Ilocos tightens border protocols to prevent entry of Omicron

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan - The Department of Health Center for Health Development in Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1) remains vigilant against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Omicron sub-variant despite zero cases in the region as of Thursday."We are strengthening border control protocols in c.....»»

Category: newsSource: manilanews manilanewsJun 16th, 2022

Mandaue police to city gov’t: We’re ready to conduct border controls against ASF

MANDAUE CITY, Philippines — The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) is ready anytime they will be asked by the city government to conduct border controls to prevent entry of pork and pork products infected by African Swine Fever into the city. Police Lieutenant Colonel Franc Rudolf Oriol, MCPO deputy city director for operations and spokesperson, […] The post Mandaue police to city gov’t: We’re ready to conduct border controls against ASF appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 16th, 2023

Philippines beefs up border control, monitoring of arrivals from China

“Following the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in China, there is a need for the country to intensify the monitoring and implementation of border control protocols for incoming individuals, especially from China, at all ports of entry,” the agency said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 1st, 2023

Laoag intensifies border control vs. re-entry of ASF

LAOAG CITY - The city government has intensified its border control to prevent the re-entry of the African swine fever (ASF) here.ASF checkpoints were established in at least five villages around 5 p.m. on Wednesday to monitor all vehicles entering the city.These checkpoints are locat.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJul 21st, 2022

NegOcc strengthens border watch amid continuing ASF threat

BACOLOD CITY -Negros Occidental's provincial government continues to strengthen its border control operations to prevent the entry of live pigs and pork products amid the continuing threat posed by African swine fever (ASF).Having a PHP6-billion hog industry, Negros Occidental is the country.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJul 7th, 2022

DOH Ilocos ramps up monkeypox monitoring

DAGUPAN CITY - The Department of Health Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1) has intensified monitoring and information dissemination of monkeypox to prevent its entry into the region.In an interview on Monday, DOH-CHD-1 director Dr. Paula Paz Sydio.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsJun 6th, 2022

BSP tightens protocols on hiring of bank staff

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will impose stricter internal control measures and protocols for the hiring of bank personnel to prevent a repeat of a scandal last year involving the alleged missing funds of Germany’s Wirecard AG......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 15th, 2021

DOH-7 to Cebu City: Stricter enforcement of health protocols, not border controls

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is not recommending for Cebu City to implement stricter border controls as a way to prevent another surge of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 spokesperson, said they had been advising officials in the city government to strictly […] The post DOH-7 to Cebu City: Stricter enforcement of health protocols, not border controls appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2020

Halloween fans go online to keep tradition alive

Dressing up as a character different from yourself attracts the Halloween fans to keep the party going online.It takes a group of performers five hours to put on that Halloween look for the online stage.Malls have also taken the Halloween celebration online. Filipinos who celebrate Halloween are not going to let the COVID-19 pandemic take away the fun of something different, one of them dressing up costume parties. (UNSPLASH / MANILA BULLETIN) From the horror theme to the various characters in video games and movies, dressing up as someone so different from yourself has definitely charmed people of all ages and professions. But with the health and safety protocols prohibiting large gatherings, Halloween fans are taking the parties to another address — online! And the creativity to spark the party mood is amazing! John Paolo Mandac, a Human Resource professional who refuses to let go of years of dressing up for Halloween, has made a Maleficent costume out of recyclable materials. He said that “growing up gay and closeted” required him to dress up as he was told. But on Halloween, he has a chance to dress up the way he likes without displeasing anyone. John Paolo Mandac (Photo courtesy of John Paolo Mandac / MANILA BULLETN) “In the gay world, we call [Halloween] ‘Gay Christmas’,” Mandac said. He said there’s no skipping Halloween this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, because it’s a holiday that “speaks volumes” to him. What Mandac likes the most about Halloween is being able to dress up. He said he has always liked Halloween since he was a kid but started really preparing to dress up for it in 2015. “Most of my childhood, I remember going to SM Megamall with my mom and sister to Trick-or- Treat. That went on for several years,” he said. “My mom would ask us to think of a character we would like to be that evening. And we had to be creative in making our costumes. It became a yearly bonding experience for us three,” he said. From trick-or-treating in malls, Mandac turned to Halloween parties. This year, he joined several virtual Halloween parties, including one prepared by his office colleagues. Mandac said that although the parties are “less grand” and all virtual, those were still Halloween parties. “No brushing elbows with strangers definitely. No physical interaction, no getting drunk, no appreciating a stranger’s costume. Everything is virtual,” he said, adding that he’ll likely throw in a horror movie marathon on Netflix after the online parties. The show must go on A group of gay performers whose busiest time in a nightclub is Halloween, has prepared their “look” for the new online stage. Since clubs have yet to open, Drag Queens Shewarma, Minty Fresh, Odasha — collectively known as Shemod — have taken their Halloween Drag show online. “Pag Halloween nag re-ready talaga kami or may mga naka resereve na kaming looks (We really prepare for Halloween, our ‘look’ has already been planned),” Odasha told Manila Bulletin. “Halloween is one of the most awaited events of the year in the nightclub,” Odasha said in Pilipino. This year, the challenge of performing for a show online requires more effort to create a look, Minty Fresh said. “Umaabot ng five hours yung preparation, kasi naayos kami, then mag seset up pa ng lighting (It takes us about five hours just to prepare, because we need to put on make-up, and then set up the stage and the lighting),” Minty Fresh said. Friendly Halloween party Meanwhile a group of high school friends have prepared to hold their yearly party online. Lace Azores, 25, a medical intern, said that for the first time in the seven years that they have been holding Halloween parties, this time he has prepared a program. “Every year we would have a Halloween party where we dress up, wear costumes, celebrate, and we also have an award ceremony,” Azores said. (Photo courtesy of Lace Azores / MANILA BULLETIN) But since quarantine restrictions prevent a party, they prepared to meet for an online party. “Usually kasi nag uusap usap lang kami pag mag kakasama kami physically. This time, may program akong prinepare, with games and awards, ‘Best in Costume’ ganyan (Usually, we would just talk to each other and share stories with each other during our physical parties. This time, I prepared a program, with games and awards like Best in Costume,” she said. Although they will not be physically together, Azores said that she and her friends will still have fun. The only thing she will miss though will be the dancing. And how will she dress up this year, we asked. Her reply: “As the coronavirus. Kasi ‘yan ang pinaka nakakatakot na nangyari this year (Because it’s the scariest thing that happened this year).” Annual Halloween fest goes online Meanwhile up north, the biggest Halloween bash in Ilocos Norte has also gone virtual. “Semana Ti Ar-Aria” is a week-long festival in Ilocos Norte which highlights the distinct traditions and superstitions of Ilocanos in remembering their departed loved ones. The festival which started in 2010 was started by former governor and now Senator Imee Marcos. The activities will mostly be online. Among them are the +Halloween TikTok Transformation challenge and a blog-making contest called “Kaba-vloghan,” Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte Information Officer II Rhona Ysabel Daoang said Other events are the “Lilia Cuntapay Short Horror Film Festival,” a film festival in honor of the Ilocana actress dubbed the “Queen of Philippine Horror Movies.” Absent this year will be the Zombie Night Run and the ghost parade. Mall activities go online Shopping malls have also brought the Halloween tradition online. Ayala Malls will host a virtual mall show Oct. 31 featuring characters such as Pinkfong and Baby Shark. The mall also made an online challenge where participants have to dress up in a Halloween costume and record themselves doing the Baby Shark Hand Wash Challenge. (Ayala Malls / MANILA BULLETIN) The challenge winner will get a Prepaid WiFi modem. The challenge promo will run until Oct. 31 and the winner will be announced on the mall’s Facebook page on Nov. 6. Events coordinator Katrina Loreto said most malls went for online promotions instead of staging an event. “Before there were many events, every mall had a Halloween event. Now, it’s mostly online promotions,” Loreto told Manila Bulletin......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

UK sets border rules vs. criminals

Britain on Thursday outlined new border rules to prevent the entry of serious criminals from EU countries, once the country is free of the bloc’s rules allowing people to move freely among member states......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2020

Recto appeals for free rapid testing for LSIs

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday appealed for free RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for locally-stranded individuals before they are sent home. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN) The LSIs, he said, should also be treated as VIPs, or “very important passengers” and have them avail of the COVID-19 swab tests before they are transported back to their home provinces. “These ‘VIPs’ are entitled to the same gold standard of testing, more so that they’ve been lodged in a place that will check all the boxes in the list of a possible outbreak spot,” said Recto. Recto was commenting on the thousands of LSIs crammed at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, brushing aside physical distancing protocols while they wait for their turn to be brought home under the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program. “If we have tested for free those who’ve been on strict quarantine because they’re going to listen to a speech, then all the more we should test exposed individuals who are going home to their loved ones,” he said, referring to the RT-PCR tests conducted for lawmakers and attendees of President Duterte’s recent State of the Nation Address (SONA). “May karapatan din sa peace of mind ang mga komunidad na naghihintay sa kanilang pagdating (Those who have been waiting for them in their communities also have the right to peace of mind),” he pointed out. Recto said the PCR tests will also help prevent the entry and spread of the novel coronavirus in local government units. “A swab test will ensure that the coronavirus will not be hitchhiking to family reunions. Those positive will be flagged from boarding. And spare understaffed and underfunded LGUs and local hospitals from handling a ‘pasa load’ from the national government,” he said. “Kung ngayon, bawal magtransport ng baboy dahil sa ASF at kailangan may certificate na ligtas ang mga ito, tao pa kaya?” he also noted. While saying that he was also “painfully aware” of the shortage on test kits, he lamented the plight of LSIs who have been stranded for months or have resorted to sleeping on streets. Recto said he will defer to the Interagency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases to study and consider the call. Under the Hatid Tulong program, the LSIs must undergo rapid test for COVID-19  and secure medical clearance and travel authority before being allowed to depart going to their provinces. Reports said at least 20 LSIs in the Rizal Stadium have tested positive for antibodies in the rapid tests......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

Talisay Police Tightens Security Measures Amid Pandemic

The Talisay City Police Station tightens security measures and border controls to contain the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 5 simultaneous checkpoint operations are being conducted by the police force to ensure that everybody is following the quarantine protocols to which the said police station has noticed that most are following the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 19th, 2020

Cheap diabetes drug reduces risk of long Covid: study

People who took a cheap diabetes drug after testing positive for Covid-19 had a 40 percent lower risk of getting long Covid, a US-based study said Friday. The finding was hailed as a potential "landmark" in the fight against the still little-understood condition, which the World Health Organization estimates affects one in 10 people who get Covid. The study said it was the first randomized, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial — considered the gold standard in research — to show that taking a drug can prevent long Covid. It tested a drug called metformin, which was originally developed from the French lilac flower, and has been the most common medication used to treat type 2 diabetes across the world for decades. This means the drug is known to be safe, as well as being inexpensive and widely available. The study covered 1,126 overweight or obese people in the United States, half receiving metformin and half a placebo in the days after testing positive for Covid. After 10 months, 35 of the participants who took metformin were diagnosed with long Covid, compared to 58 for the placebo group, representing a 40 percent reduction in risk. The trial was conducted between December 2020 and January 2022, meaning it included the Omicron variant, which research has suggested causes long Covid at a lower rate than previous strains. The team behind the COVID-OUT trial had previously shown that metformin reduced coronavirus patients' risk of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and death by more than 40 percent. Carolyn Bramante, a researcher at the University of Minnesota and the new study's lead author, told AFP that "our data show that metformin reduces the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus" in patients. The research was published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. 'Profound'  Jeremy Faust, a doctor at Harvard Medical School not involved the study, said in a linked comment piece that if confirmed, the findings "are profound and potentially landmark" for long Covid. Frances Williams, an epidemiology professor at King's College London, pointed out that 564 people had to take the drug "to prevent 23 hypothetical cases". "This means 24 people would need to take metformin to prevent one case of long Covid," she said, adding that this was a lot of drugs to stop such a poorly understood condition. The researchers cautioned that they did not test metformin on people who had already been diagnosed with long Covid, so the findings did not mean it could be used to treat the condition. The study also found that the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, which was the subject of misinformation throughout the pandemic, as well as the antidepressant fluvoxamine did not prevent long Covid. Tens of millions of people have been estimated to have had long Covid, in which numerous and sometimes debilitating symptoms last or recur three months after infection that can then drag on for years. The most common symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness and a lack of mental clarity called brain fog. The post Cheap diabetes drug reduces risk of long Covid: study appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated News11 hr. 51 min. ago

Peace is the best form of protection

War means hunger. Armed conflict is a key factor driving food insecurity around the world. Last year, more than 117 million people faced acute hunger primarily because of war and insecurity. This is an outrage. Damage to critical infrastructure hampers food production, blocks distribution and deprives people of safe water: Syria now has 40 percent less drinking water than at the start of the conflict. Fighters destroy crops and steal livestock. Explosives contaminate fertile land. Markets cannot function, and prices rocket. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to the rise in the price of food, energy and fertilizer globally, with terrible effects for the world’s poorest. And when conflict combines with the climate crisis, harvests shrink and people go hungry. I saw this for myself during my recent visit to Somalia. After years of war, Somalis have been going through their worst drought in decades. An estimated 43,000 people died as a result in 2022 alone, half of them children, and millions have been forced from their homes. The terrible truth is that the world is failing to live up to its commitments to protect civilians; commitments enshrined in international humanitarian law. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols are the cornerstone of that legal framework. We must never lose sight of the meaning and purpose of international humanitarian law: It is the difference between life and death; between restraint and anarchy; between losing ourselves in horror and retaining our humanity. But law overlooked is law undermined. We need action and accountability to ensure it is respected. That depends on political will. Peace is the best form of protection. We must intensify our efforts to prevent conflict, protect civilians, preserve peace and find political solutions to war. Where war continues, all countries must comply with international humanitarian law. Governments should incorporate international humanitarian law into national laws, and military rules and training. Humanitarians must be assured safe access. Attacks against them must cease. And their work must be facilitated, including by removing deadly bureaucratic barriers. It is unconscionable that vital aid languishes in ports and warehouses while people die. Governments with influence over warring parties should engage in political dialogue, and train forces on protecting civilians. And countries that export weapons should refuse to do business with any party that fails to comply with international humanitarian law. Those who commit war crimes must be held to account. States must investigate alleged war crimes, prosecute perpetrators and enhance other States’ capacity to do so. And we must do everything in our power to break the deadly cycle of armed conflict and hunger: Addressing the underlying causes of hunger by strengthening vulnerable countries’ economies; honoring commitments to support countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis; and increasing contributions to humanitarian operations, which are — shamefully — just 15 percent funded. Civilians have suffered the deadly effects of armed conflict for too long. It is time we live up to our promise to protect them. ***** Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 23 May 2023. The post Peace is the best form of protection appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2023

Over 30 peacekeepers injured in clashes in northern Kosovo

Over 30 peacekeepers deployed in a NATO-led mission in Kosovo were injured Monday in clashes with Serb protesters who demanded the removal of recently elected ethnic Albanian mayors, as tensions flare in the Balkan nation. NATO'S Kosovo Force (KFOR) said it had faced "unprovoked attacks" while countering a hostile crowd after demonstrators clashed with police and tried to force their way into a government building in the northern town of Zvecan. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said 52 Serbs were hurt, three seriously, while one was "wounded with two gunshots by (ethnic) Albanian special forces". Hungary's defense minister said on Facebook that "more than 20 Hungarian soldiers" were among the wounded, with seven in serious but stable condition. Italy's foreign minister said three of its soldiers were seriously wounded, and the country's prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, joined NATO in calling for "all parties to take a step back to lower tensions". Kosovo's Serbs boycotted last month's elections in northern towns, which allowed ethnic Albanians to take control of local councils despite a minuscule turnout of under 3.5 percent of voters. Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti's government officially installed the mayors last week, defying calls to ease the tensions by the European Union and the United States, which have both championed the territory's 2008 independence from Serbia. Many Serbs are demanding the withdrawal of Kosovo police forces -- whose presence in northern Kosovo has long sparked resistance -- as well as the ethnic Albanian mayors they do not consider their true representatives. Early Monday, groups of Serbs clashed with Kosovo police in front of the municipal building in Serb-majority Zvecan and tried to enter, after which law enforcers responded by firing tear gas, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. NATO-led peacekeepers in the KFOR mission at first tried to separate protesters from the police, but later started to disperse the crowd using shields and batons, an AFP journalist saw. Several protesters responded by hurling rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers, but were quickly repelled a few hundred meters away from the Zvecan municipal building. "While countering the most active fringes of the crowd, several soldiers of the Italian and Hungarian KFOR contingent were the subject of unprovoked attacks and sustained trauma wounds with fractures and burns due to the explosion of incendiary devices," the NATO force said in a statement. Eleven Italian soldiers were injured with "three in a serious condition", Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said. "We will not tolerate further attacks against KFOR," said Meloni. "It is essential to avoid further unilateral actions by the Kosovo authorities and for all parties to take a step back to lower tensions". NATO strongly condemned the "unprovoked" attacks against KFOR troops, adding that such actions were "totally unacceptable". "Violence must stop immediately. We call on all sides to refrain from actions that further inflame tensions, and to engage in dialogue," NATO said in a statement. KFOR commander Division General Angelo Michele Ristuccia slammed the "unacceptable" attacks and underlined that KFOR will "continue to fulfill its mandate impartially". Kosovo police said "organized" demonstrators rallied in northern Kosovo towns, home to many ethnic Serbs who reject Kosovo's independence from Serbia. "The protesters, using violence and throwing tear gas, tried to cross the security cordons and make a forced entry into the municipality facility" in Zvecan, Kosovo police said in a statement. "Police were forced to use legal means, such as (pepper) spray, to stop the protesters and bring the situation under control." Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and Belgrade and its key allies Russia and China have refused to recognize it, effectively preventing Kosovo from having a seat at the United Nations. Serbs in Kosovo remained largely loyal to Belgrade, especially in the north, where they make up a majority and reject every move by Pristina to consolidate its control over the region. KFOR said it had bolstered its presence in northern Kosovo following the latest developments and urged Belgrade and Pristina to engage in an EU-led dialogue to reduce tensions. "We call on all sides to refrain from actions that could inflame tensions or cause escalation," KFOR said in a statement. Police had already used tear gas Friday to disperse Serbs in northern Kosovo who protested the installation of the mayors. Belgrade responded by placing its army on high alert and ordered forces towards the Serbian border with Kosovo. Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, speaking on a visit to Kenya, said that "Serbs are fighting for their rights in northern Kosovo". "A big explosion is looming in the heart of Europe, where NATO in 1999 carried out an aggression against Yugoslavia," Lavrov said, referring to the 1999 NATO intervention against Belgrade that effectively ended the war between Serb forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas. The US ambassador and European Union envoy have summoned the ethnic Albanian mayors to a meeting in Pristina in a bid to ease tensions. France said it "condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms and calls on all parties, in particular the Kosovo government, to take immediate steps to reduce tensions". Two media teams from Pristina reported that protesters had slashed their tires and spray-painted their vehicles, while a local journalists' association called on law enforcers to provide a safe working environment for the media. After his first-round victory at the French Open on Monday, Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic penned the message "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence" on a television camera. "Kosovo is our cradle, our stronghold, center of the most important things for our country," Djokovic told reporters. The post Over 30 peacekeepers injured in clashes in northern Kosovo appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 30th, 2023

Preserving Treasures of The Past

The devastating fire that consumed the historic Manila Central Post Office building only underscored the urgent need for proactive measures to safeguard our cultural treasures. Heritage sites are invaluable because they connect us to our past, offering glimpses into our rich history, art and architecture of bygone eras. [caption id="attachment_138047" align="aligncenter" width="720"] The 97-year-old iconic Manila Central Post Office building was destroyed by a massive fire on 21 May, with damage initially estimated at P300 million.[/caption] As a country rich in cultural heritage, the Philippines boasts a tapestry of historical, architectural and natural treasures. From ancient rice terraces to colonial-era churches, these heritage sites are a testament to the country’s diverse and vibrant history. Preserving these sites is not only crucial for maintaining our cultural identity but also for promoting tourism, fostering national pride, and educating future generations. They, therefore, deserve our attention and protection. [caption id="attachment_138050" align="aligncenter" width="525"] SAN Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_138048" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_138051" align="aligncenter" width="849"] Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_138055" align="aligncenter" width="654"] Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.[/caption] The burning of the Manila Central Post Office, for example, underscores the need for effective fire prevention measures in heritage buildings. It highlighted the collaboration between government agencies, private organizations and local communities. International organizations such as UNESCO, play a pivotal role in recognizing and protecting sites of outstanding universal value. Comprehensive heritage protection laws can establish guidelines for conservation, prevent unauthorized alterations or demolitions and impose penalties for violations. Adequate funding should be allocated to support ongoing maintenance and restoration efforts. [caption id="attachment_138049" align="aligncenter" width="883"] Mayon Volcano in Albay.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_138052" align="aligncenter" width="703"] Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila.[/caption] Raising public awareness about the significance of heritage sites, therefore, fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership among communities. Spread out on this page are but a few of the treasures of the past that need our attention and protection. It would do well for us to preserve them. [caption id="attachment_138054" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Underground River in Puerto Princesa.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_138053" align="aligncenter" width="856"] Chocolate Hills in Bohol.[/caption] The post Preserving Treasures of The Past appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 28th, 2023

Disaster resiliency must be prioritized

Typhoons occur very often in our country. Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines is visited by 20 typhoons on average yearly. Some have been more devastating than most — ravaging lands, destroying properties, and claiming the lives of our affected Filipinos. And because of climate change, in addition to our geographical location in the Pacific, the Philippines is exposed to natural calamities that are getting more often and more severe. While we can’t prevent the entry of typhoons, we could very well stay one step ahead to minimize the damage brought by these natural disasters and hopefully save more lives through a more prepared and proactive approach, better coordination among concerned government agencies, and stronger cooperation from the public. As super typhoon “Betty” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday, I pray for the safety of all our affected kababayans and hope for an efficient restoration of normalcy once the typhoon passes. I commend our frontline government agencies and local authorities who, days before the typhoon’s entry, so far have reportedly already made necessary preparations to deal with this and its aftermath. These preparations and more go a long way in securing the lives and property of our affected Filipinos. Nevertheless, considering our country’s vulnerability to natural calamities, we must continue instituting measures that will ensure more proactive and effective disaster preparedness and response. Thus, I continue advocating for several disaster resilience measures, including the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience through my proposed Senate Bill No. 188. If the bill is enacted into law, the DDR shall serve as an empowered and highly-specialized cabinet level-department with a clear unity of command, responsible for ensuring safe, adaptive, and disaster-resilient communities. It shall lead the crafting and implementation of programs and activities to reduce the risk of all types of natural hazards and effects of climate change and manage the impact of disasters. I have also filed SBN 193, or the proposed Mandatory Evacuation Centers Act, which seeks to require the establishment of evacuation centers in every province, city, and municipality throughout the country that shall provide basic needs and assistance to all evacuees. Also, I have introduced SBN 192, also known as the Rental Housing Subsidy Act, in a bid to provide disaster victims better and more affordable access to the formal housing market through the provision of rental subsidies by the government. Finally, SBN 1709 proposes to amend the provisions of the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010” to mandate the grant of hazard pay to the personnel of respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices and Barangay Risk Reduction and Management Committees, as well as all accredited community disaster volunteers enlisted to their respective territorial jurisdictions during the State of Calamity declared by the President. Under the proposed measure, all personnel of the LDRRMOs in all provinces, cities, and municipalities and all accredited community disaster volunteers, regardless of their employment status, shall be granted a hazard pay of P3,000 every month if it is enacted into law. This is in recognition of their invaluable sacrifices and contributions in looking after the safety of our people in the face of disasters and even at the risk of their own lives. Similarly, our dedication to public service never ceases. From Monday to Sunday, our work inside and outside the hallowed halls of the Senate continues. On top of our Senate sessions, I led the distribution of aid to 1,663 indigents from Gapan City, municipalities of Cabiao and Peñaranda in Nueva Ecija; 1,000 in Pasig City, as well as 1,201 fire victims in Sta. Cruz, Manila last week. On 25 May, I also visited Davao de Oro for the groundbreaking of the Super Health Center, inspect a two-story multi-purpose building, and led a relief activity for 1,000 residents in Maco town. We attended the groundbreaking of Super Health Centers in Libertad town and Barangay Balubal, Cagayan de Oro City, and spearheaded three relief operations for 1,000 indigents in Libertad, and 2,000 in Barangay Balubal, and another 300 in the city on 26 May. Apart from the groundbreaking of the Escalante City Super Health Center in Negros Occidental on 27 May, I aided 2,000 residents of the city composed of fisherfolks, tricycle drivers, solo parents, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens. I joined the 25th Manlambus Festival where I was able to watch a carabao race and provided aid to 200 carabao owners. On 28 May, I inspected the Sariaya Super Health Center in Quezon province and helped 1,000 indigents in the town. In Lucena City, 1,500 residents received aid. I also joined the Pasayahan Festival and inspected the Lucena City Promenade, whose funding I supported. My outreach teams extended aid to 400 barangay health workers and nutritionists in Macalelon, Quezon; 373 Technical Education and Skills Development Authority graduates in Argao, Cebu; and 1,200 tricycle drivers in San Luis, Pampanga. Indigents, including 81 in Llanera, Nueva Ecija; 500 in Binuangan, Misamis Oriental; 250 in Dipaculao and 233 in San Luis, Aurora. Also, our office joined the dental and medical mission of 150 indigents in Pandan, Antique. In the face of inevitable natural hazards, we all must exert efforts to build a more disaster-resilient nation. Through effective measures, preparations, proper coordination, and widespread cooperation, we can all save lives, help each other recover, and rise again even stronger. The post Disaster resiliency must be prioritized appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 28th, 2023

‘Betty’ weakens as it passes north

Fate likely favored the country after howler “Betty” that devastated Guam has weakened to a simple typhoon and decelerated moving westward over the Philippine Sea east of Northern Luzon as of yesterday, according to state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA. “Betty” is expected to gradually weaken as it passes over the country until Tuesday and may continue to be downgraded to a severe tropical storm late Thursday or early Friday, PAGASA said. The typhoon, however, remains slow-moving to almost stationary until Tuesday when it is estimated to be over the waters east of Batanes. It will then move northward or north-northeastward by mid-Wednesday or Thursday toward the sea, east of Taiwan. Monsoon rains are possible over the western portions of MIMAROPA and Western Visayas on Monday and over the western portions of CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Western Visayas on Tuesday. A marine gale warning remains in effect over the northern and eastern seaboards of northern Luzon, eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon, and the eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao. Preparedness ensured Despite “Betty’s” tapering off, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has activated its emergency preparedness and response protocols. “We continue to coordinate with different agencies to ensure that all necessary measures are in place from the national down to the local level. We have already identified and activated appropriate emergency preparedness and response protocols in different regions to be affected by the weather disturbance,” Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, Office of Civil Defense Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director, said in a statement. EPR protocols are sets of actions that must be undertaken by local government units and government agencies before and during the onslaught of storms. The OCD said P108 million worth of non-food items were prepositioned. In a radio interview, OCD information officer Diego Mariano said local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices were also alerted to provide additional assistance. Aside from LDRRMO, a total of 1,679 teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine Coast Guard are on standby for search, rescue and retrieval operations. The OCD added that it has standby quick response funds amounting to P244 million. DPWH ready, too Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan on Sunday said his agency has prepared for infrastructure damage from the typhoon. “It’s our protocol that whenever there’s a typhoon, we’ll have teams for quick response on any damages, particularly on our highways and national roads,” he said in a radio interview. He reactivated Disaster Risk Reduction Management teams and had them placed along national roads in anticipation of road closures and obstructions, as well as in the removal of fallen or uprooted trees, declogging of drainage systems, fixing waterways, and even responding to accidents. Bonoan said they are particularly focusing on Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and the Cordillera Administrative Regions in their response efforts. Local government units canceled classes today in some areas of the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region and Western Visayas. In an Executive Order on Saturday, Ilocos Sur Gov. Jeremias Singson ordered the suspension of classes at all levels in private and public schools as well as work in public offices to minimize the adverse effects and damage as northern Luzon braced for “Betty.” Due to the inclement weather, classes at all levels, both private and public, in Caluya, Antique, as well as in Apayao province in Cordillera Administrative Region, are also suspended. Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 remains in effect across provinces in northern Luzon, despite “Betty’s” moderate weakening, according to the country’s state weather bureau, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration on Sunday. PAGASA said in its 5 p.m. weather report that rain will persist in portions of northern Luzon until Tuesday morning. Lotto centers tapped President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Saturday instructed all concerned agencies to prepare for massive relief operations in would-be-affected areas. He tapped the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office which expressed its readiness in conducting its own relief operations. PCSO general manager Mel Robles has instructed branch offices and Small Town Lottery Authorized Agency Centers in Northern Luzon to prepare for the distribution of aid for families that would be affected by the typhoon. “We understand the importance of preparedness, and our branch offices will be in constant coordination with local organizations and government units for effective response and distribution of assistance,” Robles said. With Edjen Oliquino and Dan Navarro The post ‘Betty’ weakens as it passes north appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 28th, 2023

France to try 19 men over 2019 migrant lorry deaths: source

France is to try 19 men over a people-smuggling plot that led to the 2019 deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in the back of a lorry, a source familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The trial is the latest of several in Europe over the tragedy. The migrants -- the youngest of whom were two 15-year-old boys -- suffocated in the refrigerated container as they were being transported across the Channel to what they had hoped would be new lives in Britain. Their lifeless bodies were discovered inside the sealed unit at a port near London in October 2019. French investigating magistrates on Tuesday ordered the trial of 19 suspects aged 21 to 58 over the tragedy, the source said. A transnational investigation points to the suspects -- of Vietnamese, French, Chinese, Algerian and Moroccan origin -- being part of a large network smuggling people from Vietnam to Europe, it said. They stand accused of organizing the transport of migrants and driving taxis or owning flats where they could hide them in the Paris region, it added. According to wiretapped phone calls, these men referred to their victims as "merchandise" or even "chickens". They will all be tried for enabling the illegal entry and stay of foreigners on French territory and banding together with a view to committing crimes, which could carry up to 10 years in jail, the source said. Four will also be judged for manslaughter for failing to ensure duty of care during the smuggling operation, which could lead to punishment of three years behind bars. The cross-border probe revealed that migrants were loaded into a truck in northern France, before being driven to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to cross the Channel. The tragedy shone a spotlight on the extraordinary dangers migrants are willing to risk to reach Britain, with some paying smugglers up to $40,000 for the perilous journey. Post-mortem tests found the victims died from lack of oxygen and overheating, and one sent a poignant text message to her family in Vietnam as she lay dying in the truck. The victims came from poor and remote corners of central Vietnam, a hotspot for people willing to embark on dangerous journeys in the hope of a better future abroad. Many are smuggled illegally through Russia or China, often left owing huge sums to their traffickers and ending up working on cannabis farms or in nail salons. There was no immediate date set for the French trial, which follows several convictions in other countries. A Belgian court last year sentenced a Vietnamese man to 15 years in prison after convicting him of being a ringleader in the trafficking operation. A British judge in 2021 convicted two men on 39 counts of manslaughter over the lorry tragedy, jailing them for 27 and 20 years. He also handed two truck drivers 13-year and 18-year sentences. The post France to try 19 men over 2019 migrant lorry deaths: source appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 25th, 2023

Jerusalem tensions run high ahead of far-right Israeli rally

Jerusalem police and residents were bracing for extremist ministers and their supporters to rally on Thursday in an annual flag-waving march commemorating Israel's capture of the Old City. Palestinians in Jerusalem, who tend to close their shops and are banned from the social hub of Damascus Gate to make way for the marchers, view the parade as provocative. In the late morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jerusalem celebrations were being held "3,000 years after being established by King David, 75 after it was re-established as the capital of the reborn state of Israel, and 56 years after being reunited". Two of his extreme-right cabinet members, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, are expected to attend Thursday's rally, one of the events marking what Israelis refer to as Jerusalem Day. Following the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel annexed east Jerusalem and its Old City in a move never recognized by the international community. Thursday's rally takes place days into a ceasefire that ended deadly cross-border fighting with Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza. Thirty-three people including multiple civilians were killed in the blockaded Palestinian enclave and two in Israel, a citizen, and a Gazan laborer. Militant group Hamas which rules the coastal territory said ahead of the march it "condemns the campaign of the Zionist occupation (Israel) against our Palestinian people in occupied Jerusalem". Two years ago, after weeks of violence in Jerusalem in which scores of Palestinians were wounded, a war between Hamas and Israel erupted during the march. 'Acquiescence' to extremists Some 2,500 police officers were securing the march, which begins in the western part of the city at 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), proceeds through the Old City, and ends at the Western Wall plaza. On Thursday morning, an AFP journalist saw tourist groups walking through the historic gateway, while Palestinians sold bread from a stall and opened their shops before the afternoon shutdown. Later in the day, the vast majority of shops in the Old City were closed, with Palestinian resident, Abu al-Abed, 72, saying he wanted "to go home". The marchers "are harmful, they're walking and start to hit the doors of the shops and the doors of our houses," he told AFP. Scuffles between Jewish and Palestinian youths were taking place as early marchers arrived in the Old City, with police saying that in some cases forces "were required to act to prevent friction and provocations". Prior to the march, dozens of Jews -- including at least three lawmakers from Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party and a minister from Ben-Gvir's Jewish Power faction -- visited Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site. Jews, who call it the Temple Mount and revere it as their religion's holiest site, are allowed to visit but not pray. One of them, Tom Nissani, was sitting at Jaffa Gate with an Israeli flag, awaiting the march. "It's our capital city, we have to show it, to enjoy it, to fight for it", the 34-year-old West Bank settler who works for an organization promoting Jewish presence on the Temple Mount told AFP. "Israel is not stable enough to be naive about the capital or the whole country, we still have to fight... many forces that are trying to prevent us from making roots in the land of Israel," he said. Transport Minister Miri Regev, from Netanyahu's Likud, was among Israelis waving flags at Damascus Gate hours before the official rally. A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned Israel "against insisting on organizing the provocative flag march". Pushing ahead with the parade "confirms the acquiescence of the Israeli government to Jewish extremists", spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Wednesday. Since last year's rally, Israel's leadership has taken a marked shift to the far-right. Ben-Gvir, the country's national security minister who is expected to attend, was convicted in 2007 of supporting a terrorist group and inciting racism. Far-right ally Smotrich holds the finance portfolio along with some powers in the occupied West Bank and also has a history of inflammatory remarks about Palestinians. The post Jerusalem tensions run high ahead of far-right Israeli rally appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 18th, 2023

Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting

A ceasefire took effect in and around the Gaza Strip on Saturday after five days of cross-border exchanges that have killed at least 33 Palestinians in Gaza and two people in Israel. The truce was due to take effect at 1900 GMT, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said. But in the final 30 minutes running up to 1900 GMT, dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, prompting renewed air strikes, AFP correspondents in the territory said. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. Egypt, a longtime mediator in Gaza, secured the agreement of both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad to its latest ceasefire proposal, an Egyptian security official said. "Israel's National Security Adviser Tsahi Hanegbi... thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and expressed the State of Israel's appreciation for Egypt's vigorous efforts to bring about a ceasefire," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said. He said Israel's response to the Egyptian initiative means "quiet will be answered by quiet, and if Israel is attacked or be threatened it will continue to do everything it needs to do in order to defend itself". A Palestinian source confirmed Islamic Jihad's agreement. "We want to thank Egypt for its efforts," Islamic Jihad political department official Mohammad al-Hindi told AFP. He has been in Cairo since the fighting erupted on Tuesday. On Saturday, Israel had again pounded Gaza with air strikes targeting the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad following a new barrage of rocket fire into Israel to mark the funeral of its military commander Iyad al-Hassani, who was killed on Friday. 'What have we done?' For days, life in Gaza and in Israeli communities near the border has been a daily routine of air strikes and sirens warning of incoming rocket fire. Residents in the crowded Gaza Strip cowered indoors as the fighting raged, with streets empty and only a few shops and pharmacies open. "The whole Palestinian people are suffering," Muhammad Muhanna, 58, told AFP in the ruins of his home. "What have we done?" In Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, a dead donkey lay in the ruins of a row of buildings levelled in an Israeli strike. "No one is safe in their homes," said Imad Rayan, 64. A spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza said on the final day of its campaign the Israeli military had concentrated on "targeting civilians, residential and civilian buildings". There had been mounting calls for a ceasefire to be agreed, including from Israel's closest ally, the United States. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in a call to Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, "stressed the urgency of reaching a ceasefire agreement in order to prevent any further loss of civilian life", the State Department said. Egypt had kept up its mediation effort despite repeated setbacks. On Saturday, shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building site in Sdot Negev, just over the border into Israel, killing one man and wounding another. Both were day labourers from Gaza. Islamic Jihad said its fighters were pursuing "missile strikes on Israeli cities" in revenge for Israeli "assassinations" of their commanders and strikes on populated areas. The exchange of fire came after the Palestinian health ministry reported the death of two men aged 19 and 32 in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said the two men killed in the raid were members of its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Deadliest fighting since August The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli strikes on Gaza killed three leading Islamic Jihad members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes. They are among at least 33 lives lost in the fighting inside Gaza, according to the territory's health ministry. There have been two deaths in Israel, one of them the Gazan day labourer. The army said nearly 1,100 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israel in the current fighting, including 300 intercepted by its air defences. Gaza, a coastal enclave that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been plagued by poverty and unemployment since Israel imposed a blockade in 2007 when the Islamist movement Hamas took control. The territory has seen numerous wars between militant groups and Israel since the Hamas takeover. This week's fighting was the worst in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since an August flare-up that killed nearly 50 Palestinians. The conflict has escalated since veteran Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power late last year, heading a coalition with the extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties. The post Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 13th, 2023