Senator wants strict implementation of tourist limit in Boracay

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2019   •   513

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay has called on the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to strictly implement the carrying capacity of the island ahead of the expected influx of tourists in the coming months.

In a statement, Binay said the BIATF should provide an update on the status of the frameworks it set in monitoring the number of tourists visiting Boracay, as well as their evaluation and recommendations on the tourist limit policy it implemented.

The senator noted that the government imposed a limit of 6,405 daily tourist entries when Boracay reopened after its six-month rehabilitation last year.

She also stressed that only 19,000 tourists will be allowed in Boracay at any given day, and workers on the island must not exceed 15,000 per day to be able to maintain the 55,000 carrying capacity of the island.

“Dapat po ay natuto na tayo sa naging mga pagkakamali – sa ‘di pagpapatupad ng batas, sa pagbabalewala sa kalikasan, at sa unli-turista sa isla,” Binay said.

The lawmaker also urged the inter-agency council to make sure that establishments in Boracay are complying with environmental laws.

“Sana ‘di ito ningas-cogon lamang dahil sayang lang ang ating magandang nasimulan para sa isla, at itaas po natin ang pamantayan na ating inilagay para mapangalagaan ang isla,” Binay added.

One major component of the Boracay rehabilitation is the implementation of the “25+5-meter” easement along the beach.

This means no structures are allowed to be put up within the 30-m area along the beach.

Structures that encroached on the easement along the white beach at the western side of the island have been removed by the owners or demolished by BIATF.

Binay also suggested that authorities consider training personnel that would brief tourists on the “dos and don’ts” on the island.

“Maliit lang na bagay ito, but I think it would go a long way in making sure tourists are aware of the things that are allowed or prohibited,” the senator said.

Boracay hospital closes after doctor tests positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital located on Boracay island is temporarily closed to the public after one of its doctors tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Aklan Provincial Health Office said Monday.

Dr. Cornelio Cuachon Jr., chief of Aklan Provincial Health Office, said the hospital had to be closed after a 37-year old doctor working for the facility contracted coronavirus.

Cuachon said the doctor is currently under strict 14-day isolation after he manifested symptoms of the viral disease.

The doctor was said to have manifested symptoms such as cough and sore throat just days after he traveled to Manila to attend a convention from March 4 to 7.

He returned to Boracay on March 8 and worked at the hospital for over a week before he was advised to undergo quarantine.

“Mayroon siyang ubo, saka sore throat and then colds but hindi na siya nagpakonsulta. After nine days, binigyan siya ng advise na talagang mag-strict quarantine kasi nandoon lang siya sa ospital so mataas ang rate ng transmission,” Cuachon said.

The health official added that the doctor is now recovering from the illness.

Cuachon said, more than 10 hospital workers who had close contact with the infected doctor are also undergoing quarantine.

It is not yet clear when the said hospital will reopen. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lalaine Moreno)

Gatchalian, Binay test negative for coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2020

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay

MANILA, Philippines – Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay on Tuesday announced they tested negative for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In separate statements, Gatchalian and Binay both confirmed they are not infected with the virus, and thanked everyone for their prayers, support and encouraging messages.

The two legislators earlier submitted themselves to a voluntary home quarantine after a resource person who later tested positive for the virus attended a Senate hearing they were both in.

The Senate was closed earlier for disinfection, but Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the upper chamber will remain “business as usual” to ensure that legislative work would continue even while community quarantine is being enforced.

Gatchalian said that with his negative test result, he is now ending his self-quarantine.

“After submitting myself to a COVID-19 test last Friday, I’m happy to announce today that I tested negative for the virus. Thus, I am ending my self-quarantine,” he said in a Facebook post.

Binay, however, said she will continue to stay home and finish her 14-day quarantine.

“I will still continue with my 14-day quarantine. Hindi pa po tapos ang laban natin kontra sa COVID-19, and we don’t want to have a false sense of security,” she wrote on her Facebook account.

The two senators also called on the public to seriously follow the regulations set by the government, including strict social distancing, practicing of proper hygiene, and home quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of work to be done especially in the middle of this crisis while the number of infected cases continues to rise. We must pool our resources together to fight this dreaded virus. Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat na sumunod sa mga panuntunan na inilatag ng ating gobyerno para hindi na lumobo ang bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19,” Gatchalian said.

“COVID-19 is a serious matter. Let’s take the necessary precautions in protecting ourselves for the sake of our families and everyone else,” Binay said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon region under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12.

The Philippines has so far recorded 142 coronavirus infections with 12 deaths.

PH Gov’t urged to take precautionary measures vs threat of new coronavirus strain

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020

Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China lineup for immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – Several lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Philippine government to take precautionary measures and prepare emergency response plans amid the threat of a new strain of coronavirus from China.

In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to put schools on alert and ensure that preventive steps are in place to protect students from the respiratory disease that has already infected 222 individuals across neighboring countries of China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.

“Sa ating pangambang makapasok itong bagong coronavirus sa ating bansa, mabuti nang maging sigurado tayo dahil ang isang kumpirmadong kaso ay maaaring maikalat sa iba,” Gatchalian said.

He made the appeal after the Department of Health (DOH) reported Tuesday it is closely monitoring a child who may have contracted novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) prior to entering the Philippines from Wuhan, China.

The DOH said the child manifested symptoms such as cough, throat irritation, and fever. He is currently stable but still has a cough.

Based on samples examined by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the unnamed child tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both diseases are caused by a family of viruses called coronavirus.

But he tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus assay, meaning he is infected with a strain of coronavirus. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in Australia for further testing.

The new strain of coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City on December 31, 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, may be transmitted to humans through contact with an infected person or animal.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture also said that schools should have protocols in identifying students displaying flu-like symptoms and emphasize the practice of good hygiene, such as frequent hand-washing, to avoid any diseases.

Senator Nancy Binay, meanwhile, called on the DOH and other government agencies to prepare for an emergency response plan in dealing with the respiratory illness from China.

Binay said she filed Senate Resolution 293 which aims to determine appropriate measures and necessary funding requirements to ensure quick government response to address possible outbreaks.

“Preemptive measures will always the better option. Kailangan natin paghandaan na dahil actionable ang impormasyong hawak ng DOH. We must act immediately to monitor reports of the disease or sightings, and abate the possibility of an outbreak,” she said in a statement.

“Mabuting maging handa, hindi lamang ang DOH at ang pambansang pamahalaan, kundi pati na rin ang mga local na pamahalaan hanggang sa lebel ng barangay,” she added.

The DOH earlier advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with an infected person, and to thoroughly cook food, especially those containing meat and dairy products.   

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.