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8 areas under signal no. 2 as Urduja moves closer to land

Satellite image as of December 16, 8 am. Image courtesy of NOAA 

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Urduja headed for the Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area early Saturday morning, December 16, ahead of its expected landfall within the day.

 

In a bulletin issued 8 am on Saturday, PAGASA said Urduja is already 125 kilometers east northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar, moving west at 10 kilometers per hour (km/h). This speed is still slow, but it is slightly faster now compared to when it was barely moving on Friday, December 15.PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio earlier explained that the tropical storm's interaction with the northeast monsoon and the tail-end of a cold front had been preventing it from advancing faster.

Ahead of its landfall on Saturday afternoon or evening, Urduja has maximum winds of 80 km/h and gustiness of up to 95 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Signal number 2 is raised over:

  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands
  • Eastern Samar
  • Northern Samar
  • Samar
  • Biliran
  • Leyte

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up in:

  • southern Quezon
  • Marinduque
  • Romblon
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Aklan
  • Antique
  • Capiz
  • Iloilo
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • northern Negros Oriental
  • Cebu
  • northern Bohol
  • Southern Leyte
  • Dinagat Islands
     

Floods and landslides have hit Eastern Samar, while Tacloban City is under a state of calamity.

PAGASA said residents of provinces in the tropical storm's path "must undertake appropriate measures against flooding and landslides and coordinate with their respective local government and disaster risk reduction and management offices." (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Below are the top 5 areas which received the most rainfall in terms of millimeters (mm), from 8 am of Thursday, December 14, to 8 am of Friday, or a 24-hour period. Guiuan, Eastern Samar is the hardest-hit as it received nearly two months' worth of rain in just one day.

  1. Guiuan, Eastern Samar – 780 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 440 mm)
  2. Borongan, Eastern Samar – 343 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 674.8 mm)
  3. Catbalogan, Samar – 215 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 322.7 mm)
  4. Tacloban, Leyte – 192.4 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 386 mm)
  5. Maasin, Southern Leyte – 95.4 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 226.1 mm)

Sea travel also remains risky in seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signals.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earlier activated the government's national disaster response operation to assist areas affected by the tropical storm.

Based on its forecast track, Urduja will eventually get downgraded back to a tropical depression by Tuesday, December 19, then leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday, December 20.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Urduja as of December 16, 8 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA
     

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Urduja as of December 16, 8 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA 

– Rappler.com

 
 
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Rappler Talk: Janette Garin on the Dengvaxia controversy

MANILA, Philippines – The spotlight is on former Department of Health chief Janette Garin, who launched the now-suspended dengue vaccination program.

She faced multiple congressional probes into how the government allowed public school students in 3 regions to be vaccinated with Sanofi Pasteur’s risky Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.

Garin maintains the immunization program went through the legal process and was implemented in good faith.

Watch the full interview on Rappler. – Rappler.com

 
 
 
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Tagle leads Simbang Gabi, hits discrimination vs Muslims

SIMBANG GABI. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle delivers the homily on the first Simbang Gabi on December 16, 2017. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos flocked to churches for the first Simbang Gabi this year, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Catholics to end discrimination against people they consider "different," including Muslims.

In his homily on Saturday, December 16, Tagle recognized the need for Filipinos to come together despite differences in belief, attitudes, and characteristics.

 

"Ang kailangan natin ngayon ay ang pagkakasundo, ang pagsasama-sama, ang pagtigil sa hidwaan, sa pagkakanya-kanya na nauuwi pa minsan sa karahasan," the cardinal said. (What we need now is to be at peace with each other, to come together, to stop wars, to end selfishness which often leads to violence.)

"Walang magandang nadudulot ang pagsisiraan na nauuwi sa pagkakahati-hati," he added. (Nothing good comes out of saying bad things against each other, which only leads to division.)

Highlighting several incidents during the Marawi siege when Muslims protected Christians against harm and violence, Tagle called on his flock to bring down the wall of differences.(READ:Trapped in Marawi, Muslims shield Christians from terrorists)

"Atin pong iwasto ang ating tendency sa discrimination laban sa mga kapwa natin na iba sa atin," he continued. "Sana ang samahan ng mga Kristiyano at mga kapatid nating Muslim ay umayos."

(Let's fix our tendency to discriminate against others who are different from us. I hope that the relationship of Christians and our Muslim brothers progress for the better.)

Dwelling on differences would only strengthen walls that divide communities. 

To fix this, Tagle urged people to discover the personalities of those they deem "different" and to go beyond what is seen on the surface of another person.

Doing so, the cardinal said, would mean helping "give birth" to Jesus Christ.

"Makipagkaibigan po tayo kaya tuklasin ang tunay na pagkatao ng mabuwag ang mga pader na naghahati-hati, na umuuwi naman sa karahasan at pagkakanya-kanya," Tagle said. (We should befriend others to see their real personalities and to destroy the wall of differences and division.) 

Simbang Gabi is the traditional set of 9 Masses in preparation for Christmas Day. It is held either in the evening or at dawn, in churches and improvised places of worship, such as malls. (LIST: Simbang Gabi schedules across the Philippines for 2017) – Rappler.com

 
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Duterte eyes Efren Peñaflorida to lead PCUP

EDUCATING THE POOR. CNN Hero awardee Efren Peñaflorida speaks to media after a Kariton Klasrum culminating activity. File photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is considering Efren Peñaflorida, the man recognized by CNN for his pushcart classrooms, to lead the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).

The PCUP was the government agency whose officials Duterte sacked because they supposedly have not met as a collegial body, and have joined "junkets" abroad.

 

"Ang una kong i-consider 'yung nagatulak bitaw ng, 'yung naga turo (The first one I consider is the one who pushes, the one who teaches)," he said, referring to Peñaflorida.

Duterte bared this late Friday night, December 15, in an hour-long speech before Davao City-based media at the so-called Malacañang of the South.

Peñaflorida was hailed CNN Hero of the Year in 2009 for his efforts to educate kids in Metro Manila's slums.

Apart from Peñaflorida, the President said Malacañang is also "looking" for Randy Halasan to join the PCUP.

Halasan was a Ramon Magsaysay awardee in 2014 for supporting a Matigsalug community in the hinterlands of this city.

This was also confirmed by Duterte's aide, Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go, as they said the search for PCUP officials is yet to be completed.

Duterte earlier removed PCUP officials, including its erstwhile chair Terry Ridon, for supposedly taking "too much" travels abroad.

Ridon, however, said such travels were work-related– Rappler.com

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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. – Rappler.com

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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 (iDOLE.ph), 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. – Rappler.com

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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!

MANILA

MANILA CATHEDRAL
Cabildo Corner Beaterio Street, Intramuros, Manila

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

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

MINOR BASILICA OF SAN LORENZO RUIZ
Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, Manila

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

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

MINOR BASILICA OF SAN SEBASTIAN
Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila

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

QUIAPO CHURCH
Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
9 pm

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

QUEZON CITY

CHURCH OF THE GESÙ
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

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

SANTO DOMINGO CHURCH
Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

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

CHRIST THE KING PARISH
Greenmeadows Avenue, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

OUR LADY OF VERITAS CHAPEL
162 West Avenue Corner EDSA, Quezon City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
6 pm

EDSA SHRINE
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

MANDALUYONG CITY

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

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

PASIG CITY

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

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

TAGUIG CITY

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

MAKATI CITY

GREENBELT CHAPEL
Greenbelt Park, Ayala Center, Makati City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

SANTUARIO DE SAN ANTONIO
McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
5 am

SAINT JOHN BOSCO PARISH
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)

PARAÑAQUE CITY

BACLARAN CHURCH
Redemptorist Road, Baclaran, Parañaque City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

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

PANGASINAN

SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST CATHEDRAL
Burgos Street, Dagupan City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am

MINOR BASILICA OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY OF MANAOAG
Manaoag, Pangasinan

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

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

LIPA CITY

SAINT SEBASTIAN CATHEDRAL
Lipa City, Batangas

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am

NAGA CITY

BASILICA MINORE OF OUR LADY OF PENAFRANCIA
Balatas Road, Naga City

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

CEBU CITY

CEBU METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL
P. Burgos Street, Cebu City

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

ILOILO CITY

JARO METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL
Jaro, Iloilo City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am

DAVAO CITY

SAN PEDRO CATHEDRAL PARISH
San Pedro Street, Davao City

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

CAGAYAN DE ORO

SAINT AUGUSTINE METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL
Fernandez Street, Barangay 01, Cagayan de Oro City

Anticipated Simbang Gabi (December 15-23)
8 pm

Simbang Gabi (December 16-24)
4 am

– Rappler.com

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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. – Rappler.com

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