Microplastics contaminating air, scientists warn

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019   •   814

German and Swiss scientists have published a study suggesting that microplastic is being blown vast distances through the air and dumped when it snows, underscoring the threat the growing form of pollution poses to marine life in even the remotest waters on the planet.

The team, from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), analyzed snow samples in Germany, the Swiss Alps and on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard to confirm that the snow in all places contained high concentrations of plastic fragments, known as microplastic.

“It’s readily apparent that the majority of the microplastic in the snow comes from the air,” lead researcher Melanie Bergmann said in a press release.

The highest concentration in samples was collected in a rural area in Germany’s southern province of Bavaria, totaling to 154,000 particles per liter. The snow in the Arctic contained up to 14,400 particles per liter in comparison.

Researchers found particles of nitrile rubber, acrylates and paints containing plastics in their snow samples.

The study, published on Wednesday (August 14), is reinforced by research conducted by a U.S.-led team of scientists in the Northwest Passage. The team found the material trapped in ice taken from Lancaster Sound, an isolated stretch of water in the Canadian Arctic, which they had assumed might be relatively sheltered from drifting plastic pollution.

Eighteen ice cores of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) long were drawn from four locations, containing visible plastic beads and filaments of various shapes and sizes.

The plastic fragments serve to highlight how the waste problem has reached epidemic proportions.

The United Nations estimates that 100 million tonnes of plastic have been dumped in the oceans to date. (REUTERS)

(Production: Barbara Woolsey)

UK, Germany requesting more health workers from the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the demand for health workers all over the world.

In the Philippines, the national government put in place a deployment cap of 5,000 health workers for 2021 to make sure that the country will have a sufficient number in case the COVID-19 infection worsens.

But the governments of the United Kingdom and Germany appealed to the Philippines to deploy more health workers given that the country is one of the top exporters of this field and expertise.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there is an ongoing negotiation on this request.

The Philippine government, however, has several conditions before approving the matter.

One is that the requesting countries, in return, should give the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines.

“Ang nire-request ni Secretary Bello ay para sa ating mga OFWs. So ito ang mga OFWs na na-repatriate na dito including yung mga OFWs din na papaalis,” explained DOLE Director for International Labor Affairs Alice Visperas.

The official said there are around 600,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were repatriated and some of them were redeployed.

“Karamihan sa mga bansa ngayon na kumukuha ng workers. Gusto nila may vaccine na yung kukunin nilang workers. Darating din ang panahon baka hindi na sila kukuha pag hindi pa nabibigyan ng vaccine,” Visperas noted.

Another condition is the renegotiation for Labor agreement in favor of OFWs in the said countries.

DOLE said the matter is now on the ministerial level and is, so far, receiving a possible response.

But the Filipino Nurses United seemed offended with the way the government is treating the country’s nurses.

“Sa FNU na turn off kmi, disgusted na parang commodities o export products trato sa amin ng gobyerno,” the group said in a statement.

“Two separate issues iyon. Kung gustong mag-abroad ng nurses karapatan nila iyon. Huwag gamiting trade off. Kung kailangan natin ng bakuna, mag procure,” it added.

The Philippine Nurses Association, on the other hand, supports the government on the matter but as for the number, there should be a careful study first as to how many nurses will be allowed to leave.

“Kung manggagaling yan sa government and merong benefit ang Pilipinas with that I think we should welcome yung idea,” noted PNA President Melbert Reyes.

“But it should make sure sana na may maiiwan dito sa Pilipinas to take care of our people,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

6th Wish Music Awards pioneers a groundbreaking new normal for PH music industry

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top FM station Wish 107.5 staged another milestone in the Philippine music industry with a concert inside not just any venue but at the Big Dome on Sunday (January 17).

The radio station of the famed Wish Bus, once again proved that it is truly “breaking boundaries”, that despite the pandemic it was able to pull off a grand concert for a cause and gathered some of the top Filipino artists at the 6th Wish Music Awards hosted by celebrity-athlete Gretchen Ho and “Asia’s Romantic Balladeer,” Christian Bautista. 

“It’s so nice to see people get a chance again to perform for their fans live, to just have a feel of the stage again,” said Ho.

Attendees underwent swab testing, while health protocols and proper sanitation procedures were strictly observed.

Each of the hosts and performing artists was given a microphone for their exclusive use throughout the event.

For the RT-PCR and antigen tests, Wish 107.5 partnered with Maxicare Health Corporation.

Only attendees with negative results were allowed to enter the venue.

The entire Big Dome also underwent massive disinfection for the safety of the attendees.

All productions and technical crew were required to use face masks and face shield throughout the event and floor markings were placed to guide them of the proper social distance.

The event at the Big Dome was not opened to the public, but fans and supporters were still able to enjoy the show as it was streamed live through Wish 107.5’s official YouTube channel.

Viewers on Sunday night reached to over 40,000 and the event hashtag #WishMusicAwards trended on Twitter with almost 200,000 tweets.

This year, the station gave two prestigious awards to individuals who made major contributions to the Philippine music industry, starting off with OPM legend and renowned lyricist, Rey Valera and Journey frontman and singer-philanthropist, Arnel Pineda.

“It is an honor to be bestowed this prestigious award; the prize money you’re going to give to us will definitely make a difference to the lives of our beneficiaries,” Pineda said, receiving the KDR Icon of Music and Philanthropy award.

“Salamat sa Kuya Daniel. Natutuwa ako puro kabataan ang nakikita ko. Nakikita ko ang kinabukasan ng OPM. Napakinggan ko ang mga lyrics nila. Importante sa akin iyon. Gusto kong mangyari kung ano ang mangyayari bukas,” Valera said receiving the KDR Icon of Musical Excellence award.

Winners in this year’s Wish Music Awards received P25,000 each while their chosen charities received P100, 000 each.

Among the highlights at Sunday’s event was the debut performance at the Wish Awards of OPM royalty, ‘Parokya ni Edgar’ and the award-winning Australian singer-songwriter Guy Sebastian.

Wish 107.5’s creator and innovator Kuya Daniel Razon, who on Sunday graced the event inside the Wish Bus, expressed his gratitude to all OPM artists for keeping their music alive to heal, to inspire and to give hope in the face of a pandemic. 

“I wish to tell all of you, that your endeavors are very much appreciated,” noted Kuya Daniel, President and CEO of BMPI-UNTV which manages Wish 107.5.

“Ang inyong mga awitin at musika ay nanatili para patuloy na umaliw, patuloy na dumamay, sa bawat lumbay, sa bawat pangamba at sa bawat takot. Mayroon pong mga titik, mayroong tinig at tunog na palaging nagbibigay buhay at kahulugan sa mga damdaming ito. I would like to thank you all for being our hidden heroes during this difficult time,” he added.

Kuya Daniel vows to continue helping more Filipino artists by providing an avenue for the promotion of their music and an opportunity to spread goodwill through Wish 107.5. MNP (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

READ: 6th Wish 107.5 Music Awards: Complete List of Winners

Suspects in Dacera rape-slay send ‘surrender feeler’; PNP insists victim was raped

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) stands by the rape-slay angle in the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera on January 1 inside a hotel room in Makati City.

This is despite claims from suspects that they have no interest in women as they are members of the LGBT community.

On Wednesday (January 6), PNP Chief PGen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office Director PBGen. Vicente Danao Jr, and some members of the PNP Command Group met with Dacera’s family.

Sinas updated Dacera’s mother on the ongoing police investigation wherein some of the suspects have sent surrender feelers to the PNP following his 72-hour ultimatum for them to surrender.

Sinas maintained that Dacera was raped based on the bruises and contusions found in different parts of the victim’s body.

“We have evidence but we do not reveal it now kasi ongoing pa ang investigation at na-file na ang initial case sa court,” the PNP Chief said. 

But based on the autopsy report acquired by UNTV, there was no mention of male semen found in Dacera’s private part though the report claims there was a  “deep-healed laceration” in her hymen.

There were also no traces of illegal drugs in her body based on the report though some undetermined ‘blackish fluid’ was found inside her stomach.

Bruises and contusions were also found on her knees and a mark from a needle prick in her right arm.

The autopsy report named Christine Dacera as the victim signed by the Medico Legal Officer PMaj. Dr. Michael Nick Sarmiento and was marked ‘Certified True Copy.’

Dacera’s mother Sharon expressed gratitude for the outpouring support, especially coming from President Rodrigo Duterte. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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