Items filtered by date: Monday, 15 January 2018

Lifting limit on Gilas-bound PBA players possible, says Marcial

MANILA, Philippines – Barring injuries, June Mar Fajardo and the other members of the Gilas training pool will be at their best in the remaining windows of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this year because of the PBA games.

And the PBA assured the players will be available to Gilas, with the Commissioner’s Office making the adjustments so that the league and the ball clubs will face only minimal distractions on Gilas’ games.

PBA officer-in-charge Willie Marcial even hinted at the league board possibly lifting limits in the release of PBA players to the national team.

Under the existing PBA-SBP memorandum of agreement, PBA ball clubs are mandated to release only one veteran and one cadet to Gilas.

“Lifting the limit is possible,” said Marcial as he visited the Gilas pool in practice Monday at the Meralco Gym.

Marcial looks forward to the national team doing good in the second window of the WC qualifiers next month where Gilas will finally test its mettle against world No. 10 Australia.

Everybody is hopeful that Gilas will be in great shape.

“Since the PBA season is ongoing, the Gilas players are all in good condition. That won’t be a problem in our games in the World Cup qualifiers,” said Fajardo as he rejoined Gilas in training Monday.

Nonetheless, Fajardo said they will have a job cut out for them in the next window where they play Australia in Melbourne on February 22 then Japan at the MOA Arena in Pasay City on February 25.

The Boomers were dominant in their first two games against Japan and Chinese Taipei. The Nationals are tied with the Boomers in their group as Gilas also swept the Japanese and the Taiwanese in the first window.

Meanwhile, the SBP hinted at the possibility of holding Gilas’ home game against Australia at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on July 2.

“By playing in the three venues — the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena, this will serve as a dry run of our hosting of the FIBA World Cup 2023," said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.

"The three venues were presented as part of the country’s 2023 bid, and we get to showcase not only our facilities but our capabilities to the world."


  • Published in Sports

Subway rider gives homeless man 'the shoes off his feet'

A Chicago woman says she was inspired after seeing a Good Samaritan give away his own winter boots to a homeless man on the subway, in a heart- and foot-warming story that is going viral on Facebook.
Jessica Bell says the incident happened late Friday on Chicago’s public transit system, where she found herself sitting across from an “older, weathered-looking” homeless man. She says in the post that he was wearing shabby, tattered gym shoes and several layers of socks, and that his swollen feet appeared to be bleeding underneath all those layers.
“I don’t know how many pairs of socks he’s wearing in an attempt to keep his feet warm but there is blood seeping through,” she wrote in her post.

Bell says she was astonished to see another man take off his new, expensive-looking boots and hand them over “in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it fashion.” The man, whom Bell described as “younger, carrying a satchel and a suitcase,” also handed over a pair of socks before pulling out a backup pair of shoes from his suitcase.
“These shoes are nice too, but not as nice as the boots,” Bell wrote. “They would have fit the old man just as well, but they were not what this old man needed.”
The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Chicago’s subway, just as frigid winds and a snowstorm were hitting the city.
Bell says she later spoke to the Good Samaritan and learned that his name was Maurice Anderson, and that he was only in town from Kentucky to visit his family. She says he didn’t make a fuss about handing over the boots, and didn’t say anything to anyone about it.
“Maurice took the shoes off his feet in the middle of a Chicago cold snap,” Bell told in a telephone interview on Monday.
“He didn’t draw a lot of attention to it,” she said. “It was so quiet and selfless.”
After handing over the shoes, Anderson advised the homeless man to clean his feet before putting on the fresh pair of socks, Bell recounted. Anderson got off the train shortly after.
“I love that in a time and place where hate and apathy are rampant, quiet compassion appears without warning,” Bell wrote.
The homeless man later told her that the boots came as a relief, because he was afraid his feet had become frostbitten from the cold.
Bell told that Chicago’s subway runs through the night, and is a common place for the city’s homeless to take shelter from the cold during bad weather.
Bell shared two photos of the older man putting on the boots, tagging the photos as being “with God” at the Chicago Transit Authority.
She says she wrote about the encounter on Facebook while waiting for a bus that night, and by the time she got home, her post had been shared several times. The post also caught Anderson’s attention, and the two have been working through the widespread media attention ever since.
The post has been shared more than 12,000 times.
“I’m inspired to continue to try to ‘be the change’ and I pray you are too,” she wrote.
Bell told she was truly touched by Anderson’s generosity, adding that it’s just one of the many selfless acts that often go unnoticed in the world every day.
“This is what people want to believe in,” she said.

  • Published in U.S.

13 victims, ages 2 to 29, kept shackled in foul Perris home by parents, officials say

David and Louise Turpin allegedly kept 13 victims confined in filthy conditions in Perris home. (Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.)


David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin allegedly kept their 13 children, ages 2-29, shackled in their Perris home in filthy conditions. (KABC)
Updated 6 mins ago
PERRIS, Calif. (KABC) -- Thirteen victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were kept shackled to their beds amid foul surroundings in a Perris home by their parents, sheriff's officials said.

Early Sunday morning, a 17-year-old girl escaped from the residence, located in the 100 Block of Muir Woods Road and called 911 from a cellular device she managed to take from the home, investigators said.

That teen told the 911 operator that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive in their home by their parents.

When investigators from the Perris Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department met with the girl, they said she looked emaciated and only 10 years old, though she was 17.

After interviewing the girl, investigators contacted her parents, 57-year old David Allen Turpin and 49-year old Louise Anna Turpin at the home from which the teen escaped.

Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings. However, the parents were not able to immediately provide a reason why their children were restrained in that manner.

Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house - but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.
There were 13 victims total -- 12 in the house, and one who escaped and called 911. The victims, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 years old, were transported to the Perris Station and interviewed.

Both parents were detained and transported to the station for further investigation. Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services arrived to assist in the investigation. The victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving.

Both parents were interviewed and subsequently transported to the Robert Presley Detention Center. They were arrested on suspicion of torture and child endangerment.

Bail was set at $9 million each.

James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, who are David Turpin's parents, told ABC News they are "surprised and shocked" at the allegations against their son and daughter-in-law.

They said they haven't seen the couple since they visited them in California four or five years ago. They keep in touch regularly by phone with David and Louise, but not with the grandchildren. They said their grandchildren are home-schooled.

If you have any relevant information about this ongoing investigation, you're urged to contact Investigator Tom Salisbury at the Perris Station by calling (951) 210-1000 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Published in U.S.

Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Cranberries, dies aged 46

Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer with the multi-platinum band the Cranberries, has died aged 46.

The news was confirmed by her publicist in a statement, but no cause of death has yet been announced. O’Riordan, who had to cancel a tour with a reunited Cranberries in 2017 because of a back problem, had been in London for a recording session.

The statement described the death as sudden, and added: “Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

A Metropolitan police statement also confirmed the news, and that O’Riordan’s body was found at a Park Lane hotel. “At this early stage the death is being treated as unexplained,” the statement read.

A spokeswoman for the London Hilton on Park Lane said: “It is with deep regret that we can confirm a guest sadly passed away at the hotel on Monday 15 January. We offer our sincere condolences to their family at this difficult time.”

Irish president Michael D Higgins said he learned of the news with “great sadness”, adding: “To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts, her death will be a big loss.”

Musicians have started to pay tribute, including Irish songwriter Hozier, who said he was “shocked and saddened”, and that O’Riordan’s voice “threw into question what a voice could sound like in that context of rock. I’d never heard somebody use their instrument in that way.”

Irish rockers Kodaline said they were “absolutely shocked” by the news, and pop singer Maggie Rogers said: “Dolores O’Riordan’s voice helped me understand my place in the world.” Jim Corr of Irish pop group the Corrs passed his “deepest sympathies” to O’Riordan’s family.

Duran Duran, whose tour manager Don Burton was married to O’Riordan for more than 20 years before their divorce in 2014, said they were “crushed” by the news. O’Riordan and Burton had three children together: Taylor Baxter, Molly Leigh and Dakota Rain.

O’Riordan, born in Limerick in 1971, joined the Cranberries – then called the Cranberry Saw Us – in 1990, and performed with them until 2003 when they took a hiatus. Driven by O’Riordan’s heartfelt vocals and her unmistakeable west Irish accent, they became hugely successful on both sides of the Atlantic.

Their hits began with the lilting, keeningly romantic Linger, which reached the Top 10 in the US and Ireland, and No 14 in the UK. It was described by O’Riordan in the Guardian last year as being inspired by “being dumped, publicly, at the disco. Everything’s so dramatic when you’re 17, so I poured it into the song.”

They built on its success, and that of their album Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, with their next album, 1994’s No Need to Argue. The lead single Zombie showed a new side to the band and to O’Riordan’s voice – a heavy, tortured, anthemic song filled with the violence of the Troubles, it was written in the wake of a 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington that killed three-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry.

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No Need to Argue sold 17m copies, including 7m in the US, and cemented them as one of the biggest alternative acts of the 1990s – their overall album sales topped 40m. The Cranberries released three more albums before taking a break in 2003, allowing O’Riordan to record two solo albums. The band reformed in 2009, initially just to perform live, but new material was eventually released on two subsequent albums, including 2017’s Something Else.

The band’s 2017 European tour was curtailed due to O’Riordan suffering from a back problem; their US dates were then also cancelled on the advice of O’Riordan’s doctors. In a statement after the cancellations the band said they were “very disappointed” and added: “The outpouring of support the Cranberries have received from fans and followers during the past several months is greatly appreciated.”


Malaysia upholds death sentences for nine Filipinos over 2013 incursion

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian court on Monday upheld death sentences handed down to nine men from the Philippines in connection with an 2013 incursion into the Malaysian part of Borneo island by Philippine fighters seeking to stake an ancient claim.

The incursion by the fighters from the southern Philippines into Malaysia's Sabah state sparked a month-long crisis and at least 27 people were killed when Malaysian troops backed by fighter jets eventually subdued the militants.

The conflict disrupted operations in Sabah’s huge palm oil industry and at the time, raised concern that prolonged trouble could dampen investor interest in energy and infrastructure projects in the state.

The nine were among fighters captured.

A five-member Federal Court panel unanimously ruled that the death sentences were the most appropriate, upholding a decision by a lower court to increase the penalty from life sentences, according to the state news agency Bernama.

The court also upheld a lower court's decision to release 14 other men who had been held in connection with the fighting in the sleepy Lahad Datu district.

The fighters were from a group that has demanded recognition, and an increased payment from Malaysia, for their claim to be the rightful owners of Sabah, which an ancient sultanate leased to British colonialists in the 19th century.

Malaysia dismissed their demands and the Philippine government repeatedly told the group to put down their weapons and go home.

The fighters declared loyalty to the self-proclaimed Sultan of the southern Philippine region of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram, in the Philippines. — Reuters


Nene Pimentel's appeal to the public, speak out now

Former senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. has asked the public to voice out their opinion as the government seems to fast-track the implementation of a federal form of government.

"Mga kababayan ko, ang direct appeal ko sa inyo, huwag kayong maghintay na hindi na kayo makapagsalita," he said in an interview on "Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie" on Monday evening.

"Magsalita kayo ngayon," he added.

Pimentel, known as the father of federalism and the father of the Local Government Code, said the Local Government Code has not been implemented properly and it has not undergone a formal review.

"Nung naipasa natin yung Local Government Code, for the first time ang mga ka-barangayan, munisipyo, syudad, probinsya nagkaroon ng more or less na parang bagang concrete na kapangyarihan to address the concerns of the people. But only on three major departments, agriculture, health and social welfare," he said.

However, Pimentel pointed out that when Supertyphoon Yolanda struck Samar and Leyte the relief operations were still handled by Dinky Soliman, then secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

"A department whose personnel functions and funds had already been devolved to local government," he said.

Pimentel explained that the Local Government Code was a "logical successor towards the process of federalism."

In the process, the Code should have been reviewed every five years, so the needs of the local government can be addressed.

When asked if the Code was reviewed, Pimentel said, "as a Code i don't think that it ever was (reviewed). The Local Government Code was not implemented properly."

He said he did not ask for a review of the Code because he was still working on the implementation of the Code.

On the proposed transitory period to a federal form of government that would last up to 10 years, Pimentel said, "Totally unacceptable, I would like to say."

"Kayo pong, lahat kayo na nasa poder ngayon who are elected officials nandidiyan kayo kasi gusto ng taumbayan nandun kayo. Huwag ninyong isa tabi yung proceso where the people would exercise their sovereignty to place you in power, just so you can stay in power forever," he said.

He underscored that the government should conduct public hearings nationwide as part of efforts to educate the public about federalism. — BAP, GMA News


8 areas still positive for paralytic shellfish poison —BFAR

Shellfish collected from eight areas still tested positive for paralytic shellfish poison, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Monday.

However, Maqueda and Villareal Bays in Western Samar are now free from the toxic red tides.

According to a BFAR bulletin dated January 15, all types of shellfish and alamang in the following areas are unsafe for human consumption as they contain “beyond the regulatory limit” of paralytic shellfish poison.

Irong-Irong Bay in Western Samar
Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar
Coastal waters of Leyte
Carigara Bay in Leyte
Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur
Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan
Coastal waters of Mandaon in Masbate
Coastal waters of Bataan (Mariveles, Limay, Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Orani, Abucay and Samal)
The BFAR warned against harvesting, selling, buying and eating shellfish from these areas.

Fish, squids, shrimps and crabs gathered from these waters can be consumed as long as they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs like gills and intestines are removed prior to cooking, said the bulletin.

"Paralytic shellfish poisoning is the most common shellfish poisoning syndrome in the Philippines. It is caused by red tides, or the high concentration of algae in bodies of water, giving it a discoloration that can also appear “yellow, brown, green, blue or milky, depending on the organisms involved,” according to a fact sheet from the Marine Biotoxins Laboratory of the BFAR.

The toxin can cause tingling of the lips and tongue, which could spread to the face, neck, fingertips and toes usually within 30 minutes, followed by headache, dizziness, and nausea.

“In severe cases, muscular paralysis and respiratory difficulty may occur within five to 12 hours. Fatalities from respiratory paralysis have been reported,” the fact sheet added. —ALG, GMA News


Carpio: PHL dumb to grant China request to do research in Benham Rise

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Monday said it would be "dumb" if the Philippine government would allow the request of China to explore the resource-rich Philippine Rise.

"China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal. Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb to grant China's request," Carpio said in a 24 Oras report by Raffy Tima.

Magdalo partylist Representative Gary Alejano last week said that he had recieved information that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had granted the request of a Chinese entity to do research in waters off eastern Luzon.

The Philippine Rise, formerly known as the Benham Rise, is located east of Luzon and is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

In 2012, the United Nations gave the country exclusive sovereign rights over the rise, believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

Chinese vessels were spotted surveying the said area in 2017, prompting the Philippine government to send Beijing a note verbale, seeking clarification as regards the presence of its ships in the resource-rich area.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Carpio should respect the executive branch once a decision was already made.

"Sana respetuhin natin 'yung separation of powers kapag meron ng kasong nakahain sa kanya," Roque said.

DFA secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had said "Philippine law says research can be done as along as there is a Filipino on board."

"So there's nothing suspicious about approval or disapproval of scientific research whether they're Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, Singaporeans. If they comply we will approve, if they do not comply we will not approve," Cayetano said.

It is the DFA which usually grants applications to conduct research in the area, with coordination from technical agencies depending on the type of research. —Anna Felicia Bajo/NB, GMA News


Duque insists on full refund of gov’t payment for Dengvaxia

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said he would demand full refund of the P3.5 billion the government paid to the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur for the Dengvaxia vaccines that the Department of Health (DOH) junked after the drug proved to be flawed.
Duque, who was in the Senate for a meeting with Sen. JV Ejercito, the health committee chair, told reporters that he agreed with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III that a full refund was in order.

Pimentel said on Sunday that Sanofi Pasteur should fully refund the P3.5 billion the government had paid the company because “[a]ll the vaccines were defective from the beginning.”

“We will ask for a full refund eventually but for the meantime we want the immediate withdrawal of vials of vaccines that are still stored with our cold chain storage facilities,” Duque told reporters.

The DOH sent a letter to Sanofi Pasteur on Friday to demand refund of P1.4 billion in unused Dengvaxia supplies.
Sanofi Pasteur said on Monday that it had agreed to refund P1.4 billion to the Philippine government for unused supplies of Dengvaxia, but Duque said he had not yet personally received a response from the company.
“Sanofi Pasteur has responded positively to the Philippine Department of Health’s request that we provide reimbursement for the doses of Dengvaxia that were not used by the government in the public vaccination program,” Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement on Monday.
Not related to mess
But Sanofi Pasteur stressed that its decision was not related to any question of safety or quality involving Dengvaxia.
“Our decision to reimburse for unused doses is not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia. Rather Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DOH to address the negative tone toward the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today,” the company said.
“Sanofi Pasteur strongly believes that this tone is due to a misunderstanding of the benefits and risks associated with the dengue vaccine and a lack of awareness among the general public, particularly parents of vaccinated children, that the overall benefit of dengue vaccination remains positive in high endemic countries like the Philippines,” it added.

Sanofi Pasteur also said it had requested a meeting with the DOH to discuss any questions involving the reimbursement, and to “find ways to inform the Filipino public in a more balanced and evidence-based way on dengue vaccination while also restoring public trust in vaccination programs, in general.”
The DOH paid Sanofi Pasteur P3.5 billion for Dengvaxia supplies in 2015 for a dengue immunization program.
It halted the program last Dec. 1 after Sanofi Pasteur announced that Dengvaxia worsened symptoms in vaccinated people who had no previous exposure to the dengue virus.
More than 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia before the DOH could stop the program.
14 kids died
At least 14 of those children have died and the DOH is trying to determine if Dengvaxia is linked to their deaths.
“The Dengvaxia vaccine, which Sanofi Pasteur aggressively promoted and sold to the Philippine government, has undeniably failed to deliver its supposed clinical benefit and safety claims, hence, considered defective under Philippine civil laws,” Duque said in a statement earlier on Monday.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are investigating the controversy and 21 vaccinated children have brought graft charges against former President Benigno S. Aquino III and three members of his Cabinet.
The children also accused the former officials of violating the government procurement law.
Former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco also has brought plunder, graft and mass murder charges against the former officials for exposing more than 830,000 children to health risks by giving them Dengvaxia.
More charges coming
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), which is investigating the deaths of vaccinated children, said on Monday that it would bring criminal and civil charges against former government officials over the dengue immunization drive.
“Definitely, someone’s going to be charged. But the health workers and officers, we won’t charge you. You were only misled,” said PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO



Health chief to review DOH contracts under Aquino

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said he would order a review of the contracts entered into by the Department of Health (DOH) under the Aquino administration as he urged those who had evidence of corruption in the agency to come forward and file charges against the officials involved.
“I encourage those who are painting the Department of Health in a bad light to present evidence to substantiate their claims. I cannot allow accusers to tarnish the good reputation of the Department of Health, which it has gloriously built over the years, by spewing unsubstantiated allegations,” Duque said in a statement.

DOH ‘mafia’


Duque’s statement came after Dr. Francis Cruz, a consultant to then Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, exposed on Saturday the operations of an alleged “mafia” in the DOH composed of several former and current officials linked to corruption, including the controversial procurement of Dengvaxia vaccine.
Cruz named the DOH officials, including former Health Secretary Janette Garin, whom he accused of pushing for the acquisition of dengue vaccine to gain profit.
He identified at least 18 incumbent and former DOH officials who allegedly benefited from the P3.5-billion immunization program.
Cruz identified them as Dr. Mario Villaverde, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David, Carol Taño; Assistant Secretaries Lyndon Lee-Suy and Nestor Santiago; OIC Directors Joyce Ducusin and Marvin Bello; Financial Management Service Director Larry Cruz; Directors Leonila Gorgolon, Ariel Valencia and Rio Magpantay; and Philippine Children’s Medical Center chief Julius Lecciones.
Former health officials linked by Cruz to the alleged mafia were Undersecretaries Nemesio Gako and Kenneth Hartigan-Go and Director Yolanda Oliveros.
Cruz alleged that the officials were involved in the conversion scheme, in which 90 percent of the project’s budget goes back to the agency and 10 percent goes back to the financier or suppliers.
Garin, in a statement, denied Cruz’s allegations, saying these were questionable and unsubstantiated.
There was no immediate comment from the current and former officials named by Cruz but Duque urged them to respond to the allegations and clear their names.

“While the allegations are still unsubstantiated at this point, I will order a review of the contracts entered into by the previous administration,” Duque said. —WITH A REPORT FROM JHOANNA BALLARAN


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