Segment of PH trench off Surigao del Norte coast may generate magnitude 8 earthquake – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   April 30, 2019   •   2831

MANILA, Philippines – A series of small and moderate earthquakes has been recorded along the Philippine trench off the coast of Surigao del Norte.

On April 26, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake was recorded 70 kilometers southeast of General Luna on Siargao Island.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum said earthquake swarms may continue due to the subduction in the Philippine trench.

The official explained that an earthquake swarm is different from aftershocks.

“Ang aftershock kasi ay maliliit na paglindol pagkatapos ng isang talagang malakas na pagyanig, distict na malakas. Ang nangyayari kasi sa off shore ng Surigao del Norte may magnitude 5.5 pero may mga magnitude 5, 4 point plus. So hindi talaga isang lindol na malakas tapos puro maliliit na. (An aftershock is a small earthquake after a strong shaking, distinctively strong. What is happening off the shore of Surigao del Norte is that, there is magnitude 5.5 but there are magnitudes 5, 4 point plus. So it’s not a strong earthquake and the followed by small ones,)” the Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) explained.

Recently, a series of earthquakes in the area has also been recorded but Usec. Solidum said the activities have gradually subsided.

PHIVOLCS monitors the area so that they can immediately warn the public for a possible tsunami if a strong tremor occurs.

Solidum said a strong earthquake might not happen but it was a long time ago since the agency recorded a strong movement in that segment of the Philippine trench.

“Posibleng mga class magnitude 8 earthquake ang pwedeng maidulot ng pagkilos sa Philippine trench at pwede itong mag-trigger ng tsunami na pwedeng makaapekto sa baybayin ng mga probinsyang nakaharap sa Pacific Ocean, (The Philippine Trench may cause class magnitude 8 earthquake and it may trigger Tsunami that may affect coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean,) Solidum said.

The official said a tsunami might reach the nearest fault in a matter of minutes depending on the distance of the epicenter to the nearest coast.

Although no swarm was recorded in other segments of the Philippine trench like the Manila trench, Sulu-Negros trench, and Cotabato trench; they may generate a major quake.

The Manila trench may generate a magnitude 8.3 earthquake and tsunami with a height of 3.5 meters to 5.5 meters.

Areas facing the West Philippine Sea might be affected including the Manila Bay.

“Kung nasa dalampasigan sila o malapit, mapapansin nilang biglang bumaba ang tubig, mabilisan. At kung nandoon pa sila malapit sa dalampasigan, pwede silang makarinig ng kakaibang ugong at ito ay senyales na ang tsunami ay paparating na sa dalampasigan, (If they are in or near the coastal areas, they will notice the immediate or abnormal drop of seawater. And if they are near the coastline, they would hear a roaring sound and it is a sign that a tsunami is approaching,)” Solidum concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOST eyes research-based techs to address dengue problem

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 5, 2019

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wants to look into research-based technologies to address the dengue problem in the country.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the department has funded several research projects and programs to aid in addressing the different aspects of the disease.

“Through the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

One of the researches supported by the DOST is the Biotek M which is a rapid diagnostic test for dengue. This kit can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness.

They are also looking into a possible herbal medicine for dengue.

“Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST,” said Sec. de la Peña.—AAC

House members push for a bigger budget for DOST in 2020

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019

The first Philippine-made train developed by DOST that takes the PNR Tutuban-Alabang route. | Photo courtesy of DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute

Members of the House of Representatives are pushing for a bigger budget for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2020.

The DOST’s budget proposal is P20.18 billion, which is P79.85 million lower than its 2019 allocation of P20.26 billion.

However, 2nd District Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. pushed to increase the DOST budget by at least P5 billion for all the provinces across the country.

During the budget briefing of the House Committee on Appropriations, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the efforts of the department has raised the country’s rank by 19 spots in the Global Innovation Index this year.

The DOST Secretary also added that several initiatives of the department has helped address the concerns of the Filipinos. These include the Anti-Dengue Program, the Malnutrition Reduction Program, the creation of Hybrid Electric Trainsets, and others.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago also expressed hope for the DOST’s budget augmentation.

“I really lament that you have very meager budget…Science and technology should be our top priority,” Elago said.—AAC 

Number of dengue cases in NCR exceeds alert threshold – DOH

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.

This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.

“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.

The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.

The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.

“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.

The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:

  • Search and Destroy
  • Self- Protection
  • Seek Early Consultation
  • Support Space Spraying

This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

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