State of emergency declared in Laguna town as lambanog poisoning death toll rises to 11

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019   •   856

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Rizal town in Laguna on Monday declared a statement of emergency after several individuals were killed and hundreds were rushed to hospitals for alleged alcohol poisoning.

Rizal Vice Mayor Antonio Aurelio said the declaration aims to gain access to the local financial assistance fund to help individuals affected by the incident.

Based on the report of Rizal Municipal Health Office, eleven people were confirmed dead, another in critical condition, while more than 300 others were being monitored Sunday after imbibing coconut wine or locally known as lambanog.

“Based doon sa findings ng PGH, sa ilan na dinala doon ay may nag-positive sa methanol intoxification,” John Michael Gangay, administrative officer of Rizal Health Office said.

The affected individuals allegedly attended different holiday parties but all consumed lambanog bought from the same store.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans.

Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter, the DOH added.

The symptoms of methanol poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain and dimming eyesight.

Following the incident, the local government has urged all those who ingested lambanog in the areas to voluntarily seek medical examination.

The sale of lambanog in Rizal town was also suspended.

“Kahit kami nabigla eh. Di namin alam na may mangyayaring ganito sa bayan namin. Tunay na nakakalungkot, pero we are doing our best para ma-extend ang tulong sa aming mga kababayan,” Aurelio said.

The Rizal Police has confiscated the brand of lambanog involved in the incident amid ongoing investigation.

IATF limits tourism activities in NCR Plus Bubble

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has set limited tourism activities in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble.

Based on the IATF resolution, transportation to and from Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan relating to tourism is prohibited. This is included in the non-essential activities set by the agency.

This gave several vacationers no choice but to cut short their trip and return home.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Spokesperson Goddes Hope Libiran, however, clarified individuals outside the NCR Plus Bubble who are returning home will be allowed to enter.

Ang pag-uwi sa kani-kanilang mga tirahan ay considered as essential travel. Kung kinakailangan, magpakita lamang ng proof of residence, ID o any document showing that you are indeed a resident ng area na iyong pupuntahan para wala pong problema (Returning to their homes is considered as essential travel. If needed, just present a proof of residence, ID, or any document that you are indeed a resident of that area you’re planning to go to so there won’t be any problem),” she said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said hotels and airline companies already agreed to ease their rebooking and refund policies for their customers.

DOT Usec. Benito Bengzon said tourism activities in MGCQ areas are still allowed.

Ang mga areas na under Modified GCQ eh pwede pa rin po ang (Areas under the Modified GCQ are still allowed to have) tourism activities for as long as the local executives agreed to reopen the destinations,” he said. – AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Some senators want state of emergency declaration over ASF threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Some senators are urging the Department of Agriculture (DA) to propose a state of emergency due to the continuous threat of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Senate Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday (March 9) said they want the DA to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the declaration of a state of emergency. This is for the immediate release of a quick response fund to lessen the effect of ASF in the country.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said local hog raisers have reportedly lost P56 billion due to ASF. He added that the pork import tariffs can also be used as financial aid to affected hog raisers.

“Dapang-dapa ang Luzon so dapat meron talagang ilalabas na funding and support because of the emergency,” he said.

Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines vice president Nicanor Briones said an indemnification fund should also be included to help local hog raisers recover from the damage brought by ASF.

“Kasi mayroong guarantee na hindi sila maba-bankrupt in case na matamaan sila ng ASF. Iyan po ang matagal na naming hinihling,” he said.

As of last month, the ASF is still present in more than 2,000 barangays and 40 provinces, affecting over 68,000 hog raisers.

The DA aims to release 90 percent or 2,100 of ASF-affected barangays from quarantine by 2023.

The department said it will be needing a supplemental budget worth P6 billion to implement its repopulation program.

Based on their projections, the DA noted that it would take a minimum of three years for the swine production industry to fully recover. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

DPWH to open Katipunan Avenue bypass road before the end of 2021

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that the Katipunan Avenue bypass road will open by the end of 2021.

The Katipunan Avenue bypass road, according to the DPWH, is already 70% complete. Once opened, it will shorten travel time from Quezon City to Rizal province from more than one hour to 40 minutes.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said motorists from Rizal can traverse the new bypass road instead of plying through Commonwealth to ease traffic.

“This will benefit Quezon city, Marikina, Rizal it’s an alternative route and its a new alignment in Metro Manila,” he said.

Around 10,000 motorists are estimated to benefit from the bypass road once it is opened to the public. The DPWH also said motorists do not need to pay any toll fees the road becomes operational. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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