06 July 2015

Health department ready to handle new MERS-CoV case, says Palace official
Malacañang on Monday assured the public that the Department of Health (DOH) is prepared to handle the newest case of the Middle East Respiratory Sydrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

“The Philippines, through the Department of Health, is fully ready and capable of detecting, isolating and treating any reported case of MERS-CoV in the country,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.

Health Secretary Janette Garin has reported that a foreigner who came from the Middle East has tested positive for MERS-CoV.
“According to Health Secretary Garin, the patient remains in isolation while undergoing treatment at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City. She said that further test results indicate improvement in the patient’s condition,” added the Palace official.

Coloma said President Benigno S. Aquino III has instructed the DOH “to tighten surveillance and quarantine measures at ports of entry and to ensure the prompt reporting by all hospitals of patients who show symptoms of the disease for immediate isolation, treatment and contact tracing.”

A Filipina nurse who arrived from Saudi Arabia had tested positive for MERS-CoV last February but she was cleared of the virus later that month. PND (jm)

No casualty so far from typhoon Egay, says Palace official
Due to the effective coordination among national government agencies and local government units (LGUs), there has been no reported casualty so far from Typhoon Egay, a Palace official said on Monday.

“As Tropical Storm Egay continues to affect the northern parts of the country, our national agencies are hard at work, coordinating with provincial and local governments to minimize damages and ensure the smooth flow of relief, rescue, and support operations,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

“As a result of these coordinated efforts, there has so far been no reported casualties,” he said.

Secretary Lacierda noted that even before the storm entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had already alerted the public on its projected path.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has likewise directed the affected regions to intensify their precautionary initiatives and preparedness measures, he added.

Lacierda said the Department of Health has been coordinating with hospitals in anticipation of possible events, and has been prepositioning assorted medicines in its provincial offices, while the Department of Interior and Local Government has continued to advise concerned LGUs and has disseminated information about possible floods and landslides.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways has installed warning signs on flooded road sections and has deployed equipment and personnel for clearing operations.

Lacierda further said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has readied an emergency fund amounting to P32.8 million and has prepositioned a stockpile of 288,540 family packs in Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Viscaya, and other geographically isolated areas.

The Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Philippine Coast Guard are all on alert and have deployed teams for rescue operations, he said, noting that successful rescues have been carried out in several areas in La Union.

“We advise the public to stay calm and alert, and to keep updated on weather advisories by tuning in to government websites and media,” Lacierda said.
According to PAGASA, Tropical Storm Egay has slightly weakened and is slowly moving northward. As of 10 a.m. on Monday, its center was at 155 km northwest of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

Public Storm Warning Signal Number 2 has been raised in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Abra; and Signal Number 1 in Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan group of islands, northwest of Cagayan, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, La Union and Benguet. PND (ag)

President Aquino urges cabinet members to intensify implementation of programs to boost inclusive growth
President Benigno S. Aquino III has stressed the importance of intensifying the implementation of programs to “further bolster the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth and progress for all Filipinos”.

In a statement issued on Monday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that “in a special cabinet meeting this morning, the President called the attention of the Cabinet on the recent sidebar report in the June 15, 2015 edition of TIME Magazine Asia, which showed the Philippines as having the highest number of citizens saying they were optimistic on finding jobs at 66 percent. The country was followed by the United States with 51 percent, India — 34 percent, Venezuela — 22 percent, Sudan — 18 percent, and Italy — 3 percent.”

“The report, which cited a Gallup poll covering 130 countries, asked citizens’ opinions on local job opportunities, mirrors a similar survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in March 2015, which shows that the number of Filipinos expecting their personal quality of life to improve or net personal optimism at a ‘very high’ rating of +37 percent – the highest since 1987. In the same survey, net optimism among Filipinos about the Philippine economy was recorded at a ‘high’ of + 6 percent,” Secretary Coloma added.

“The President, who is known for his keen observation of the latest economic trends, said these surveys firmly attest to the efficacy of the economic and social reforms of the administration that have resulted to a rapidly expanding job market and a decline in unemployment rate, which was recorded at 6.6 percent as of January 2015,” he said.

“In the remaining months of the Aquino administration, the President called on the Cabinet to intensify the implementation of programs that would further bolster the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth and progress for all Filipinos,” the Palace official further said. PND (jm)

Malacañang suspends work in government offices, classes in National Capital Region
The Palace on Monday afternoon issued Memorandum Circular No. 77, suspending work in all government offices and classes in all levels, both public and private, in the National Capital Region.

The suspension was made upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in view of the inclement weather due to Typhoon Egay.

The work suspension however did not cover “agencies whose function involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness/response to disaster and calamities, and/or the performance of other vital public services.” PND (ag)