Most Filipinos not deeply concerned about drought: 2017 Study

Robie de Guzman   •   March 22, 2019   •   2115

MANILA, Philippines — A study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) DisasterNet Philippines has reported that Filipinos show varying levels of concern about drought.

The study, conducted in 2017 with 4,368 respondents, found that most Filipinos do not feel deeply concerned about drought, despite experiencing it in the past.

A statement on the study made public last March 15 stated that only 12 percent of Filipinos reported feeling extremely concerned, 24 percent were concerned, 21 percent were somewhat concerned, 16 percent were a little concerned while 26 percent were not at all concerned of being affected by drought.

Since early March, parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province have been grappling with water shortage after concessionaire Manila Water experienced issues in its supply.

READ: Long queues, water recycling: How are Filipinos coping with water shortage?

Manila Water had previously cited the rapidly declining water level at the La Mesa Dam amid the prevailing weak El Niño phenomenon as among the reasons for the shortage, but it later admitted to a more complicated supply problem.

READ: MWSS Chief Regulator: Rising population, no new water source caused Manila Water’s supply shortage

But the 2017 study said that the lowest level of concern was reported in the National Capital Region (NCR) with only 11 percent while the highest was in Soccsksargen with 67 percent.

The HHI report also said that in regions and provinces which are already experiencing less rainfall in the last five months associated with the weak El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, less than half of each region’s population have expressed concern about the drought’s impact.

“In Zamboanga Peninsula, where Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay have been experiencing drought since February 2019, only 25 percent were concerned about drought before the disaster,” the report stated.

“Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay and Pagadian City, which are also experiencing drought, have already been placed under state of calamity,” it added.

READ: Zamboanga city, 12 towns in North Cotabato under state of calamity due to dry spell

READ: 9 Provinces to experience drought-PAGASA

“In Northern Mindanao, where the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental have already lost at least P292 million in agriculture this year due to the effects of El Niño, as reported by the Department of Agriculture (DA), 57 percent were concerned about drought before the disaster hit,” the study stated.

In Ilocos Region, where drought has hit Ilocos Norte Since February and a dry spell is likely in Ilocos Sur and La Union, 41 percent were concerned.

In Mimaropa, where Palawan and Occidental and Oriental Mindoro are also expected to be hit by drought, 47 percent have expressed concern.

Parts of Sulu and Maguindanao are also threatened by drought but the study said “only 39 percent” of the people in the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) “thought they will likely be affected.”

The Davao region, which experienced drought in 2016, has the second highest level of concern with 63 percent.

According to a data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the provinces of Palawan, Zamboanga del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu had also been hit by drought in 2016, while Occidental Mindoro had experienced a dry spell.

The study noted that in terms of preparedness, a mere 2.4 percent of the country’s population reported having a plan for drought.

HHI’s study is the first nationwide household survey on disaster preparedness in the country.

PAGASA predicts this year’s weak El Niño may last until August. – Robie de Guzman

PH Embassy in South Korea assists Filipinos with special flights to Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2020

SOUTH KOREA — The Philippine Embassy in Seoul assisted a total of 148 passengers who boarded the special Korean Air flight KE 623 to Manila, Sunday afternoon (June 7).

All 148 Filipinos were stranded in South Korea due to intermittent schedules and frequent cancellations of international flights to Manila brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The special flight was arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Seoul and was made possible through the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, in cooperation with Korean Air.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Embassy has assisted 270 stranded Filipinos in Korea, both residents and transiting passengers at Incheon International Airport,” said Charge d’affaires Christian de Jesus.

“The special flight was initiated by the Embassy following our survey of Filipinos in Korea who were looking for a special passenger flight. Many have already finished their employment contracts but could not go home because their flight bookings have been cancelled for as many as three to six times,” he added.

CDA de Jesus assures that the Embassy will continue to respond to the needs of Filipinos in Korea whose lives and employment are affected by the pandemic.

160 stranded Filipinos in Japan return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

After weeks of being stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a total of 160 Filipinos are finally sent home on Monday (June 1).

The 160 Filipino tourists, workers, and students departed from Narita International Airport via a chartered flight mounted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

On the department’s Facebook post, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Atty. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, said that “the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad is firm commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which is dutifully being implemented by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose C. Laurel V assured the repatriates that the Philippine government will continue to provide assistance to Filipinos abroad.

According to the DFA, the said repatriated Filipinos will undergo COVID testing and hotel quarantine to wait out the results of their test. –AAC

Filipinos in Daegu brave risks of COVID-19 infection; mayor cites ‘critical moment’ in virus control

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2020

SOUTH KOREA – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been “super spreading” in Daegu, a city in Gyeongang province in the north.

It is South Korea’s fourth largest city and the epicenter of the virus in said East Asian country.

A total of 1,600 Filipinos are working and living in the city. And like other Filipinos in coronavirus-affected areas across the globe, they have expressed concern over the rapid transmission of the disease.

Some of them say they have colleagues whose relatives tested positive for COVID-19.

“Sinabi po sa amin na hindi na muna papapasukin ang panggabi kasi iyong anak ng panjangnim (leadman) meron na nga siya o infected na rin po (We were told that those in night shift were asked not to report to work because the leadman’s child has been infected),” said Lan Valenton, a factory worker in Daegu.

Valenton said the epidemic has hugely affected the overall operations in their company.

“Nahati po ang pasok namin kasi iyong sinu-suplayan po ay China. Konti lang po ang sa ibang bansa (We were assigned in shifts because we supply for China and a few other countries),” he said.

“Shutdown po iyong sa China kaya wala pong mga overtime. Kung minsan iyong iba, wala rin pong pasok (Our China operations had been shutdown so no one is working overtime. At times, others don’t even have work),” he added.

Panic buying has become a common scene in the city as more people prefer to remain indoors to keep safe from contracting the virus.

“Nagpa-panic buying na iyong iba (Some are panic buying),” he observed.

“Sa mga daan konti lang po ang nakikita kong tao. Iyong ibang lumalabas sa company, dumederecho na rin sa bahay (We only see a few people on the streets. Those working in offices rush home and just stay indoors),” he added.

The Korean government recently ordered to suspend the services of a religious group believed to have brought in the virus.

“Most of the confirmed cases, which have been rapidly increased recently, were mass infection cases from Shincheonji Church and Daenam Hospital,” explained Vice Minister Kim Kang-Lip of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Meanwhile, Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin has asked residents to stay alert as the city faces a “critical moment” in controlling the outbreak.

“Dear Daegu residents, the week starting from today (Feb. 24) is a critical moment for epidemic control. Yesterday (Feb. 23) President Moon Jae-in raised the alert to the highest. Now the Daegu government gives a centralized test for virus to Shincheonji members who are the most likely to get infected,” the Mayor said.

“We will quarantine confirmed cases. Those with symptoms and the contacts will be put in quarantine at home. The Daegu government will have a centralized management of these people,” he added.

According to the nation’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea has already reached 893 with nine deaths, as of Tuesday (February 25). MNP / Amiel Pascual / Reuters


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