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Archive for December 11th, 2008

Palace: ‘We’ll contain Ebola in hogs’

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But urges people to buy only ‘certified’ pork

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 15:58:00 12/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang assured the public on Thursday that the government is working to contain the Ebola Reston virus, which was found to have infected hogs in at least three northern Philippine provinces.

At the same time, deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo advised the public to buy pork only from stalls certified by the National Meat Inspection Service.

“The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health are working together to control it, but this strain is not known to infect humans and is an animal health issue,” Fajardo said in a statement.

In a separate statement, deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the health and agriculture departments to “monitor the situation and assure the people [that government] is taking all steps to ensure their health
and safety.”

Golez, a medical doctor, said Ebola Reston virus is different from the Ebola strain found in African monkeys, which he said was “very fatal.”

“There have been no recoded human deaths because of the Ebola Reston virus,” he said.

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said pigs in two commercial farms and two backyard farms in the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan were found to have been infected with Ebola Reston.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-11T09:12:08+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 11 Dec 2008 09:12:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Palace: ‘Let’s talk on Charter change’

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But will respect right to protest

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 15:15:00 12/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A day before a rally against Charter change in Makati City, which organizers predict will be huge, Malacañang on Thursday urged groups opposed to amending the Constitution to consider a dialogue on the matter instead of taking to the streets but said it would respect people’s right to protest.

“We should talk, dialogue, debate instead of protesting. There are more positive ways to make oneself heard. But this is a right and the Palace will protect that right,” deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said in a statement.

“We must all respect and protect the right to free expression. We assure that their rights will be protected. We hope the rally will be orderly and peaceful and respect the rights of others,” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said.

The Palace had urged lawmakers pushing for amendments to the 1987 Constitution to hold dialogues with groups opposed to the move.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s critics warn that efforts to push Charter change are meant to extend her stay in office beyond 2010.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano said troops in Metro Manila would be placed on alert for the protest, which organizers say will be the biggest since February, at the height of the bribery scandal surrounding the botched national broadband network project.

“Our NCR [National Capital Region] Command, which is directly supporting the NCR police office, has contingency plans for any situation that may arise. We hope that nothing unusual or abnormal will happen but as we always say in the military, we hope for the best but we always prepare for the worst scenario,” Yano told reporters in Fort Bonifacio.

He said there was no specific threat to the rally, which would see activists, opposition, and church groups join forces.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-11T09:11:26+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 11 Dec 2008 09:11:26 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Arroyo visits Marines’ wake at Bonifacio

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:37:00 12/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited on Thursday the wake of five Marine soldiers who were killed in an encounter with Abu Sayyaf militants in Basilan province over the weekend.

Arroyo was accompanied by Military Chief General Alexander Yano, Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, and Marine Commandant Major General Ben Dolorfino at the Bonifacio Naval Station gym in Fort Bonifacio where the bodies lay in state.

She also met briefly with the relatives of the late Sergeant Wilfredo Abugan, Sergeant Roque Alejo, Corporal Daniel Discaya, Private First Class Rodulfo Budino, and Private Julius Deleña.

The President assured the families that they would receive the appropriate benefits and that the children of the slain soldiers would be given scholarships.

Yano said the families were given P250,000 each from the President’s social fund.

“We have to take care of those left behind, especially the families,” Yano told reporters.

“That’s part of our profession. From time to time, we suffer casualties,” Dolorfino said.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-11T09:10:29+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 11 Dec 2008 09:10:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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