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

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019   •   801

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.

DPWH to open Katipunan Avenue bypass road before the end of 2021

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that the Katipunan Avenue bypass road will open by the end of 2021.

The Katipunan Avenue bypass road, according to the DPWH, is already 70% complete. Once opened, it will shorten travel time from Quezon City to Rizal province from more than one hour to 40 minutes.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said motorists from Rizal can traverse the new bypass road instead of plying through Commonwealth to ease traffic.

“This will benefit Quezon city, Marikina, Rizal it’s an alternative route and its a new alignment in Metro Manila,” he said.

Around 10,000 motorists are estimated to benefit from the bypass road once it is opened to the public. The DPWH also said motorists do not need to pay any toll fees the road becomes operational. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Japan declares state of emergency for Tokyo as COVID-19 cases spike

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2021

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the nation’s capital Tokyo and neighboring prefecture amid the new surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

Speaking before the press on Thursday (January 7), Prime Minister Suga said the declaration sends public warning amid rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases which is already hurting its economy.

Effective Friday (January 8), the state of emergency ends on February 7.

Test restrictions entails no punishment for violators but residents will simply be asked to avoid non-essential activities especially at night.

The Prime Minister appealed to the Japanese public especially to the young Japanese to help protect lives especially the most vulnerable particularly parents and grandparents.

He expects that situation will improve after one month.

As of this writing, Japan has a total of 269, 271 positive cases and 3,674 deaths as per latest global tally from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

PNP denies MNLF recruitment in Rizal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 28, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has denied that there is a recruitment of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Rizal province.

This was after 35 individuals, allegedly affiliated with the MNLF, were arrested by authorities in Upper Barangay Guinayang in San Mateo, Rizal.

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas said they did not receive any new information regarding recruitments in the province.

“Wala po. Wala po. I don’t confirm it until otherwise na may mga bagong development po o bagong ebidensya. Ay wala po kaming natanggap na report doon (No [there are no recruitments]. I don’t confirm it until otherwise, there are new developments or evidence. But we haven’t received any reports),” he said.

In a phone interview, Rizal PNP Provincial Director PCol. Joseph Arguelles said the information they received after the arrest of the said individuals has, so far, prove that they are not regular members of the said group.

“Iyong affiliation with MNLF, we are still validating. Pero base sa mga information na nakukuha namin they are not regular members of the MNLF (We are still validating their affiliation with the MNLF but based on the information we have, they are not regular members of the MNLF),” he said.

Based on their investigation, Arguelles said, the arrested individuals are being used by land grabbers to protect their land.

“Nilalagay sila doon with the promise na bibigyan sila ng P300,000 after the training prior to the deployment to Mindanao. But according sa truce natin wala naman nang pwedeng maidagdag na camp ang MNLF (They are placed there with the promise they will receive P300,000 after the training prior to the deployment to Mindanao.But according to our truce, the MNLF cannot have additional camps),” he said.

The arrested individuals are headed by Lydia Panuelo and Edwin Malubay who are both retired Master Sergeant of the Philippine Air Force (PAF); and Jose Joamirmel Laroya who is an alleged member of the MNLF.

Authorities also seized several ammunitions and firearms, including various military uniforms. -AAC (with reports from lea Ylagan)

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