SARS: GMA LEADS NATIONAWIDE CLEAN-UP DRIVE

LUBAO PAMPANGA 'WALIS' Lubao, Pampanga, May 6, 2003 - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday led the nationwide clean-up drive intended to control, prevent and manage the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

President Arroyo began the clean-up drive campaign right here in her hometown after she vowed to start the battle against the spread of the infectious disease in the country during the national-local government SARS conference held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City three days ago.

Provincial and local officials led by Pampanga Gov. Lito Lapid and Vice Governor Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo were on hand to supervise the clean-up drive that includes clearing of drainage system in the town.

In San Fernando City, her first stop before proceeding here, the President said the nationwide clean-up drive is necessary so that SARS can be prevented from entering the country.

The President recalled that out of the 1,500 SARS victims in Hong Kong some 300, who were tenants of an apartment building, got infected through roaches.

The President said that local chief executives and the barangay officials should take the good example in leading their constituents by showing their concerns on the dangers of spreading the infectious disease in their respective barangays.

In her earlier pronouncement, the President said that in SARS prevention it is important to implement maintenance and health guidelines in their respective communities.

"Let us remain calm and alert, and continue to follow the guidelines issued by health authorities, including the maintenance of cleanliness in our barangays," the President said.

The President has issued Proclamation No. 366 declaring May 5 to 9 as National Anti-SARS Consciousness and Clean-Up Week aimed to raise public awareness and education on prevention, control and management on the spread of the killer pneumonia.

It is also designed to erase public fears, anxiety and wrong information on SARS implications to the health of the public as well as to the global economy. (Malacanang News Release)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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