHUR'S LETTER?
The lawyers of alleged pork barrel queen Janet Napoles want to know why a key piece of evidence in the serious illegal detention case against her hasn’t been presented yet.
Napoles’ cousin and scam whistleblower Benhur Luy allegedly gave his family a letter while he was under detention in February.
The letter is supposed to be attached to the sworn testimony of several witnesses in the case.
The prosecution says the letter is with Levito Baligod, lawyer of several whistleblowers.
Luy’s sister says the letter was slipped into her back pocket during a meeting with Benhur at Napoles’ condominium in Pacific Plaza.
The Luy family says it is evidence Napoles and her brother held Benhur against his will.
After the hearing, Napoles’ lawyer Lorna Kapunan hits the prosecution for what she calls "delaying tactics."
LORNA KAPUNAN, LAWYER OF JANET LIM NAPOLES: Ang concern lang namin hanggang ngayon yung main witness nila, si Benhur, tinatago pa. Inuubos nila yung time allotted for the defense. Talagang delaying tactics to kasi two hearings nalang at meron pa daw silang 4 o 3 witnesses. At uubusin nila lahat ng hearing dates. Paano na ang hearing dates ng accused? That means maghihintay na naman sa available dates. (Our concern is that until now, they have yet to present their main witness, Benhur. They're consuming time allotted for the defense. These are delaying tactics. We have two hearings left, and the prosecution had 4 or 3 more witnesses. They will use up all the hearing dates. How about the defense? We'll have to wait for the judge’s next available dates.)
Story 6: PALACE TO DAP CRITICS: DON'T USE DOM TACTICS
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda dismisses critics of the government’s Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP, saying they deny, obscure, and misdirect the issue.
In a press briefing Monday, Lacierda says it’s alright to have disagreements over the constitutionality of DAP, but he takes offense that --quote-- "good people are being made to look evil."
Lacierda also questions the timing of former Sen Joker Arroyo’s criticisms against the Aquino administration.
Lacierda criticizes Arroyo for allegedly keeping quiet about scandals during the term of his ally, former President Gloria Arroyo.
The budget department says the DAP is sourced from savings or unreleased General Appropriation Act items.
It was designed to boost spending and help accelerate economic expansion.
The Palace has consistently cited the Constitution and the Administrative Code to support the creation of DAP.
Story 7: SC TO LIVESTREAM ORAL ARGUMENTS ON PDAF CONSTITUTIONALITY
For the first time, the Supreme Court will allow the audio livestream of oral arguments on the constitutionality of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te says there have been attempts in the past to have proceedings broadcast live.
Te says the Court decided to allow the audio livestream of Tuesday’s hearing because of public interest over the issue.
THEODORE TE, SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: Now, on this particular occasion, we felt that because the issues are in fact very, well, they're gut level issues, people are angry, people are definitely taking a position one way or another on PDAF and because it is national in scope, there are a lot of people involved in the issue...The Court felt it was important that people could hear what was going on and hear it real time. And that's why they allowed -- only for this occasion -- a live stream of the audio of the oral argument.
Te also says the Court has been moving toward improving processes using technology.
THEODORE TE, SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: Since last year, the Court has really been doing things with technology…Now with the live stream wherein the Court is basically using technology like YouTube and going real time, allowing people to hear real-time what was going on in terms of the oral arguments, I think it enhances transparency. It opens up the Court in terms of how it deliberates, how it thinks.
You can listen to the audio livestream of the proceedings on Rappler’s front page, starting 2 pm on Tuesday.
Story 8: AYALA STILL PREFERRED DEVELOPER DESPITE SERENDRA BLAST
Four months after the explosion at a residential unit in Serendra, an inter-agency task force found 3 Ayala companies and a construction firm liable for the incident.
But Claro Cordero of real estate investment firm Jones Lang La Salle says the explosion had no impact on residential property sales in Makati and Bonifacio Global City.
CLARO CORDERO JR, JONES LANG LA SALLE RESEARCH HEAD: We think the incident was an isolated one. Nobody wanted it to happen. Ayala made sure that after the incident, they will rectify the situation. They will submit their developments to the relevant authorities. And I think that shows the way Ayala, the way they wanna handle it, they wanna be transparent of it as well.
Cordero says the Ayala group remains a preferred developer despite the incident.
CLARO CORDERO JR, JONES LANG LA SALLE RESEARCH HEAD: It is still a preferred brand. It is still a preferred developer because the amount of goodwill that they developed over the years is very hard to destroy through just one isolated incident. If we see that kind of incident happening every month, or in succession in all their developments, then that is the time we can have doubts on the quality of Ayala developments.
Story 9: WORLD BANK: PH TO GROW 7% IN 2013
The World Bank says the Philippines will grow at a faster pace in 2013 and 2014, as it estimates other economies in the region to slow down.
In its East Asia Pacific Economic Update released Monday, the World Bank says it expects the Philippines to grow at 7% in 2013, and 6.7% in 2014.
This is higher than its April forecasts of 6.2% for 2013, and 6.4% for 2014.
But World Bank economist Rogier van den Brink says the Philippines’ growth has yet to translate to poverty reduction.
He says key job generating sectors agriculture and manufacturing need to be developed.
The World Bank also expects developing Asia to grow 7.1% in 2013, and 7.2% in 2014.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 6, Experts destroy missile warheads, aerial bombs and chemical mixing equipment on the first day of a campaign to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
Syrian personnel destroy the weapons under the supervision of international disarmament experts.
The operation is under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution.
The team will dispose an estimated 1,000 tons of the sarin gas, mustard gas and other banned arms at dozens of sites in Syria by mid-2014.
At number 7, At least 50 people are killed in clashes between Islamists and police in Egypt on Sunday as thousands of the military's supporters mark the anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Loyalists of deposed president Mohamed Morsi try to converge in Cairo when police confronted them.
And at number 9, China hires two million people to keep tabs on citizens' Internet use in a rare glimpse into the secret world of Beijing's online surveillance operation.
The Beijing News reports many of the employees do keyword searches to monitor the millions of messages posted daily on popular websites.
The newspaper says the "web police" are employed by the government's propaganda arm and by commercial sites.