PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PACQUIAO IS HOME: THOUSANDS OF FANS HAIL PROUDLY, WELCOME HOME, MANNY!
[Pacquiao arrives in PHL with shoulder hurting]


MAY 13 ---Despite yielding a unanimous decision result to Floyd Mayweather in their mega-fight less than two weeks ago, Manny Pacquiao received a hero's welcome from Filipino fans upon his arrival from the United States on Wednesday. Pacquiao was feted at a welcome breakfast before embarking on a motorcade.

ALSO: Pacquiao back in PH, said he watched fight several times, believes he won at least by 2 points vs Floyd
["I won't change weight division. I won... In the hearts of the people I won."  He added recuperating from his operation will be priority as well. He said his doctors told him that his shoulder will be back to normal after six months. 'Presidency not on my mind' ]


MAY 13 ---Pacquiao speaking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2
– Following his heartbreaking defeat against American Floyd Mayweather Jr., Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is back in the Philippines. Speaking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Pacquiao told reporters that he remains the People's Champion, insisting that he won against the American despite the unanimous decision of the judges in the May 2 mega-bout. ''I watched the fight several times. I scored it and I believe I won by two points against Mayweather. But we have to accept the decision,'' said Pacquiao, who was wearing a shoulder sling following a surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. "I won't change weight division. I won... In the hearts of the people I won."  Pacquiao refused to engage Mayweather in a war of words, after the latter called him a coward and a sore loser. ''I refuse to comment on that. If I fire back I would stoop to his level,'' he said. The Filipino champion also appealed to Filipino boxing fans not to practice ''crab mentality'' when he was asked about the negative comments he received from some of his own countrymen due to his injury debacle. ''They should show that they are real Filipinos. We should not practice crab mentality. If you are a Filipino, you should support your fellow Filipino,'' he said. READ MORE...

ALSO REVEALED: The punch statistics that prove Floyd Mayweather was fortunate to beat Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision American website sat its leading commentators down to watch fight again

--These are the website tallies, calibrated round-by-round according to punches thrown, punches landed, the score for each round, with Mayweather’s stats first:  The conclusions here include: 1) The fight was far closer than the judges, especially Moretti, and most pundits perceived 2) Many rounds were exceptionally difficult if not too close to call. 3) The punch stats as counted in the heat of the night are profoundly suspect (one US commentator who had Pacquaio winning asked if they were compiled by ‘kids from the HBO and Showtime offices’ and was told ‘Yes.’) 4) Pacquiao’s claim that he had won the fight was reasonable, not outrageous as the in-ring interviewer implied. 5) If watching on television, maybe better to mute the sound commentary. 6) Mayweather is very wise to keep insisting on home-town advantage in Las Vegas, which benefits from the huge economic impact of his fights. READ DAILYMAIL.COM.UK REPORT FROM BEGINNING....                        

ALSO Noy to Pacquiao: Retire, don’t risk health


MAY 15 ---President Benigno Aquino III and Congressman Manny Pacquiao. STAR/File photo
- President Aquino reiterated his call on world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao not to risk his physical well-being any further and just retire from fighting. The President said like many other people, he wished that Pacquiao would have won but the fighting Sarangani congressman had given the country more than enough honor, and he needs to seriously think about hanging up his gloves to avoid the potential of having an injury for life. Pacquiao paid Aquino a courtesy call in Malacañang on Wednesday and he told the President that he would be taking a rest to fully recover from the shoulder injury he sustained even before the fight with undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. The President again cited the case of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, now suffering from health problems, in advising Pacquiao to consider retirement. READ MORE...

ALSO VALENZUELA FIRE: Philippines slipper factory fire leaves dozens feared dead


MAY 13 ---A fire razed a rubber slipper factory in a suburb of the Philippine capital Wednesday and dozens of workers reported missing were feared to have perished, the city mayor and fire officials said. At least three bodies have been recovered and fire officials said there were no survivors found after the fire was put under control, said Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela city north of Manila. Relatives reported 62 people missing, but Gatchalian said only seven people have been reported to have survived. There could be others on their list of missing who were able to escape but no one has come forward to confirm that. District Fire Marshall Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu said he was among the first to reach the second floor of the gutted building after the fire and saw "numerous bodies," many charred beyond recognition. Gatchalian said the fire apparently was ignited from sparks from welding works at the building's main entrance door. He said workers fled to the second floor where they were trapped. Addressing a crowd outside the factory compound, Gatchalian appealed to families of the missing to try to reach the workers in homes of other relatives. "There might still be a chance" that they had survived, he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘It was a death trap’ 72 bodies pulled out from burned factory


MAY 15 ---Police investigators try to identify the fire victims at a gymnasium turned into a temporary morgue yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO
s - From daybreak till early afternoon yesterday, police collected the remains of workers who were trapped in a burning rubber slipper factory last Wednesday. When the search finally ended, the body count stood at 72, with most of the fatalities burned beyond recognition. Survivors, grieving relatives and labor groups described the building housing the Kentex Manufacturing Inc. as a death trap with sweatshop conditions and poor fire safety standards. Fire investigators found victims gripping window grills in a futile attempt to get out. Many of the victims died embracing each other. Most of those retrieved were trapped on the second floor after the blaze broke out before noon on Wednesday. Officials said identification of the fatalities through DNA testing could take months. READ MORE...

ALSO From Ibon Foundation Research group:KILLER FIRE HAPPENED IN WORLD BANK-ENDORSED 'BUSINESS-FRIENDLY' CITY

MAY 15 ---The demise of 72 Kentex workers in a Valenzuela fire brought to fore the case of labor rights violations in a reputed business-friendly environment, research group IBON said. IBON pointed out that Philippine economic policy's "business friendly" concept has meant creating an environment conducive to business profit-maximization, but not to workers and their welfare. This includes implementing flexible labor schemes, pegging low wages, and violating safety procedures in the work place. In its 'Doing Business in the Philippines' 2011 report, the World Bank cited Valenzuela as one of the most business-friendly cities in the Philippines for ranking consistently in starting a business, registering property and dealing with construction permits. Valenzuela City was also chosen as 'most business-friendly' highly-urbanized city by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) in October 2014 for being 'successful at creating an environment that is conducive to business. Also last year, the city placed second in the government/ evacuation center category of the Liveable Cities Design Challenge (LCDC) organized by the National Competitiveness Council and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Yet initial reports confirmed that while their jobs involved close contact with chemicals, the dozens of Kentex workers who perished in the fire wore no protective gear, in violation of occupational safety and health standards. The victims were also trapped in the second floor of the factory, the windows of which were secured with iron grills. Factory premises also lacked sufficient fire exits. READ MORE...

ALSO: 'Little hope' for developing countries in Paris climate conference
Mohn said the Philippines is "one of the most extreme examples" that illustrate the impact of climate change. "This (Philippines) is one country that will be suffering heavily," he said.


MAY 15 ---Stefan Rahmstorf, a lead author of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the Paris meet should pave way to the reduction of the use of fossil fuels. Alexis Romero
BERLIN - Climate policy experts and advocates do not have high hopes on the climate talks in Paris later this year even as they warned that developing countries including the Philippines would suffer the most if negotiations fail. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its 21st session in Paris from November 30 to December 11 to discuss ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Climate change has been blamed for extreme weather conditions and natural disasters and has been linked to human activities including the use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases. Environment groups and scientists have been advocating the use of renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and water to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris conference seeks to come up with a legally binding agreement that will require countries to adopt measures designed to combat climate change. Some developed countries, however, are hesitant to commit to greenhouse gas reduction deals, believing this could have serious impacts on their economies. Some critics are also skeptical about claims that human activities have caused changes in climate patterns.

ALSO: Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines At the United Nations Climate Change Summit 2014


SEPT 23, 2014 ---Mr. President, Excellencies: -Despite the recent headway that my country has gained economically, and despite our efforts to ensure that such gains are inclusive, many of my people remain vulnerable to disaster brought about by climate change. The rise of water levels and the loss of islands, and the growing frequency and intensity of tropical storms and typhoons, present a real challenge to every country, especially those in the developing world such as ours. Excellencies, the time of debate of whether climate change is real or not is over. There is no doubt that it exists, which is the reason we are all here. It would be wrong, however, to engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries. To my mind that would be adopting the wrong framework. Instead, everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended to thereby increasing the problem we all face. The Philippines is not waiting. We are addressing climate change to the maximum with our limited resources. Legislation has been enacted to lessen the impact of disasters by adopting a comprehensive approach to disaster response. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pacquiao fans: Welcome Home Manny!

MANILA, MAY 18, 2015 (GMA NEWS ONLINE)  May 13, 2015 1:02pm - Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao arrives with his wife Jinkee and their youngest child Israel from the US early Wednesday morning, May 13, with his right shoulder hurting after his bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas earlier this month. He says he will have to allow it to recuperate for four to six months. Pacquiao says he will soon assume his duties as acting chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs. Photo from Danny Pata


Pacquiao arrives at Makati hotel Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao arrives to a roaring crowd at Dusit Thani Manila in Makati City on Wednesday, May 13. Photo from @mavgonzales (Twitter)


Despite yielding a unanimous decision result to Floyd Mayweather in their mega-fight less than two weeks ago, Manny Pacquiao received a hero's welcome from Filipino fans upon his arrival from the United States on Wednesday. Pacquiao was feted at a welcome breakfast before embarking on a motorcade.


Erap welcomes Pacquiao in Manila Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada welcomes boxing icon Manny Pacquiao at Raja Soliman near the Manila City Hall after Pacquiao's motorcade from Makati to Manila on Wednesday, May 13. Pacquiao arrived with his family from the US early Wednesday morning after his May 2 bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.


Manny is interviewed upon arrival The eight-division boxing champion says that he will first focus on the problems in the Philippines and healing his shoulder. Photo from @mavgonzales (Twitter)


Manny begins his motorcade Manny Pacquiao's motorcade began around 10AM. Photo from @mavgonzales (Twitter)


Manny waves at supporters Manny Pacquiao waves at the thousands of fans who waited for his motorcade. Photo from @mavgonzales (Twitter)


Pacquiao addresses fans, friends Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao addresses guests and fans at the welcome breakfast attended by his fellow politicians, businessmen, and network executives. Photo from @mavgonzales (Twitter)


ABS-CBN

Pacquiao back in PH, said he watched fight several times, believes he won at least by 2 points vs Floyd By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 05/13/2015 8:38 AM | Updated as of 05/13/2015 10:38 AM


Pacquiao speaking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2

MANILA – Following his heartbreaking defeat against American Floyd Mayweather Jr., Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is back in the Philippines.

Speaking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Pacquiao told reporters that he remains the People's Champion, insisting that he won against the American despite the unanimous decision of the judges in the May 2 mega-bout.

''I watched the fight several times. I scored it and I believe I won by two points against Mayweather. But we have to accept the decision,'' said Pacquiao, who was wearing a shoulder sling following a surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

"I won't change weight division. I won... In the hearts of the people I won."

Pacquiao refused to engage Mayweather in a war of words, after the latter called him a coward and a sore loser.

''I refuse to comment on that. If I fire back I would stoop to his level,'' he said.

The Filipino champion also appealed to Filipino boxing fans not to practice ''crab mentality'' when he was asked about the negative comments he received from some of his own countrymen due to his injury debacle.

''They should show that they are real Filipinos. We should not practice crab mentality. If you are a Filipino, you should support your fellow Filipino,'' he said.

READ MORE....
Pacquiao, who is facing a number of lawsuits over his failure to disclose a pre-bout shoulder injury, said he is not yet thinking about his next fight. He said he will first focus on his family and his job as a lawmaker.

He added recuperating from his operation will be priority as well. He said his doctors told him that his shoulder will be back to normal after six months.

'Presidency not on my mind'

Pacquiao, who is the representative of the lone district of Sarangani, said gunning for presidency is not on his mind for now.

''That's not on my mind. You see, God's plan is higher than our plans. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We can't say,'' he said.

''It's just 2015. We will just continue serving the people. My focus is on my constituents in Sarangani."

Pacquiao also said he has not yet decided whether he will seek a higher position in the 2016 elections.

The Filipino boxer is being considered by presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay in his 2016 senatorial slate.

''My focus is on my job as a congressman. It's still a year from elections and there are still so many things that I can do for my constituents,'' he said.

Top Rank boss Bob Arum earlier told media that Pacquiao plans to run for senator in 2016 and then President in a future election.


Pacquiao poses with his wife and daughter as he recovers from his shoulder injury in the Philippines

He said he and his wife, Jinkee, are considering the demands of a life of a public official.

''My wife, who is vice-governor of Sarangani, is also thinking about the time we are losing for our family."

Despite his popularity, many pundits doubt if Pacquiao has what it takes to lead the country.

Pacquiao topped the list of absentee lawmakers in the House of Representatives last year, attending only seven of the 70 session days from January 20 to December 17, 2014.


DAILY MAIL DOT COM UK

REVEALED: The punch statistics that prove Floyd Mayweather was fortunate to beat Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision American website sat its leading commentators down to watch fight again
By Jeff Powell for the Daily Mail Published: 21:32 GMT, 11 May 2015 | Updated: 09:21 GMT, 12 May 2015


They decided to tally every punch and came up with startling statistics Figures suggest the megafight could have been scored 114-114 And it could also be argued that Manny Pacquiao was the clear winner Floyd Mayweather retained his unbeaten record on unanimous decision

As the purses for the Non-Fight of the Century go through the stratosphere never mind the roof – latest projections $240million for Floyd Mayweather and $160m for Manny Pacquiao – so the scoring of Mr Money’s victory falls deeper into question.

The more pay-per-view returns come in from around the US – currently well over four million US buys at $99.95 a pop – the greater the certainty that we have just witnessed the marketing miracle of The Half-Billion Dollar Fight.

The more intently the tapes of the fight are scrutinised the greater the head-scratching about the unanimous decision in favour of Mayweather.

READ MORE...
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather trade blows in their highly-anticipated fight in Las Vegas on May 2

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather trade blows in their highly-anticipated fight in Las Vegas on May 2

One dedicated website in America, Boxing News 24, sat its leading commentators down to monitor the video, first at actual speed, then in slow motion, finally frame by frame.

The task was prompted initially by astonishment at the official fight statistics, which among other anomalies proclaimed that Pacquiao had connected with less than 20 per cent of his total punches and only nine per cent of his jabs.

So they decided to tally every blow and in so doing came up with startling numbers which multiply long-standing doubts about the validity of the punch stats, as well as concerns about the verdict itself.

Pacquiao poses with his wife and daughter as he recovers from his shoulder injury in the Philippines

Pacquiao poses with his wife and daughter as he recovers from his shoulder injury in the Philippines

Mayweather, pictured watching the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, retained his unbeaten record

Pacquiao lost out, but could have been on the winning side

Mayweather, pictured watching the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, retained his unbeaten record after the judges delivered a unanimous verdict in favour of the American in his fight against Pacquiao

Only by bending over backwards to give Mayweather the benefit of one statistically equal round, by virtue of his higher work rate in those three minutes, and another in which he landed one less punch but would have got the hometown nod could he have achieved even so much as a draw.

Mark that second round 10-10 and the ninth 9-10 and Pacquiao would be their clear winner.


According to Boxing News 24, Mayweather threw 471 punches in comparison to Pacquiao's 414


It is claimed however, that the American landed only 68 of those 471 punches, 30 fewer than Pacquiao


Floyd Mayweather: I'm not gonna buy into the bull****

For what it’s worth, I caused something of a stir by scoring the fight a 115-115 draw from my privileged vantage point at ringside.

These were the final tallies of the three official judges, all in favour of Mayweather: Glenn Feldman 116-112. Burt Clements 116-112. Dave Moretti 118-110

These are the website tallies, calibrated round-by-round according to punches thrown, punches landed, the score for each round, with Mayweather’s stats first:

The conclusions here include:

1) The fight was far closer than the judges, especially Moretti, and most pundits perceived

2) Many rounds were exceptionally difficult if not too close to call.

3) The punch stats as counted in the heat of the night are profoundly suspect (one US commentator who had Pacquaio winning asked if they were compiled by ‘kids from the HBO and Showtime offices’ and was told ‘Yes.’)

4) Pacquiao’s claim that he had won the fight was reasonable, not outrageous as the in-ring interviewer implied.

5) If watching on television, maybe better to mute the sound commentary.

6) Mayweather is very wise to keep insisting on home-town advantage in Las Vegas, which benefits from the huge economic impact of his fights.


PHILSTAR

Noy to Pacquiao: Retire, don’t risk health By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2015 - 12:00am


President Benigno Aquino III and Congressman Manny Pacquiao. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino reiterated his call on world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao not to risk his physical well-being any further and just retire from fighting.

The President said like many other people, he wished that Pacquiao would have won but the fighting Sarangani congressman had given the country more than enough honor, and he needs to seriously think about hanging up his gloves to avoid the potential of having an injury for life.

Pacquiao paid Aquino a courtesy call in Malacañang on Wednesday and he told the President that he would be taking a rest to fully recover from the shoulder injury he sustained even before the fight with undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The President again cited the case of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, now suffering from health problems, in advising Pacquiao to consider retirement.

READ MORE...
“One of the most tragic perhaps was when I saw (Ali) lighting the Olympic torch with his hand shaking,” Aquino said over Bombo Radyo Philippines.

The President said Filipinos and Pacquiao’s family should be content now with the boxing champion’s sacrifices and should prod him not to go any further for the sake of his wife, children and their future.

“If we will push him (and say) that ‘No, there should be a rematch,’ ‘No, you have to take a gamble again,’ I think we will not be showing debt of gratitude to the person,” Aquino said.

Aquino also said Mayweather was a smart boxer after he defeated Pacquaio.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said Mayweather’s tirade against Pacquiao is meant to generate interest to warrant a rematch of the so-called Battle for Greatness.

“Mayweather’s nickname is Money. He’s just after money. After the fight, he was all praises for Pacquiao. That’s what he truly feels,” Angara said. – With Delon Porcalla, Manny Galvez


YAHOO PHILIPPINES

Philippines slipper factory fire leaves dozens feared dead CBCCANADA – Wed, 13 May, 2015..

A fire razed a rubber slipper factory in a suburb of the Philippine capital Wednesday and dozens of workers reported missing were feared to have perished, the city mayor and fire officials said.

At least three bodies have been recovered and fire officials said there were no survivors found after the fire was put under control, said Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela city north of Manila.

Relatives reported 62 people missing, but Gatchalian said only seven people have been reported to have survived. There could be others on their list of missing who were able to escape but no one has come forward to confirm that.

District Fire Marshall Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu said he was among the first to reach the second floor of the gutted building after the fire and saw "numerous bodies," many charred beyond recognition.

Gatchalian said the fire apparently was ignited from sparks from welding works at the building's main entrance door.

He said workers fled to the second floor where they were trapped.

Addressing a crowd outside the factory compound, Gatchalian appealed to families of the missing to try to reach the workers in homes of other relatives. "There might still be a chance" that they had survived, he said.

READ MORE...
"I was talking to the bureau of fire protection and they said no one in the building survived," he said, speaking through a public address system.

His statement was followed by howls of grief and weeping.

"I was able to penetrate the second floor, and as I observed, there were numerous bodies," the fire official said, adding that he couldn't immediately give the number of bodies he saw. "Those I saw were beyond recognition."

The fire was put under control more than five hours after it started.

Gatchalian said one of the bodies recovered was the niece of the factory owner, "who was in a state of shock."

A village council staff member, Kennedy Tan, said the factory had a smaller fire last year but he could not remember if there had been any casualties.


PHILSTAR

‘It was a death trap’ 72 bodies pulled out from burned factory By Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2015 - 12:00am


Police investigators try to identify the fire victims at a gymnasium turned into a temporary morgue yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines - From daybreak till early afternoon yesterday, police collected the remains of workers who were trapped in a burning rubber slipper factory last Wednesday. When the search finally ended, the body count stood at 72, with most of the fatalities burned beyond recognition.

Survivors, grieving relatives and labor groups described the building housing the Kentex Manufacturing Inc. as a death trap with sweatshop conditions and poor fire safety standards.

Fire investigators found victims gripping window grills in a futile attempt to get out. Many of the victims died embracing each other.

Most of those retrieved were trapped on the second floor after the blaze broke out before noon on Wednesday.

Officials said identification of the fatalities through DNA testing could take months.

READ MORE...
Fire investigators retrieved the body of the last fatality at 2:05 p.m. A total of 69 bodies were recovered on the second floor of the burned factory. The number of fatalities exceeded the 65 earlier reported missing by police.

“Many of those retrieved were reduced to skull and bones,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina told a press conference at the Valenzuela City hall yesterday.

“Someone will definitely be charged because of the deaths. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident; people died,” he said. “For sure, someone will be charged.”

Espina said an inter-agency task force was created to focus on the cause of the fire and the culpability of the factory owners as well as in helping in the identification of the victims.

Sparks from welding equipment used to repair a broken gate are believed to have caused the fire when they ignited flammable chemicals stored nearby.

Kentex, located along Tatalon Street in Barangay Ugong, made slippers and sandals for the local market.

The footwear had names such as “Havana” that sound like well-known global brands, its workers said.

No safety standards

The factory workers toiled for as little as P300 a day, routinely surrounded by foul-smelling chemicals and were not aware of fire safety standards, survivors and relatives said.

“The families can’t help but be angry about what happened. We will never forget this,” Rodrigo Nabor, whose two sisters were inside the factory and remain unaccounted for, said.

Nabor was among relatives of factory workers waiting for body bags at a village hall that had been converted into a makeshift morgue.

“I’ve lost hope that they survived,” Nabor said.

“I can’t explain how I’m feeling. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I just kept walking around the factory hoping for news.”

Nabor said his sisters, Bernardita Logronio, 32, and Jennylyn Nabor, 26, often complained of foul-smelling chemicals in their workplace.

“They said they keep an electric fan on to drive some of the smell away,” he said.

Nabor said their pay depended on how many sandals they finished, which could be as little as P300 a day. Nabor’s sisters each had a young child.

One survivor, Janet Victoriano, hinted lax fire safety standards might have contributed to the high death toll.

“I had never been involved in a fire drill ever,” Victoriano, who had worked at the factory for five years, told dzMM radio.

Victoriano said she was able to escape because she was near the front door when the blaze started.

Defects

The city’s fire marshal Sr. Supt. Mel Jose Lagan said they are trying to determine the exact number of people declared by the owners as against the actual persons employed by the company.

The exact number of factory employees who reported for work on Wednesday was unclear, as the company’s logbook was burned in the fire.

The disparity in the original number of missing people and those actually recovered raised a lot of questions as to how many were actually inside the building when the fire broke out.

Even the custodian of the logbook that employees sign when they reported for work was reportedly trapped inside the two-story building.

The factory had about 200 to 300 employees but not everyone was on site at the time, according to owner Beato Ang, whose niece was among those killed.

Lagan said there were reports that the company is hiring contractual workers, which could be a violation of the permit, and could be the reason for the disparity in number.

City police chief Sr. Supt. Rhoderick Armamento, however, said they checked all the areas in the building and were sure that “everyone was accounted for.”

There were speculations that the building had no fire exits and that the whole area was “a disaster waiting to explode.”

Armamento said the initial investigation showed the workers likely died from suffocation from the toxic fumes on the second floor where they were trapped.

Lagan, however, gave assurance that Kentex has complied with all the building code requirements since it was given a permit in 1996.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the city government is now reviewing all the permits granted to Kentex in line with the investigation of the incident by the police and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

“As we speak since Wednesday night, our personnel are checking their permits with city hall. We are checking the archives. Based on records, it was in 1996, so that’s 20 years ago,” he said.

Gatchalian said the city government is coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force investigating the case.

“We will be providing the PNP and BFP with copies of the permits for the investigation,” he added. “We just retrieved the permit of one of the three buildings.” – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Non Alquitran

IBON FOUNDATION RESEARCH

MEDIA RELEASE / 15 May 2015
IBON Foundation ∙ 114 Timog Avenue, Quezon City Philippines 1103 ∙ Phone: (632) 927-6986/927-7060 to 61 ∙ Fax: 929-2496 ∙ media@ibon.org  ∙ http://www.ibon.org 

KILLER FIRE HAPPENED IN WORLD BANK-ENDORSED 'BUSINESS-FRIENDLY' CITY

The demise of 72 Kentex workers in a Valenzuela fire brought to fore the case of labor rights violations in a reputed business-friendly environment, research group IBON said.

IBON pointed out that Philippine economic policy's "business friendly" concept has meant creating an environment conducive to business profit-maximization, but not to workers and their welfare. This includes implementing flexible labor schemes, pegging low wages, and violating safety procedures in the work place.

In its 'Doing Business in the Philippines' 2011 report, the World Bank cited Valenzuela as one of the most business-friendly cities in the Philippines for ranking consistently in starting a business, registering property and dealing with construction permits.

Valenzuela City was also chosen as 'most business-friendly' highly-urbanized city by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) in October 2014 for being 'successful at creating an environment that is conducive to business. Also last year, the city placed second in the government/ evacuation center category of the Liveable Cities Design Challenge (LCDC) organized by the National Competitiveness Council and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Yet initial reports confirmed that while their jobs involved close contact with chemicals, the dozens of Kentex workers who perished in the fire wore no protective gear, in violation of occupational safety and health standards. The victims were also trapped in the second floor of the factory, the windows of which were secured with iron grills. Factory premises also lacked sufficient fire exits.

READ MORE...
Survivors also attest that many Kentex workers were contractual, meaning that they do not have the social benefits accorded to regulars. Workers who were hired on output basis ('pakyawan'), meanwhile, had no records in the company, which means that management has no accountability toward them.

IBON likened the boosting of Valenzuela's image by international and local finance and business outfits to the Philippine 'Asia's next miracle' hype being pushed by the same groups. It is meant to attract investments and boost profit-seeking ventures at the expense of public welfare, the group said.

With the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) initial pronouncement that Kentex Mfg. Corp. has passed labor standards, IBON urged the department to investigate further and look at other similar cases of workers' rights violations in the country. Philippine labor law should also be reformed to genuinely look after the interests and welfare of Filipino workers, the group said. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

Visit www.ibon.org  | Follow IBON on Twitter | Follow IBON on Facebook 

Posted by: ibon foundation <media@ibon.org>


PHILSTAR

'Little hope' for developing countries in Paris climate conference By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated May 15, 2015 - 3:21pm


Stefan Rahmstorf, a lead author of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the Paris meet should pave way to the reduction of the use of fossil fuels. Alexis Romero

BERLIN - Climate policy experts and advocates do not have high hopes on the climate talks in Paris later this year even as they warned that developing countries including the Philippines would suffer the most if negotiations fail.

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its 21st session in Paris from November 30 to December 11 to discuss ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Climate change has been blamed for extreme weather conditions and natural disasters and has been linked to human activities including the use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases. Environment groups and scientists have been advocating the use of renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and water to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Paris conference seeks to come up with a legally binding agreement that will require countries to adopt measures designed to combat climate change.

Some developed countries, however, are hesitant to commit to greenhouse gas reduction deals, believing this could have serious impacts on their economies. Some critics are also skeptical about claims that human activities have caused changes in climate patterns.

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Aware of the sticky issues surrounding the climate talks, climate change action advocates are tempering their expectations.

"I'm not at all optimistic that there will be a legally binding agreement that really ensures we stay below two degrees and I think that would almost be a miracle," Stefan Rahmstorf, professor at the Potsdam University, said during a recent climate change training session here.

"I think we can't afford a failure but I also don't think you will see full success in terms of reaching a stage below two degrees," he added.

Rahmstorf, a lead author of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the Paris meet should pave way to the reduction of the use of fossil fuels.

"The critical thing is to reach this turning point where emissions slowly go stable and start to go down and then it would be for the conference probably to push them further down," he said.

Benjamin Gorlach, environmental economist and senior fellow at German think tank Ecologic Institute, believes the Paris talks would not produce a "fantastic" deal.

"I think the risk that all things would fail and that negotiations would simply end is unlikely but I'm also quite sure we won't get a fantastic binding treaty with strong commitments for all the parties," Gorlach said in an interview.

"If Paris fails, many developing countries in exposed locations are well-advised to think strongly of adaptation," he added.

Gorlach said it would be hard for climate policies to move forward if the negotiations hit an impasse.

"It would mean we are going towards a fragmented world where some countries will still go ahead and press for climate policies but many others will not and in those countries that move ahead it will be more difficult to make the case for strong climate policies," Gorlach said.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is also expected to be more costly if only a few of the countries involved in the negotiations are willing to do so.

"If you put the burden of reduction to only a fifth of those countries that are committed to reduce emissions and the rest of the world does not do anything then the result is simply less efficient and much more costly," Gorlach said.

Carel Mohn, program director of non-profit group Clean Energy Wire, said he is "mildly optimistic" about the upcoming climate negotiations.

"What we do see at the moment is that these voluntary commitments by countries do not suffice. They are not sufficient to keep the two degrees limit," Mohn told The STAR in a separate interview.

"We do see not enough is being done but we do see certain level of dynamism. We see the positive and negative being very close to each other," he added.

Mohn said the reliance of economies and businesses on fossil fuels would be a thorny issue during the talks. He said big emitters like the United States, China and Australia should do more to address climate change.

"The consequences can be felt everyday by people and countries that do not have resources to protect themselves from natural disasters," Mohn added.

Mohn said the Philippines is "one of the most extreme examples" that illustrate the impact of climate change.

"This (Philippines) is one country that will be suffering heavily," he said.


OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE PRESIDENT

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines At the United Nations Climate Change Summit 2014 [Delivered in New York, United States of America, on September 23, 2014]

Mr. President, Excellencies:

Despite the recent headway that my country has gained economically, and despite our efforts to ensure that such gains are inclusive, many of my people remain vulnerable to disaster brought about by climate change.

The rise of water levels and the loss of islands, and the growing frequency and intensity of tropical storms and typhoons, present a real challenge to every country, especially those in the developing world such as ours.

Excellencies, the time of debate of whether climate change is real or not is over. There is no doubt that it exists, which is the reason we are all here. It would be wrong, however, to engage in another protracted debate over the individual commitments of countries.

To my mind that would be adopting the wrong framework. Instead, everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended to thereby increasing the problem we all face.

The Philippines is not waiting. We are addressing climate change to the maximum with our limited resources. Legislation has been enacted to lessen the impact of disasters by adopting a comprehensive approach to disaster response.

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We have empowered our forecasting agencies so that they can give timely warnings to vulnerable communities for national and local authorities and residents.

We have undertaken multihazard and geohazard mapping which is integral to the effective assessment risk.

We have undertaken a massive re-greening program on top of an intensified anti-illegal logging campaign.

We are tagging public expenditure on climate change, to ensure that the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds is achieved.

My country has likewise engaged other stakeholders in developing a disaster risk financing and insurance policy framework that can reduce the impact of disasters on the poorest and most vulnerable Filipinos.

Perhaps the international community may see the value of such an instrument, and look at it as a model to increase the financial resiliency of other nations in a situation similar to ours.

As early as 2008, we have passed a Renewable Energy Act, and are now treading a climate-smart development pathway.

We continue to take steps to maintain and even improve our low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of our energy mix, and are hopeful that our fellow developing nations, especially those who have been gaining the economic wherewithal to pursue similar strategies, will tread a path akin to ours.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change.

Being less industrialized, we are not a major emitter. Still, even while we work [for] the fulfillment of our full development potential that remains on the horizon, we see the opportunities borne of more environmentally progressive policies.

We have never lacked in resolve, for example, as regards transitioning towards less traditional sources of energy.

What we lack is the access to technology, financing, and investment that would allow us to accelerate our strategy.

I believe the challenge before us is to innovate on ways in which the transfer of useful technology and the building of climate-smart infrastructure might be achieved under a global unity of effort.

Excellencies, typhoon Haiyan struck in November of 2013. It was, according to many, the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall in recorded history. Since then, this is the largest meeting of world leaders that I have had the privilege of attending.

That we are gathered here is a recognition of the stark reality we face as a collective: Climate change does not recognize national boundaries, or political or economic affiliations.

The choice before us, then, is clear: Together we must face these challenges and surmount them, or together we will suffer the consequences of inaction.

Let the first concrete commitment we make be a change in mindset: From one of arguing over dividing the work, to one where we all do the maximum that we can, always asking, What more can we do.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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