Gatchalian on nuke energy deals: Take extra precautionary measures

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019   •   458

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has advised taking extra precautionary measures in entering into nuclear power deals, in relation to the signed nuclear power agreement between the Philippines and Russia.

On Monday (October 7), Gatchalian expressed concern over the said deal since the Constitution does not have enough laws that promote nuclear power in the country.

“Kailangan ng maraming batas, for example nuclear safety. Kailangan din ng batas paano i-transport itong mga nuclear waste, saan itatago iyong nuclear waste. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, kulang pa tayo sa framework,” he said.

(We need a lot of laws, for example, on nuclear safety. A law is also needed in transporting nuclear waste and where will the nuclear waste be kept. So, we have to be very cautious in moving forward, we still lack framework.)

The senator also said there is a huge risk in investing in nuclear power plants especially during disasters.

However, Gatchalian said he is still open to studying the use of nuclear power plants in the country.

“Iyong technology for power nagiging mas mura, magiging mas advanced, so pwede natin pag-aralan. But for now ang importante mayroon tayong mga safeguards, batas, nag mag-reregulate nitong nuclear power,” he said.

(The technology for power will be cheaper and affordable. It will also be more advanced, so we should study it. But for now, what’s important is having safeguards, and laws that will regulate nuclear power.)

He also clarified that nuclear energy is allowed in the Constitution but not nuclear weapons.—AAC

Russia to investigate safety of ventilators after hospital fire kills five

UNTV News   •   May 12, 2020

Russian authorities said they would look into the safety of artificial lung ventilators being used at two hospitals after a fire broke out in St Petersburg at one of them on Tuesday (May 12) morning and killed five people.

The blaze erupted after a ventilator in an intensive care ward treating 20 patients with the novel coronavirus burst into flames, one source told the TASS news agency.

It was the second fire to break out at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in less than a week. A similar fire erupted at a Moscow hospital on Saturday killing one person.

A TASS law enforcement source said that a ventilator had caused that fire too. The source said the ventilators that caused both fires had been produced in the same factory in the Urals region.

Roszdravnadzor, Russia’s federal service for supervising healthcare, said it would check the quality and safety of the ventilators in the two hospitals, the RIA news agency reported.

Investigators opened a criminal case into Tuesday’s fire.

Russia is relatively well stocked with ventilators and has increased domestic production since the coronavirus outbreak. But data, experts, and some medics say many machines outside big cities are old.

In this case however, the ventilator reported to have started the St. Petersburg fire was new, TASS reported, having only been installed this month.

A third fire broke out on Monday at a private hospice in the Moscow region which killed nine elderly people outright.

The hospice’s owner was detained by police. A further two people later died in hospital, the RIA news agency reported.

Russia has reported 232,243 cases of the novel coronavirus, the second highest number of cases in the world as of Tuesday morning according to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and 2,116 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Anton Vagonov, Tatiana Gomozova)

Palace: No decision yet on extension of Luzon-wide ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on whether to continue or modify the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine which will lapse on April 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said despite Monday’s discussions with health experts, congressional leaders and members of the Cabinet on the current state of the country in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the President did not give any final decision on the matter.

Roque said none of them recommended a total lockdown nor total lifting of the ECQ.

Ang opsyon na lumabas kahapon, ipagpatuloy o hindi naman kaya i-relax, hindi naman kaya completely itigil ang ECQ sa iba’t ibang lugar ng bansa. Depende sa dami ng kaso ng COVID-19,” explained Roque.

[Among the options that were raised yesterday were either to continue, to relax or to completely lift ECQ in different parts of the country. It will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases.]

Among the personalities who attended the meeting in Malacañang were former Health Secretaries Dr. Esperanza Cabral and Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan together with public health experts Dr. Susan Mercado, Dr. Antony Leachon, and Dr. Mahar Lagmay, among others.

In the Philippines, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Metro Manila and in nearby areas like Bulacan, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (CALABARZON).

Metro cities like Cebu and Davao were also affected.

These major cities are also the country’s center of commerce and transportation, according.

Roque said the President is likely to decide once he received the complete recommendations of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in collaboration with public health experts, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in line with the Luzon-wide ECQ. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte will lift ECQ once antibody treatment for COVID-19 is available

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte in his late-night address on Monday (April 13) said the national government cannot conclude yet as to when the crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would end.

But as soon as an effective treatment or a vaccine against the disease is made available in the market, he said he would lift the lockdown order or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Chief Executive stressed that while there is no proven cure yet for the virus, the ECQ is necessary to keep everyone at home and minimize the risk of getting infected with the deadly COVID-19.

Mayroon ng medisina o antibody ang isang giant pharmaceutical (company). Ang sabi by May baka they would start to market it, ipagbili na nila (A giant pharmaceutical company has introduced a medicine or an antibody. They say they plan to market it by May),” President Duterte said.

“Kung mayroon na niyan tapos makita ko na ginagamit na ng tao, ili-lift ko, tutal kung magkasakit kayo may antibodies naman tayo mabili (Once available and I see that it’s being used, I will lift (ECQ). So even if we get sick, there will be antibodies available that you can buy). I will lift the quarantine,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, meanwhile, assured that concerned Cabinet members have recommended to the President several options that the national government may undertake while waiting for an available vaccine for COVID-19.

It was also to answer queries as to the possibility of further extending or partially lifting the Luzon-wide ECQ after it lapses on April 30.

Roque said, the government is still weighing options based on two important considerations.

Humahanap po tayo ng balance. Iyong punto na hindi naman masasabing naging pabaya ang gobyerno na pangalagaan ang kalusugan laban sa COVID-19 at ang katunayan na kinakailangan namang magkaroon ng kabuhayan ang ating mga mamamayan (We are looking for a balance, one where it cannot be said that the national government had been negligent in protecting the public health against COVID-19, and a proof that the people need a source of livelihood),” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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