Tag Archives: Health

[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

#HumanRights #Safety #Health

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for chemical safety and environmental health, pressed local government units (LGUs) to immediately conduct inspections of ice and cold storage plants following ammonia gas leak incidents in Metro Manila and Batangas province last Wednesday.

On February 3, an ammonia gas leak from an ice plant in Navotas City led to the death of two workers, the hospitalization of close to 100 people, and the evacuation of some 3,000 nearby residents. Leakage from an ice plant in Lian Batangas on the same day caused the plants at an adjacent creek to wither and the fish to die.

Ammonia, particularly anhydrous ammonia, is a common refrigerant used in commercial and industrial facilities such as those involved in ice making, dairy products manufacturing and cold storage.

According to material safety data sheets, exposure to ammonia, a colorless, corrosive and highly irritating gas with suffocating smell, can irritate or burn the nose, throat and respiratory tract, eyes and skin, and cause dizziness and nausea among victims. Exposure to a high concentration of ammonia can be fatal.

“We call upon LGUs to conduct immediate inspection of ice and cold storage facilities in their areas of jurisdiction to prevent the possibility of chemical accidents in the future, as well as to reduce harm on workers, residents and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Liquid Mercury and Mercury-Added Products -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Health [Press Release] Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Liquid Mercury and Mercury-Added Products

It’s not only mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics that are being sold online.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the shocking discovery after finding mercury thermometers, which are used to measure body temperature, and sphygmomanometers, which are used to measure blood pressure, as well as liquid mercury in flask containers, being sold illegally by third-party dealers in e-commerce marketplaces.

The group had previously aired its concern over the sale on popular online shopping platforms of skin whitening products banned by health authorities for containing mercury compounds, which are forbidden in cosmetic formulations.

The group’s latest toxic alert coincided with the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Minamata Convention on Mercury on October 10, 2013, by the government of the Philippines at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Kumamoto, Japan. It also coincided with the 10.10 super sale today in some online shopping sites.

“We remind consumers to be cautious and alert to the dangers of buying and using mercury and mercury-added products that are illegally being offered for sale by online dealers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Mercury is highly toxic,” he emphasized, “so we advise consumers to seek out mercury-free products,” stressing that the enforcement of mercury-related policies and regulations, including the environmentally sound management of mercury wastes, should be actively supported.

The group had already notified lead regulatory agencies, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about the alarming use of digital commerce to vend mercury and banned mercury-added products in direct contravention of the country’s mercury policies and regulations.

The group had reported to the FDA Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research (FDA-CDRRHR) the online sale of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in non-compliance with DOH A.O. 2008-0021 titled “Gradual Phase-Out of Mercury in All Philippine Health Care Facilities and Institutions,” which phased out mercury-containing medical devices in September 2010.

“As civil society representative to the interagency committee that developed the National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury Added Products and the Management of the Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes, we are concerned that the unchecked online sale of mercury-containing medical devices goes against the government’s policy of preventing and controlling mercury emissions and releases pursuant to the Minamata Convention,” wrote the group.

To address the problem, the group requested the FDA to make a policy issuance reiterating the ban on mercury medical devices. In response, the FDA-CDRRHR confirmed they will “facilitate the development of the requested policy banning or prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of thermometers and sphygmomanometers with mercury.”

In a separate letter to the EMB, which was co-signed by Ban Toxics and Health Care Without Harm, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the bureau to get to the bottom of the illegal online sale of liquid mercury, which may be diverted to uses prohibited by law such as mineral processing.

DENR A.O. 2019-20, or the Revised Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Mercury and Mercury Compounds, “prohibits the use of mercury and mercury compounds and mercury-added products for artisanal and small-scale gold mining and any other related mining activities” in line with Executive Order 79.

EMB had informed the EcoWaste Coalition that it had prepared a memorandum to the bureau’s legal division.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Matapos mahawaan ang 11 Guro sa Ilagan City, TDC nais ilinaw ang trabaho ng mga guro sa DEPED

#HumanRights #Teachers #COVID19ph [Press Release] Matapos mahawaan ang 11 Guro sa Ilagan City, TDC nais ilinaw ang trabaho ng mga guro sa DEPED

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC). File Photo by Arnel Tuazon

“Ano ang tulong na maaasahan ng labing-isang guro sa Ilagan City na nahawaan ng COVID-19?” Ito ang tanong ni Benjo Basas, Tagapangulo ng Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) kasunod ng mga ulat na may labing-isang guro mula sa Ilagan City, Isabela ang nagpositibo sa COVID-19 matapos umano silang mamamahgi ng modules sa kanilang mga mag-aaral.

“Ito po ang paulit-ulit naming sinasabi noon pa, sana matiyak ng DepEd na mabantayan ang kausugan at kaligtasan ng mga guro, kawani at mga magulang at mag-aaral sa pagsisimula ng school year na ito. Bago pa man magbukas ang klase ay napakarami nang guro ang nahawaan at marami sa mga ito ay nakuha nila dahil sa kanilang mga gawaing may kinalaman sa kanilang trabaho,” dagdag pa ni Basas.

Ayon sa grupo ay hindi umano nakapaghanda ang DepEd sapagkat hindi naging malinaw ang mga paraan kung paano makaiwas sa hawaan ang mga guro, “Ngayong nangyari ito, sino ang mananagot? Sino ang nag-utos sa mga guro na magpunta sa mga komunidad? At sino ang gagastos para sa kanilang pagpapagamot?” Tanong ni Basas. Dagdag pa niya, “Kung tutuusin ay hindi trabaho ng mga guro ang mag-print, mag-sort at mag-distribute ng modules na ito. Sapagkat maliban sa naglaan ng 9 bilyong badyet ay paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng DepEd na nakahanda umano sila, pero ang mga guro pala ang ipapain nila sa virus.”

Samantala, nauna nang sinabi ng DepEd na wala umano itong inilaang badyet para sa pagpapagamot sa mga guro kung sakaling mahawaan sila ng COVID-19.

“Malinaw ang sinasabi ng Magna Carta for Public School Teachers na dapat ay alagaan ng gobyerno ang kalusugan ng mga guro. Dapat bigyan ng libreng medical check-up taun-taon at ipagamot ang mga guro sakaling magkaroon ng sakit, may pandemya man o wala dahil ang batas ay 1966 pa ginawa,” paliwanag ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC, mas kailangan umano ng mga guro ngayon na mabigyan ng katiyakan sa pangangalang medikal dahil na rin sa pagbubukas ng klase kasabay ng pandemya. Kaya muling nanawagan ang TDC sa DepEd na istriktong ipatupad ang mga helath protocol at ang mismong kautusan nito hinggil naman sa alternative work arrangement o AWA sa ilalim ng DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020.

“Sabin ng DepEd mismo ay work-from-home ang default work arrangement ng mga guro, eh bakit parang hindi ganun ang nangyayari sa field? Bakit parang mas marami pa rin ang pinapapasok sa kani-kanilang mga paaralan at pinagagawa ng mga gawaing puwede namang gawin sa bahay. O kaya’y pinagagawa ng mga trabahong hindi naman dapat sa kanila,” ayon muli kay Basas.

Hiniling ng TDC sa DepEd na ilinaw ang kanyang mga patakaran at sabihin kung ang reproduction, sorting at distribution ba ng modules ay dapat lamang na mga guro pa rin ang gagawa.

“Ano yung sinasabing tagumpay ang pagbubukas ng klase? Nasaan na yung ipinagmamalaki ng DepEd na kahandaan? Hindi ba’t ayon sa DepEd ay handa sila kahit noong Agosto 24 pa? Bakit hanggang ngayon ay araw-araw pa ring pinapupunta ang mga guro sa paaralan para mag-ayos ng modules?” Pagtatapos ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC dapat umanong maging bukas ang DepEd sa pakikipag-usap sa mga guro kasabay na maging makatothanan ang mga ipinalalabas nilang impormasyon sa madla.

Para sa detalye:
Benjo Basas, 09273356375

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[From the web] More quarantine violations logged than individuals tested for COVID-19 -CPRH

More quarantine violations logged than individuals tested for COVID-19; increased health capacity, testing, and social amelioration needed over victim-blaming in a pandemic setting

Three days since the end of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, comparable data and statistics were released by different government authorities regarding the situation. Law enforcement authorities revealed today that from 17 March to 2 May, there were a total of 158,353 quarantine violators, with 42,138 arrests made. The rest were either warned or fined for disobeying protocols and curfew.

On the other hand, the DOH reported that it has tested just 106,520 unique individuals and 120,736 conducted overall, in the same time period. Currently, testing capacity is over 5,264/day, missing the eight-thousand target for April’s end. These developments are concerning since the numbers point out the priorities of ECQ implementation. Apart from the shortcomings in testing, it seems that peace-and-order concerns take precedence over health interventions.

There is a tendency to view the population in black and white—those who follow quarantine procedures and those who allegedly spread COVID-19 due to their misdeeds. However, the Coalition for People’s Right to Health insists that victim-blaming only worsens the inequities already present, both in class and in health access. Just like the drug war, the situation must first be seen as a health issue.

Quarantine violators do not simply choose to disobey, facing hunger and anxieties amidst a society with an uneven terrain of opportunity. The social amelioration program must meet its targets, even though it may be insufficient to meet daily needs under quarantine. The need for a more humane standard of living that addresses the social determinants of health must be addressed: nutritious food, potable water, lost income, decent housing, and ultimately, human dignity and rights.

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[Statement] Stop endangering migrant workers health and lives -KANLUNGAN

Stop endangering migrant workers health and lives

By now most of the world living with the pandemic is familiar with the concept of physical distancing as a key intervention to prevent the spread of the highly infectious virus and deadly COVID-19 disease.

People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick – World Health Organisation (WHO).

Despite this, there are numerous pictures of low-wage migrant workers being rounded up in immigration raids or crammed into transport, queues, accommodation, or detention – at dangerous risk to their health and others.

The dangerous politics of immigration control and social exclusion are laid bare. States have produced a context where migrant workers are rendered vulnerable.

There appears to be little effort by some authorities to even attempt to safeguard these workers by introducing physical distancing (including by reducing numbers of people) to minimize the person – person transmission of highly infectious COVID-19. This callous attitude and discriminatory action towards their health, safety, and lives is truly a low point for everyone in these societies.

Many low-wage migrant workers are anxious about becoming unwell, especially because they fear for their future economic security in the global recession.

All tools to reduce disease transmission must be employed to keep migrant workers safe including the urgent provision of quality accessible health information about how to stay safe and protect others, a sanitary environment, provision of free soap for frequent handwashing to prevent the spread of the disease; sufficient healthy food to boost their immune system; access to free voluntary COVID-19 tests and treatment. (Healthcare should have a firewall from immigration authorities).Physical distancing must not be neglected in the response.

During the global spread of a disease, a pandemic – governments are obligated to ensure the protection of human health and the fundamental right to human life.

Governments that are negligent in their duty to protect migrant workers’ health and dignity must be condemned. Stop the xenophobic scapegoating of migrant workers to deflect from government lapses in pandemic responses. Stop the technocratic obsession over COVID-19 statistics when politically motivated by a nationalist competition with other countries. Behind the numbers are the lives of people and their families – concentrate on that during the public health crisis.

State obligations under the fundamental right to health extend to all inhabitants and are not limited to citizens and residents. Migrant workers deserve and have a right to be fully included and protected in national pandemic preparation plans and responses.

An effective and just public health crisis response should be compassionate, guarantee health, safety and dignity for all and save lives

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[Announcement] Serbisyong pangkalusugan sa panahon ng COVID-19 -PMPI

Sa mga mahal po naming mga kababayan,

Ang PMPI (Philippine-Misereor Partnesrship, Inc), isang network ng mga 250 CSO (civil society organization) ay magbibigay po ng serbisyong pangkalusugan sa mga komunidad na sakop ng ating network.

Dahil sa katangian ng kinakaharap nating situwasyon, ang serbisyo po ay sa pamamagitan ng cell phone at ibang paraang online gamit ang social media (katulad ng Messenger, Facebook, Viber, o website).

Katuwang po natin sa serbisyong ito ang dalawa nating CSO – INAM Philippines (Integrative Medicine for Alternative Healthcare Systems [INAM] Philippines, Inc) at MAG (Medical Action Group, Inc).

INAM PHILIPPINES
Ang INAM Philippines po, sa pamamagitan ng ilang boluntaryong doktor at integrative medicine practitioner ay magbibigay ng direktang konsultasyon online o sa cell phone. Nasa ibaba po ang mga pangalan ng mga boluntaryo, at ng serbisyong puede nilang ibigay, iskedyul ng konsultasyon, at paraan ng pagkontak sa kanila.

May ilang datos lang po na hihingin ang mga boluntaryong manggagamot para sa ating rekord. Dito po ay hinihingi na namin ang inyong pahintulot na maisama ang mga datos ninyo sa aming rekord (Ito po ay bilang pagsunod sa ating Data Privacy Law). Wala naman pong problema kung hindi kayo magbigay ng datos (o ilang datos) kung hindi kayo sang-ayong magbigay. Patuloy pa rin po kayong pagsisilbihan ng mga boluntaryong manggagamot. Ang ilan pong mga datos ay gagamitin para sa statistics (o sa pagbibilang ng mga pasyente, edad nila, diagnosis, at iba pa) sa ating dokumentasyon at report.

ITO PO ANG MGA DATOS PARA SA ATING DOKUMENTASYON:

1. Pangalan ng pasyente

2. Edad

3. Kasarian

4. Tirahan [hindi po eksakto, puede na po ang bayan o distrito; halimbawa Taytay o Tondo)

5. Kontak (cell phone o email address; mahalaga po para sa follow-up)

6. Paano nalaman ang ating serbisyo (PMPI, organisasyon ninyo, Facebook, kaibigan, kapitbahay, o iba pa)

7. Diagnosis (manggagamot po ang magtutukoy, ayon sa kanyang pagsusuri)

8. Action (manggagamot din po ang magdedetermina; halimbawa po ay counselling, payo, reseta, referral, o iba pa) Mananatili pong kumpidensiyal ang mga datos; hindi tutukuyin ang inyong pangalan o anumang pagkakakilanlan sa anumang report.

MAG
Ang MAG ay nagbibigay din po ng serbisyo ng kanilang mga volunteer na doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, internist, pediatrician, at iba pang espesyalistang doktor.

Kontakin po si DR AMY NG-ABCEDE kung nais ninyong magpakonsulta.
CP: 09982369934; 09658907715
Website: https://www.facebook.com/medicalactiongroup

PMPI
Ang PMPI po ay may mga boluntaryo rin, na karamihan ay mga psychosocial counsellor (nagbibigay ng payo sa inyong mga alalahanin). Katulad po ng sa INAM (sa itaas) ang pagtrato natin sa mga datos. Nasa ibaba rin po ang lista ng mga boluntaryo ng PMPI, at ng serbisyong pwede nilang ibigay, iskedyul ng konsultasyon, at paraan ng pagkontak sa kanila.

Sana po ay mapangibabawan natin ang COVID sa lalong madaling panahon. Patuloy po nating payo sa ating lahat ang physical distancing (1 dipa ang layo sa ibang tao), handwashing, disinfection ng mga doorknob at ibang parating hinahawakan, at pagpapalakas ng resistensiya (8 oras na tulog, libangan, masustansiyang pagkain).

May mga detalyado rin pong impormasyon na inihanda ang INAM Philippines tungkol sa pag-iingat sa COVID-19. Ipagtanong po sa inyong samahan o bumisita sa facebook ng INAM: Integratib Medisin.

Mag-ingat po tayong lahat tuwina.

Padayon!

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[From the web] I was COVID-19 Patient No. 4 -GMAnews

I was COVID-19 Patient No. 4

“The only way to battle this is through faith and belief that you will be better.”

Ito ang mensahe ni Atty. Carlo Navarro, isang COVID-19 survivor.

Siya si Patient number 4, ang kauna-unahang Pilipino na nagkaroon ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas. Ngayong patuloy ang kanyang paggaling, ibinahagi niya ang kanyang mga karanasan sa paglaban sa sakit. Panoorin ang video na ito.

FULL STORY: https://bit.ly/39h1ca2

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[Video] Public health experts discuss the rights-based approach to COVID19 emergency response -iDEFEND

.

# DISCUSSANTS:

Dr. Nemuel Fajutagana MD, MHPED
Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan Doctor of Public Heatlh
Dr. Yvonne Eligado Entico MD, SE Practioner
Moderator: Rose Trajano

COVID-19 Human Rights Violation Reporting
https://idefend.ph/covid19-hrv-reporting

# Websites
iDEFEND https://idefend.ph/
PAHRA https://philippinehumanrights.org/

# Social Media
iDEFEND https://www.facebook.com/iDEFENDoffic…
PAHRA https://www.facebook.com/philippinehu…

iDEFEND https://twitter.com/iDEFENDhr

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[In the news] Duterte tells PhilHealth execs: Resign -PhilStar.com

Resignation or termination.

These were the two options President Duterte gave officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), which has been rocked by a multibillion-peso fraudulent scam involving dead kidney patients.

Duterte was to meet last night with the PhilHealth board, including ex-officio members, at Malacañang to hear the full report of the agency on the scam and announce the start of a top-to-bottom revamp, senator-elect Christopher Go told reporters.

Go said he spoke with the President on Sunday night. He was told that Duterte would ask for the resignation of PhilHealth officials, including regional vice presidents who reportedly have been bickering, to the detriment of the delivery of services.

“The President told me he was very dismayed by what happened. The President won’t allow this, so there must be accountability and the issue of command responsibility. The President really wants a revamp,” he revealed.

Read more @www.philstar.com

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[In the news] WHO recognizes ‘burn-out’ as medical condition -GMAnews

The World Health Organization has for the first time recognized “burn-out” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.

The decision, reached during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, which wraps up on Tuesday, could help put to rest decades of debate among experts over how to define burnout, and whether it should be considered a medical condition.

In the latest update of its catalogue of diseases and injuries around the world, WHO defines burn-out as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Read more @www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Bishop backs anti-coal campaign in central Philippines -UCAN news

Bishop backs anti-coal campaign in central Philippines

A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines has expressed support for a campaign against the building of a coal-fired power plant in Negros Occidental province.

Bishop Gerry Alminaza of San Carlos said local church leaders are giving their full backing for the move, initiated by a youth group.

“As our youth said, we will stand against this because this is about our future,” said the prelate on Ash Wednesday.

The group Youth for Climate Hope staged an anti-coal demonstration outside the provincial capitol building on March 6 as part of activities to observe the Church’s Year of the Youth.

The provincial government has also expressed its commitment to fight global warming by pursuing “clean and renewable energy projects” by opposing the establishment of coal-fired power plants.

Read full article @www.ucanews.com

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[Press Release] Teachers Remind DepEd: Annual Medical Check-up for Teacher Should be Free -TDC

Teachers Remind DepEd: Annual Medical Check-up for Teacher Should be Free

In time for teachers’ accomplishment of the required annual medical clearance the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) again asserted that the expenses for such should be provided by the government.

“We appeal to the good secretary to immediately issue an order to halt the on-going medical check-up and laboratory tests in DepEd field offices.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.

Basas said that the DepEd or its local offices may be violating the law for not providing such tests for free. “It is clear that medical examination for teachers should be done annually and it is compulsory, however, the same provision of the law also says that it should also be free. In fact, the law also mandates that the government should pay for teachers’ hospitalization and treatment if found necessary. Then why teachers should be burdened by this regulation?”

Based on TDC’s informal survey, teachers’ expenses for medical tests range from P200 to P1000 which is contrary to the letters and intent of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670). Sec. 22 of said law says, “Compulsory medical examination shall be provided free of charge for all teachers before they take up teaching, and shall be repeated not less than once a year during the teacher’s professional life. Where medical examination shows that medical treatment and/or hospitalization is necessary, same shall be provided free by the government entity paying the salary of the teachers.”

“We appeal to Sec. Briones to enjoin the entire DepEd system to observe the law and provide the medical examinations, which are on-going in some areas, for free.” Basas reiterated.

The group offered their help thru a dialogue to discuss the issue and come up with a solution acceptable both for teachers and DepEd management.

“As far as the law is concerned, expenses for annual and compulsory medical check-up should be included in DepEd budget, a provision from LGU’s or government health facilities may be an alternative.” Basas ended.

This matter along with other Magna Carta related issues are included in the TDC’s main advocacy line for 2019. Others are the immediate granting of an across-the-board salary increase for teachers and DepEd personnel and the fixing of GSIS policies or creating a separate insurance system for teachers.

Late last year, the TDC lead a series of protest that culminated to a 12-day picket in front of the DepEd Office in Pasig to demand the full implementation of Magna Carta. #

Reference:
Benjo Basas
09273356375

For other details:
Emmalyn Policarpio
Secretary-General
09984865628

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[Press Release] Universal healthcare pushed on World Health Day -NTSP

Universal healthcare pushed on World Health Day

On the occasion of World Health Day in April 7, members of the Working Group on Social ASEAN pushed for the immediate realization of universal healthcare as they decried the highly insufficient state provision for healthcare and the capitalists’ excessive profiting from health services and medicines.

The group composed of networks of civil society organizations, trade unions, migrant workers, and parliamentarians pointed out that healthcare is increasingly treated as a commodity instead of an individual entitlement. The members reiterated that health care is a fundamental right and governments have a responsibility to realize this right. “However, a large percentage of population in our countries are not treated of their health needs.”

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that at least half of the world’s 7.3 billion people still do not have access to essential health services, such as having a skilled birth attendant, vaccinations for children or treatment for HIV. Every day, more than 800 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And nearly 20 million infants, who do not receive immunizations they need, run the risk of dying from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.

“It is deplorable that instead of increasing national budgets for health, improving health services and facilities, and providing universal healthcare, ASEAN countries are going in the opposite direction of further liberalising healthcare and opting for public-private sector partnerships (PPP) for health services. This is unacceptable because privatizing healthcare results in people being held captive by the profit-driven schemes of corporations and companies,” said the Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP).

“As hospitals and medical services, including diagnostic tests, are being privatized, a large number of the population risk the loss of their lives and their health,” said Charles Santiago, a member of Parliament in Malaysia and chairperson of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

“The high costs of private healthcare and governments’ low priority for accessible and quality health services are making ordinary people poorer,” Santiago added.

According to WHO, 100 million people are pushed into poverty annually because of health spending. Around 179 million people spend more than a quarter of their household budget on health care – a level that WHO considers to be “catastrophic health spending.”

Workers are clamoring for state intervention to guarantee healthcare for everyone. With low wages and temporary employment, even salaried workers cannot cope with high hospital bills and excessive price of medicines. “ASEAN member states must ensure that access to health care must be kept affordable to all especially when there is a growing army of gig economy workers in the region” said the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC).

Meanwhile the Migrant Forum in Asia shared that many migrant workers are having serious problems in accessing health services, thus the network is also campaigning for portability of social protection which includes access to health services.

The Working Group underscored that the provisioning of essential services like healthcare must be guaranteed and financed by the state, as they are connected to the survival, dignity, and development of individuals as well as society as a whole.

“It is important for governments to ensure that 7% of GDP is allocated towards healthcare,” said Santiago as he pointed out that the average total healthcare expenditure per capita in the ASEAN is only about 4% of GDP, based on WHO estimates.

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, lead convener of Dignidad, reiterated that “healthcare is an essential service that guarantees a person’s wellness. It goes beyond merely treating diseases since health is not just about the absence of disease but the total well-being of a person.”

“It is high time for our governments to act on our demand for a universal and comprehensive social protection. States should institutionalize healthcare for all -– regardless of their social, economic, and cultural standing,” added Nemenzo, also a co-convener of NTSP.

Suntaree Saengging, coordinator of the NGO Coalition for Development in Thailand and HomeNet Southeast Asia, also highlighted that part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by States is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. “Government must therefore provide accessible and quality health care appropriate to individuals’ needs based on gender, age, culture, way of life and abilities.”

“Poverty and limited access to health services contribute to older people’s health conditions. This makes a policy on long-term care, as part of universal healthcare, timely and urgent to help improve the quality of health of all older people in the country,” added Emily Beredico, Executive Director of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly – a member of HelpAge.

NETWORK FOR TRANSFORMATIVE SOCIAL PROTECTION (NTSP)
85-B Masikap Street Extension, Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City
http://www.socialasean.org/ntsp/
PRESS RELEASE
April 7, 2018
Contact person: Maris dela Cruz (sirmallet@gmail.com; 09173153828)

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[From the web] Waste and Toxic Watch Group Deplores Piles of Garbage in MM Streets -EcoWaste Coalition

Photo from Ecowaste Coalition FB

Waste and Toxic Watch Group Deplores Piles of Garbage in MM Streets

Quezon City. January is observed as the “Zero Waste Month” and the streets of Metro Manila are strewn with garbage following the New Year revelry.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and toxic watch group, drew attention to this ironical situation as piles of “holitrash” (holiday + trash) greet residents of the bustling metropolis on the first day of 2018.

The group took photos of mixed garbage comprised of food waste, beverage and food containers, paper and plastic packaging, remnants of firecrackers and fireworks, and discards from the customary end of year cleaning such as busted lamps and other unwanted stuff left abandoned in the streets and market areas of Caloocan, Makati, Manila, Quezon and Valenzuela Cities.

“The blanket disposal of all sorts of discards from the lively celebrations, including useful materials that should have been reused, recycled or composted, is deplorable. Waste isn’t ‘waste’ until it’s wasted,” commented Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Waste becomes a threat to public health and environment if it is not properly sorted out and managed in a safe manner that will not contaminate the surroundings, particularly the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our sources of food, including the rivers and the oceans,” he said.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, Metro Manila generates about 9,213 tons of garbage per day of which 52 percent are biodegradables, 41 percent recyclables and 7 percent residuals. The national waste generation is estimated at 40,087 tons per day.

“Garbage trucks and dumps should not be bursting at the seams if we consume responsibly and if we keep discards separated so that the biodegradable fraction is composted or fed to animals and the non-biodegradable fraction is returned to the factories for recycling,” Alejandre pointed out.

“It is possible to further cut the percentage of residuals if companies will take responsibility for products and packaging materials that are difficult to recycle such as sachet packaging,” he added.

As the Zero Waste Month is commemorated, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to national and local authorities, factories, commercial establishments and the general public to take action to proactively prevent and reduce the generation of waste in January and throughout 2018.

The group specifically requested the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the concerned parishes to incorporate waste avoidance and minimization in the observance of the popular feasts of the Black Nazarene and the Santo Niño this January across the country.

“The churches and the faithful should aim for an eco-friendly and litter-free celebration of the feasts of the revered image of the Black Nazarene, particularly in Quiapo, and the grand festivals in honor of the Child Jesus such as the Sinulog in Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo, Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Buling-Buling in Pandacan, and Lakbayaw in Tondo,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

As per Proclamation No. 760 issued by then President Benigno S. Aquino III, every January is observed as Zero Waste Month “to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.”

According to Section 48 of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, “littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks, and establishment, or causing or permitting the same,” is prohibited and punishable.”

Follow Ecowaste Coalition @
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/Ecowaste-Coalition-232738115250/

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[Press Release] Teachers seek for Government medical assistance -TDC

Teachers seek for Government medical assistance

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) today revealed that one of the principal factors why teachers borrow money is because the government does not have medical assistance to them despite the mandate of a law.

“Under the law, the government is responsible to maintain teachers’ health thru a compulsory, annual and free medical examination. And if the examination found that a teacher needs to undergo medication or hospitalization, again it should be at the expense of the government.” Said Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson quoting Section 22 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a law enacted in 1966.

The group argued that teachers, aside from daily expenses for their family and teaching aids are also burdened by expenses for their medical needs and one of them is the annual medical check-up which should be given free for all teachers. However, despite the explicit provision of the law, teachers themselves pay for these tests.

“One of the reasons why teachers borrow money is the emergency medical need for themselves and their family members. They run to loan agencies especially if they have no extra income or savings from their meager salaries. Then, it would be difficult for them to free themselves from chains of debt.” Basas lamented.

Basas added that there are some conditions that would really make things worse like if the teacher needs to be confined in a hospital for weeks or if they have to undergo chemotherapy, dialysis or major operations due to heart or lung conditions or complications due to pregnancy, which according to him cost amount that teachers can never afford.

Basas cited the case of Jennifer Nague De Jesus, a teacher of San Vicente Elementary School in San Pedro City, Laguna since 2007. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in year 2012 and was forced to leave her job for two years to undergo regular hemodialysis from 2013. During the period that she cannot report for work, she has no income and received no assistance from the government, except for quarterly pledge of P3, 000 from her mayor. Presently, she is back to teaching but still needs to undergo dialysis sessions two times a week that costs her not less than P4, 000, because she has consumed her free sessions from Philhealth.

“Where could Teacher Jennifer possibly get that amount if she will not run to loan agencies for fast cash? But at the end of the day, where she will get the money to pay for these loans? Clearly, she borrowed money, literally to live.” Basas added.

Indeed, Jennifer suffered compounded interests of loans from a private bank. In the case of GSIS, she has no record of payment, both for premiums and loans for almost four years, another predicament she will confront in the near future.

Basas actually said that Jennifer may have been more fortunate than others. For instance, he cited the case of a teacher in Caloocan City who died in a private hospital early last year, but because the family lacks money to settle the bills, her body was seemingly made hostage for several weeks. Another teacher from Malabon gave birth to her first baby in a lying-in clinic and had continuous bleeding, then was rushed to a private hospital where she suffered a state of comatose for more than a week. The family, whose income depends mainly on her, solicited funds from politicians and guarantee letters from PCSO to pay for the bills. The poor teacher did not make it, she died few days before Christmas of 2016.

These incidents prompted the TDC to ask the DepEd to establish a support mechanism thru a mutual aid and benefit system that would be readily available to all teachers in need, on top of the immediate implementation of Sections 22 of the Magna Carta.

The TDC is very optimistic though that the DepEd would act favorably on both matters after they have discussed them with Sec. Leoner Briones herself in a dialogue with the TDC leaders held during the National Summit of Teachers in Taguig City last November 17. Briones gave her initial commitment and said that the DepEd will consider increasing the school funds (MOOE) to cover free annual medical check-up for all teachers. As to the mutual benefit system proposal of the TDC, the DepEd said this may be included in the services of the DepEd Provident Fund, which now is limited to loans. The Secretary said they would immediately study legalities to enable them to grant these benefits.

“We appreciate these pronouncements from our Secretary and we would wait for them to be translated in policies.” Basas ended. #

“Sec. 22. Medical Examination and Treatment. Compulsory medical examination shall be provided free of charge for all teachers before they take up teaching, and shall be repeated not less than once a year during the teacher’s professional life. Where medical examination show that medical treatment and/or hospitalization is necessary, same shall be provided free by the government entity paying the salary of the teachers.” RA 4670

For details:
Benjo Basas, TDC Chair, 0927-3356375
Jennifer Nague De Jesus, 0916-2953761 (she actually had a dialysis session yesterday, November 23 and continuously under strict observation)

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[From the web] Effective and humane ways to manage the drug problem in the Philippines, a human rights and public health perspective -by Jerbert Briola

Effective and humane ways to manage the drug problem in the Philippines, a human rights and public health perspective
by Jerbert Briola

Torture Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2017)
The Torture Journal is an international scientific journal that provides an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of original research and systematic reviews by professionals concerned with the biomedical, psychological and social interface of torture and the rehabilitation of its survivors.

Read full article @ torture-journal

[Statement] Health, Not Death: A Statement Opposing the Reinstatement of Death Penalty in the Philippines -NoBox Philippines

Health, Not Death:
A Statement Opposing the Reinstatement of Death Penalty in the Philippines
November 24, 2016

The 17th Congress is currently deliberating proposed bills to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines. Most of these bills take off from the government’s ongoing “war on drugs,” which sees people involved with drugs as criminals who should be dealt with the harshest penalty of death. The proponents of the reinstatement of the death penalty characterize drug use as influencing citizens to perpetuate “the most perverse and atrocious crimes in the most repugnant of manners (sic).”[1]

The perspective reflected in the bills manifests an archaic, unscientific, and backward understanding of drug use. A punitive framework has been shown to be ineffective in dealing with drug-related issues. NoBox Philippines joins the call of civil society in strongly opposing the passage of the Death Penalty Law, and advocates for a public health response to drug-related issues in the Philippines.

The criminalization of people who use drugs in Asia and elsewhere around the world has failed to deter people from drug use. There is no evidence that supports the claim that harsher and more severe punishment, which includes the death penalty, results in meaningful reductions in drug use.[2] According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,[3] the excessive use of imprisonment for drug-related offenses of a minor nature is also ineffective in reducing recidivism and overburdens the criminal justice system, preventing the efficient coping with more serious crimes. On the other hand, the provision of evidence-based health and social services to drug users, as an alternative to incarceration, has been shown to substantially increase recovery and reduce recidivism.

Drug use alone should not be seen as a social evil or moral failing,  as a huge majority of people involved with drugs do not have any associated drug use problems.[4] In fact, data would show that alcohol, more than any illegal drug,  is found to be more closely associated with violent crimes,[5] and yet our current laws do not treat alcohol consumption with the same ferocity for drug use.

NoBox Philippines believes that drug use occurs in a context where people find personal meaning in it due to various factors, including adapting and coping mechanisms, which do not amount to a social harm that society should persecute. The United Nations, through Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, has called on States to increase focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies as alternative to criminalizing drug use.[6] Harm reduction, which refers to policies, programmes, and practices that aim to primarily reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs without solely focusing on drug consumption, must be undertaken by the government to address drug-related issues in the Philippines.

NoBox Philippines joins civil society in believing that the death penalty has absolutely no role in evidence-based, scientific, and humane drug policies. We call on our legislators to oppose the passage of the Death Penalty Law, and support a public health approach to drug use.

[1] Death Penalty Law, H.R. 1, 17th Phil. Cong. Available at: http://www.congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/basic_17/HB00001.pdf.

[2] International Drug Policy Consortium, A Public Health Approach to Drug Use in Asia: Principles and Practices for Decriminalisation (2016), p. 9. Available at:  http://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/publication/IDPC_A_public_health_approach_to_drug_use_in_Asia_2016.pdf.

[3] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report (2016),  p. xxi. Available at:.

[4] Id, p. xi.

[5] National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Alcohol, Drugs and Crime (2016). Available at: https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol-drugs-and-crime.

[6] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Message on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (2015), UNIS/SGSM/645. Available at: http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2015/unissgsm645.html.

________________________

NoBox Transitions Foundation, Inc. (NoBox Philippines) is a non-profit organization, which advocates for human rights and evidence-based drug policies and interventions for people who use drugs and their relevant others. NoBox Philippines offers its expertise on drug-related issues and provides outpatient services relevant to the needs of each client. NoBox Philippines believes that drug-related issues are never just about drugs; they are inextricably linked to many other factors, such as health, education, government policies, and the social environment. NoBox Philippines works to open discussions and to start honest conversations among key stakeholders about drugs and the factors surrounding its abuse, towards reforming drug policies in the Philippines.

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[Off the shelf] 25 Tanong at Sagot hinggil sa Kalusugan at Karapatang Pantao -WHO

25 Tanong at Sagot hinggil sa Kalusugan at Karapatang Pantao

WHO
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Geneva, Hulyo 2002

Ang pagtatamasa ng pinakamataas na matatamong pamantayan sa kalusugan bilang pangunahing karapatan ng bawa’t tao ay nakapaloob sa Saligang Batas ng Pandaigdigang Organisasyon sa Kalusugan (World Health Organization o WHO) mahigit 50 taon na ang nakakaraan. Sa ating pang-araw-araw na gawain, sinisikap ng Pandaigdigang Organisasyon sa Kalusugan na ang karapatang ito ay matamasa ng bawa’t isa, na may partikular na pagbibigay pansin sa pinakamahihirap at sa mga nasa bulnerableng kalagayan.

Ang diskurso sa karapatang pantao ay nagbibigay sa atin ng balangkas na nakakapagbigay ng inspirasyon at makabuluhang giya para sa pag-aanalisa at pagkilos. Ang mekanismo sa karapatang pantao ng mga Nagkakaisang Bansa (United Nations) ay nagbibigay ng mga mahahalagang daan tungo sa papalaking pananagutan sa kalusugan.

Read full article @www.who.int

 

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[Press Release] Medical doctors presses for right to rehabilitation of victims of torture -MAG

Medical doctors presses for right to rehabilitation of victims of torture

Photo by MAG

Photo by MAG

Around eighty (80) medical doctors across the country gathered today in the Scientific Conference on the Management and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims on November 11-12, 2015 at the Ciudad Christia Resort, in San Mateo, Rizal.

mag logo new

The conference also entitled, Mainstreaming Human Rights in Health Care, is being organized by the Medical Action Group (MAG) http://magph.org/ and the Department of Health (DOH). This will highlight current initiatives being implemented in the Philippines to promote right to rehabilitation of torture victims (survivors).

Attending the conference are city and municipal health officers who has an essential role in preventing torture by effective medical documentation of torture cases and they are among the first persons to come into contact with a torture victim or survivor after alleged torture incident.

“There is a need to raise awareness and level of knowledge of doctors in government service on Republic Act No. 9745 otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Law http://www.congress.gov.ph/download/ra_14/RA09745.pdf. The law details what constitute torture and ill treatment, the doctors’ legal obligations specifically the documentation and medical reporting of alleged victims of torture or ill treatment, and the mechanics of effective referral among agencies concerned in the daunting task of holistic rehabilitation,” said Dr. Criselda G. Abesamis, Director IV, DOH Health Facility Development Bureau.

DOH Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo stressed in order to ensure effective redress for victims of torture entails the duty to provide rehabilitation for victims through institutionalization of the use of the Istanbul Protocol or the UN Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/training8Rev1en.pdf, develop protocol in the treatment of torture victims based on the Istanbul Protocol particularly through effective implementation of the DOH Administrative Order No. 2013-0008 http://www.doh.gov.ph/ Guidelines for the implementation of Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Torture Law, upgrade of laboratory facilities of the DOH and other health facilities, and ensure effective referral mechanism.

“Despite the country has the Anti-Torture Law but we have cases and first-hand experiences uncovering its limitation and flaw which undermines the right of the survivors to medical care and rehabilitation,” Dr. Marie Therese C. Galang, MAG Chairperson added.

Galang concluded this conference which will tackle the growing challenges on rehabilitation confronting the torture survivors is significant on our part to learn from experiences of medical doctors in their day to day work in the treatment of torture survivors and in promoting right to rehabilitation of victims of torture.

The conference press the government that effective rehabilitation services and programs are established in the country and are accessible to all torture victims and survivors, as government’s obligation under the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Press release
November 11, 2015

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[From the web] UN Women’s Committee makes inquiry into sexual and reproductive health rights in the Philippines -OHCHR

UN Women’s Committee makes inquiry into sexual and reproductive health rights in the Philippines

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has issued a summary of an inquiry initiated on the basis of information received in 2008 from three women’s rights NGOs in the Philippines.

ohchr

Filipino mother holds her daughter on a footbridge in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 09 April 2014 © EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGOThe NGOs challenged the conformity with several provisions outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of executive order 03 issued in 2000 by the then Mayor of the city of Manila. The order promoted “responsible parenthood and … natural family planning,” and discouraged the use of modern forms of contraception. According to the NGOs, this limited women’s and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services in that municipality, and also resulted in a ban of modern contraceptives.

The NGOs also noted that a subsequent executive order – EO 030 issued by a new mayor in 2011- was also in breach of the State’s obligations. It purported to support the free choice by couples of their method of contraception, whilst explicitly providing that there would be no funding for “artificial birth control.” Further, no measures were put in place to make contraceptives available and affordable.

In November 2012, after having received the consent of the Government of the Philippines to make an inquiry visit to that country, two members of CEDAW met with representatives of State and local authorities, and interviewed a number of medical professionals in health centres and a government-run hospital, civil society representatives as well as 60 women aged between 19 and 49.

The Committee found that the implementation of the two executive orders had resulted in the denial of information about modern contraception methods and access to sexual and reproductive health services, with damaging consequences for women’s health and livelihoods, which amounted to violations of their human rights.

The Committee especially emphasized the detrimental impacts for economically disadvantaged women and adolescent girls.

“While the wording of Executive Order 003 does not explicitly ban modern contraceptives, its implementation resulted in the withdrawal of all supplies of modern contraceptives from all local government-funded health facilities,” said Pramila Patten, one of the CEDAW members who conducted the inquiry.

“Family planning information and counselling other than ‘natural family planning’, such as abstinence, cervical mucus, body temperature, calendar and lactational amenorrhea methods, were also denied to women,” she added. “Misinformation about modern methods of contraception listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines was also frequently reported.”

The women interviewed described to the investigators the difficulties experienced in using natural family planning methods that contributed to tensions with their husbands or partners and fostered domestic violence. The Committee also noted the damage to women’s mental and physical health due to multiple pregnancies, and their greater exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS.

The State had undermined the right of women to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, and shown an official and deliberate policy which systematically placed a certain ideology above the well-being of women.

“Gender stereotypes were at the heart of the policy denying access to modern contraception. The executive orders incorporated and conveyed images of women’s primary role as child bearers and child rearers, thereby perpetuating discriminatory stereotypes already prevalent in the Filipino society,” Patten stressed.

“They impacted women’s capacity to make free and informed decisions and choices about their health care, sexuality and reproduction, as well as on their autonomy to determine their own roles in society,” she added.

Veronica Birga, Chief of the Women’s Human Rights and Gender Section at the UN Human Rights Office, highlighted the importance for future similar inquiry submissions to the Committee of its analysis of the grave and systematic character of the violations caused by the executive orders.

“In finding that the violations were grave and systematic, this inquiry focused on the large numbers of women and girls impacted; and the impact on the nation’s rates of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal mortality and morbidity, and exposure to STIs, including HIV/AIDS,” Birga said.

“This inquiry is also a clear example of the indivisibility of rights – when a woman’s basic autonomy to make decisions about her body is denied, her health, her education, her prosperity are all threatened.”

At the end of its inquiry, the Committee made a sizeable number of recommendations to the Philippines including to decriminalize abortion; ensure universal access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health services, commodities and related information; remove barriers to such services; and reintroduce emergency contraception.

The Committee also recommended that, in line with the Constitution of the Philippines providing for the separation of the Church and the State, the Government should ensure that State policies and legislation give priority to the protection of women’s health rights, in particular their sexual and reproductive health rights, over any religious postulates that may lead to discrimination against women.

Source: www.ohchr.org

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