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Maynilad to prioritize NKTI, 4 other hospitals in water delivery

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019

The Department of Health will be implementing stricter guidelines in hospitals that are affected by water shortage.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III instructed these hospitals to only allow one companion per patient, saying this will, in a way, help in saving water consumption.

“Sana maintindihan ng mga magulang. Kasi kung hahayaan natin na lahat tatlo, apat (ang bantay), eh ubos ang tubig natin [I hope that the parents will understand. If we will let one patient have three or four companions, our stock water will run out],” said Duque.

Meanwhile, Maynilad announced that they will be prioritizing the delivery of water to five hospitals, namely: Rizal Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the Philippine Children Medical Center, and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, in which the patients confined there are in delicate condition.

NKTI Executive Director, Dr. Rose Marie Rosete Liquete said that if the water supply in hospitals will go low, dialysis patients will be heavily affected.

She further said that to save on water, they will have to move from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis.

“Iyong peritoneal dialyisis, ilagagay sa abdominal cavity ng pasyente and then magwa-wash out iyon to empty ng lahat ng toxins ng body so it doesn;t require water to the machine. Ang kailangan lang doon handwashing [During peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid is circulated inside part of your abdominal cavity. It then washes out and empty the toxins out of your body, so it doesn’t require water to the machine. What you will just need is to wash your hands],” said Liquete.

Dr. Joseph Michael Jaro, the Head of the Auxiliary Operations for the Kidney Institute said, “We may have to suspend and slow down the dialysis. It doesn’t have to shut down everything but we really need to prioritize the critical patients.”

The administration of East Avenue Medical Center and the Lung Center of the Philippines also met with Sec. Duque on Thursday and assured him that their respective hospital operations are still running normal and that they still have enough water supply. — Maris Federez (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Manila Water customers to start receiving bill rebates in June

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Manila Water customers who had been affected by the water crisis in March will start receiving their rebates.

The rebates for the more than 100,000 affected customers will be reflected in the June water bill.

Based on the announcement made by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), all residents who had been affected by the crisis will receive 153.93 rebates for the 10 cubic meters of their water consumption in the month of May.

Residents in the severely affected areas who had been rendered waterless 24/7 from March 6 to 31 will be given additional 2,196.94 rebates.

In case the rebate is higher than the actual consumption, the remaining value will be applied to the next month’s water bill, or will be deducted to the previous month’s unpaid bill.

MWSS chief regulator, Atty Patrick Ty said, “the entire 534 million yun po babalik yan lahat sa publiko wala pong maiiwan o walang mapupunta sa MWSS [the entire 534 Million will be returned to the public. Nothing will be left or go to the MWSS].”

Manila Water Spokesperson Jeric Sevilla, on the other hand, said, “susundin natin yun. Kaya ngayon yung rebate para sa customers amounting to 534M, we will coordinate with the regulatory office in terms of implementing yung mga mechanics at guidelines [We will abide by it. The rebates for the customers amounting to 534M will be coordinated with the regulatory office in terms of the implementation of the mechanics and guidelines].”

Customers who will receive rebates from Manila Water are from Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and several towns from Rizal.

The Water Bill Waiver Program is part of the 1.13 Billion-peso fines that was meted out on Manila Water due to its failure to supply water to its customers.

The MWSS also ordered Manila Water to put up a new facility for its water source development measures that cost 600 Million pesos.

This will prevent the incident from happening again and to allow Manila Water to come up with an alternative source of water supply.

Meanwhile, the MWSS has also issued a Notice of Service Obligation Failure to Maynilad Water Services (Maynilad) for the mounting complaints on its services.

Atty. Ty said the 15 days they gave to Maynilad for it to address its water supply problem had already lapsed.

The water regulatory board is giving Maynilad five days to refute the notice and state why they should not be meted out penalties.

Most of the complaints that the MWSS received against Maynila had come from Las Pinas, Muntinlupa and Cavite customers.

Maynilad, in a statement, insisted that the penalty has no basis. It also belied reports that its customers had experienced water interruption for 15 days.

The water company insisted that only 12 percent of its customers had experienced water supply interruption and the agency had adopted measures of rationing water in the affected areas. (with reports from Joan Nano) /mbmf

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FDA, PNRI urged to release list of synthetic vinegar brands

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release the list of vinegar brands that are produced, not from natural fermentation and “biogenic” ingredients but from synthetic acetic acid, citing protection of local vinegar-makers and the safety of consumers.

“I believe that there is simply no legal or moral basis for FDA to withhold the release of the ‘sour condiment’ brands which PNRI (Philippine Nuclear Research Institute) found using non-biogenic acetic acid,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said on his social media account Tuesday (May 21).

The Secretary said: “The release of the names will not only be in compliance with the Consumer Protection laws but also the observance of that very basic provision in the Philippine Constitution which bestows upon every Filipino the Right to Know.”

“The list of the “non-biogenic sour condiments” being passed off as vinegar in the market, whether they are safe for human consumption or not, should be released now,” he added.

The Agriculture Secretary noted the Department of Health’s (DOH) statement that synthetic acetic acid-based vinegar is “not totally unsafe.”

Given that statement, Piñol said agencies concerned agreed that the classification standards for commercial vinegar sold in the market to be changed to “biogenic” for those which use acetic acid produced through a natural fermentation process and “non-biogenic” for those which are made out of synthetic compounds.

Piñol stressed that while vinegar is always understood as a sour-tasting liquid made from natural ingredients and process of fermentation, any other product which offers the “sour” taste but did not go through the natural fermentation process should be properly labeled as synthetic acetic acid or “sour non-biogenic” condiment.”

“Thus, it is my position as Secretary of Agriculture that sour condiments made out of synthetic or non-biogenic acetic acid should not be labeled as “vinegar” or “suka,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, consumer group Laban Konsyumer expressed its support to the DA in its call for the release of the list of vinegar brands using “non-biogenic” acetic acid given that the PNRI claims that such ingredients do not cause cancer or harm consumers’ health.

The group’s president Atty. Vic Dimagiba also called on the agencies to take responsibility and address the public for the confusion that the issue has caused.

“Dapat din humingi ng paumanhin sa publiko ang PNRI sa maling ulat na galing sa kanila dahil nagdulot ito ng pagkabahala o anxiety sa mga konsyumers,” Dimagiba said.

(The PNRI should make a public apology because of their erroneous report that caused panic or anxiety to consumers.)

“Sa FDA at DOH, ilathala din ang sinabi nilang mislabeling violation ng mga bramds ng suka at recall and patawan ng multa ayon sa Food Safety Law at Consumer Act,” he concluded.

(The FDA and DOH should also publish what they claim as mislabeling violation of these brands of vinegar, recall and fine them according to the Food Safety Law and Consumer Act.) – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Irrigation water in Bulacan, Pampanga from Angat Dam to last until May 16—NWRB

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Image of Angat Dam taken on May 2, 2019

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will stop allocating irrigation water from Angat Dam to Bulacan and Pampanga starting May 16 as water level drops below critical level.

The NWRB has begun reducing the allocation in the irrigation of the said provinces from 3,450 million liters per day to 2,590 million liters for the first two weeks of May.

READ: Water level in Angat dam declines further

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David said the reduced allocation will not affect the said provinces because they are already close to harvest season.

“Sa tingin natin hindi makaka-apekto ito sa mga palayan diyan kasi nga po halos patapos na ang pagtatanim diyan at malapit na po mag-ani ang mga kababayan natin sa Bulacan at Pampanga kaya sa tingin natin hindi na ganun kalaki ang pangangailangan nila sa tubig sa panahon na ito, (We think this will not affect the crops in Bulacan and Pampanga because planting season is over and harvest season is near. We think their need for irrigation water supply will not be as much)” he said.

Meanwhile, the NWRB continues to monitor the water level in Angat Dam and will also continue to conduct cloud seeding to aid in the water supply.

“Masusi nating binabantayan ang kasalukuyang level at iyong mga development sa panahon kasi alam naman po natin na iyong pag-recover ng dam partikular ang Angat umaasa tayo sa mga pagulan, (We are carefully monitoring the water level and the development in the weather because the recovery of a dam, particularly in Angat [Dam] relies on rain)” according to David.

Water level in Angat Dam is currently in 177.5 meters from the 212 meters normal high water level.

The NWRB estimates that the water level will only reach as low as 173 meters before May ends.(with reports from Mon Jocson)

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