Engineered divide

LAST week’s whirlwind named Pope Francis left many of us starstruck and awed more than any real typhoon could. The visit of the people’s Pope to Manila and Tacloban mobilized roughly 4.5 million in his Mass in Manila last Sunday. All in all we estimate that around six million have cumulatively attended to and tried to view the Pope along the streets and in his events from his arrival to his departure to Rome a few days ago.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Scientists join protests vs MRT/LRT fare hike, demand genuine mass transport system

In support to the petition filed by Bayan and Bayan Muna Partylist asking the Supreme Court to nullify the order of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to increase MRT and LRT fares by up to 87%, we join the riding public’s clamor to immediately stop the hikes in MRT and LRT fares in a series of protest actions in front of Supreme Court and several rail stations.

Instead of providing an efficient and affordable mass transport system gravely needed by more than a million daily commuters, the government now wants to wring out more profits from the already impoverished workers, students and all the riders of the metro train network.

DOTC had no authority to issue a fare hike order as it lacked proper public consultation, which is a necessary process when it comes to hikes in public services.

Modeling the crowd

METRO Manila and Tacloban are bracing for a warm welcome for Pope Francis today and over the weekend. The authorities have estimated that a total of four to six million will be attending the Mass of the pontiff at the Rizal Park. This estimate is about the same volume as the number of people who attended World Youth Day in 1995.

In such events, crowd safety is always a concern. The recent traslacion of the Black Nazarene image of Quiapo in Manila, where the crowd also swelled to around five million, has shown us the difficulties that a large crowd can bring. Last week, there were two deaths–a heart attack and a trampling amid the swarm of devotees who either did not know or care to notice their feet were killing a fellow human being.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

AGHAM Notes on Renewable Energy in the Philippines

In this paper, Agham explores the issue of the use of renewable energy in the country and its place in achieving a pro-people, pro-environment national power industry. The paper would go through the basics of renewable energy (RE), the country's renewable energy resources and potentials vis-à-vis the current energy pattern. The overarching policy and program of the government will then be discussed, its impacts on the current energy landscape and Agham's critique on the current framework.

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