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Rappler decries being singled out by Ubial when PNA, other news outlets also reported about 59 dead Marawi evacuees



Rappler said the Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial singled them out after “denying her own information” about the death of 59 Marawi evacuees despite the fact that other media organizations also reported the same figure.

Ubial released a statement posted by DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo specifically naming Rappler for “intentionally” giving incorrect information.

Her statement read: “The information of Rappler of 59 deaths in Evacuation Centers in Marawi is wrong! Totally and intentionally gave wrong numbers! We reviewed video I clearly said no deaths in Evacuation Centers! There were 19 deaths in hospitals where bakwits were referred but deaths were due to pre-existing health conditions such as cancer”


Rappler’s report on June 16 quoting Ubial about the 59 deaths was based on what Ubial said during a forum in Legazpi City, Albay on June 15, where she said that 40 people died of dehydration out of the evacuation centers while 19 previously hospitalized patients died in the evacuation centers where their health conditions were said to have been aggravated.

This was part of Rappler’s report about the 59 deaths.

“There are 40 cases of deaths due to dehydration,” Ubial said in Filipino. These were residents who had fled Marawi and are staying in temporary shelters being monitored by health workers.


She said 19 other deaths occured in government-run evacuation centers, but these were people who already had health conditions, which “living in congested evacuation centers” aggravated.

“These patients with health conditions, [who were]…previously confined in hospitals but opted to stay at evacuation centers, succumbed to death in the evacuation camps due to aggravating conditions,” she said.

Rappler added that they referred to their Bicol correspondent Rhaydz Barcia’s recording of the Q&A session with Ubial after it was translated from Filipino. They noted that the same numbers and direct quotes were also cited by the Manila Times, Inquirer, and even the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA), although PNA later took down its post.


Ubial said that she saw the video recording of the forum and “clearly said” that there were “no deaths in Evacuation Centers.”

Rappler also reported that when their attention was called at 4pm on June 16 by a DOH media officer about their “wrong” numbers, they requested the officer to send them a written clarification from Ubial that they could report about. However, they did not receive any statement, until Ubial and other people associated with her office sent text messages to various channels, pinpointing Rappler for reporting the misinformation.

On Monday, June 19, Ubial told radio DZMM that the writer of the report misheard her numbers during a chance interview last June 15.

“Nagtanong po ang mga taga-media kung ilan na po ang casualty o deaths sa ating mga evacuation center. Sinabi ko po na 19, one-nine. Tapos may isang taga-media, di ko na po sasabihin kung sino, nagtanong ‘Ma’am, may nababalita pong apat na namatay dahil sa dehydration,'” Ubial said.

“Sabi ko, ‘Opo, may apat na po.’ Akala niya, apatnapu. So idinagdag iyung 40 at 19, naging 59. Pero hindi po nanggaling sa akin ang apatnapu.”

She also gave an update about how the death tool has reached 24 as of June 18. She also clarified that most of the fatalities died of “pre-existing conditions” like kidney ailment and cancer and that they died at hospitals, not in the evacuation centers.

“Mayroon po kasing standing order ang ating mga health personnel na pag may sakit na ay huwag nang hihintayin na lumala at idiretso na agad sa mga ospital,” she said.

Sources: ( JudyTaguiwaloDSWD , , , )



Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( )


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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( )


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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( , )


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