BFP Northern Mindanao braces for El Niño

THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Northern Mindanao has directed all its City and Municipal Fire Marshals to look for alternate water sources in view of the El Nino phenomenon that has threatened to prevail up to the mid-year.

"Due to the El Nino, the water crisis is inevitable such as some of the areas in the region are experiencing right now," S/Supt. Eleuterio N. Iturriaga, Regional Director of BFP-10, said during a recent forum held at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), region 10, relative to the observance of the Fire Prevention Month (FPM), this March.

Thus, the directive for all the Provincial Fire Marshals of the region to supervise the City/Municipal Fire Marshals and help find solutions to look for alternative means to augment the existing sources of water for use of the fire trucks in their respective areas of responsibility.

He then required all the Fire Marshals of the region to submit a list of all the existing source of water they usually use for fire fighting and the alternative sources to be used on emergency during the El Nino months.
Meanwhile, Iturriaga has called on the residents to be vigilant and prevent the occurrence of fire during this time when load curtailment of electric power is being implemented due to the water crisis faced by the hydro-electric plants supplying the power needs of the region.

Talking about this year?s FPM theme of "Sustaining Fire Prevention through Active Community Participation," the BFP Regional Director urged everyone to help prevent the occurrence of fire by unplugging all electrical appliances and not leaving lighted candles unattended during power interruptions.

For the past two (2) months alone, a total of 60 fire incidents had occurred in the region, noting a 25 percent (%) increase in the number of fire incidents that occurred in the same period, last year.

Per type of occupancy, 51 of these fires were classified as structural of which 35 occurred in residential areas, six (6) in factories, five (5) in commercial districts, two (2) in government offices and one (1) each in storage, educational and mixed establishments.

Nine (9) others were considered as non-structural fires of which eight (8) were caused by grass, rubbish and forest fires and one (1) incident occurred inside a motor vehicle.
These incidents resulted in property damage worth Php26.71M or an increase of 156.22 per cent (%) over that of P10.43M in the same period, last year, Iturriaga added. (PIA 10)

Aquino to expand coverage of cheaper medicines law, Philhealth benefits

LIBERAL Party standard bearer Noynoy Aquino vowed to expand the coverage of the cheaper medicines law to benefit more people, especially the poor and the elderly.

“We will do this more vigorously. Medicines covered by the law only account for P2-billion of the P125-billion worth of pharmaceutical purchases in one year,” he told a press conference in Dumaguete City on Wednesday.

“What we need is a government that will look out for the welfare of the people and not of big business or pharmaceutical companies,” Aquino said.
He also intends to widen the coverage and increase the benefits provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

Aquino said many of the elderly don’t have access to professional health care.

“Sometimes, they don’t have health care at all. The Philhealth seems to be embarking on transforming itself into a financial institution, increasing its reserves instead of providing universal health care,” he pointed out.

Aquino’s sortie in Dumaguete is part of five-day swing by the Liberal Party slate in the Visayas.