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August 30, 2023

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, August 30 ------ The tritium concentration in wastewater being released from Japan's stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant is under expected levels and poses no risk to the population, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said. "So far we have been able to confirm that the first releases of these waters do not contain any radionucleide at levels that would be harmful," Rafael Grossi told AFP during a visit to Stockholm.


Twelve years after one of the world's worst nuclear accidents, Japan began releasing the wastewater into the Pacific Ocean last week, as it gradually discharges around 540 Olympic swimming pools' worth of water over several decades. "The beginning has been according to what we were expecting ... but we will continue (to monitor) until the last drop is released," Grossi said.


The IAEA said on August 24 that its independent analysis of the tritium concentration in the diluted water being discharged was "far below the operational limit of 1,500 becquerels per liter." That limit was in turn much lower than the Japanese national safety standard. Japan has repeatedly insisted the wastewater will be harmless, but the move has elicited fears among local fishermen and sparked anger in China, which has suspended its seafood imports from Japan.


Grossi also commented on his agency's cooperation with Iran, saying that the reinstallation of cameras at nuclear sites was progressing too slowly. Tehran in March vowed to reactivate surveillance devices which were disconnected in June 2022 amid deteriorating relations with the West. "We've been trying to have our cameras reinstalled. We started that work but it is not going at the pace I would like and expect," Grossi said. "It has been very, very slow and we would like this to improve."


The IAEA is due to issue a new report on developments in Iran's nuclear programmed soon. "We are looking into some clarifications Iran should provide us about findings of uranium traces," he said. "It is an ongoing process that has a lot of room for improvement."





Idalia strengthens as Florida braces for ‘deadly’ hurricane

Steinhatchee, United State, August 30 ------  Hurricane Idalia intensified as it churned toward the west coast of Florida, triggering mass evacuation orders and flood alerts as authorities warned of life-threatening ocean surge and catastrophic destruction when the storm rages ashore early Wednesday.


The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Idalia, which earlier raked western Cuba, had strengthened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 miles (161 kilometers) per hour, and was lashing outer islands of the Florida Keys. Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to further turbocharge Idalia into an “extremely dangerous major hurricane before landfall on Wednesday,” the NHC said, warning of “storm surge inundation of 10 to 15 feet (3-5 meters)” in coastal areas. “Very few people can survive being in the path of a major storm surge, and this storm will be deadly if we don’t get out of harm’s way and take it seriously,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief Deanne Criswell. Major hurricanes are Category 3 or higher on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds above 110 miles per hour that the NHC says could cause “devastating damage.”


In the small coastal town of Steinhatchee, resident Robert Bryant was making final preparations to evacuate inland with his two cats and a dog. “We are out on the water, so we are going to be the worst ones to get hit,” said the 18-year-old student, whose home built on stilts is close to the mouth of a river. “Hopefully, it just blows over and we have a bit of wind… but you prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he told AFP. The nearby city of Tampa, part of a metropolitan area that is home to more than three million people, is a focus of particular concern, authorities said. “There’s a danger of life threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay to the Big Bend region,” said Matthew Payne of FEMA’s Office of Response and Recovery.


Leave ‘now’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged those in the evacuation areas along the Gulf coast to go “now.” “You don’t have to go hundreds of miles,” he told a news conference, urging coastal residents in the 23 counties under evacuation orders so far to get to shelters or hotels that were out of the danger zones. Almost 150 people were killed last year when Hurricane Ian slammed Florida’s west coast as a devastating Category 4 storm, bringing ocean surges and heavy winds that downed bridges and swept away buildings.


Idalia is expected to make landfall farther north along the coast, in the so-called Big Bend area — a vast marshy region which, unlike most other coastal areas around Florida, does not have barrier islands. The storm is forecast to dump up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain in parts of the Florida Panhandle, potentially triggering flash and urban flooding, and tornadoes were also possible along Florida’s west central coast through Tuesday night, according to the NHC. “We’ve not really had a hurricane strike this area for a long, long time,” DeSantis told reporters. “You are going to see a lot of debris — there’s a lot of trees along that track,” added the Republican governor, who has suspended his presidential campaign to handle the crisis. The NHC expressed confidence Idalia would “reach the Big Bend coast of Florida on Wednesday morning.”


US President Joe Biden spoke with DeSantis on Monday and approved an emergency declaration for the state, which unblocks federal funds and resources. Biden expressed concern about the looming storm surge and told reporters federal authorities were monitoring Idalia “hour to hour.” “We’ll make sure they have everything they need,” he said. Tampa International Airport has closed ahead of Idalia’s arrival, while flights were disrupted along the US East Coast as another hurricane, Franklin, churns in the Atlantic.


‘Marine heat wave’

Georgia and South Carolina are also under storm watches as Idalia is expected to cross northeast over Florida before exiting into the Atlantic. All three states could see flooding on Wednesday or Thursday, with Idalia likely maintaining hurricane force across Georgia, the NHC said.


In Cuba the storm flooded several communities including parts of the capital Havana and knocked out power to some 200,000 people but there were no deaths reported. “Now we have to work urgently” at restoring electricity, communications and organizing food distribution, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said at a meeting in Havana to coordinate disaster response. After clipping western Cuba, the storm moved out over the Gulf, which scientists say is experiencing a “marine heat wave” — energizing Idalia’s winds as it races toward Florida. Scientists have warned that storms are becoming more powerful as the world warms due to climate change.




Cargo Ship From Ukraine Raises Suspicion, Declining Romanian Assistance

August 30 ------ A 45-year-old cargo ship traveling in the Black Sea after departing Ukraine raised suspicions after it failed to communicate with Romanian authorities. The Romanian Agency for Saving Life at Sea (ARSVOM) reported that it monitored the ship until it left its territorial waters while its AIS signal now shows the vessel nearing Turkey without further incident. ARSVOM reported that it was requested to intervene with SAR vessels when it was believed the vessel was in danger of sinking. The Amanos was built in 1978 and according to Equasis is owned and managed by companies in Turkey although it is currently registered in Tanzania. It is a 1,670 dwt general cargo ship and typical of the type operating to the ports on the Danube and the Black Sea. 


The vessel’s AIS signal shows that it arrived at Izmail, Ukraine two weeks ago and remained there for several days. It later proceeded to the port of Kiliya, Ukraine, also on the Danube before departing on August 21. It is unknown what cargo if any was loaded aboard the ship contributing to the suspicions. ARSVOM reports it received a call for assistance on Sunday, August 27 as the vessel was moving along the coast near Mangalia in southern Romania near the border with Bulgaria. The report was that the vessel was experiencing buoyancy problems with a possible hole in its bow. ARSVOM dispatched three of its SAR vessels to meet up with the cargo ship. Reports said that there were eight crewmembers aboard the vessel, including two from Turkey and six from Azerbaijan.


The SAR vessels met up with the Amanos anchored about 1.5 nautical miles from Mangalia, but the captain of the Amanos initially refused to communicate with the Romanian SAR vessels. The Turkish-owned ship was refusing assistance. The captain later responded to the Romanian authorities indicating that he was proceeding to Bulgaria and did not require assistance. He said his crew could handle the damage and minor repairs without their intervention. The Amanos raised anchored and proceeded south. The Romanian authorities reported that without the vessel’s cooperation, they withdrew the request for assistance. However, two of their SAR vessels continued to monitor the ship until it left Romanian territorial waters and then returned to their bases in Mangalia and Constanta.




MSC Tops Schedule Reliability as Two-Thirds of Boxships are on Schedule

August 30 ------ For the sixth consecutive month, container shipping schedule reliability has been above 60 percent nearing levels not seen since 2020. After a low when only one-in-three ships were on schedule, the sector has rebounded although it plateaued with an average of just under 64 percent monthly schedule reliability since February 2023. “Schedule reliability remained unchanged month-over-month in July 2023 at 64.2 percent, maintaining the slightly lower level than the peak reached in May 2023,” highlights Alan Murphy, CEO of analytics firm Sea-Intelligence. “On a year-over-year level, however, schedule reliability in July 2023 is still 23.8 percentage points higher.”


Sea-Intelligence analyzes schedule reliability across 34 different trade lanes and more than 60 carriers, reporting in its monthly update that the industry has remained above 60 percent every month since February 2023. While it is still below the 75 percent reported three years ago in July, it has significantly improved from 35.5 percent in July 2021 and 40.3 percent in July 2022. The declines in volumes which helped ports to clear their backlogs have contributed to the improvements in schedule reliability for container carriers. In addition, they continue to blank sailings and combine routes which has helped to reduce the number of vessels, yet much of the recovery comes from improvements in operations.


Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) despite being the largest carrier with 780 vessels according to Alphaliners’ rankings, jumped on Sea-Intelligence’s schedule reliability charts from the middle of the pack in 2022 to lead the sector in 2023. They nearly doubled their reliability over the past year surpassing 70 percent and putting them slightly ahead of Maersk (69.9 percent) and Hamburg Sud (66.9 percent) which have consistently led the industry. Year-over-year all the top 14 largest carriers report strong improvements in their schedule reliability ranging between 40 and 125 percent. The average is similar to the overall industry, with the top 14 carriers at just over 61 percent, and even the lowest, Yang Ming and HMM, are each above 50 percent. 


While the industry and the top carriers are showing strong year-over-year improvements, schedule reliability peaked in May 2023 and has slipped back slightly. Six of the top 14 are reflecting declines in their reliability from June to July. COSCO and OOCL showed the largest declines at just over nine percent month-over-month, while Wan Hai reflects a 16 percent improvement versus June and HMM also achieved an eight percent improvement. “The average delay for late vessel arrivals on the other hand deteriorated by 0.21 days month-over-month to 4.59 days,” says Murphy. “This is the first substantial increase of the year and after two months of stability at 4.37 days.” Yet while the delays have been increasing, they overall show strong progress similar to schedule reliability from the lows experienced during the pandemic and the surge in container volumes. The industry remains behind 2019 levels but is consistent with 2020 and significantly improved from delays that were approaching eight days in late 2021 and 2022.


Fitch Ratings in its most recent ratings on port operators notes that it expects “U.S. and Canadian ports will see cargo volumes level off in the coming months with the broader economy inching closer to a possible recession.” The steady volumes are expected to provide further relief for port operators, terminals, and carriers giving them time to further improve operations and prepare for future volume increases. The problems at the Panama Canal, where draft restrictions are expected to persist, however, are a new emerging challenge to the industry. Currently, there are 135 ships waiting for the transit and due to the water restrictions some containerships have been forced to offload and transship boxes across the isthmus to meet the restrictions.





Salvage Team Departs FSO Safer After Completing Oil Transfer Project

August 30 ------ The salvage team in the UN-led effort to remove the oil from the dilapidated FSO Safer departed the site on Monday, August 29, marking the completion of the project. UN officials thanked the team from Boskalis’ SMIT Salvage for completing the complex task which adverted a potential environmental disaster. After completing the transfer of approximately 1.1 million barrels of oil that had been stored aboard the Safer since 2015, the team undertook a final series of tasks. The transfer was declared over on August 11, two and a half weeks after it began on July 25. The salvage team had prepared the machinery aboard the Safer for the transfer and stabilized the storage tanks which had not been properly vented in years. Equipment was standing by in case of a spill but they were able to complete the transfer without a serious incident.


During the last two weeks, the tanks aboard the Safer were scrapped and cleaned to remove as much residue as possible. The material was also transferred to the replacement tanker Nautica which had been acquired from Euronav and was renamed Yemen by the local government after the UN transferred the ship to Yemen. The tanker was repositioned on Sunday evening, August 27, to remain a safe distance from the FSO Safer. The older tanker, which was built in 1976 and had been functioning as a storage and transfer point approximately four miles off the coast of Yemen since 1988, has been prepared for recycling. The UN is responsible for arranging for the recycling of the vessel while the replacement tanker will take its place holding the oil which is claimed by the Houthi faction which controls that area of Yemen.


The Boskalis vessel Ndeavor, which had been alongside the FSO Safer since the end of May accommodating the SMIT team, departed Yemen on August 28. It is sailing to Djibouti where the salvage team will disembark and the vessel will then continue on its trip back to Rotterdam. “The completion of the work marks the end of a pivotal chapter in the UN-led operation to address the threat of a major oil spill that have been caused by a leak in or destruction of the Safer tanker,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric during his daily briefing on Monday. “The United Nations and the broad group of partners that support the Safer project have so far succeeded in preventing the worst-case scenario of a massive oil spill in the Red Sea which with obvious potential catastrophic environmental, humanitarian and economic repercussions.”


UN officials highlighted that they still need to raise an additional $22 million beyond the $120 million already committed to the project. They are awaiting the delivery of a new mooring buoy that will be installed for the Yemen. They also need to arrange for the towing and scrapping of the FSO Safer. Experts working with the UN previously determined that the Safer was beyond repair and in imminent danger of a structural failure. The vessel had only received minimal maintenance since operations were suspended eight years ago during the civil war. The execution of the project lasted nearly 13 weeks. Officials highlighted that the project required years of planning with many world leaders acknowledging the UN was the only organization that could have undertaken the task, dealing with the political sensitivities of the Yemen civil war. 




Vegetable prices spike; tomatoes at P170 a kilo

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ Retail prices of vegetables continue to increase a month after the devastation from Super Typhoon Egay and enhanced monsoon rains in many areas in the country. Tomato prices have reached as high as P170 per kilo after a slump in prices in April due to oversupply, when costs went down to as low as P3 per kilo. Based on the monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the retail prices of tomatoes ranged between P60 and P100 per kilo on July 20, prior to the destruction of Egay.


Egay entered the Philippine area of responsibility on July 21. On April 2 the DA confirmed that the farmgate price of tomatoes dropped to P3 to P5 per kilo amid the oversupply, particularly in Regions 2 and 3. Aside from tomatoes, retail prices of most vegetables also went up. Based on the latest monitoring of the DA, the retail prices of cabbage reached as high as P180 per kilo compared to P150 per kilo a month ago; Baguio beans, P210 per kilo compared to previous level of P120 per kilo; potatoes, P150 per kilo compared to the previous price of P140; pechay Baguio, P180 per kilo compared to P140 per kilo; sayote, P110 per kilo, compared to the previous P70 per kilo; bitter gourd, P160 per kilo compared to 120; pechay Tagalog, P140 per kilo compared to P100 per kilo and eggplant, P140 per kilo, compared to previous P120 per kilo.


On the other hand, the retail prices of rice recorded an increase of P11 per kilo compared to its previous level on July 20. Data from the DA showed that the retail prices of local regular milled rice ranged between P36 and P44 per kilo a month ago, compared to the latest prevailing price of P55 per kilo.


The retail prices of local well-milled rice a month ago ranged between P40 and P49 per kilo, compared to the latest price of P57 per kilo. Meanwhile, the retail prices of local premium rice a month ago ranged between P42 and P49 per kilo compared to P60 per kilo; and local special rice, between P48 and P60 per kilo, compared to the latest prices of 54 to P62 per kilo.


The DA has said the damage of Egay to high value crops in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), CALABARZON (Region 4-A), MIMAROPA (Region 4-B), Western Visayas (Region 6), SOCCSKSARGEN (Region 12) and Caraga (Region 13) reached P200.8 million covering at least 1,510 hectares.





Signal No. 4 up in Batanes, Babuyan Islands; another storm approaches

MANILA, August 30 ------ Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 4 remains in effect in parts of Batanes and Babuyan Islands as super typhoon Goring (international name: Saola) threatens extreme Northern Luzon, weather bureau PAGASA said. 


As of 4 a.m., super typhoon Goring was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and gusts of up to 240 kph as it hovers over the coastal waters of Sabtang, Batanes. Weather bureau PAGASA is forecasting 200 mm in accumulated rainfall Wednesday in the southern portion of Batanes and the northwestern portions of Babuyan Islands. Goring will likely remain a super typhoon as it follow a mainly northwestward or west northwestward path across the Luzon Strait from Wednesday until it exits the Philippine Area of Responsibility Wednesday night or Thursday morning, the bureau said.   


PAGASA weather specialist Obet Badrina said the weather bureau is also monitoring severe tropical storm Haikui, which was last estimated based on all available data at 1650 kilometers east of extreme Northern Luzon as of 4 a.m. Packing 110 kph winds near the center and 135 kph gusts, Haikui is weaker than Goring and is forecast to enter PAR later Wednesday. 


TCWS No. 4, indicating typhoon-force winds of up to 184 kph, is hoisted over the following areas: 

• The southern portion of Batanes (Sabtang, Uyugan, Ivana, Mahatao, Basco) 

• The northern portions of Babuyan Islands (Calayan Is., Babuyan Is.)

TCWS No. 3 is hoisted over the following areas: 

• The rest of Batanes and the southwestern portion of Babuyan Islands (Fuga Is., Dalupiri Is.)

TCWS No. 2 is hoisted over the following areas: 

• The northern portion of mainland Cagayan (Santa Praxedes, Sanchez-Mira, Pamplona, Claveria, Abulug, Ballesteros, Santa Ana, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Buguey, Santa Teresita, Gonzaga),

The northern portion of Ilocos Norte (Pagudpud, Adams, Bangui, Dumalneg)

TCWS No. 1 is hoisted over the following areas: 

• The rest of Cagayan, 

• Apayao, 

• The northern portion of Kalinga (Balbalan, Pinukpuk, Rizal), 

• The northern portion of Abra (Tineg, Lagayan, Lacub, Malibcong, San Juan, Danglas, La Paz), 

• The rest of Ilocos Norte, 

• Extreme northern portion of Ilocos Sur (Sinait, Cabugao, San Juan)





Law establishing specialty health centers nationwide signed

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ President Marcos has signed into law a measure mandating the establishment of specialty centers in Department of Health (DOH)-run hospitals and in government-owned or controlled corporation (GOCC) hospitals in the country.


Signed on Aug. 24, Republic Act (RA) 11959 or the “Regional Specialty Centers Act” aims to ensure accessible and affordable health care services for all Filipinos. Under the law, the DOH is designated to establish specialty centers in its hospitals in every region and in GOCC specialty hospitals, prioritizing cancer care, cardiovascular care, lung care, renal care and kidney transplant, brain and spine care, trauma care and burn care.


The specialty centers shall also prioritize orthopedic care, physical rehabilitation medicine, infectious disease and tropical medicine, toxicology, mental health, geriatric care, neonatal care, dermatology, eye care and ear, nose and throat care. RA 11959 also mandates the DOH to categorize the level of service capability of the specialty centers as National Specialty Centers, Advanced Comprehensive Specialty Centers and Basic Comprehensive Specialty Centers pursuant to the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan.


The specialty centers shall adhere to the guidelines set by the DOH on planning and prioritizing health facilities based on the upgrading of hospitals, evidence of the health needs and demands and service capability of hospitals and geographic or physical access, the law said. The amount necessary for the initial implementation of the law shall be charged against the current year’s appropriation of the DOH and shall include in its program the establishment and operationalization of the specialty centers in its annual budget thereafter.


GOCC specialty hospitals include the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.


Giving hope to Filipinos

The Regional Specialty Centers Act would pave the way for the establishment of specialty centers that would provide medical access and convenience to millions of Filipinos outside Metro Manila, according to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. “If there is a Field of Dreams, then specialty centers are Centers of Hope because it gives hope to Filipinos who have no access or could not travel to Manila to see a specialist for their illnesses,” Zubiri said, referring to a 1989 film. “This was one of my campaign promises, to have specialty centers in regions and make medical services accessible,” he added.


President Marcos on Aug. 24 signed Republic Act 11959 or the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which establishes specialty centers in state-owned hospitals. The area of specialization will depend on the needs of the people in a particular region based on an assessment by the Department of Health and specific guidelines, Zubiri noted. National specialty centers are mandated to provide training and technical assistance to regional specialty centers and lead the research and development of policies, protocols and standards for specialty services. “The idea is to bring the Heart Center, Kidney Institute, Lung Center and Children’s Medical Center closer to the public in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The transportation cost of going to Manila, as well as accommodation, is too much,” Zubiri said.





PH strengthens naval ties with US, Japan

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ The Philippines is looking to strengthen cooperation between its naval fleet and its counterparts in the United States and Japan through activities such as joint training and capability development that will be “mutually beneficial” to the three forces, as Manila and its partners reinforce their alliance amid heightened tensions with China.


US Navy 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Karl Thomas and Japan Self-Defense Fleet commander in chief Vice Adm. Akira Saito paid a courtesy call to Philippine Navy chief Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. in Manila on Sunday. Adaci was joined by Philippine Fleet commander Rear Adm. Renato David. The three navies discussed how they may collaborate as partners on various activities, including capability development, training, and subject matter exchanges, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.


Asked about the meeting during a press conference aboard the visiting Japanese warship JS Izumo (DDH-183) on Sunday, Saito said the Philippine Navy had conveyed their “areas of interest” for cooperation. “I can’t go into details because of the other sides, but we discussed the possibility of participating and enhancing the capabilities of each navy while taking advantage of the unique characteristics of each navy in training,” he told reporters after a ship tour.


The Navy has also been invited to participate in Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) training as observers, Saito added. Last June, the coast guards of the three countries held their inaugural joint exercises, the first major security engagement since President Marcos’ visits to Tokyo in February and Washington in May, where talk of trilateral cooperation was raised in response to Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. The three countries are also pursuing closer security ties with Australia.


The navies of the four countries conducted their first quadrilateral joint exercises near Manila last week, in an apparent display of unity amid Chinese aggression. “The JMSDF will strengthen the Japan-US alliance to deter and counter threats, further improve interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy, and improve bilateral defense cooperation with the Philippine Navy for regional peace and stability and the maintenance of maritime order,” Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement on the drills. Saito said the four-way drills had been planned ahead and that recent events in the West Philippine Sea, where China harassed Filipino vessels on recent resupply missions, were “not a trigger” to hold the joint exercises. But he said he was aware that “China is engaged in coercive activities in the South China Sea” and similar activities had been observed in Japan. “Against this backdrop, our country has a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and is making various efforts in the region,” Saito said.


British envoy visit

Like these allies, the United Kingdom is likewise keen on enhancing ties with the Philippines with the visit of British Foreign Minister James Cleverly on Aug. 29. The Department of Foreign Affairs said Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and Cleverly would hold bilateral talks and exchange views on “pressing regional issues” including maritime security. During his one-day visit to Manila, Cleverly will also be calling on other high-level officials of the Philippine government. “The visit is anticipated to reaffirm [Philippines-UK] ties and demonstrate mutually strong cooperation between the two governments, in line with the PH-UK Enhanced Partnership, which was launched in November 2021,” the DFA said in a statement.


During the partnership’s launch two years ago, the Philippines and the UK agreed to work closer on defense cooperation, cybersecurity, green investments, and battling COVID-19. Cleverly’s visit will be the first since 2016 that a British foreign secretary will set foot in Manila, the DFA said, noting that the Philippines and the UK just celebrated the 77th anniversary of their diplomatic relations on July 4.


The meeting between the two officials followed their bilateral discussion on the sidelines of the 56th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta last July. “I am pleased that the PH-UK enhanced partnership continues to grow from strength to strength,” Manalo said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) after the meeting. “From trade and investment to maritime security and climate, the UK and Philippines partnership continues to grow stronger,” Cleverly responded.





Angat Dam's water level remains low despite rains brought by 'Goring'

August 30 ------ Despite the heavy downpour brought by Super Typhoon Goring, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that the water reservoir supplying the entire Metro Manila remains below its normal level.


In its latest bulletin, PAGASA said the Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan recorded 198.09 meters (m) Reservoir Water Level (RWL). Although there was a slight increase of 0.07 m in the said dam from the Aug. 26 update with 198.02 m, PAGASA noted that it is still 11.91 m below the Normal High-Water Level (NHWL) of 210 m. As for the other dams, PAGASA said the RWL of Ipo Dam significantly decreased by 0.76 m while the Lamesa Dam slightly reduced by 0.01 m. 


The Ambuklao Dam, on the other hand, moderately increased by 0.45 m. Meanwhile, Binga Dam's RWL dropped by 0.62 m and San Roque Dam slightly increased by 0.09 m. The Pantabangan Dam also decreased slightly by 0.12 m, and Magat Dam increased by 0.21 m. The provided data was recorded from 6 a.m. of Aug. 26 to 6 a.m. of Aug. 27. 





Marcos orders agencies to control rice prices

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ All available legal tools should be used to control the prices of rice and ensure that the staple is readily available to the poor, President Marcos said in an order to all agencies after a sectoral meeting at Malacañang.


In a Facebook post, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) said Marcos, also the agriculture secretary, had expressed concern over the price of rice although the supply of the commodity remains sufficient based on the most recent outlook by the Department of Agriculture (DA). “The Chief Executive directs all concerned agencies to utilize the available legal tools in controlling the price of rice and make this affordable especially to poor households, as well as ensure other support mechanisms for farmers and traders alike should legal measures be invoked by the government in controlling the price of rice,” the RTVM post read.


Among the possible causes of the price hike are hoarding, the effects of consecutive typhoons namely Egay and Falcon over the past month in severely affected areas and rice-deficit regions and actions by middlemen. The RTVM said Marcos also called on the Bureau of Customs (BOC), in coordination with the DA, to study possibilities of donating BOC-seized rice to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said Marcos has directed his agency to continue its warehouse raids to quell hoarders and illegal rice importers. “As per the directive of our President, we will be conducting more inspections of these warehouses, and the inspection and visitation will be coordinated with other agencies like the DA and DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” Rubio said at a press briefing yesterday at Malacañang. “What we will do is we will validate all warehouses that are storing imported rice and then upon validation we will issue letters of authority to conduct inspection on these warehouses,” he added.


More than P31 billion worth of smuggled items have been seized since January this year, BOC data showed. The figure is higher than the P24.65 billion worth of items confiscated in the entire 2022. Rubio said the BOC recently served three letters of authority against three warehouses in Bulacan that were supposedly used to store imported rice. The warehouses inspected by authorities were Great Harvest Rice Mill Warehouse at Intercity Industrial Complex; San Pedro Warehouse Intercity Industrial Complex and FS Rice Mill Warehouse.


The sacks of rice found in the warehouses were imported from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, respectively, with an initial estimated aggregate value of P505 million, the customs chief said. Owners and operators of the warehouses were prohibited from retrieving the goods unless they can present required documents on their rice importation. They were given until Sept. 8 to prove they paid the necessary duties for the goods. Rubio said cases would be filed if proven that the owners and operators of the warehouses are at fault. The customs chief could not provide details on the pending cases against smugglers but gave assurance that the BOC is working with the justice department in the filing of cases. “We are in close collaboration, coordination with the DOJ to fast-track the filing of charges against the smugglers we apprehended and identified,” Rubio said.


Meanwhile, Bicol Saro Partylist Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has filed House Bill 7970 seeking an amendment to the 31-year-old Republic Act 7581, or The Price Act of 1992, to make punishment for rice and corn hoarders and profiteers harsher. In his bill, Yamsuan also sought the creation of an anti-rice or corn hoarding and profiteering task force in every province, city and municipality to “regularly check the inventory levels of all mills, warehouses and stock houses of rice and corn, and find out if these commodities are being hoarded.”


The measure proposes a jail term of up to 40 years to be imposed on rice and corn hoarders and profiteers “in certain instances when their illegal acts are tantamount to acts of economic sabotage. “One of the reasons greedy and shameless traders are bold enough to hoard rice or corn even during difficult times is that the punishment imposed on them under the law is not harsh enough,” he said in a statement. Yamsuan added it is about time to amend the law to ensure that the “penalties remain commensurate to the crimes committed, and include other acts and practices that should be deemed illegal but not covered under this law.” Under the measure, the hoarding of rice and corn “during or on the occasion of any calamity, disaster or any emergency declared as such by the President” shall be deemed equivalent to economic sabotage.





Over 270,000 aspirants file COC for BSKE – Comelec

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ The Commission on Elections reported that there are more than 273,000 aspirants who filed their certificate of candidacy for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on the first day of filing. According to the consolidated daily report of the Comelec, there are 672,016 seats open for the BSKE for a total of 42,001 barangays. A total of 273,454 filed per elective position. Of these, 21.657 filed for the barangay captain post while 143,638 filed COC for Sangguniang Barangay member. For the SK Elections, on the other hand, 17,085 filed COC for SK chair while 91,074 filed COC for SK member.


Comelec said that 64.77% of the COC filers or 177,125 are male, while 35.23% or 96,329 of the aspirants who filed COC are female. The Comelec’s consolidated daily report on the number of aspirants who filed their COC, issued by the Election Records and Statistics Department, covers 81 of 82 provinces.


The poll body has no data for South Cotabato. Comelec will accept COCs until September 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. BSKE has been scheduled on October 30 this year after multiple times of postponement.





MMDA suspends proposal for shared EDSA bike lane

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced its decision to suspend a proposed plan for a shared lane accommodating both bicycles and motorcycles along EDSA.


This move came after a meeting involving representatives from motorcycle riders and cyclists’ groups failed to achieve a consensus, prompting the MMDA to explore alternative solutions. “No one agreed. We have to study other options,” acting MMDA Chairman Don Artes said during a press briefing in the MMDA headquarters.


Artes also highlighted the issue of motorcycles frequently entering the exclusive bicycle lane, a situation that has drawn criticism when enforcement efforts are tightened. The MMDA is considering the possibility of constructing an elevated walkway or dedicated bicycle lane, which aims to not only address the issue of mixed traffic but also alleviate congestion on EDSA. Artes said the MMDA would thoroughly study the matter to ensure that the safety of bicycle and motorcycle riders is not compromised.


Artes previously reported that around 160,000 motorcycles traverse EDSA daily, with a substantial portion utilizing the bicycle lane. Recent MMDA operations resulted in the apprehension of 1,500 motorists found violating bicycle lane rules since its implementation on Aug. 21.





GMA veteran anchor Mike Enriquez passes away

MANILA, August 30 ------ GMA News anchor Mike Enriquez has passed away. He was 71.


This was confirmed during Tuesday's episode of GMA News' "24 Oras." "It is with profound sadness that GMA Network announces the passing of our beloved Kapuso, Mr. Miguel 'Mike' C. Enriquez, who peacefully joined our creator on August 29, 2023," the GMA statement said as reported by Mel Tiangco.  "His dedication to the industry will serve as an inspiration to all. We pray for the eternal repose of our beloved Kapuso."


Back in December 2021, Enriquez went on a medical leave to undergo a procedure that would require prolonged isolation. “He will undergo a medical procedure that will require hospital confinement and, afterwards, a minimum of three months isolation period as advised by his doctor,” Enriquez’s home network, GMA-7, said in a statement at the time. “Mike said he looks forward to the healing he has been praying and preparing for. He also looks forward to resuming his duties specially for GMA’s Eleksyon 2022 coverage,” the statement added.


Sen. Risa Hontiveros expressed her condolences, lauding Enriquez's legacy as member of the press. "Hindi matatawaran ang mga kontribusyon ni Mike Enriquez sa industriya ng broadcasting at news media sa Pilipinas. He was a true trailblazer and an innovator who helped shape how Filipinos receive and perceive the daily news," she said in a statement. "Sa kabila nito, mananatiling buhay ang kanyang legasiya, at ang kanyang mga kwento, biro at aral sa ating puso. Umaasa ako na darami pa ang mga broadcaster at media workers na susunod sa yapak ni sir Mike at maghahatid ng serbisyong totoo sa buong bansa. "Gaya ng marami, mamimiss ko ang pagkawala ng boses ni Mike Enriquez sa ating mga radyo at telebisyon," Hontiveros said.


AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co also praised Enriquez, saying his voice will "continue to resound in our memories." "He served the country and the broadcast industry well, earning the respect of Filipinos and major awards along the way," he said.



Enriquez went back to work in March last year, where he opened up about the kidney transplant that he went through. "'Yung pinagdaanan ko mahirap," he said, as quoted by GMA News. "Aside from the procedure itself, may three months mandatory isolation period, and the purpose of that is to avoid the rejection and infection. 'Yung kidney transplant patients, immuno-compromised sila eh. May comorbidities pa 'ko, senior citizen, diabetic."


In November of the same year, several posts about the supposed passing of the veteran journalist went viral on social media. And it was Enriquez himself who called it "fake news," according to a report. 



Enriquez joined the broadcast industry in 1969 and then became part of GMA Network in 1995, serving the Filipino audience for 54 years. He then became one of the anchors of GMA's flagship newscast "24 Oras" and hosted the long-running public affairs program, "Imbestigador." He also served as President of RGMA Network, Inc and GMA Network's Senior Vice President and Consultant for Radio Operations.  He also etched his name in radio broadcasting, anchoring DZBB's "Super Balita sa Umaga" and "Saksi sa Dobol B."





TAPE opposes TVJ’s trademark application for the word ‘Dabarkads’

August 30 ------ A search of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showed that last April 6, or before Tito, Vic and Joey left “Eat Bulaga” and TAPE on May 31, the three hosts filed a trademark application for “Dabarkads” with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).  According to IPOPHL, “A trademark is a word, a group of words, sign, symbol, logo or a combination thereof that identifies and differentiates the source of the goods or services of one entity from those of others.” After TVJ filed the “Dabarkads” trademark application, IPOPHL published the application for opposition as required under the law.  


Under Section 134 of Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, “Any person who believes that he would be damaged by the registration of a mark may, upon payment of the required fee and within thirty (30) days after the publication…file with the Office an opposition to the application.”


TAPE filed its opposition with IPOPHL against TVJ’s “Dabarkads” trademark application. “Dabarkads” has been used by the hosts of “Eat Bulaga” for many years. The “Dabarkads” application was filed after TVJ tried to register “Eat Bulaga” as a trademark with IPOPHL on Feb. 27 this year. De Leon filed a separate trademark application for “Eat Bulaga” last March 22. However, TAPE was able to renew the trademark registrations for “Eat Bulaga” and “EB” last June 14. The new registration under TAPE will last for 10 years and will expire on June 14, 2033. 





Jerald Napoles shares why Pinoy comedy can attract a global audience

August 30 ------ A new and one-of-its-kind comedy series starts streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video this Aug. 31 and stars Carlo Aquino, Rufa Mae Quinto, Andrea Brillantes, Jerald Napoles, Cai Cortez, Awra Briguela, Justine Luzares and Drew Arellano. Besides its incredible cast, the six-part series Comedy Island Philippines has an interesting format. A hybrid of scripted and unscripted elements, the reality comedy-adventure show features seven celebrities trapped in a magical island where they have to play the Centennial Games and only one will emerge as the winner.


In a recent intimate roundtable interview with one of its actors, Jerald gave more details about the concept behind the series and how the Filipino brand of comedy is showcased in the Philippine version of Comedy Island. “All of us are playing as ourselves,” began Jerald. They used their real names in the series, as seen in the teaser trailer. “We know the narrative but we don’t know the challenges (that we will be doing)… We have a script, there’s voting, may matatanggal, may pinarusahan, and merong nagmakaawa (someone gets kicked out, someone gets punished and you have someone begging for reconsideration).” “It’s very interesting,” added the actor-comedian. Further describing the concept as “unique,” he said other countries also have their versions of Comedy Island. “Their approach is different from us. The challenges we did were different. In (Comedy Island) Indonesia, bahala sila kung anong gagawin nila. Sa Philippines, bahala kami kung anong gagawin namin.” There’s also a Comedy Island Thailand version. What’s more interesting for Jerald is the cast. He said, “It’s very different. I think we would only be able to have that kind of casting if we were going to do a movie. But if it’s a semi-reality show, improv, and we have this kind of setup where someone gets evicted or whatsoever, and we are the cast, for me, if I am the audience, I will be asking, ‘What’s happening there? I will watch it.’ I think it will build interest in the audience.”


Jerald was also in awe of how big the production was. “Ticket pa lang, you would know that the budget was huge. All of us were in Business Class, tapos Singapore Airlines pa,” he mentioned. They also filmed at a luxury resort in Phuket, Thailand. As soon as they arrived on set, they could tell it was a major production. He observed, “Especially when we went to the set and the entire process of production, even the workers may delegation ng trabaho. (So) it’s really big. “And then, we realized that it’s big because it’s an Amazon original. So Amazon Prime Video is actually pouring effort and funds into their originals — there’s Comedy Island Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.” The Amazon team from the US was also present during the shoot, Jerald added.


The STAR asked the actor how the Filipino brand of comedy differs from those of other countries and why he thinks the global audience will appreciate such type of comedy as the series is set to be shown in various parts of the world. “The Filipinos are used to physical comedy, so in terms of… I remember ‘pag nag-challenge kami, yung energy namin naka-up lahat. Waaah! Our energy was like that,” he answered. “I think the structure that was imposed on us, for each country, was that it had to be the flavor of your country,” he continued. “It has to be culturally Filipino, the concept, the set, (etc). With Indonesia, the concept, the appearance of the set and everything should also be Indonesian.”


Jerald cited as well the theater actors who were part of the series. “’Pag sinalang mo mga ‘to kapag sabihin nating hindi natin kilala, automatic mag-shine. I remember they were also our stand-ins because they were there first for blocking. And they did the exact challenge. They told us that when they did it, they had so much fun. It’s because these are theater actors who are used to improv challenges,” he said. “So, I think Pinoy comedy is very connecting. It’s like, ‘What shall we do next? Gaganito ako, gaganito ka.’ Filipinos are like that. Tapos, ‘O tatlo tayo, ganun, tapos kunyari ganyan.’ Alam mo yung ‘pag naglalaro tayo sa kalye, ‘O sige kami magkakapatid, tapos kayo kapitbahay namin.’ It’s like that, magkaka-connect. It’s different. I think it’s evident and different also from other countries’ brand of comedy,” he added. On how the global audience can relate to the Filipino comedy showcased in the show, he said, “Ang maganda kasi ngayon napansin ko malakas yung Pinoy sa mundo, so there’s no convincing factor for me to watch the show. It’s automatic because we have Filipinos everywhere in the world, especially in the US, Middle East, so may manonood at may manonood (there will always be an audience).” “Our humor is also not very different from others like Latin humor. It’s the same somehow,” he went on and pointed out, “It’s because there’s also familiarity sa humor nila and sa humor natin. It’s almost the same. I also noticed it in Mexican, Spanish humor, so I think hindi tayo dry humor. I think other countries can also relate (to our humor), maybe not all, but comedy is comedy.”


Meanwhile, being the comedian that he is, Jerald believes that using humor can be a way to attract girls. He used it on his girlfriend, actress Kim Molina. “I used it on Kim. She is a ‘victim.’ It’s like a web. I’m the spider, web yan, yung comedy ko. ‘Pag pumunta ka dun sa web, ‘OK, come here ganun yun,’” he quipped. “Nagamit ko kasi ‘pag you would want a person because you have to start a conversation. And how do you start a conversation? You have to get her attention. So, the first line that you’re gonna say kailangan gusto na niyang makipag kwentuhan sayo. So, you have to be funny.” He definitely doesn’t find it challenging to use his humor on Kim being a comedienne herself. “Kasi bungisngis siya. Napaka-bungisngis niya. Kahit ganung matalino yun, bungisngis yun sobra and she is also a comedian. And alam ko rin ‘pag pinagtri-tripan niya ako.” He revealed, “Actually, you know what, in our relationship, mas madalas akong pagtripan ni Kim. Because in real life, nasa isang sulok lang ako. Ganyan. Babangka ako ‘pag barkadahan. Pero ‘pag hindi ako kinakausap, for example, nandito tayo, nandiyan lang ako kung hindi niyo ako kailangan.” “I’m like that. Kim is the one who’s (talkative). So, ako yung pinaglalaruan niya lagi sa bahay. And that’s what I love about her. It’s very rare for someone like me to find a girl like that. (I hit the) jackpot.” Are they going to take their relationship to the next level after nine years of being together? “You, guys, would know (in time) because it has to start from us and then, (we will) announce it,” he told this paper. “But of course, may mga usap kami sa bagay-bagay because we are also business partners, so I don’t think na magkakaroon ng problema itong relasyon namin. So, it will go to the next level. It’s inevitable.” “Ang napag-usapan lang namin kasi ngayon puro business and projects. But it will happen,” he concluded.




Gilas fails to advance to 2nd round after bowing to Italy

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ The Philippines' bid to advance to the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 ended night at the Araneta Coliseum.


This, after they absorbed a 90-83 defeat to world No. 10 Italy in their final game in Group A. It was their third straight loss in the group stage of the tournament. Italy finished as the second seed in Group A behind the Dominican Republic and will move to the second round.


Gilas' chances of advancing to the second round of the tournament remained alive thanks to the Dominican Republic's win over Angola earlier in the night. However, they needed to defeat Italy by more than 13 points to clinch the second seed in Group A. That would not happen, with the Italians instead breaking the Filipinos' hearts in front of over 11,000 fans at the Big Dome. Gilas' outside shooting clicked midway through the first quarter with Roger Pogoy and Dwight Ramos doing damage. A Jordan Clarkson layup gave them an 18-15 lead before Simone Fontecchio and Luigi Datome struck for Azzurri. But Rhenz Abando drained a booming trey and June Mar Fajardo sank a buzzer-beater to give the Philippines a 23-20 advantage.


The Italian shooters then asserted themselves as Giampaolo Ricci and Datome began knocking down treys while Gilas started fumbling with their shots. Abando and Clarkson managed to score for Gilas but Azzurri took a 48-39 halftime lead. The Filipinos went toe-to-toe in scoring in the third canto but could not get a run going. This allowed Azzurri to stay ahead with Alesandro Pajola knocking down a buzzer-beater for Italy's 73-60 lead. Clarkson launched a mini run with Jaime Malonzo 1:43 remaining in the fourth to cut the deficit to 88-81. But it proved too late as Azzuri walked away with the win.


Six Italians delivered double digits, all of them contributing from the three points area. After making just a combined 12 three-pointers in their first two games in Group A, Italy found their range against Gilas Pilipinas. They made 17 of their 41 attempts from long range, with Giampaolo Ricci (14 points) and Marco Spissu (13) knocking down four three-pointers each. Simone Fontecchio added 18 points. In contrast, the Filipinos struggled to find the mark on their home floor. Gilas went 10-of-29 from long distance, with Clarkson making just one of seven attempts. Italy also scored 21 second chance points to only 10 for the Philippines. 


Clarkson carried the scoring duties for Gilas with 23 markers. Dwight Ramos was the only other Gilas player in double figures with 14 markers. "We just came here to win the game, that's the most important thing. We knew when we lost to Dominican Republic that the only way to pass this group, we won today so we're really happy," said Spissu in the post-game press conference. The Filipinos were hoping to beat the Italians by at least 13 points to overcome Azzuri's +14 differential as Gilas lost by 10 points, 80-70, against Angola last Sunday.




Editor's Note:

Here are results for Day 4 of the Fiba World Cup:

Germany 101, Finland 75

Dominican Republic 75, Angola 65

Egypt 100, Mexico 72

France 85, Lebanon 79

Australia 109, Japan 89

Italy 90, Philippines 83



Ruthless Djokovic makes winning return to US Open

NEW YORK, USA, August 30 ------ Novak Djokovic made a winning return to the US Open by storming past Frenchman Alexandre Muller, 6-0, 6-2, 6-3, to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking and take the first step towards matching Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 Grand Slams.


Unable to play at last year’s event due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic had not been seen on the Flushing Meadows hard courts since his loss to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 final. And fans let the 36-year-old know they had missed him, showering the Serb with applause as he emerged from the tunnel onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court. It was clear that the three-time champion had missed them as well as he embraced the cheers of a record crowd of over 30,000 that included former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.


“I was excited to go out on the court, it has been a couple of years so to come in front of you guys is always a pleasure,” Djokovic told the New York crowd. “Thanks for coming out and thanks to all the people who stayed to almost 1 am. Night sessions at Arthur Ashe are always something special.” Arriving in New York on the back of an absorbing win over his young rival Carlos Alcaraz in the Cincinnati Open final, an in-form Djokovic showed the 84th ranked Muller no mercy in what was his US Open main draw debut.


Firing on all cylinders, Djokovic broke the overwhelmed Frenchman to open the match and never took his foot off the gas, closing out the first set in 23 minutes with a thundering ace. Djokovic broke Muller for a fourth time to open the second set and went 2-0 up before his opponent held serve for the first time, raising both hands in triumph as the crowd roared. But the cheers would be few and far between as Djokovic closed out the second with a wicked forehand. Muller showed more ambition in the third, taking the set to 3-3 before Djokovic took control by breaking the Frenchman twice on the way to closing out the match. “I couldn’t serve well in the second and third, I dropped the level of my serve and had to work for my points a bit more,” said Djokovic. “Nevertheless I think I played great from the beginning to the end. “Some hiccups but I liked the level and hopefully I can maintain it in the next round as well.”


While the US Open has just got underway, Djokovic’s win guarantees he will nudge Alcaraz out of top spot when the world rankings are updated on Sept. 11. Alcaraz, who beat Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final in July, opens his account on Tuesday against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer. The path to a 10th US Open final and a possible mouthwatering showdown with Alcaraz will get tougher but Djokovic had one obstacle removed from his side of the draw when Danish fourth seed Holger Rune was upset, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, by Spanish clay court specialist Roberto Carballes Baena. 


Next up for number two seed Djokovic is Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who was a straight sets winner over American Ethan Quinn.




Alex Eala breaches WTA top 200 after solid pro run

MANILA, Philippines, August 30 ------ For the first time in her young career, Alex Eala landed inside the top 200 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world ranking. The 18-year-old jumped 22 spots from No. 217 to a career-high No. 195 in the latest world ranking released. Eala’s latest world ranking surpasses her previous career-best of 214, which she achieved in November 2022. 


The young Filipina sensation got a lift after a string of solid outings starting last May, where she joined 10 events in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tour. Eala wrapped up her run in the quarterfinals four times, the semifinals once, and the finals three times. She emerged champion in one of these finals appearances, bagging the crown in the ITF Roehamption W25K GB Pro Series last August 14 in Great Britain for her fourth career pro title. 


The teen tennis ace remains the highest ranked Southeast Asian in the world, 62 spots higher than the 257th-ranked Lantana Tararudee of Thailand. Among Asians, she ranked 17th overall. Eala braces for more action in the second half of the year as she also committed to join the Philippines’ campaign in the 2023 Asian Games from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, China. But before that, she will get a chance to further improve her world rankings as she is set to see action in the W100 And Securities Open Tokyo 2023 in Japan beginning September 4.





4 Rainy Day Illnesses to Watch Out For

The rainy season has officially started. While it’s a nice change from the warm temperatures of summer, it also has certain dangers that come in the form of diseases. With the rainy season upon us, plus the possibility of a La Niña event occurring later this year, the public is urged to be careful with diseases that are common during the rainy season. The Department of Health warns of common rainy season illnesses known as WILD: Water-borne diseases, Influenza, Leptospirosis, and Dengue. Take note of common illnesses this season and how to prevent them:  


1. Dengue

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes mosquito and is common in tropical countries like the Philippines. Dengue fever mainly affects children and is potentially fatal.


How to prevent Dengue:

Clean gutters so that rainwater will not turn into a breeding place of mosquitoes.

Clean out all water containers once a week, including flower vases, pots, and drums.

Throw away unused bottles, jars and other items that can hold water.


2. Influenza

Commonly known as the flu, influenza is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. It is transmitted through contact with an infected person, like when they sneeze or cough.


How to prevent influenza:

Get your annual flu vaccine

Avoid crowded places.

Minimize contact with infected persons

Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

Wash hands frequently


3. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted when urine or feces of infected animals such as rats contaminated the soil, water and vegetation. A person may get leptospirosis when open wounds, broken skin, or when eyes, nose, mouth and sinuses, come in contact with contaminated water.


How to prevent leptospirosis:

Avoid wading in flood water.

Drain water that may be contaminated.

Keep your surroundings clean.

Control any rodents in the household with rat poison or traps.


4. Hepatitis A

It is a virus that is usually transferred through the ingestion of food contaminated with urine or human waste of those already infected with Hepatitis A.


How to prevent Hepatitis A

Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before preparing food, and before meals.

Make sure to cook shellfish like crabs and clams thoroughly.

Practice safe handling and storage of food and water.




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