Friday, September 14, 2012

Dengue Cases in Visayas Up

The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health (Resu-DOH) 7 recorded a total of 7,055 dengue cases, with 35 deaths in Central Visayas from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1 this year.

The number of cases is 111 percent higher compared to the same period in 2011, with 3,346 cases and 18 deaths.

The ages of those affected by dengue range from one month to 95 years old, but majority of them were six to 10 years old.

Cebu City topped the list, with 3,081 cases and 12 deaths, followed by Lapu-Lapu City, with 455 cases and four deaths.

The other cities and towns with the most number of dengue cases are Dumaguete City, with 383 cases and two deaths; Minglanilla town, with 246 cases and one death; Tagbilaran City, with 181 cases and five deaths; Liloan town, with 124 cases and one death; Toledo City, with 118 cases and one death; Mandaue City, with 107 cases; and Bayawan City, with 100 cases.

Ruth Suzette Jaborete, DOH 7 public information officer, said they tapped the local government units to monitor the dengue cases.

The DOH also collaborated with the Department of Education to train teachers in identifying mosquito breeding sites, as well as to the community in establishing dengue brigades in the barangays.

Philippine Senate Investigates Rico Puno

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago pushed through on Friday a Senate probe on resigned Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico E. Puno after the latter himself showed up and a quorum was declared with the presence of Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.

Santiago opened the probe at 10:44 a.m. by explaining the validity of the decision of her committee on constitutional amendments, revision of laws to conduct the inquiry even with the absence of a resolution or privilege speech which some of her fellow senators have been requiring from her.

The feisty senator said Section 17 of the Senate Rules of Procedures allow a committee which initiates to call an investigation in aid of legislation.

Santiago read Section 17 which states: "The transmittal of matters to the committees 'may' be done with instructions through a motion by a majority of the senators present."

"The use of the word 'may' indicates permission, while the use of the word 'shall' or 'will' indicates compulsion. Therefore, the use of the word 'may' indicates that another method may be used, such as simple assumption of jurisdiction by the committee, instead of referral by the plenary session," she explained.

Further, Santiago said under the rules of procedures governing inquiries in aid of legislation, "Section 2 says inquires may be initiated by the Senate or any of its committees if the matter is within its competence."

"This provision uses the word 'or', meaning that the inquiry maybe initiated by resolution in the Senate or on its own by any of the competent committees," Santiago said.

"We are here to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and not to explain the Senate rules of procedures. Do I have to teach them about our rules in the Senate?," Santiago said, referring to her colleagues who questioned the process of conducting the inquiry.

On Thursday night, Santiago said out of the 11 members of her committee, nobody confirmed attendance tothehearing, but on Friday morning, Cayetano and Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. showed up, prompting Santiago to declare a quorum.

After allowing Cayetano to state his opening statement, Cayetano proceeded with the inquiry by focusing on the issue of illegal number games, including "jueteng."

But before giving the floor to anti-illegal gambling crusader Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Santiago allowed Puno to read his opening statement where he denied all the accusations, including reports that he attempted to raid the Quezon City office of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo.

"My long silence was not a sign of my guilt. All these (accusations) are all lies and that's why I'm here," Puno, who resigned as DILG undersecretary three days ago, said.

Puno told the committee that he has instruction to secure and not raid the public documents which, he said. are inside Robredo's condominium.

Puno said his detractors have no proof on the allegations hurled against him.

After Puno's opening statement, Cruz told the committee that not only jueteng but 30 other forms of illegal gambling still exist up to present.

Cruz said that the problem of illegal gambling is no longer at the level of legislation but with the level of the effort that national and local government to stop them.

Aside from Cruz and Puno, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome showed up.

Philippine Typhoon Karen Hits Luzon and Visayas

Typhoon "Karen" has maintained its strength as it continue to enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat) that will bring rains over Luzon and Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

PAGASA said that as of 10 a.m. Friday, the eye of typhoon Karen was located at 740 km East of Aparri, Cagayan (18.5°N,129.6°E) with maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 220 kph.

The weather bureau said that Karen continues to traverse the East Philippine Sea in a North Northwest direction at 15 kph is expected to be at 770 km East of Southern Taiwan by Saturday morning and at 600 km East of Northern Taiwan by Sunday morning.

PAGASA said rainfall amount within the 550-km diameter of the typhoon is from 15 to 30 millimeters per hour (heavy-intense).

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the eastern seaboard of the country due to strong winds generated by typhoon Karen.

Weather forecaster Lenny Ruiz said that although Karen is not expected to make landfall in any part of the country, it will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring light to moderate rains over Metro Manila and occasional moderate to heavy rains over CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), MIMAROPA (Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Palawan) and Western Visayas.

He said that no storm warning signals have been raised so far since it is too far away to directly affect the country.