More Than 30 Dead and Dozens Missing After Philippine Earthquake

Also: Myanmar bombing spree, Malaysian ex-bureaucrat is dog’s best friend. Wednesday links.

Some Wednesday ASEAN Links:

More than 30 people have died after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the central Philippines near Cebu, a tourist hub that connects travelers to many of the country’s most beautiful beaches. The quake took place on Tuesday morning – a Philippine national holiday – with its epicenter beneath the island of Bohol.

“Officials said at least 16 people were confirmed dead in Bohol and 15 in Cebu, considered the Philippines' second city,” reported the BBC. “One was reported dead from the neighboring island of Siquijor.”

Dozens more were injured during the tremor, which triggered the collapse of a fishing port and a deadly stampede at a sports complex. Some of the nation’s oldest churches were also damaged. Cebu officials have declared a state of emergency for the affected areas.

In Myanmar, it was man-made destruction that shook the former capital of Yangon on Tuesday. Multiple bombs have been detonated around the country since Friday, with one homemade time-bomb rocking the Yangon Traders Hotel – a popular destination for foreign delegates and business people. While no deaths were reported at the hotel, an American woman was reportedly injured. Three suspects are in police custody.

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“[The bombings] underscore the security challenges Myanmar faces during its ambitious but still-fragile transition program,” said The Financial Times. “Unexplained and sometimes unreported blasts caused by small improvised devices were common when opposition groups and ethnic activists battled the military junta, but have been much rarer since significant political change began in 2011.”

With the recent death and destruction taking place in the region, it’s humbling to hear the story of Malaysia’s V. Ganeson. The former Kuala Lumpur City Hall employee left his stable government job – three years short of retirement – to open an animal shelter that rescues dogs from euthanization.

Ganeson, who originally worked for the City Hall’s landscaping division, was transferred to animal control near the end of his career – a move that changed his life.

“The dogs whine and howl when being dragged out and they struggle to stay alive until the last moment when they are being euthanized,” Ganeson told The Star. “I would rather starve and be without a job than do that job.”

Ganeson currently takes care of about 200 dogs that are kept in two temporary shelters outside of Kuala Lumpur. He has teamed up with another animal rescue organization and is in the process of constructing a new facility, within the capital, that will be able to house all of the canines under one roof.