Southeast Asia

Severe Flooding

Image: Jay Directo/AFP

MANILA — As the Philippines worked to recover from monsoon flooding, a tropical storm hit the archipelago on Wednesday, bringing with it more rain and destruction.

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Headlines
this week
Aug 10 - Aug 16, 2012
Philippines
  • 1

    Philippines braces for more inclement weather

    36%
  • 2

    Chief justice shortlist released

    7%
  • 3

    Senate debates reproductive health bill

    5%
  • 4

    Other news

    52%
News Media Analysis

Gaining more than a third of headlines this week is the flooding from monsoon rains and the tropical storm that hit the Philippines on August 15. Before the storm hit, weeks of heavy rains had caused widespread flooding that had claimed nearly 100 lives and displaced more than 800,000 families according to official estimates. The government plans to relocate 195,000 families living in high flood-risk zones. Relief and recovery efforts are underway in the capital and the outlying provinces that were devastated by the destructive weather. Meanwhile, foreign relief aid is pouring in for the flood victims, and the government says it intends to use the funds to jumpstart a comprehensive flood control plan.

The search for the Philippines’ next chief justice is continues to generate headlines. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) submitted a shortlist of eight candidates, including five associate justices, to President Benigno Aquino on August 13. The president has until August 27 to select the country's next chief justice. The shortlisted nominees had to undergo a rigorous selection process that included psychological tests, background checks, assets reviews and public interviews before they were selected. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, widely tipped to be shortlisted for the top post, was disqualified because of pending disbarment charges.

The third-biggest news item is the reading of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which seeks to provide universal access to birth control. The highlight of the debates this week was Senator Vicente Sotto III’s speech in which he argued that contraceptives were "detrimental" to the health of the mother and the child. In an emotional speech, the senator shared his grief over the death of his infant son 37 years ago, purportedly linked to contraceptives his wife took. Representative Janet Garin, who is also a medical doctor, said Sotto was “misinformed” and should sue his doctor for misleading his family. RH bill supporters are keen to see it passed in upcoming weeks and are arguing that controlling the birthrate will help economic development. However, the bill faces strong opposition especially from the influential Catholic church.

 

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