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  • Text and photos by Erwin Mascariñas,VERA Files

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Floodwaters brought by storm "Sendong" swept Cagayan de Oro and Iligan city and other parts of Northern Mindanao while people were sleeping Friday night last week.

    Power went out. In the darkness of the night, people panicked as they tried to flee from the rampaging mud and debris.

    It was chaos. Heartrending  cries for help filled the air. Mothers and fathers watched  in horror as they lost hold  of their children, carried away by floodwaters.

    Caught unprepared, local government units were able to establish disaster coordinating efforts more than six hours after Sendong sent its deadly waters.

    On the sixth day, 674 people from Cagayan de Oro were confirmed dead, while 502 were still missing.

    Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said  the number of fatalities is  still rising as more dead bodies are found.

    The survivors, now homeless, are cramped in

    Read More »from Surviving Sendong
  • Netizens search for rumored couple, impeached chief justice

    Vic Sotto and Pauleen LunaVic Sotto and Pauleen Luna (NPPA Images)Rumored new couple Pauleen Luna and Vic Sotto, impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona and FHM cover girl Sam Pinto are the top trending searches on Yahoo! Philippines from December 5 to 11.

    1. Pauleen Luna and Vic Sotto. Entertainment editor Ricky Lo confirmed in his Dec. 7 column in The Philippine Star that "Eat Bulaga" hosts Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna are officially a couple. He cited an unnamed source described only as "somebody close to them" as having confirmed the growing speculation. Vic and Pauleen remain silent on the issue.

    2. Renato Corona. On same the day that Chief Justice Renato Corona announced the existence of a secret plot to oust him from office, 188 members of the House of Representatives signed an impeachment complaint against him. The complaint, which has been transmitted directly to the Senate, accuses the chief justice of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the constitution, and graft and corruption.

    3. Sam Pinto. Kapuso actress and model Sam

    Read More »from Netizens search for rumored couple, impeached chief justice
  • Teaching the youth to use social media responsibly

    I've never believed the common complaint that "the youth is apathetic." As we've seen during natural disasters like typhoon Ondoy and the more recent Sendong, and in the first automated Philippine elections in 2010, young Filipinos are more than willing to volunteer for causes, talk about their passions and share their views on issues.

    The idea that the youth doesn't care sometimes boils down to a failure to communicate—often, the unwillingness of others to learn the language and preferred medium of today's youth.

    A dialogue is what the Ateneo Association of Communication Majors (ACOMM) had in mind when it organized its first Social Media Summit, with Yahoo! Philippines as its online event partner.

    ACOMM holds its first Social Media SummitACOMM holds its first Social Media Summit

    ACOMM used the metaphor of the social media playground, with speakers assuming roles in their presentations. Thus, former CNN Jakarta Bureau Chief and Senior Vice President of ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs Maria Ressa was The Heavyweight Kid; I was The Hyperactive Kid; singer-songwriter

    Read More »from Teaching the youth to use social media responsibly
  • How to help Sendong victims

    Tropical storm Sendong brought landslides and floods that took the lives of more than a thousand people in Mindanao. It hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan the most. Listed below are entities providing you with ways to help the victims. We will continue to update this page.

    ABS-CBN Foundation
    ABS-CBN Foundation's Sagip Kapamilya accepts in-kind donations at:

    ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.,
    Mother Ignacia cor. Eugenio Lopez St.,
    Diliman, Quezon City.

    Cash donations may be deposited to the following accounts under the name ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya:

    Peso: 39301-14199
    Dollar: 39300-81622
    Swift Code: BNORPHMM

    Peso: 419-539-5000-13
    Swift Code: PNBMPHMM

    Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) West Triangle Branch
    Peso: 3051-1127-75
    Dollar: 3054-0270-35
    Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

    Alagang Kapatid Foundation
    TV5's Alagang Kapatid Foundation Inc. accepts cash donations  through its bank accounts:

    Peso: 005310-410164

    Peso: 1443-05333-2

    Donations in kind may be sent to News5

    Read More »from How to help Sendong victims
  • ‘Sendong’ triggers review of government disaster plan

    By Ellen Tordesillas

    The disaster that has caused deaths and misery to hundreds of our countrymen in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and other parts of Central Mindanao should give more meaning to Christmas even as we in Metro Manila reduce it to endless shopping and flurry of Christmas parties.

    Let's do our share to lessen the suffering of the victims of storm Sendong.


    President Benigno Aquino wants the country's disaster management plan reviewed following the deaths and devastation caused by Sendong.

    This time, he did not blame anybody as what he did to Nilo Prisco, the former head of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) who Aquino berated in a meeting in the presence of media.

    Perhaps he has learned his lesson about the unpredictability of weather and other natural aberrations.

    It's CDO Mayor Vicente Emano who is complaining.

    In a radio interview, Emano justified their lack of preparation for the disaster with the absence of warning

    Read More »from ‘Sendong’ triggers review of government disaster plan
  • By Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

    BANGUED, Abra.—Five years ago today, the then highest-ranking The gunman and lookouts caught in the wedding photopolitician of Abra province was shot dead outside a church in Quezon City in broad daylight, signaling the fall of one of Abra's most prominent families and the rise of other political dynasties.

    The killing also ushered in a period of intensified violence that has made the province one of the country's most dangerous places, its capital Bangued the so-called "murder capital of the north."

    The slain politician was Rep. Luis Bersamin Jr., who was shot in the head after standing as one of the principal sponsors at his niece's wedding at the Mount Carmel Church in New Manila on Dec. 16, 2006.

    Charged and arrested for his murder was his erstwhile childhood friend and ally Vicente Valera, who has been behind bars since September 2009 and is facing trial at the Branch 94 of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City. Valera has entered a plea of "not guilty."

    It is popular belief now that had

    Read More »from The Bersamin killing: Who really benefited from his death?
  • dangerdrowning

    By Ariel C. Sebellino, VERA Files

    After a near drowning experience in Puerto Galera in his early teenage life, Alvin Alcober made sure he learned how to swim.

    Alcober is now very careful about choosing places to swim, checking if they have facilities to secure swimmers.

    In the Philippines, young boys like Alcober are common victims of drowning --- the second leading cause of death among Filipino children aged 14 years and below.

    "About eight persons die everyday due to drowning and that more were reported to be victims of near drowning (10 cases per day)," a Philippine report presented at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) 2011 said.

    Children were found to be more prone to or at risk of drowning, according to Lita Orbillo of the Family Health Office, National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health (DOH) who made the oral presentation.

    Drowning has been ranked as the fourth leading cause of death from injury in the Philippines by a United

    Read More »from 8 Filipinos die of drowning every day — DOH
  • Sharing and discovering news is easier than ever on Yahoo!

    In the era of social, we no longer find news. News finds us. This is the trend that has changed the way we discover news. In fact, in today's hyper-connected world, your friends are your own source for news.
    At Yahoo!, we are now taking this concept to a different level and have reimagined different ways to discover and share news. Stories are indeed shared more by peers through social networks, and thus, this has been the gauge of viral news.
    By now, if you read stories on Yahoo!, you have the choice to let your Facebook friends know what you're reading. Don't worry, this is not forced upon you. It's an “opt-in” and you have 100% control of what stories you share and when you share them.  You can even delete what you've shared. It's that easy.
    Or, you can opt to share your own reads automatically.
    A snapshot of interesting reads
    What this new feature gives you is a snapshot of what your friends find interesting. It might be the giant crocodile in captivity or the top 10 Christmas gifts

    Read More »from Sharing and discovering news is easier than ever on Yahoo!
  • Blogging is not journalism

    Crystal Cox 2

    By Ellen Tordesillas

    Last week, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that a Montana blogger is not eligible for the legal protections afforded to journalists ordering her to pay the lawyer who sued her for defamation $2.5 million.

    An Associated Press report said "Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

    "U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets."

    Although, the ruling is not expected to really tame the free-wheeling environment of digital media which includes blogs (short for "web log", online sites usually set up by individuals containing their articles which could cover any topic and form), it would be a useful distinction for new media users.

    According to news

    Read More »from Blogging is not journalism
  • Controversial women trend on Yahoo! Search

    Solenn Heussaff, Leila de Lima, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

    Controversial celebrities Solenn Heussaff and Angelicopter and political figures Leila de Lima and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were among the top trending searches on Yahoo! Philippines from November 14 to 20.

    1. Solenn Heussaff. Netizens looking for Filipino-French model and TV host Solenn Heussaff's photos as 2012 calendar girl for Ginebra San Miguel made her trend on Yahoo! Search. Solenn said posing sexy was not a big deal for her father, and that he even asked for 100 copies of the calendar. The calendar was launched last November 14 at the Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Quezon City. Solenn joined Philippine showbiz after her stint as one of the castaways in last year's "Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Showdown." She is currently a host for GMA News TV's makeover show "Fashbook." She is also in the cast of Regal Film's "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," which will be shown at the Metro Manila Film Festival.

    2. Leila De Lima. "A woman with balls" is how many people describe Justice Secretary Leila De Lima these days. She was recently on the forefront of an intense political drama that showed the opposing stands of the Supreme Court and the Executive on ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's attempts to leave the country ostensibly for medical treatment. De Lima invoked a DOJ circular issued during Arroyo's term as she placed the former first couple on a watch list while preliminary investigations on corruption and electoral sabotage charges against them were ongoing. Despite SC's temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing Arroyo and her husband to fly abroad, De Lima stood her ground and prevented them from leaving. De Lima reasoned out that she has not received a copy of the TRO, which she believes should not be in effect until the Court decides on their motion for reconsideration. She gained critics in the legal community for going against the Supreme Court, but she also got the public's support for going after Arroyo, who has since been arrested for electoral sabotage. It was Arroyo who appointed De Lima as chair of the Commission on Human Rights before President Noynoy Aquino asked the latter to be his justice secretary.

    Read More »from Controversial women trend on Yahoo! Search


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