TIME Philippines

U.S. Marine Charged With Murder in Northwest Philippines

Philippines US Killing
Protesters make cross signs as they shout slogans during a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 24, 2014 to demand justice for the Oct. 11 killing of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude at the former US naval base of Subic. Bullit Marquez—AP

Suspect has yet to make appearance in court

Prosecutors in the Philippines have charged a U.S. Marine with the murder of a woman, whose body was found in October.

Nineteen-year-old Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton has been refused bail, the Associated Press reports.

Government prosecuters filed the charge before a regional court on Monday, saying they found “probable cause” that Pemberton killed 26-year-old transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

Laude, a Philippine national, was found strangled and drowned on Oct. 11 in a motel bathroom in the northwestern city of Olongapo.

The killing “was aggravated by treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty,” prosecutor Emily de los Santos told local reporters.

Pemberton has not made a public appearance but, according to de los Santons, he will have to attend a future court arraignment.

TIME Philippines

Typhoon Hagupit Weakens but the Risk of Flooding and Storm Surges Remains

The system has now been downgraded to a tropical storm

At least 21 people died as Typhoon Hagupit swept across the Philippines over the weekend.

But while the storm, called Ruby in the Philippines, also caused major damage to houses, electricity lines and roads, it was not as devastating as Typhoon Haiyan, which hit eastern and central regions of the Philippines one year ago, killing more than 6,300 people.

The U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center has now downgraded the category-3 typhoon to a tropical storm, and many families from Legazpi and Tacloban, who were seeking shelter in churches and schools, have begun to return home.

On Sunday night, sustained wind speeds reached 75 m.p.h. as Typhoon Hagupit passed over the central Philippine island of Masbate. Through Monday, the storm is expected to be felt in Manila and will peak later on Monday evening.

Buildings are still in danger of collapse, and residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas are at risk of potential flash floods, storm surges and landslides as the storm moves slowly westward, reports say.

More than 1 million people took shelter in evacuation centers before the storm made landfall in the northern central town of Dolores on Saturday, bringing with it gusts of up to 106 m.p.h.

Authorities say they were better prepared for Hagupit than they were for Haiyan in 2013. People were evacuated in time and the military have been deployed to help clear roads and deliver aid.

Relief efforts are now under way, and Hagupit is expected to leave the Philippines on Tuesday or Wednesday.

TIME Philippines

Mighty Typhoon Barrels Straight Toward the Philippines

At least 600,000 people have already evacuated their homes

A destructive typhoon with sustained winds of 109 miles-per-hour caused thousands to flee for safety, as it churned its way Saturday toward the Philippines, a country that was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan a little more than a year ago.

The new storm, Typhoon Hagupit, has already forced at least 600,000 people to evacuate their homes, the Associated Press reported. With gusts up to 130 miles-per-hour and rain clouds that stretch for more than 370 miles, the storm is not expected to be as devastating as Haiyan, but could still cause heavy damage in the country. Downed trees and power outages were already being reported early Saturday before the typhoon made landfall Saturday night.



Philippine Storm Nears Same Typhoon-Ravaged Area

Philippines on Alert for strengthening Typhoon Hagupit
Image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Dec. 4, 2014 showing Typhoon Hagupit. EPA

Government forecasters said Typhoon Hagupit was packing sustained winds of 127 miles per hour

(MANILA, Philippines) — Villagers in the central Philippines fled coastal homes and sparked panic-buying in grocery stores and gas stations as an approaching powerful storm brought back nightmares of last year’s deadly onslaught from Typhoon Haiyan.

Government forecasters said Typhoon Hagupit was packing sustained winds of 205 kilometers (127 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 240 kph (149 mph) over the Pacific, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) off the country’s eastern coast. It may hit Eastern Samar province on Saturday and barrel inland along the same route where Haiyan leveled villages and left more than 7,300 dead and missing in November last year.

Haiyan survivor Emily Sagales said many of her still-edgy neighbors in central Tacloban city, which was ravaged by Haiyan, packed their clothes and fled to a sports stadium and safer homes of relatives. Long lines formed at grocery stores and gas stations as residents stocked up on basic goods, she said.

“The trauma has returned,” the 23-year-old Sagales said. In the wake of last year’s typhoon, which killed her mother-in-law and washed away her home, she gave birth to her first child, a baby girl, in a crowded makeshift clinic filled with the injured and the dying near the Tacloban airport.

“It’s worse now because I didn’t have a baby to worry about last year,” she said.

Haiyan demolished about 1 million houses and displaced about 4 million people in the central Philippines. Hundreds of residents still living in tents in Tacloban have been prioritized in an ongoing evacuation.

Hotels in Tacloban, a city of more than 200,000 people still struggling to recover from last year’s massive damage, were running out of rooms as wealthier families booked ahead for the weekend.

“The sun is still shining but people are obviously scared. Almost all of our rooms have been booked,” said Roan Florendo of the hilltop Leyte Park hotel, which lies near San Pedro Bay in Tacloban.

The government put the military on full alert, workers opened evacuation centers and transported food packs, medicines and body bags to far-flung villages, which could be cut off by heavy rains.

In Manila, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday led an emergency meeting of disaster-response agencies and ordered steps to prevent panic-buying and hoarding of goods.

Aquino checked on the readiness of Philippine air force aircraft, hospitals and police contingency plans to deal with possible looting similar to what happened in Tacloban after Haiyan crippled the city’s police force.

“I think we’ve been challenged worse by Yolanda,” Aquino told officials, referring to Haiyan’s local name. But during the nationally televised meeting, he was told that Hagupit — Tagalog for “smash” — has further strengthened.

Initially, forecasters said there was a chance the typhoon could veer north away from the Philippines in the direction of Japan. Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, however, told Aquino on Thursday it was almost certain the typhoon would slam into the country’s eastern coast.

Some towns in the typhoon’s predicted path said they will shut schools on Friday. Inter-island ferries and some commercial flights were canceled.

The government also decided to move the venue of a meeting next week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which was to be attended by hundreds of diplomats from 21 member economies, from Albay province, which could be lashed by the typhoon, to the capital, Manila, which forecasters say will likely be spared.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 12

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. “Seven years after returning from Iraq, I’m finally home.” One veteran reflects on how service after his time at war changed his life.

By Chris Miller in Medium

2. Humanity’s gift for imitation and iteration is the secret to our innovation and survival.

By Kat McGowan in Aeon

3. Amid news of a groundbreaking climate agreement, it’s clear the China-U.S. relationship will shape the global future.

By Natalie Nougayrède in the Guardian

4. Lessons a year after Typhoon Haiyan: The pilot social safety net in place before Haiyan struck the Philippines helped the country better protect families after the disaster.

By Mohamad Al-Arief at the World Bank Group Social Protection and Labor Global Practice

5. A handful of simple policy reforms — not requiring new funding — can set the table for breaking the cycle of multigenerational poverty.

By Anne Mosle in the Huffington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Behind the Picture

LIFE With MacArthur: The Landing at Luzon, the Philippines, 1945

Carl Mydans' photograph of Gen. Douglas MacArthur at Luzon distills something elemental about MacArthur's larger-than-life persona

With the possible exception of Gen. George S. Patton, no American who rose to prominence during the Second World War could compete with Gen. Douglas MacArthur when it came to either influence or controversy. A titanic personality who was keenly aware of the power of the image to help craft a narrative about a battle, a campaign or a hugely symbolic moment, MacArthur had a prickly relationship with the press.

The story, meanwhile, behind what is arguably the single most famous picture of the general, and certainly one of the most recognizable pictures to emerge from WWII, ably illustrates the Arkansas native’s grasp of a photograph’s ability to lionize—or demonize—a public figure.

The picture in question, made by LIFE’s Carl Mydans on Jan. 9, 1945, shows MacArthur striding ashore onto “Blue Beach,” Dagupan, on the island of Luzon, Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines. That Mydans’ photograph does not capture the return to the Philippines—the return that MacArthur promised in his single most famous utterance—hardly detracts from its significance. In fact, even more so than the pictures of MacArthur at Leyte in October 1944, when the general first returned to the Philippines after escaping from Corregidor two years before, Mydans’ photograph of the general and his comrades in the surf at Luzon seems to capture and perfectly distill something elemental about MacArthur’s magnetism and his larger-than-life persona.

Years later, in a 1992 interview with John Loengard, Mydans remembered making that picture, and other photos both onboard the USS Boise and at Luzon after the landing, as if it had all happened just days before.

Quoted in Loengard’s book, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw (Bulfinch, 1998), Mydans recalls how he came to be with MacArthur on the ship before the landing, and on the shore in time to capture the general walking through the waves to the beach:

I was in France when I got a coded message from my office: MacArthur was returning to the Philippines. By the time I got to Leyte, though, the landing was over. . . . While the last of the battle for Leyte was still being fought MacArthur’s public information officer called us together and said, “MacArthur will go to the Luzon assault on the USS Boise. Six of you will go in with him. You’ll draw lots out of a helmet.” A captain tore up paper, and everybody put his hand in and took out a piece. . . . [T]he slip of paper I found in my hand had the one word, “Stills.” I was the only still photographer, except for the military, on the Boise. I was loaded into the same landing craft with MacArthur, and I went ashore with him.

The story of what happened there has been told and retold many times, incorrectly. [People always ask me] “How many times did he do that for you, Mr. Mydans?” And the answer is always the same: “He did it once.” I now realize that the question will go on forever.

In 1961, both MacArthur and Mydans returned to Luzon, where each had made history 16 years before. In the July 14, 1961, issue of LIFE, Mydans wrote movingly of that trip, and of MacArthur’s difficulty keeping his emotions in check when he was back in the place and among the people that had shaped so much of his career and his life.

“This,” said General MacArthur to Mrs. MacArthur standing close beside him on the sands above the beach at Lingayen [wrote Mydans], “is what I wanted you to see,” and he ran his hand gently over the plaque which now marks the place where his forces returned to Luzon on the morning of Jan. 9, 1945.

The general spotted me in the crowd, and he tapped the plaque again. “This one’s for you, Carl,” he called out. Then, coming over, he said, “This is the highlight of it all, isn’t it? For you and for me.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 5, 2014

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Dai Kurokawa’s work on poaching in Kenya, where elephants and rhinoceroses are targeted for their tusks and horns. The ivory and keratin are then used in souvenirs and jewelry, as well as medicine, particularly in Asia. This photograph of the mutilated corpse of a pregnant black rhinoceros is devastating. Fortunately, as Kurokawa’s other images show us, there are also efforts to protect them.

Dai Kurokawa: Poaching in Kenya (European Pressphoto Agency)

Simon Roberts: Tacloban: a year after typhoon Haiyan (The Guardian) A series of transition landscapes tracking the change in Tacloban, taken soon after the typhoon, and eight months later.

Brett Van Ort: Imaginary Battlefields (Wired Raw File) These photographs of paintball arenas in the United Kingdom and the U.S. resemble foreign battlefields from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, raising the issue of looking at war as entertainment.

Portraits of Those Braving Ebola (The New York Times Lens) Background information on how Daniel Berehulak executed his powerful portrait series that we highlighted in our post on Monday.

Ore Huiying (Verve Photo) The Singaporean photographer writes about her picture from Laos showing a part of the country’s one and only two-mile railway line.

Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen, Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.


Learning From Past Viral Epidemics, Asia Readies for Possible Ebola Outbreak

Philippines Ebola
Government health workers practice wearing Ebola protective suits on the first day of training on hospital management for Ebola virus at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in the Philippine city of Muntinlupa on Oct. 28, 2014 Bullit Marquez—AP

Recent experiences with SARS and bird flu make Asian nations especially skittish when faced with the possibility of an Ebola outbreak

As Ebola continues to play global hopscotch, Asian countries are seeking to make good on the advanced notice that the deadly virus could turn up anywhere, anytime.

At issue in Asia — and everywhere — is not just that medical scaffolding varies across and within nations, with some lacking robust medical facilities, but that even sophisticated cities boasting top-notch hospitals are foundering. The infections of two health care workers in Dallas, as well as a nurse in Madrid, have illustrated that even highly developed nations are not immune.

“Perceived preparedness and actual preparedness are not the same thing,” says Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center.

“We thought the U.S. would be well prepared, but certainly our first case [in Dallas] was not a good model for replication, and I don’t think Spain did too well either,” explains Morse. “But that’s what happens when you haven’t seen this before. You don’t know what to do.”

Still, Asia has some advantages as it readies itself for Ebola. Flight patterns suggest that the influx of travelers from Ebola-stricken West African countries to the Asian continent is far less than it is to Africa, Europe or North America.

Asian nations also have an edge in that they have been through epidemics before: SARS tore through the West Pacific in 2003, killing almost 800 people worldwide, mostly in Hong Kong and mainland China. Avian flu also pummeled this area around the same time, and outbreaks of virulent influenza strains perennially menace the region.

“The most likely scenario, if we have an imported case of Ebola, is that there will be some risk of having secondary cases, but I don’t think we will have a big outbreak at this point in time,” says Hitoshi Oshitani, professor of virology at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan.

In part, that’s because Ebola is much more straightforward to contain than the airborne SARS — spread through coughing and sneezing — if procedures are followed rigorously, says Oshitani, who from 1999 to 2005 was the regional adviser for communicable-disease surveillance and response at the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office during the SARS and avian-flu outbreaks. When SARS first appeared “we didn’t know what to do at first,” he says.

But having weathered these outbreaks now makes Asian nations stronger. “After SARS and Avian flu, Asian countries have invested quite a lot in infectious disease control,” says Oshitani. “Before 2003, many countries in Asia had very limited capacity, and today they have much more capacity.”

That said, much depends on where across Asia’s socioeconomic smorgasbord a hypothetical Ebola case makes landfall.

For example, Hong Kong, blistered by the memory of SARS, has made significant preparations, says Malik Peiris, director of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. “Infectious diseases, especially diseases coming from the outside, have been a constant threat to Hong Kong and have kept people on their toes,” he says.

Hong Kong, which had just “a handful” of isolation beds in 2003, now has about 1,400, plus a designated infectious disease hospital, says Peiris. At that hospital, he adds, the facilities are “more than adequate to deal with SARS and certainly more than adequate to deal with Ebola.”

Preparing for Ebola is also foremost on health officials’ agendas in mainland China, Peiris says, while noting that health care is uneven across the world’s most populous nation, with world-class hospitals in major cities but spotty health care in rural areas. Dense populations and an incubation period of up to 21 days make Ebola potentially extremely problematic.

Chinese officials told state media in August that security at the airport in China’s southern Guangdong province, which does roaring business with African traders, had been bolstered.

India also presents a problem. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who co-discovered Ebola, told the Guardian earlier this month that Ebola outbreaks in Europe or North America could quickly be brought under control. However, “I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in West Africa,” he said.

Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told Parliament in August that some 4,700 Indians are working in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. India is using thermal scanners at its airports similar to those used at Nigeria, which was declared Ebola-free earlier this month. The country has also designated hospitals for handling the virus, and has also held preparedness drills, though a paltry ratio of 0.07 hospital beds per person does not bode well for any significant outbreak.

“The big problem is in high-density populations with low health coverage,” says Peiris. “In Mumbai, you have areas of quite significant poverty, and if Ebola enters such a situation, you could have a problem on your hands. Major cities really need to be prepared.”

The Philippines, boasting an estimated 1,700 nationals working in West Africa, is also bolstering readiness. Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesman at the Philippines Department of Health, says that three hospitals are designated to handle any Ebola cases, plus a training workshop is being run at 19 government hospitals, about 50 private hospitals and numerous local government clinics. All hospitals in the Philippines, which battled SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009, have isolation rooms, he says.

“No country can ever rate how prepared it is for something like this,” says Lee Suy. “But the health system here is not the same as the one in West Africa. We are in a better position.”

Even Asian countries that have no direct flights to West Africa, and have limited ties to the region, are wary of being caught off guard.

Krishna Kumar, president of the Malaysian Medical Association, says his country was jolted by the Nipah virus in 1999, which killed more than 100 people nationwide, and has learned “hard but important lessons.”

“We weren’t expecting it,” he says. “It woke us up.”

Krishna says public alarm is low in Malaysia, but health officials are yet mindful “anything could happen.” All airports have thermal checks, and 28 government hospitals have isolation rooms and are fully equipped with protective gear.

“We have the systems in place,” he says, “but to know how ready you are — well, it’s only when something happens, then you know if you were ready.”

TIME Military

Marine Suspected of Transgender Murder Moved to Philippine Custody

Supporters of murdered Filipino transgender Jeffrey Laude, also known as "Jennifer", hold a protest near the Hall of Justice where the preliminary hearing for the murder case is being held at the northern Philippine city of Olongapo on Oct. 10, 2014.
Supporters of murdered Filipino transgender Jeffrey Laude, also known as "Jennifer", hold a protest near the Hall of Justice where the preliminary hearing for the murder case is being held at the northern Philippine city of Olongapo on Oct. 10, 2014. Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images

Police allege that Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton killed 26-year-old Jennifer Laude on Oct. 11

A U.S. Marine suspected in the Oct. 11 murder of a Filipino transgender woman has been transferred from a U.S. warship to the custody of Philippines military, police said Wednesday.

The Philippine police said the suspect, whom they have identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, went to a local motel in Olongapo City, close to the Subic Bay port, which often hosts U.S. ships, with 26-year-old Jennifer Laude, and was seen leaving the hotel room 30 minutes later. Laude’s strangled body was found by a hotel employee, her head in the toilet bowl of one of the rooms. An autopsy report cited the cause of death as “asphyxia by drowning.” Two used condoms were also found in the room.

Pemberton, who awaits formal charges, was held for several days on the U.S.S. Peleliu warship in Subic Bay. The Marine was in the Philippines for a long-standing joint military exercise between U.S. Marines and their Philippine counterparts, which involved 3,500 American troops and ended Oct. 10.

The homicide case has ignited tensions over a defense agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines that allows the U.S. to keep custody of military personnel during criminal proceedings for crimes committed in-country. Vocal opponents of the agreement have called for its abrogation, saying that the deal is lopsided in favor of the U.S.

In what could be seen as a compromise by the U.S., the Marines have transferred Pemberton to an air-conditioned vehicle inside Camp Aguinaldo, military headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City. The vehicle will still be guarded by U.S. troops, but will be located inside a fenced-off portion of the camp guarded by Philippine personnel, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Marine Corps issued a statement to clarify that the “Marine will remain in the custody of the United States pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Republic of the Philippines.”

The U.S.S. Peleliu has been authorized to leave the Philippines.

TIME Crime

U.S. Marine Charged in Murder of Transgender Woman in Philippines

Philippine government now wants to take custody of the Marine, who has been identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton

A U.S. Marine has been charged with murder in the killing of a Filipino transgender woman found strangled in a local hotel room last weekend.

A senior Philippine official said Wednesday that the Philippine government wants to take custody of the Marine, who has been identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, and warned that the case could damage the military relationship between the two allies, according to MSN news.

Under a defense agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines, the Philippines can demand custody of a service member who has been involved in a crime. The joint defense pact has stoked tension between the two countries in the past, and the question of the U.S. Marine’s custody in this case may renew those tensions.

Pemberton is currently being held on the USS Peleliu warship in Subic Bay. The marines had been in the Philippines for an annual joint military exercise. All military personnel “still actively involved with the investigation” remain on board the ship, according to a press statement from the U.S. Marine Corps.

Three other marines who are considered possible witnesses are also being held, according to previous news reports. The other four ships previously held at port in Subic Bay during the investigation have been cleared to depart, the Marine Corps announced on Wednesday.

The killing has also ignited emotions in the transgender community in the Philippines, who are calling the death of Jennifer Laude, who was found dead with her head in a toilet bowl, a hate crime. An autopsy report in the case has shown the cause of death as “asphyxia by drowning.”

“We will not accept anything less than justice,” the victim’s sister Marilou Laude said to CNN.


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