State of emergency declared in Laguna town as lambanog poisoning death toll rises to 11

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019   •   417

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.

Washington, D.C. declares a state of emergency over COVID-19

UNTV News   •   March 12, 2020

The mayor of Washington, D.C. declared a state of emergency on Wednesday (March 11), as city officials grow increasingly concerned about conventions, sporting events and large gatherings in the U.S. capital.

The city has confirmed ten cases of coronavirus, which has caused several area universities to cancel in-person classes.

The Bowser issued an advisory recommending all “non-essential” gatherings of over 1,000 people be canceled through the end of the month.

After the news conference, sporting events, concerts and the National Cherry Blossom Festival announced they will postpone or cancel some events. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has also been postponed indefinitely.

President Donald Trump vowed he would use all government resources necessary to combat the virus, which has killed 32 people in America and ravaged Italy, China and other countries. (Reuters)

(Production: Arlene Eiras)

Palestinians declare state of emergency over coronavirus

UNTV News   •   March 6, 2020

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday (March 5) and Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was closed following the discovery of seven cases of coronavirus in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The decree was announced by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, who decided to close all schools, colleges and kindergartens and to cancel foreign tourist reservations.

“We have decided to declare a state of emergency in all Palestinian areas to confront the danger of the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading,” Shtayyeh said on Thursday night.

Speaking in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said the Palestinian Authority was also considering closing all border crossings.

The precautions were announced after Health Minister Mai Alkaila said authorities had identified seven positive cases, all of them Palestinian employees at Bethlehem’s Angel Hotel.

Health officials said they suspected the seven, the first reported cases of the illness in the occupied Palestinian territories, contracted it from tourists who had stayed at the hotel recently.

The Latin Patriarchate of the Holy Land said the Church of the Nativity would be closed for two weeks, along with other churches and mosques in the Bethlehem area.

A ban on foreign guests at West Bank hotels will also last two weeks, the tourism ministry said.

Israel’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the Israeli military to close off Bethlehem, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, barring movement of Israelis and Palestinians with effect from Thursday evening.

The Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Shtayyeh’s announcement covered only the West Bank.

The measures were a particular blow to Bethlehem, where businesses depend largely on visitors to the church, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Just three months ago the mayor and hoteliers in Bethlehem were hailing what promised to be the best Christmas for two decades, with visitor numbers in 2019 numbers surpassing the 1.5 million people who came in 2018. (Reuters)

(Production: Martin Veal)

Duterte wants NBI to probe lambanog poisoning incident in Laguna, Quezon – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the reported incidents on lambanog poisoning in Laguna and Quezon over the holidays, a government official said Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed this is in a message to reporters.

The NBI was ordered to submit its findings immediately.

Around 16 people were killed and hundreds of others were hospitalized after ingesting lambanog or distilled coconut wine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier revealed that five of the seven samples of lambanog tested positive for high levels of methanol.

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.

The FDA has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content, and urged the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage.

It also advised the public to only buy lambanog brews that are registered with the FDA.

The sale of lambanog has been ordered suspended in the town of Rizal in Laguna where most of poisoning incidents were reported.

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