Items filtered by date: Thursday, 14 December 2017

Unity for PBA fans

The discord remains in the PBA as the Board of Governors continues to be split on how to deal with the tenure of commissioner Chito Narvasa. But in the spirit of unity, the Board got together to announce the other day that no matter what, the 43rd season of the country’s top sports entertainment show will open at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Every franchise was represented in the press conference at the Golden Ballroom of the Okada Manila to disclose the details of the opening. TNT KaTropa governor Ricky Vargas and Meralco governor Al Panlilio couldn’t make it as they were out of the country on business. TNT assistant team manager Magnum Membrere filled in for Vargas while Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio came for Panlilio. Every governor, including Membrere and Gregorio, showed up in handsome, uniform Barong Tagalogs, a sign of family getting together for a major occasion.

The show of togetherness was a positive step towards finding the inevitable solution to the impasse where five governors are on Narvasa’s side and seven aren’t. The path to solving the problem is tricky because the PBA’s By-Laws aren’t clear on how to deal with this situation. It got to a point where someone suggested to bring in an arbitrator to settle the dispute.

Under the terms of the 2010 By-Laws, a 2/3 vote from the Board is required to expel the commissioner and a similar 2/3 vote is needed to appoint one. It is silent on the matter of a renewal or extension of an existing contract. Under the terms of the 2015 By-Laws, the positions of chief executive officer and chief operating officer were given a tenure of one year with the Board’s option to renew. The intention was for Chito Salud, then commissioner, to act as CEO and Narvasa as COO but the plan was scuttled to retain the commissioner as the man in charge. Salud eventually resigned and Narvasa was designated commissioner.

In Narvasa’s case, he has an existing contract. To expel him, a 2/3 vote is necessary. If expulsion is the intention of the seven governors against Narvasa, then they are one short of a 2/3 vote under the terms of the 2010 By-Laws. As for Narvasa’s renewal, there is no provision for a vote and that’s why the impasse has dragged on for over a month.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this unhappy experience, it’s that the PBA Constitution and By-Laws must be revisited at once to avoid varying interpretations because of unclear provisions. If the provisions were clear in the first place, the disagreement could’ve been settled immediately according to the By-Laws.

The display of unity in Okada augurs well for the future. It appears a solution is in sight. Obviously, there will be some kind of sacrifice to be made, a compromise to be agreed on to resolve the issue. Feelings were hurt and harsh words exchanged. Sensitivities were disturbed. Ruffled feathers must be unruffled. Handshakes must be made. If there is to be forgiveness, there has to be an apology. Life is too short to bear grudges. Everyone in the Board and in the PBA’s management team is a professional with a heart for sports. What brought about the PBA was a love for the game. The PBA was created to give the fans what they want, a showcase for the sport that is a passion or even a religion for millions of Filipinos.

On Sunday, the new season will begin. Defending champion San Miguel Beer takes on Phoenix in the only game set at the Big Dome. Then, doubleheaders will unravel starting next Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Arena as Kia faces NLEX and Magnolia battles Alaska. On Dec. 22, the venue shifts to the Cuneta Astrodome with Blackwater confronting Meralco and Rain Or Shine meeting TNT KaTropa. On Christmas Day, GlobalPort and NLEX will start hostilities before Barangay Ginebra makes its season debut against Magnolia in another edition of the Manila Clasico at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

The Smart Araneta Coliseum will once more host on Dec. 17 with Phoenix tackling Kia and Meralco engaging San Miguel. The year will end with Blackwater facing Rain Or Shine and TNT KaTropa meeting Alaska at the Cuneta Astrodome. So it’s business as usual in the PBA and fans can’t wait to storm the starting gates. As the Board said, the PBA is for the fans and it’s for them that they’re committed to put an end to the leadership crisis.

  • Published in Sports

Dramatic turn of events spices up FIBA World Cup hosting

The Philippine delegation that batted for the country's successful 2023 FIBA World Cup hosting bid.
MANILA, Philippines — A major tweak in the presentation bid. A change of scenery. A different kind of ending.

When the Philippines’ lost the bid for the hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup to China during a presentation in Tokyo last August 7, 2015, the Filipinos retreated to their hotel feeling sad and distraught.

“We felt we had won the bid,” recounted Alfredo S. Panlilio; president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas of that day. “In fact, we still feel that way.”
The Philippine delegation returned to its hotel in Tokyo, and the atmosphere was one of sadness.

“At that time, we all thought that the next shot we could get at hosting was 2027,” added Panlilio. “MVP (SBP Chairman Emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan) joked, ‘ang tatanda na natin niyan? Kaya pa ba natin?’”

As the story goes, like a phoenix from the ashes…

Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The next opportunity to bid presented itself and the SBP leaped at the opportunity.

“We just needed to learn from our mistakes,” added federation executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios. “We looked at how China won it and it was from a technical standpoint. So how do we adjust and compensate for that? We studied a lot of things and asked how to make everything better this second time around.”

The inspiration for the renewed bid came from the world’s most popular sport — football. The 2002 FIFA World Cup in particular wherein Japan and South Korea jointly hosted the sport’s premier event.

“It was MVP who thought about the joint hosting,” revealed Panlilio. “We were in a meeting in Hong Kong and initially it was with Indonesia and Singapore. But we received some advice from FIBA to maybe look into including Japan. And they were only too happy to participate.”

The result was a bid that was infinitely more compelling — to make a mark in what is considered as a region dominated by football with the promise of growth for basketball, the potential to smash attendance records, the varying cultures and the opportunity to put on the best show for the sport.

After Russia and Turkey pulled out of the bid due to other concerns, the bid came down to the Philippines-Indonesia-Japan bloc and the Argentina-Uruguay partnership.

The compelling bid?

Undoubtedly a winner.

“We liked our chances in 2015,” shared Panlilio of the presentation bid in Geneva last Saturday, December 9. “We liked it even better now. But we were optimistically cautious. Mahirap na.”

This time, when FIBA President Horacio Muratore announced that the winner was the Philippines-Indonesia-Japan bloc it was of elation. An understatement actually.

“We were very happy but within minutes, our minds began to work — what’s next?” added Panlilio. “In fact, Sonny Barrios immediately began to talk to FIBA’s technical person about what’s next. He told us to relax and enjoy our Christmas.”

“It was a good win,” added Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who was represented by his sister, Congresswoman Pia Cayetano. “But the word that popped into my mind was ‘expensive’. This was going to be very expensive. But when this is too good an opportunity to pass up. With every peso that you spend is a peso for an opportunity for our country.”

The Filipino delegation repaired to an Italian restaurant to celebrate along with their Japanese counterparts and Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Evan P. Garcia. “We had a simple Italian dinner and some wine to celebrate,” related the SBP president. “But the feeling was great. Just great. We were all smiles even days after. Winning the bid made the long flight back home even better.”

“By the next year 2018, we are going to sit down with FIBA and begin to plan. And we do need to put together the local organizing committee (LOC). We would like to form a team to learn from what is going to happen in China. We need to send a team over to learn from hosting this event so we can apply that here.”

“Right now, yes, we’ll celebrate. Looking back at it — this is a great gift to the Filipino people.”

  • Published in Sports

Life-size ‘Star Wars’ spaceships unveiled in Manila, Cebu

The spaceship, The Tie Silencer, is the angular fighter of the film’s chief villain, Kylo Ren. The replica will be on display until January 8. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — Celebrities like TV hosts RJ Ledesma, Ariella Arida and Daphne Osena-Paez flocked in the unveiling of a life-size “Star Wars” spaceship replica in SM Mall of Asia, in time for the IMAX opening of Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Wednesday night.

The spaceship, The Tie Silencer, is the angular fighter of the film’s chief villain, Kylo Ren. The replica will be on display until January 8.


During the unveiling, Storm Troopers, Jedi and Rebel Pilots from the 501st Legion made a special appearance. The legion is an exclusive club of “Star Wars” fans wherein precise measurements for costumes are required to acquire membership.

Another realistic spaceship copy from the movie, The X-Wing, has been unraveled in SM Seaside City Cebu last December 1. The X-Wing is the Rebel Alliance’s Starfighter designed for long missions and intense battles. The life-size installation will be on display until January 21.

To enhance the “Star Wars” experience, the film’s last episode has been digitally re-mastered in IMAX, which boasts of vivid three-dimensional colors and effects. A mobile application, which can be downloaded for free from Android Google Play, can be used for online booking.  

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman. J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin are the executive producers. It is now showing in Philippine cinemas and is distributed by the Walt Disney Company (Philippines).

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.

Ariella Arida with Storm Troopers and Kylo Ren of the 501st Legion, with the The Tie Silencer spaceship at the background. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Daphne and her daughters with Storm Troopers and Kylo Ren of the 501st Legion. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
The Jedis, Kylo Ren, and Storm Troopers of the 501st Legion. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Kylo Ren and First Order members in front of the unveiled Tie Silencer fighter. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
501st Legion members in front of the unveiled Tie Silencer fighter. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Jedi costumes and memorabilia were also on display. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Life-size Tie SIlencer replica. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo



EDITORIAL - Local heritage

The pine trees that gave the city its moniker have rapidly disappeared from Baguio, and the bracing scents of nature are now overpowered by toxic fumes from jeepneys and buses crowding the traffic-choked streets. The trees on the mountain slopes in the nation’s summer capital have been replaced with houses and flimsy makeshift homes.

So Malacañang probably thinks it won’t make much of a difference if 32 more trees, from two to four meters tall, would be cut down in what used to be known as the Cordillera House, to make way for an extension office of the presidential executive secretary.

The sprawling Mansion House, used by presidents, sits just across the Cordillera House. Earlier this year, the Office of the Executive Secretary decided that the decades-old Cordillera House, now used by the Philippine Information Agency, should be converted into a multi-story structure and turned over to the OES.
Baguio residents prefer to have the old Cordillera House restored and declared by the city government as a historical site that deserves to be preserved as a local heritage. The Cordillera House served as official residence of priest-turned-rebel Conrado Balweg, who led the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army before becoming head of the Cordillera Bodong Administration.

That peace effort was a success, and the structure can be turned into a museum dedicated to the struggle for autonomy of the Cordillera people. So far, however, Malacañang officials appear bent on pushing ahead with the renovation beginning early next year.

The National Historical Commission is urging the city government to declare the Cordillera House a local heritage site that deserves preservation. Baguio City has already lost many of its unique attractions. This is one house that is worth saving.


Aquino hits Topacio over plunder claims in Dengvaxia controversy

SLANDER. Former president Benigno Aquino III hits Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyer Ferdinand Topacio over his 'baseless' allegations. 

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MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III slammed Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) lawyer Ferdinand Topacio for accusing him of plunder over the government's P3.5-billion dengue vaccine purchase.

Topacio on Thursday, December 14, urged the Senate blue ribbon committee to probe Aquino for plunder, saying the funds for Dengvaxia were released after Aquino met with Sanofi Pasteur officials.


For Aquino, Topacio's move of hurling accusations without evidence is tantamount to slander."Kilala natin lahat kung sino siya. Parang napansin 'nyo after sinabi lahat ng charges, sinabi sa committee, 'Imbestigahan 'nyo 'to.' Parang 'di ba kung mag-aakusa ko, may pruweba ako. Doon, mag-aakusa sila, pinapahanap kila Senator [Richard] Gordon at sa committee on health na kayo maghanap ng ebidensya namin. 'Di kaya may mali do'n?" Aquino told reporters after the hearing.

(We all know who he is. If you noticed after he stated all the charges, he told the committee, "Investigate that." If I am the accuser, I should have proof. There, they accused us and they're asking Senator Gordon and the committee on health to find evidence for them. Isn't that wrong?)

"Ngayon siyempre, gusto mo sabihin: 'Alam mo, sinisiraan mo reputasyon namin, puwede ka [kasuhan ng] slander, 'di ka covered ng parliamentary immunity, makabitaw ka gano'n na lang....' It is the duty of the accuser to prove the accusation," the former president added.

(Of course you'd want to say: "You know, you're ruining our reputation, you can be sued for slander, you're not covered by parliamentary immunity and yet you just throw accusations like that...." It is the duty of the accuser to prove the accusation.)

Asked what could be Topacio's motive, Aquino said he would rather not speculate.

"Mahirap naman magsalita. 'Di ako katulad nila – mag-aakusa na walang pruweba,"Aquino said. (It's difficult to speak. I'm not like them – I don't make accusations without proof.)

During the hearing, Topacio alleged that Aquino conspired with other officials in the procurement of Dengvaxia. (READ: Noynoy Aquino defends rush in buying dengue vaccine)

"In order to reveal the money trails, there is a need to check the bank accounts of the above persons," Topacio said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, an Aquino ally, cut Topacio and pointed out that he is not a resource person and should present his charges in the proper forum.

"People come here as a resource person, you come up with charges of plunder. I don't think it is proper," Drilon said.

Topacio replied he wasn't making any accusations but was just making "suggestions" to the panel.

Topacio was a former lawyer of ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was detained during the term of Aquino.

The VACC, meanwhile, is a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. It also filed cases against Duterte's fiercest critic, Senator Leila de Lima, another ally of Aquino. –


No plans to redesign OFW ID despite criticism – DOLE

NO CHANGES. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III holds a sample of the OFW ID with an image of President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler 

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MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday, December 14, there are no plans to change the design of the identification cards for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) despite criticism.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had drawn flak on social media for putting an image of President Rodrigo Duterte on the OFW ID – something Duterte himself told government agencies not to do.


But Bello said he has yet to hear complaints from Filipino migrant workers, so the design stays for now.Sa lahat ng messages na natanggap ko galing sa mga OFWs, wala pong negative reaction from OFWs. Positive lahat," he said. (Of all the messages I've received from OFWs, there's been no negative reaction from OFWs. They're all positive.)

"Tinitignan muna 'yung mga reaction from OFWs sa ID. We are observing the process ng paggawa ng card at pag-distribute," he added. (We're observing the reactions from OFWs regarding the ID. We are observing the process of making and distributing the card.)

Bello earlier said DOLE was open to redesigning the OFW ID amid flak from netizens.

He also reiterated that DOLE was solely responsible for the design of the OFW ID and said that the inclusion of the President's photo "symbolizes [Duterte's] desire to help improve the life of our OFWs."

OFW ID. A sample of the OFW ID with a printed application guide. Photo by Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler

OFW ID. A sample of the OFW ID with a printed application guide. Photo by Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler 

No negative reactions from OFWs?

Several netizens, however, have said the photo of the President was an unnecessary detail. Some also questioned why Duterte's image was printed in color and was even bigger than the OFW's black and white photo.

The sample OFW ID card had been posted by Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on her Facebook page.

"Kung may negative reaction ang mga OFWs sa OFW ID, tell us. We want to feel the pulse of OFWs, hindi 'yung mga politicians or executives. Puwede namang ipalit iyon. Kung gusto 'nyo, 'yung mukha ko na lang," Bello said in jest.

(If there are negative reactions from OFWs regarding the OFW ID, tell us. We want to feel the pulse of OFWs, not politicians or executives. It can still be changed. If you want, it can be my face instead.)

Initial release and processing of the OFW IDs started on December 7, as Bello and Duterte welcomed several returning OFWs at the Clark International Airport.

About 500 OFWs have been given the OFW ID, as the program is in its first phase of implementation. Only returning OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa program of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) can apply for the first phase.

The OFW ID was launched last July despite the lack of final guidelines for its implementation. As the first phase begins, however, DOLE still has not issued the official guidelines for application.

Accessible via the iDOLE One-Stop Online Facility (, the ID inter-links services and information from different government agencies, such as the POEA, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The OFW ID will be given to workers for free, with OWWA funds to be used for printing. 

Filipino migrant workers have been anticipating the OFW ID's release as it will replace the overseas employment certificate, a required document which has become burdensome for workers to secure. –


LIST: Simbang Gabi schedules across the Philippines for 2017

SIMBANG GABI. Every year, Filipinos mark the 9 days of Simbang Gabi in preparation for Christmas. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Do you want to complete the Simbang Gabi this year? Well, the first thing to know is the schedule of Masses.

Here's something we hope will help.

For Christmas this year, Rappler compiled the Simbang Gabi schedules in key churches and chapels – including those in shopping malls – in different parts of the Philippines.

We have the schedules for two types of Simbang Gabi:

the dawn Masses, typically celebrated betwen 4 and 5 am, from December 16 to 24
the evening Masses, typically celebrated between 8 and 10 pm, from December 15 to 23
We will update this page as more schedules become available. Feel free to bookmark this page and refresh it for updates.

If you want to share your church's Simbang Gabi schedules with us, feel free to tweet us @rapplerdotcom or to email the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include the keywords "Simbang Gabi schedule" in the subject line.

Merry Christmas!


Cabildo Corner Beaterio Street, Intramuros, Manila

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am

Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, Manila

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8:30 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am
5:30 am

Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am

Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
9 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am
5 am


Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8:30 pm

Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am

Greenmeadows Avenue, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

162 West Avenue Corner EDSA, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
6 pm

EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
7 pm (except on December 17, when it is scheduled at 7:30 pm)

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:15 am
5:30 am


SM MEGAMALL CHAPEL (Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord)
SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm


2F Bridgeway, Estancia at Capitol Commons, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
6:30 pm


SM AURA PREMIER CHAPEL (San Pedro Calungsod Chapel)
SM Aura Premier, 26th Street Corner McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm


Greenbelt Park, Ayala Center, Makati City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

Arnaiz Avenue corner Amorsolo Street, Makati City

Anticipated Simbang Gab (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am
(Note: A separate Simbang Gabi is scheduled at San Lorenzo Gym, 5 am on the same dates)


Redemptorist Road, Baclaran, Parañaque City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am


Burgos Street, Dagupan City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am

Manaoag, Pangasinan

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am


Lipa City, Batangas

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am


Balatas Road, Naga City

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am


P. Burgos Street, Cebu City

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4:30 am


Jaro, Iloilo City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am


San Pedro Street, Davao City

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
3 am
4:30 am


Fernandez Street, Barangay 01, Cagayan de Oro City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am



LOOK: Isabelle Duterte's pre-debut photo shoot in Malacañang

GRAND AFFAIR. Presidential granddaughter Isabelle Duterte poses for a pre-debut photo shoot inside Malacañang. Photo from Jeff Galang Instagram account 

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MANILA, Philippines – What better place for a presidential granddaughter to have her pre-debut photo shoot than Malacañang Palace, the country's seat of power?

Isabelle Duterte, the daughter of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, took a team of in-demand celebrity stylists and make-up artists to the Palace for her pre-debut photo shoot.


Instagram posts of the stylists themselves and of Isabelle show details of the shoot held on Thursday, December 14.In the photos, Isabelle wore a red gown with a train worthy of a Disney princess, one with cream leaves, and floral printed dress. 


In one photo, she poses with make-up artist Frankie Bacierto in front of the seal of the President of the Philippines.

The stylish presidential granddaughter's team was composed of celebrity stylist Jeff Galang, make-up artists Bacierto and Winn Ramos, and photographer Lito Sy, among others.


She also tagged gown designer Rosenthal Tee in her posts, indicating some of the gowns were designed by her.

Rita Neri, a much sought-after events planner, also posted a photo of Isabelle with the caption, "A sneak peek of our 2018 debutante Ms Isabelle Duterte, Philippine President’s first granddaughter in Malacañang Palace."

Isabelle, a known fashionista, is the daughter of Paolo Duterte and his ex-wife, Lovelie Sangkola Sumera, the woman the President said he has not seen in "10 years" despite photos showing she was a recent guest in Palace events. –


PDEA uncovers Antipolo shabu lab, seizes P500k in illegal drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday discovered a "shabu laboratory," arrested five suspects, and seized suspected shabu, marijuana, and cocaine worth some P500,000 in a raid on a house in Cogeo, Antipolo City in Rizal province.

GMA News' Raffy Tima on "Unang Balita" on Friday said that operatives nabbed siblings Junjie, Junrel, and Jansen Chavez, as well as Malome Amahan, and Jess Christopher Marcaida.

The target house looked ordinary outside, but when PDEA Special Enforcement Service operatives shoved a bed out of the way, a “secret passage” leading to what the unit’s Director Levi Ortiz said was a “shabu laboratory" emerged.

Apart from the suspected drugs amounting to some half a million pesos, the raid also yielded drug paraphernalia and ammunition.

Much of the confiscated marijuana was reportedly in packets, ready to be sold, the report added.

PDEA surveillance information suggested that the suspects—which Ortiz said may be “connected” to armed groups in the north—had been operating long before Thursday's raid got them. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/LBG, GMA News


WHO advice: No dengue, no vaccine

In this April 2016 photo, a nurse in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga province injects a student with Dengvaxia as part of a Department of Health program. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

While it prevents dengue fever in the majority of vaccine recipients, Dengvaxia vaccine should not be administered to people who have not previously been exposed to the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The health agency issued the advisory on Wednesday following a consultation of its Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.

“This recommendation is based on new evidence communicated by the vaccine’s manufacturer (Sanofi Pasteur), indicating an increase in incidence of hospitalization and severe illness in vaccinated children never infected with dengue,” the WHO said.

New results

“The WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety considered the company’s new results from clinical trial data analyses,” it added.

The WHO noted that studies indicate that increased risk of severe dengue disease in people who have never been infected affects about 15 percent of the vaccinated individuals.

“The magnitude of risk is in the order of about four out of every 1,000 seronegative patients vaccinated who developed severe dengue disease during five years of observation. The risk of developing severe dengue disease in nonvaccinated individuals has been calculated as 1.7 per 1,000 over the same period of observation,” the WHO said.

“By contrast, for the 85 percent who have had dengue disease before immunization, there is a reduction of four cases of severe dengue per 1,000 who are vaccinated,” it said.

The WHO noted that it had mentioned the possibility of risk for seronegative people and published it in a position paper in July 2016, saying “vaccination may be ineffective or may theoretically even increase the future risk of hospitalized or severe dengue illness in those who are seronegative at the time of first vaccination regardless of age.”

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