By Nicole Ann M. Aguila
A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman. Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis.
These past few weeks, the MERS-CoV-related news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals.
Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERS-CoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV.
DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confinement.
“He has no symptoms. He has the virus but he is not sick with it. But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation. We can say that he’s a carrier. It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said.
The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks.
After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.
They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERS-CoV or get quarantined.
Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus.
“To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted.
This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure.
(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)
Senator Loren Legarda recently emphasized on the need to allocate sufficient funds and prioritize the implementation of action plans for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM).
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said climate experts have already warned of the grim scenario that nations, especially in Southeast Asia, could face due to the warming climate.
“The newest IPCC Report states that seas will rise by 26-82 centimeters by 2100. Sea level rise is a great threat to small island nations, and for an archipelago like the Philippines, it would mean more floods. We have already seen and experienced the wrath of Yolanda, how the surge of seawater engulfed communities. We cannot prevent a storm, but we can save our communities from devastation if we actually fund and implement our disaster and climate resilience plans without delay,” said Legarda.
“For instance, under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, every province, city and municipality should have a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO), and every barangay should establish a Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee. Do our LGUs have these local DRRM offices? Are local DRRM officers equipped and trained to carry out their tasks? These local DRRM offices should be created to institutionalize arrangements and measures for reducing disaster risks, and enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels,” she added.
The Senator added that with the threat of rising sea levels, LGUs must be ready to confront the worsening floods. To do this, LGUs must update their data on flood hazards and vulnerabilities, invest in flood protection and mitigation, identify safe land for families to live in and implement the solid waste management law at full speed.
“We have seen enough tragedy. Studies that warn us of our vulnerabilities have been coming in every year. Nobody can say we have not been warned. It is time disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts as well as climate adaptation and mitigation measures are given a fair share of the national budget and serious attention by our government and by every citizen,” Legarda concluded.
TWO turnover ceremonies were held in Mindanao on September 17 -18, 2013 for projects implemented by a Japanese NGO “ICAN.” Both projects were funded by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
On September 17, the ceremony was held at Bia-o Primary School in General Santos for the project called “Community Development Project with the Children of Indigenous Community in Mindanao” (Phase 2), amounting to US$ 240,693 (approximately PhP9.8 million). The ceremony was attended by Hon. Ronnel Rivera, Mayor of General Santos City and representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd) and the community as well as staff members of the Embassy of Japan and ICAN. #OpinYon #foreign #japan
- FEATURE: Japan-funded school building opens for tribal children in Mindanao (english.kyodonews.jp)
- New NGCP line for GenSan in anticipation of load growth (mindanews.com)
- Australia Provides Emergency Aid for Mindanao (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Stakeholders to discuss Mindanao tourism in GenSan (mindanews.com)
- Mindanao will still draw tourists despite Zamboanga City crisis (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Protests vs pork barrel set in key cities of Mindanao (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- General Santos Hotels (globalgensan.wordpress.com)
- general santos city (fpuertos.wordpress.com)
- P842-M poured to Mindanao under WB-funded project (mindanews.com)
- UPDATE1: School in Philippines celebrates Japanese gov’t recognition (english.kyodonews.jp)
THE Australian Government today announced it will provide up to Php10 million (A$252,000) in emergency aid for families left homeless by the humanitarian crisis in Basilan and Zamboanga City.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said the conflict in Zamboanga and Basilan has created a humanitarian crisis deserving an Australian response.
“We are deeply concerned by the recent violence in Mindanao and the effect this has had on local people,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
More than 120,000 people have been displaced and 10,000 homes destroyed by fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City and the province of Basilan in Mindanao.
At the request of the Philippine Government and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Australia’s assistance will provide emergency aid including food, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets, water containers, kitchen and hygiene kits for people left homeless by the conflict.
“Many people have lost their homes and livelihoods and are now staying in evacuation centres with very limited access to food, health, hygiene, water, and other basic services,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
“The Australian Government is making these items available through our partnerships with the Philippine Red Cross, the World Food Programme, and the United Nations Population Fund to assist the Philippine Government to respond quickly and effectively to the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga City and Basilan.”
Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MNLF broke out in Zamboanga City on September 9, and by September 13 had spilled over to the nearby island of Basilan.
In partnership with the Philippine Government, Australia’s aid program is working to improve the conditions for peace and security in Mindanao. #OpinYon #Foreign #Australia #Mindanao
- Victory over MNLF in Zambo too costly, says peace advocate (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Army ready to contain, quash MNLF attacks in Zamboanga City – Army general (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- UPDATE: 200 civilians held hostage in Zamboanga City standoff; 6 killed, 24 wounded (mindanews.com)
- Basilan on alert; MNLF sets demands (rappler.com)
- Bloody Philippine Siege Brought to an End (thaiphong.wordpress.com)
- No end in sight for Zamboanga conflict (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- 158 dead in Philippines standoff (edition.cnn.com)
- Mindanao Conflagration (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- More clashes in Philippine south (bbc.co.uk)
- Hostages, The Homeless, and Gunmen at Large: The Zamboanga Crisis Is Far From Over (world.time.com)