SARS: PINOY LEADERS IN CANADA CALL FOR CALM

Toronto, April 21, 2003 -- The Philippine Consulate-General in Toronto, 
Ontario and the Filipino Centre, Toronto (FCT) have asked various 
Filipino-Canadian organizations in the Toronto area to remain calm about 
the latest cases of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in that country.

Earlier, a cluster of SARS cases had been identified with the Bukas Loob sa 
Diyos (BLD), a religious group made up of mostly Filipino families in Toronto.

Vice-Consul Edgar Badajos, acting head of the consulate, issued the call 
even as Toronto public health officials confirmed that all members of the 
BLD, numbering about 600, have been put on quarantine in an effort to 
arrest the spread of the infection.

In his call, Badajos assured his constituency that Philippine officials 
maintain constant touch with Toronto public health authorities for this 
purpose.

Badajos also said the Filipino community has been very cooperative with 
both Philippine and Canadian authorities.

Likewise, he cited Linda C. Javier and other officers of the FCT for acting 
as the "voice" of the Filipino-Canadian community in the fight against SARS.

A SARS advisory prepared by Dr. Mario Andres of the FCT intended for 
Fil-Canadian organizations in the Greater Toronto Area recommends the 
temporary suspension of non-essential group meetings or activities.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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