Health & Environment –
Baguio to convert former dumpsite into eco-park

The city government of Baguio is starting to convert the closed 60-year-old open dump facility to an ecological park, transforming its location in Barangay Irisan to a forest park.

Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong said: On “our initial estimate, we will be able to turn this to an eco-park by 2021 but by the rate things are going, we hope that it will already be done by the fourth quarter of 2020.”

The Environment Recycling System (ERS) or the city’s bio-composting facility was constructed at the former Irisan dumpsite.

Magalong said there is already a layout of the plan of the Irisan site to convert it to a park.

Around PHP15 million has been allotted by the city government for the project, which was approved during a recent Executive-Legislative planning session.

Magalong said the vision is to convert the area similar to the Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, which used to be a dump facility but converted to a park.

“It will be fixed, cleaned and maintained and will not in any way look like a dump area. The foul smell that used to be irritating to the nostrils is also slowly being addressed with the application of an inoculant,” Magalong said.

There will be no sun-drying of compost and what will come out will be composted in sacks, ready for transport to the buyers.

Rapport Innovations, the consultant company that operates the ERS, is giving the city PHP3 per kilo of compost produced.

“It will not just save the city of the annual PHP18 million expense to operate the nine-year-old facility but will also earn from the sale of compost fertilizer,” Magalong said.

“We are now producing compost. The ERS is operating well after its rehabilitation. The compost we make is of good quality and is 90 percent efficient based on the study conducted by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority,” Magalong said.

City General Services Office (GSO) chief Eugene Buyucan said the park will be culturally-inspired having a “dap-ay” and will be planted with bougainvillea to create a scenic view.

There will be several flowering plants, “eugenia” tree, which has leaves that have different colors, and bamboos as an added feature to prevent soil erosion, Buyucan said.

“Bamboos have been proven (for) good soil retention, but we need to identify what species are best grown in the area,” Buyucan said.

The dap-ay is part of the region’s culture where old people meet to discuss and resolve community or tribe issues.

Once completed, Buyucan said the people in the area can enjoy a good view of the sunset in La Union while enjoying a park lined with plants and flowers.

Buyucan said at present, the city produces at least 12 tons of compost fertilizer daily from the 50 tons of biodegradable waste collected mostly at the city market. The production can even go higher, especially with food waste coming in.(Liza Agoot, Philippine News Agency)

DPWH forms Earthquake Resiliency Office

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Friday, July 19, 2019, reported the creation of an office that will ensure the earthquake resilience of the country’s infrastructure.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar formed the DPWH Earthquake Resiliency Program Management Office (ER-PMO) through Department Order (DO) 75 dated July 10, which would serve as an integrated department approach in addressing earthquake resiliency problems.

“We need to fast-track the implementation of interventions to make sure that our infrastructure cannot just withstand earthquake but also protect the people in the event of an earthquake, particularly ‘The Big One’ that is anticipated to hit any time in Mega Manila,” he said in a statement.

Under the order, a technical steering committee was also formed to collect and review situational reports, oversee the accomplishment of regional operations, and create policy decisions.

A separate support services committee was also tasked to formulate long- and medium-term resiliency development plans and ensure funding for the whole program.

According to experts, the “Big One” is a scenario of a 7.2-magnitude quake in Metro Manila that could be triggered by movements at the Valley Fault System.

The last time the country experienced a 7.2 earthquake was in Central Visayas on Oct. 15, 2013. More than 200 persons perished from the quake while damage to infrastructure was estimated at more than PHP2.2 billion.

The Resiliency Office is led by Villar, with Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain for Technical Services as alternate; and the directors of the Bureau of Maintenance and Unified Project Management Offices as deputy for operations and support, respectively.

The department order was issued pursuant to Executive Order 52 series of 2018 titled “Creating the Program Management Office for Earthquake Resiliency of the Greater Metro Manila”.

Villar also announced the creation of three Regional Operations Groups headed by the undersecretaries for regional operations to conduct vulnerability and risk assessment of vital infrastructure in the provinces and collaborating with the local government units in mitigating risks.

To assist the DPWH ER-PMO, several agencies were identified to serve as support agencies – the National Economic and Development Authority; the departments of finance, budget, interior and local government, and social welfare; the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council; Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau. (Ferdinand Patinio, Philippine News Agency)

MisOr representative calls for ‘all-out war’ vs. imported garbage

A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on June 12, 2019, called for an all-out war against imported garbage that has been flooding the country.

In a statement, Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy said Filipinos have had enough of other countries exporting their wastes and garbage to the Philippines.

“It is time we declare our independence from imported garbage,” the Mindanaoan solon said.

She said a proposed bill she filed during the 17th Congress banning imported garbage is a “declaration of independence” from illegal dumping of wastes by other countries.

House Bill 9207, or the proposed Total Ban on the Import and Export of Waste Act, is a total ban and provides for zero exceptions.

“We do not want any garbage to be imported or exported through any of our international ports,” she said.

Uy said she will re-file the bill in the 18th Congress and will convince her colleagues to co-author the measure to ensure wide support and faster progress through the legislative pipeline.

The legislator said she will also file other bills on plastic waste, waste redemption, waste recovery, and the proper management of the country’s water and aquatic resources.

“This is an all-out war on waste because we want our country to be beautiful and prosperous,” Uy said. (Jose Cielito Reganit, PNA)

After 6-month rehabilitation: Boracay reopens to public

After six months of intensive rehabilitation, the world-renowned Boracay Island reopened to the public on Friday, October 26, 2018.

A total of 157 accommodation establishments, with 7,308 available rooms, were given green light by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to accept visitors to one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, The Department of Tourism said.

Among the highlights of Boracay’s reopening include the unveiling of the “Boracay icon,” a prominent marker at the island’s Cagban port.

Boracay was closed down in April to undergo rehabilitation and restoration for six months to fix sewage and environment-related problems.

Cancer patients, court workers get P1.5-M donation from OFWs

A network of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) donated PHP1.5 million pesos to the House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer and Philippine Association of Court Employees.

Now on its second leg, the “Pasasalamat” initiative of OFW chapters worldwide, including those working in the United States, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Australia, United Kingdom and other countries, was mainly to show the administration their support even if they are abroad.

Gemma Sotto, president of the Diehard Duterte Supporters Global, the program’s lead organizer, said: “We did the first time in Davao City, that was themed Pasalamat sa Presidente. This time we’re doing the Pasasalamat sa Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Judiciary,” she said.

“We feel the difference. Because we trust and we have hope that it’s different, we want to show our appreciation,” Sotto said, referring to the positive changes brought by and how the current government works.

The event was attended by PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Representative Aniceto Bertiz, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, OWWA Deputy Administrator Arnell Ignacio and several officials from the government.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was invited but was not able to attend and instead extended the chief executive’s and his message of thanks to the OFWs through Bertiz.

“Sa ngalan ng mga tunay na taga-suporta ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte, nagpapasalamat kami sa mga bagong bayani na patuloy na nag-aambag sa ating ekonomiya at lipunan sa napakaraming paraan (We thank all the supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, you are all heroes who continue to contribute to our economy and society in many ways),” the solon relayed Go’s message before the audience.

Miss Earth candidates pitch for waste-less polls

Delegates to the upcoming Miss Earth Philippines 2018 beauty pageant on Wednesday trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office to campaign for waste prevention and reduction as the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections near.

Co-organized by the Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition, the visit by the pageant hopefuls drew attention to the need to put environmental protection at the heart of the ongoing grassroots poll campaign.

Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition sought the cooperation of the candidates and their supporters in making the May 14 village and youth council polls less wasteful, which is in sync with the pageant’s newly launched #MEPgoesplasticfree initiative where candidates refuse single-use plastics and straws.

Among the aspiring “Dyosa ng Inang Kalikasan” who came for the event were Marla Alforque (Cebu City), Joana Cristine Dalangin (Lipa City), Liz Mabao (Mandaluyong City), Teressa Anne Mariano (Queensland, Australia), Annalea Rabe (Sta. Cruz, Marinduque), Noelle Uy Tuazon (Tangalan, Aklan), and Halimatu Yushawu (Titay, Zamboanga del Sibugay).

“With over one million candidates vying for elective Barangay and SK posts, there is a real risk of increased waste generation as campaign materials are mass produced, disseminated and discarded,” said Catherine Untalan-Vital of the Miss Earth Foundation.

“We appeal to all contenders to be conscious of the environmental outcome of their campaigning activities so as not to add to the garbage problems besetting our communities,” Untalan-Vital said.

“Regardless of the poll results, we also request them to conduct ecological post-campaign cleanup as soon as the ballots are counted,” Untalan-Vital added.

Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, cautioned the public against the improper disposal of campaign materials.

“Throwing discarded campaign materials in street dumps or in distant landfills or, worst, incinerating them, will not really make waste disappear,” Alejandre said.

“Instead of the usual ‘hakot, tambak, sunog” approach, we call upon the general public, especially all would-be village and SK leaders, to embrace the basic principles and practices of ecological solid waste management,” Alejandre said.

“This would mean, among other things, exerting extra effort to lessen the volume of discards for disposal by segregating them at source and safely recycling them as much as possible,” Alejandre said.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia commended the Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition for their environmental advocacy in relation to the May 14 elections.

“I commend your action and wholeheartedly join you in appealing to the Barangay and SK poll candidates and the general public to be environmentally caring and responsible. Any decrease in the volume and toxicity of campaign trash will help in reducing the negative impact of the electoral exercise on the environment,” Alejandre said.

MUST READ: 8 tips to avoid heatstroke

As the month of April marks the entry of the dry season in the Philippines, what must-haves practices should Filipinos do to avoid heatstroke?

But before we divulge with the tips, let’s all be knowledgeable to these symptoms:

• Fainting or unconsciousness
• Light-headedness
• Pulsing headache
• Heavy fatigue or lethargy
• Red and hot skin
• Absence or ceasing of sweat
• Increased heart rate
• Fast, short breathing
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Seizures

Don’t be shy to approach your friends, co-workers or even strangers to help you get to the hospital and have your first aid.

So, here it goes! iNews has listed 10 items to keep you fresh and hydrated this dry season:

1. Protect yourself from the direct Sun! Always bring with you an umbrella and if possible move to a shady or air-conditioned place.

2. Drink more water. You might want to exceed the usual eight glasses of water for a more hydrated body.

3. Choose the right clothing. Don’t wear thick clothes and prefer the loose-fitting, lightweight clothes, such as cotton.

4. Please say no to alcohol and coffee! We know how much fun a chitchat could be with alchol or a cup of coffee, but limit your consumption as this can lead you to dehydration.

5. And smoking! This narrows blood vessels leading you to impair ability to acclimate to heat.

6. When outside wear a hat. This protects you from the direct sunlight and shades your neck and head.

7. Equip your skin with sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.

8. When you have an outdoor activity, if it’s possible adjust your schedule and choose either early morning or after sunser.

US to support PH’s battle against tuberculosis

The US government has committed to help the Philippines with its fight against tuberculosis (TB), which kills two to three Filipinos every hour.

US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim expressed this support to the Department of Health during a completion ceremony for the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) five-year, P1.5 billion tuberculosis project–Innovations and Multi-Sectoral Partnerships to Achieve Control of Tuberculosis (IMPACT).

“Infectious diseases like TB can take a terrible toll on individuals, families, and communities,” he said.

Data showed over a million Filipinos suffer from active TB, while many remain unaware that they already have it.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has improved in identifying people with TB and helping them to have anti-TB medicines and other treatments.

With the US government on its side, the country can implement high-impact approaches to diagnose and cure TB.

“The US government works closely with our Philippine counterparts to provide life-saving treatment to TB patients as soon as possible, so they can be cured of the disease,” Kim said.

For the past years, USAID has already extended P4 billion in financial and technical assistance to support the Health Department’s National Tuberculoses Control Program and the Philippine government’s target of eliminating the disease by 2035.

400 North Cotabato inmates benefit from medical, dental mission

The local government of North Cotabato provided medical and dental assistance to over 400 inmates of its provincial jail.

“Despite their offenses, they also deserve to receive health services from the provincial health office,” North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza said.

Mendoza added the outreach visit sought to make them feel that the government still cares.

The provincial government estimated that out of more than 400 inmates, 95 undergone tooth extraction and were handed with medicine and vitamins.

Mendoza noted she mandated a regular medical mission to the jail facility in Barangay Amas.

The Philippine government continues to deliver physical examination and check-up across provincial jails in the country as to help inmates with disease prevention and health promotion.

Last year, provincial government of Cavite and Pampanga also delivered medical mission to nearly a thousand Filipino prisoners.