Crushed dolomite along Manila Bay can cause respiratory issues, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020   •   252

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned that the inhalation of crushed dolomite rock – the material used in the artificial white sand dumped along the Manila Bay – can cause respiratory issues.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that based on studies, a person may suffer adverse effects from inhaling dolomite dust.

“Sa mga pag-aaral, kapag na inhale natin ito, may mga adverse reactions, respiratory mainly,” Vergeire said.

“Pero hindi naman natin sinasabi na when you go to Manila Bay, you’ll get it at once. Yun lang sinasabi ng mga artikulo,” she added.

Aside from respiratory problems, dolomite dust may also cause irritation if it gets into a person’s eyes or gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested.

“Kapag napunta sa mata, nagkakaroon ng konting irritation so you just have to wash it off with water. Kapag ingested, it can have discomfort sa gastrointestinal system natin and magkakaroon ng sakit ng tyan at pagtatae,” Vergeire said.

“These are the minor effects of these dolomites na nilagay sa Manila Bay,” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last week implemented its initiative to adorn the Manila Bay shoreline with white sand using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu Province.

The projects is part of the P389-million beach nourishment project.

Vergeire, however, said she trusts that the DENR has made studies on how dolomite will affect people and the environment before it approved the project.

Some groups have criticized the DENR’s move, saying dumping artificial white sand along Manila Bay was unnecessary and could even negatively affect the ecosystem.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Artiporda earlier argued that crushed dolomite rock is not harmful to the environment and is being used in some resorts.

“The dolomite stones, sabihin na nating dolomite stones, sandstones yan no, were being used by different resorts and beaches since the 1990s. So until now walang problema at maganda naman yung sitwasyon niya,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Duterte commends Cimatu for Manila Bay white sand project

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — In his public address Monday evening (September 21), President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the efforts of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay. 

The President expressed his high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay and the timing of the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think everybody was there when I said, ‘Roy, kaya mong linisin ‘to (can you clean this up)?’ And his answer was a very curtly given, ‘Kaya kong trabahuhin (I can work on it),'” the President recalled quoting Cimatu.

The President also noted that it is common for the opposition to criticize the government in all of its undertakings and specifically, the President himself.

Wala naman talaga tayong magawa (We really cannot do anything). You do it, may masabi sila (they have something to say). You do not do it, may masabi si Leni (Leni has something to say about it too),” he added, referring to Vice President Leni Robredo who is the leader of the opposition.

“They are trying to delude people.  They are trying to picture that there’s a failure of government. We have done our best,” Duterte stressed. 

He also said the opposition should not be adding to the already heavy burden of the country brought by the pandemic.

Robredo has questioned on multiple occasions, the government’s COVID-19 response and criticized its seeming lack of direction.

Alam mo Leni kung gusto mo (You know Leni, if you want), if you really want to do away with the COVID, i-sprayhan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para patay lahat (let’s spray the whole Philippines or Manila with pesticide from a plane to kill them all) […] Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements na (that) we are not doing enough,” Duterte said addressing Robredo. MNP (wirh reports from Rosalie Coz)

DOH proposes COVID-19 swab test ‘price cap’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2020

The Department of Health on Monday (September 21) said it has submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its recommendation for an executive order issuance that would place a price cap on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab tests.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department has noticed the differential pricing of swab tests in laboratories across the country. She added that the current law on price ceiling for medicines excludes diagnostics and professional fees.

“We may be able to have this executive order so that we can somehow regulate the prices of swabs, or prices of testing for COVID-19,” she said.

The DOH official also said the department will conduct small surveys to determine price range and will consult experts and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regarding the swab test prices. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH to conduct nationwide measles campaign beginning October 26

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) will conduct a nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunization campaign starting October 26.

DOH Secretary Secretary Francisco Duque said there is still a need to prevent possible measles outbreak especially while the country is facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

As of August 2020, there are around 3,500 reported measles cases with 36 deaths. Most of the cases are among children under five years old.

The nationwide Measles Rubella-Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization campaign will be rolled out in two phases. The DOH will be conducting the campaign for children under five years old which is around 9.4 million children for the measles-rubella vaccine and 6.9 million children for the oral polio vaccine.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-quality immunization campaign is urgently needed to stop measles transmission and possible outbreaks. We encourage parents and caregivers to have their children immunized. The measles vaccine is safe, effective and free,” he said.

The DOH’s immunization campaign is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnoro said there have been immunization challenges brought by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are at an especially challenging time when immunization for children is being threatened. All of us must do our part in ensuring children in our family are immunized, and that we provide the correct information to parents, community members and among our peers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Duque also assured that the health care workers who will participate in the campaign have been trained and will be provided with personal protective equipment.

The Phase 1 of the campaign will be conducted from 26 October to 25 November 2020 in Mindanao Regions, CAR, I, II, IV-B and V. Phase 2 will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas Regions, NCR, III and IV-A. AAC

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