OFWs REFUSE TO LEAVE LYBIA 

AUGUST 1 --PHOTO: In this handout photo provided by the Hellenic Navy, a navy special operations team inspects waters as a plume of smoke is seen over Libya’s capital Tripoli on Thursday, July 31, 2014. A Greek frigate was used to evacuate Greek embassy staff and others from Tripoli. Thousands of Filipino overseas workers refuse to leave strife-torn Libya despite an urgent call from their government to get out while they still can, warning that the remaining exit routes are closing fast. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a statement on Saturday saying it aimed to get all of the more than 13,000 Filipino workers out of Libya after Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, in neighboring Tunisia to coordinate evacuations, reported that the Tunisia-Libya main border crossing was closed on Friday following the shooting of a Tunisian police officer there during violence that erupted as thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals tried to break through the passage.

A border crossing to Egypt has also been closed for months, Del Rosario said. “This narrowed our options. All the major airports in Libya are closed. Our only avenue would be to take the ocean, which necessitates ships,” Del Rosario said by phone on Saturday. Get out now --In the statement issued by the DFA on Saturday, Del Rosario urged Filipinos to leave Libya, convince their friends and fellow workers to accept the government’s repatriation offer and get out now, as the remaining exit routes were closing fast with the escalation of violence and lawlessness.
Del Rosario said that in addition to the 800 Filipinos who had been repatriated, 800 others had been listed as willing to be flown back to Manila. As for the rest, Del Rosario said: “We are having the same problem that we had in 2011. It’s difficult to convince people to leave.” He said most of the Filipino migrant workers were reluctant to leave because they feared they would be jobless back home.But he stressed the urgency of the need to leave Libya now, “as the avenues of repatriation are quickly diminishing.” Filipinos cross borde --He said around 50 Filipino workers from Tripoli who were about to cross the border to Tunisia on Friday night were stranded there along with other foreign nationals after the Tunisian government shut down the passage due to the violence. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Exit routes closing fast for OFWs in Libya – DFA  

AUGUST 3 --PHOTO -HOMEWARD BOUND: Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario poses with Filipino nurses and construction workers from Tripoli during his visit to Djerba, Tunisia. The repatriates are set to leave for Manila today. Filipinos in Libya should leave the strife-torn country as soon as they can as exit routes are closing fast, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “The DFA is appealing with urgency to those who have not made the decision to be repatriated to please consider doing so as the avenues of repatriation are quickly diminishing,” the DFA said. The Philippine government identified Egypt or Tunisia as exit routes for the Filipinos as all major airports have closed due to the deteriorating situation in the North African country. The DFA was able to contract a ship that would travel from Malta to fetch repatriates from Benghazi, Misrata and possibly Tripoli. The ship would sail back to Malta where the repatriated Filipinos can catch flights to Manila.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who flew to Tunisia on Thursday to personally oversee the repatriation of Filipinos, met on Friday with some of the 95 Filipinos ready to be repatriated from Libya. He urged the workers to convince their friends and co-workers who are still in Libya to join the mandatory evacuation. He said the border crossing between Tunisia and Libya was closed earlier in the day because of a shooting incident on July 31 amid the chaos sparked by the surge of refugees fleeing Libya. The border crossing from Libya to Egypt in As Salloum has been closed for some months now. Major airports are abandoned. The DFA said the 95 Filipino evacuees crossed the Tunisian border of Ras Ajdir on July 31.* READ MORE...

(ALSO) Evacuees: Libya unrest ‘worse than under Gadhafi’ 

PHOTO: In this image made from AP video on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, plumes of smoke and debris rise from a base of Islamic militias after a MiG fighter jet’s strike in Benghazi, Libya.
Libya is descending into a civil war spiral that is “much worse” than the unrest that toppled its dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, residents fleeing the country said on Saturday.
“We have gone through [war] before, with Gadhafi, but now it’s much worse,” Paraskevi Athineou, a Greek woman living in Libya, told Agence France-Presse. “Chaos reigns. There is no government, we have no food, no fuel, no water, no electricity for hours on end,” she said. Athineou was part of a group of 186 people evacuated from Tripoli by a Greek Navy frigate, which reached the port of Piraeus early on Saturday. In addition to 77 Greek nationals, there were 78 Chinese, 10 Britons, 12 Cypriots, 7 Belgians, 1 Albanian and a Russian. Chronic insecurity...* READ MORE...

ALSO: DFA confirmed Filipina nurse kidnapped, raped in Libya’s Tripoli 

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO OFWs from Libya:THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday confirmed that a Filipina nurse in Libya was abducted and raped on Wednesday morning, Tripoli time. In a text message to reporters, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles C. Jose said: "We can confirm that reported abduction and rape of Filipina nurse took place." According to Mr. Jose, the nurse was abducted Wednesday in front of her residence by four young men. "Two hours later, she was released after allegedly being raped by six Libyan youth," Mr. Jose added. He said Philippine Embassy personnel in Tripoli took custody of the nurse after accompanying her to the hospital for a medical examination. On July 15, a Filipino construction worker was kidnapped and subsequently beheaded by a militia organization, allegedly because he was a non-Muslim. On July 20, the DFA raised alert level 4, which means mandatory repatriation for Filipino nationals and a travel ban for those en route to Libya, citing the "extremely unstable political and security situation" in that country. According to the department, there are about 13,000 Filipinos in Libya, of which, 708 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been repatriated as of July 29. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT FROM BUSINESS WORLD ONLINE

ALSO: Why isn't there a treatment or vaccine for Ebola? 

LONDON — In the four decades since the Ebola virus was first identified in Africa, treatment hasn't changed much. There are no licensed drugs or vaccines for the deadly disease. Some are being developed, but none have been rigorously tested in humans. One experimental treatment, though, was tried this week in an American aid worker sick with Ebola, according to the U.S-based group that she works for in Liberia. Without a specific treatment, doctors and nurses focus on easing the disease's symptoms — fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea — and on keeping patients hydrated and comfortable. The outbreak in three West African countries — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — has sickened more than 1,300 people and more than 700 have died since March.WHY ISN'T THERE A TREATMENT BY NOW? For one thing, the Ebola virus is hard to work with. The virus doesn't grow well in petri dishes and experiments can only be done in the relatively few labs with the highest security measures. * READ MORE...

ALSO: DOH intensifies monitoring of possible Ebola carriers 

The Department of Health (DOH) is on high alert and has intensified its monitoring of possible carriers of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, Malacañang assured the public yesterday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB the government is following a standard procedure in monitoring airports to track people who might have the disease. She said the DOH has the experience and capability to deal with the threat of Ebola, citing its preparations with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome corona virus. “Our procedures became stronger,” she said. “The DOH has had practice with it.”  She said the DOH is on alert for migrant workers, especially those coming from countries with reported Ebola infections, and is prepared to carry out quarantine measures. Health officials have also issued advisories on the importation of exotic animals from Africa, which could carry the virus, Valte added. The DOH has likewise alerted the Armed Forces of the Philippines regarding its personnel who served as peacekeepers in Liberia, where an outbreak of Ebola was reported. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: FDA warns public vs purchase of foods, medicine online 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday reiterated its warning against buying processed food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices online. In an advisory, the FDA said products being sold in social media platforms “such as but not limited to sulit.com.ph (now OLX.com), lazada.com.ph, ayosdito.com , cashcash pinoy.com, eBay and other networking and multi level marketing schemes” may be harmful to health. “These products were obtained from unknown sources or have been illegally imported, posing doubts on their safety, efficacy, quality and purity. Some of these products, although registered, are misbranded if it carries therapeutic or clinical claims that are not approved by the FDA,” the advisory stated. The FDA noted that under Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009, “the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of any health product that is adulterated, unregistered or misbranded is strictly prohibited.” The FDA also requires that health products be registered or notified first with them before distribution in the market. Medicine or over the counter or prescription drugs must be sold only to the consumers by FDA-licensed outlets, it added.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

OFWs refuse to leave Libya; DFA: Only a fraction have left since gov’t advisory


In this handout photo provided by the Hellenic Navy, a navy special operations team inspects waters as a plume of smoke is seen over Libya’s capital Tripoli on Thursday, July 31, 2014. A Greek frigate was used to evacuate Greek embassy staff and others from Tripoli. AP

MANILA, AUGUST 4, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Niña P. Calleja - Thousands of Filipino overseas workers refuse to leave strife-torn Libya despite an urgent call from their government to get out while they still can, warning that the remaining exit routes are closing fast.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a statement on Saturday saying it aimed to get all of the more than 13,000 Filipino workers out of Libya after Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, in neighboring Tunisia to coordinate evacuations, reported that the Tunisia-Libya main border crossing was closed on Friday following the shooting of a Tunisian police officer there during violence that erupted as thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals tried to break through the passage.

A border crossing to Egypt has also been closed for months, Del Rosario said.

“This narrowed our options. All the major airports in Libya are closed. Our only avenue would be to take the ocean, which necessitates ships,” Del Rosario said by phone on Saturday.

Get out now

In the statement issued by the DFA on Saturday, Del Rosario urged Filipinos to leave Libya, convince their friends and fellow workers to accept the government’s repatriation offer and get out now, as the remaining exit routes were closing fast with the escalation of violence and lawlessness.

Del Rosario said that in addition to the 800 Filipinos who had been repatriated, 800 others had been listed as willing to be flown back to Manila.

As for the rest, Del Rosario said: “We are having the same problem that we had in 2011. It’s difficult to convince people to leave.”

He said most of the Filipino migrant workers were reluctant to leave because they feared they would be jobless back home.

But he stressed the urgency of the need to leave Libya now, “as the avenues of repatriation are quickly diminishing.”

Filipinos cross border

He said around 50 Filipino workers from Tripoli who were about to cross the border to Tunisia on Friday night were stranded there along with other foreign nationals after the Tunisian government shut down the passage due to the violence.

* Del Rosario said the Tunisian government blamed the violence on the Egyptians, who tried to force their way in.

But the Filipinos managed to cross the border and they reached the Philippine Embassy in Tunis on Saturday morning (Tunisian time) after the Philippine government secured a “special dispensation” from the Tunisian government, Del Rosario said.

“What we [did] was get in touch with the senior officials [at] the foreign ministry of Tunisia. I asked for a special dispensation for our people,” he said.

“Our people were cleared and they are now safe,” he added.

Chartered ship

The Filipinos had traveled 18 hours from Tripoli to the border and they had decided to stay there after the border was shut down because it was too dangerous to return to the capital.

Del Rosario said the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli had chartered a ship for the evacuation of the Filipino migrant workers.
The ship, which could carry up to 1,500 people, is set to sail from Malta in two days to pick up Filipinos from the ports of Benghazi, Misrata and possibly Tripoli, Del Rosario said.

He said the owner of a ship engaged by the embassy earlier had backed out.

“Fortunately we were able to finalize a contract verbally with [another shipowner in] Malta. The chartered ship will leave in a couple of days,” Del Rosario said.

On Tunisia’s Djerbe Island on Friday, Del Rosario met some of the 95 Filipinos who crossed the border at Ras Ajdir on Thursday.

The Filipinos were bussed to Djerbe, more than 130 kilometers from Ras Ajdir, and were put up at a hostel while waiting for their flight home, scheduled for today.

Del Rosario, who is also coming home today, assured the Filipinos remaining in Libya of government assistance in leaving the North African country that is fast descending into civil war, with rival militias fighting for control of key population centers.

Target: 100 percent

“Our target is 100-percent evacuation,” DFA spokesperson Charles Jose told Agence France-Presse on Friday.

The DFA issued an order for “mandatory” evacuation of all Filipinos in Libya last month after the beheading of a Filipino construction worker abducted by unknown suspects in the eastern city of Benghazi.

That killing was followed by the abduction and gang-rape of a Filipino nurse in Tripoli on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Filipino doctors and nurses in Tripoli’s Medical Center walked out in protest at the savage attack on their colleague, unleashing anarchy in the hospital.

A hospital official said families were forced to transfer sick relatives to private clinics because of the walkout.

Fears for health-care system

Libyan health authorities feared the order for the evacuation of all Filipinos could paralyze hospitals and lead to a “total collapse” of Libya’s healthcare system.

More than 3,000 health workers from the Philippines, making up 60 percent of Libya’s hospital staff, could leave along with workers from India, who account for another 20 percent.

But the DFA admits that evacuating 13,000 Filipino migrant workers in Libya is a “challenge,” as thousands of them refuse to leave despite the dangers.

Jose said only a fraction had fled since the government’s initial warning for Filipinos to leave Libya was issued two months ago.

“We’ve had that advisory (for Filipinos to leave Libya) for two months, but less than a thousand have come home. Can you just imagine the challenge we’re facing?” Jose said.

2011 mass evacuation

The Philippines previously launched a mass evacuation of its workers in Libya in 2011, when most of the 30,000 Filipinos there left during the violent uprising that led to the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Jose said about 4,500 returned to the Philippines in repatriation flights paid for by the government at that time.
Others were evacuated by their employers and international aid organizations.

But about 1,600 Filipinos, mostly doctors and nurses, remained in Libya throughout the 2011 upheaval, according to government data.

Travel ban lifted

Their numbers later increased after the Philippines lifted its travel ban for workers to go to Libya in March 2012.

That ban was reimposed on May 30 this year, when the government also strongly advised all Filipinos already in the country to leave, using their own resources, as security conditions deteriorated.

The mandatory evacuation announced last month puts the onus on bringing the workers home on the government. With reports from AFP and AP

FROM PHILSTAR

Exit routes closing fast for OFWs in Libya – DFA By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 3, 2014 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0


HOMEWARD BOUND: Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario poses with Filipino nurses and construction workers from Tripoli during his visit to Djerba, Tunisia. The repatriates are set to leave for Manila today.

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos in Libya should leave the strife-torn country as soon as they can as exit routes are closing fast, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

“The DFA is appealing with urgency to those who have not made the decision to be repatriated to please consider doing so as the avenues of repatriation are quickly diminishing,” the DFA said.

The Philippine government identified Egypt or Tunisia as exit routes for the Filipinos as all major airports have closed due to the deteriorating situation in the North African country.

The DFA was able to contract a ship that would travel from Malta to fetch repatriates from Benghazi, Misrata and possibly Tripoli. The ship would sail back to Malta where the repatriated Filipinos can catch flights to Manila.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who flew to Tunisia on Thursday to personally oversee the repatriation of Filipinos, met on Friday with some of the 95 Filipinos ready to be repatriated from Libya.

He urged the workers to convince their friends and co-workers who are still in Libya to join the mandatory evacuation.

He said the border crossing between Tunisia and Libya was closed earlier in the day because of a shooting incident on July 31 amid the chaos sparked by the surge of refugees fleeing Libya.

The border crossing from Libya to Egypt in As Salloum has been closed for some months now. Major airports are abandoned.

The DFA said the 95 Filipino evacuees crossed the Tunisian border of Ras Ajdir on July 31.

* They traveled by bus to the island of Djerba, over 120 kilometers from the border, where they are staying while awaiting their flights to Manila possibly today.

Del Rosario said a Rapid Response Team (RRT) comprising representatives from the DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as from relevant foreign service posts, is working round-the-clock to repatriate Filipinos in Libya.

Over the last few weeks, about 800 Filipinos have been repatriated. There were over 200 Filipinos in the Philippine embassy in Tripoli being processed for repatriation. The number is reportedly rapidly increasing.

A Filipina nurse was abducted and raped in Tripoli on Wednesday. The Filipina was abducted in front of her residence by four Libyan youth and taken to an undisclosed place where she was raped.

A Filipino construction worker was kidnapped and beheaded by armed militia group in Benghazi last July 15.

The Filipino was allegedly singled out because he was non-Muslim.

The DFA set the alert level for the Libyan crisis at No. 4, the highest crisis alert, following the abduction and beheading of the Filipino worker. Under an Alert Level 4, the government undertakes immediate evacuation of Filipinos from a country in turmoil.

Del Rosario said the challenges facing the Philippine embassy in Libya were almost the same ones it hurdled in 2011 when a mandatory evacuation of Filipinos was carried out due to rising violence in the country.

The Philippine embassy in Tripoli may be reached at:

KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas
P.O. Box 12508, Tripoli, Libya
Telephone numbers (00218) 918-244-208
E--mail addresses tripoli.pe@gmail.com and tripoli.pe@dfa.gov.ph.
The DFA also released hotlines numbers (02) 552-7105 / (02) 834-4685. The DFA may also be reached via oumwa@dfa.gov.ph.

Meanwhile, 60 Filipino workers repatriated from Libya are beginning to arrive in Manila until tomorrow, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday.

Baldoz noted 22 of the workers were to arrive yesterday afternoon in two batches.

“We have the master list of the names of the new repatriates. Officers of the Repatriation Assistance Division of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and representatives of the Libya Quick Reaction Team headed by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac will be at the airport to ensure that the returnees get proper assistance,” she said. – Sheila Crisostomo

FROM THE INQUIRER

Evacuees: Libya unrest ‘worse than under Gadhafi’ Philippine Daily Inquirer2:54 am | Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

In this image made from AP video on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, plumes of smoke and debris rise from a base of Islamic militias after a MiG fighter jet’s strike in Benghazi, Libya. AP

PIRAEUS, Greece—Libya is descending into a civil war spiral that is “much worse” than the unrest that toppled its dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, residents fleeing the country said on Saturday.

“We have gone through [war] before, with Gadhafi, but now it’s much worse,” Paraskevi Athineou, a Greek woman living in Libya, told Agence France-Presse.

“Chaos reigns. There is no government, we have no food, no fuel, no water, no electricity for hours on end,” she said.

Athineou was part of a group of 186 people evacuated from Tripoli by a Greek Navy frigate, which reached the port of Piraeus early on Saturday.

In addition to 77 Greek nationals, there were 78 Chinese, 10 Britons, 12 Cypriots, 7 Belgians, 1 Albanian and a Russian.

Chronic insecurity

* Among them were several diplomats, including the Chinese ambassador to Libya.

Libya has suffered chronic insecurity since Gadhafi’s overthrow in 2011, with the new government unable to check militias that helped to remove him and facing a growing threat from Islamist groups.

“So many people died to make the country better. But now we started killing each other in a civil war,” said Osama Monsour, a 35-year-old employed at a nongovernment organization in Tripoli.

Fighting between rival militias in Tripoli has forced the closure of the city’s international airport, while Islamist groups are also battling Army special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi.

War reaches Tripoli

“War is in the city … and we civilians are under fire from both sides,” Athineou said.

“It is worse than 2011,” said Ali Gariani, a Libyan married to a Greek woman.

“That time we’re being bombed by Nato. But now we are being bombed by the Libyans themselves, and that is really shameful,” he said. AFP

FROM BUSINESS WORLD ONLINE

DFA confirns Libya abduction, rape of Filipina nurse


OFWs from Libya INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday confirmed that a Filipina nurse in Libya was abducted and raped on Wednesday morning, Tripoli time.

In a text message to reporters, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles C. Jose said: "We can confirm that reported abduction and rape of Filipina nurse took place."

According to Mr. Jose, the nurse was abducted Wednesday in front of her residence by four young men.

"Two hours later, she was released after allegedly being raped by six Libyan youth," Mr. Jose added.

He said Philippine Embassy personnel in Tripoli took custody of the nurse after accompanying her to the hospital for a medical examination.

On July 15, a Filipino construction worker was kidnapped and subsequently beheaded by a militia organization, allegedly because he was a non-Muslim.

On July 20, the DFA raised alert level 4, which means mandatory repatriation for Filipino nationals and a travel ban for those en route to Libya, citing the "extremely unstable political and security situation" in that country.

According to the department, there are about 13,000 Filipinos in Libya, of which, 708 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been repatriated as of July 29. -- Ailyn D. Galura

FROM PHILSTAR

Why isn't there a treatment or vaccine for Ebola? By Maria Cheng (Associated Press) | Updated August 3, 2014 - 2:28am 0 0 googleplus0 0


FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007, file photo, A 43 year old Congolese patient, center, who has been confirmed to have Ebola hemorrhagic fever, following laboratory tests, is comforted by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) nurse Isabel Grovas, left, and Doctor Hilde Declerck, right, in Kampungu, Kasai Occidental province, Congo. In the four decades since the Ebola virus was first identified in Africa, treatment hasn’t changed much. There are no licensed drugs or vaccines for the deadly disease. A number are being developed, but none have been rigorously tested in humans. One experimental treatment, though, was tried this week in an American aid worker sick with Ebola, according to the U.S-based group that she works for in Liberia. Without a specific treatment, doctors and nurses focus on easing the disease’s symptoms _ fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea _ and on keeping patients hydrated and comfortable. (AP Photo/WHO, Christopher Black, File)

LONDON — In the four decades since the Ebola virus was first identified in Africa, treatment hasn't changed much. There are no licensed drugs or vaccines for the deadly disease.

Some are being developed, but none have been rigorously tested in humans. One experimental treatment, though, was tried this week in an American aid worker sick with Ebola, according to the U.S-based group that she works for in Liberia.

Without a specific treatment, doctors and nurses focus on easing the disease's symptoms — fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea — and on keeping patients hydrated and comfortable.

The outbreak in three West African countries — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — has sickened more than 1,300 people and more than 700 have died since March.

WHY ISN'T THERE A TREATMENT BY NOW?

For one thing, the Ebola virus is hard to work with. The virus doesn't grow well in petri dishes and experiments can only be done in the relatively few labs with the highest security measures.

* And while Ebola is lethal, it's rare. Outbreaks are unpredictable, giving doctors few chances to test new treatments. While the current epidemic is the largest recorded, the number of people sickened by Ebola is small compared to the number killed by other diseases like malaria or dengue. Much of the funding for Ebola research is from governments that worry about the virus being used in a bioterror attack.

"It's not economically viable for any company to do this kind of research because they have stockholders to think about," said Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading in Britain.

WHAT'S IN THE PIPELINE?

There are about a half dozen Ebola drugs and vaccines in development, several of which have received funding from the US One drug developed by the US Army has shown promising results when tested in monkeys.

"We think this may work because of the animal models but until you do the studies in humans, you just don't know," said Fred Hayden, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Virginia, who was not involved in the research.

While animal studies for vaccine candidates have been encouraging, it's unclear what dose humans would need.

A Canadian company, Tekmira, has a $140 million contract with the US government to develop a Ebola vaccine. An early test of the shot in healthy humans was stopped recently after the Food and Drug Administration asked for more safety information.

SHOULD EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS BE USED NOW?

Scientists are split on whether or not it is a good idea to try experimental drugs and vaccines before they are approved but the prospect is being informally discussed.

"Given the prolonged and unprecedented nature of the epidemic, we need to carefully consider this," said Dr. Peter Piot, the co-discoverer of Ebola in 1976 and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The World Health Organization has no plans to facilitate any clinical trials during this outbreak, spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

Other experts say it's unethical to use treatments or vaccines that haven't been properly tested, and warn the results could be disastrous.

"None of these drugs or vaccines are ready to be used in humans from a legal point of view," said Dr. Heinz Feldmann, chief of virology at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It would be impossible to vaccinate or treat everyone in the region but if any tests do proceed, they would probably be focused on those at highest risk: health care workers.

The American woman who got the experimental drug in Liberia worked at a hospital where Ebola patients were treated. It's not known what kind of treatment she received.

If health care workers are treated, "We will have to explain why some people are getting the vaccine and others are not," Feldmann said, adding there are still vast areas of West African communities suspicious of Western aid workers and their treatments. "At the moment, it doesn't even look like the local population wants it."

DOH intensifies monitoring of possible Ebola carriers By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 3, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) is on high alert and has intensified its monitoring of possible carriers of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, Malacañang assured the public yesterday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB the government is following a standard procedure in monitoring airports to track people who might have the disease.

She said the DOH has the experience and capability to deal with the threat of Ebola, citing its preparations with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome corona virus.

“Our procedures became stronger,” she said. “The DOH has had practice with it.”

She said the DOH is on alert for migrant workers, especially those coming from countries with reported Ebola infections, and is prepared to carry out quarantine measures.

Health officials have also issued advisories on the importation of exotic animals from Africa, which could carry the virus, Valte added.

The DOH has likewise alerted the Armed Forces of the Philippines regarding its personnel who served as peacekeepers in Liberia, where an outbreak of Ebola was reported.

FDA warns public vs purchase of foods, medicine online By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 3, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday reiterated its warning against buying processed food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices online.

In an advisory, the FDA said products being sold in social media platforms “such as but not limited to sulit.com.ph (now OLX.com), lazada.com.ph, ayosdito.com , cashcash pinoy.com, eBay and other networking and multi level marketing schemes” may be harmful to health.

“These products were obtained from unknown sources or have been illegally imported, posing doubts on their safety, efficacy, quality and purity. Some of these products, although registered, are misbranded if it carries therapeutic or clinical claims that are not approved by the FDA,” the advisory stated.

The FDA noted that under Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009, “the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of any health product that is adulterated, unregistered or misbranded is strictly prohibited.”

The FDA also requires that health products be registered or notified first with them before distribution in the market.

Medicine or over the counter or prescription drugs must be sold only to the consumers by FDA-licensed outlets, it added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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