MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Rizal town in Laguna on Monday declared a statement of emergency after several individuals were killed and hundreds were rushed to hospitals for alleged alcohol poisoning.
Rizal Vice Mayor Antonio Aurelio said the declaration aims to gain access to the local financial assistance fund to help individuals affected by the incident.
Based on the report of Rizal Municipal Health Office, eleven people were confirmed dead, another in critical condition, while more than 300 others were being monitored Sunday after imbibing coconut wine or locally known as lambanog.
“Based doon sa findings ng PGH, sa ilan na dinala doon ay may nag-positive sa methanol intoxification,” John Michael Gangay, administrative officer of Rizal Health Office said.
The affected individuals allegedly attended different holiday parties but all consumed lambanog bought from the same store.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans.
Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter, the DOH added.
The symptoms of methanol poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain and dimming eyesight.
Following the incident, the local government has urged all those who ingested lambanog in the areas to voluntarily seek medical examination.
The sale of lambanog in Rizal town was also suspended.
“Kahit kami nabigla eh. Di namin alam na may mangyayaring ganito sa bayan namin. Tunay na nakakalungkot, pero we are doing our best para ma-extend ang tulong sa aming mga kababayan,” Aurelio said.
The Rizal Police has confiscated the brand of lambanog involved in the incident amid ongoing investigation.
Former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has been discharged from confinement at the Makati Medical Center, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino expressed his gratitude to those who prayed for his health and recovery.
On December 9, Valte confirmed that Aquino was in the hospital for a scheduled routine check-up. This was after rumors circulated that the former chief executive was in confinement due to a heart procedure.
The local government of Zamboanga City has welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision of assigning Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari as the country’s special economic envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco said the President has already talked to him regarding the matter.
He reiterated that they are in favor of the chief executive’s decision as it is aimed at reaching a lasting peace in Mindanao.
“President Duterte had already the intention of giving the chairperson to Nur Misuari as an opportunity to take leadership roles in the government so as to fully implement the peace process,” Climaco said.
He added that there is no denying that Misuari has a big influence on the Moro people and on the peace process.
The local chief executive, however, said that the victims in the 2013 Zamboanga Siege must be accorded the justice they deserve.
Misuari was said to be behind the MNLF’s bloody attack in the city.
Meanwhile, people from Zamboanga have differing views on Misuari’s assignment to the OIC.
Some said Misuari is not fit for the job based on his participation in the siege.
Others, on the other hand, welcomed the President’s decision.
Meanwhile, the President said Misuari’s assignment to the OIC is aimed at achieving the immediate implementation of the peace agreements between the government and the Moro fronts and to get the support of the Islamic countries.
The MNLF founding chair is known to have strong alliances with the leaders in the OIC.— (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf
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