PALAWAN  GOVERNOR  SAYS  IT  IS  SAFE  TO  TRAVEL  TO  PALAWAN

INTERNET NEWS, June 3, 2005
 
(via e-mail) For Immediate Release - Please refer to: Mr. Rolando E. Bonoan, Jr. Tel. No. (048) 433-4566 -  Palawan Gov. Joel T. Reyes emphasized that it is safe to travel to Palawan amid speculations that it is not secure to visit the province after the death of media personalities whose illnesses are connected to malaria which they may have contracted while doing a special coverage among the Tao't Bato in Ransang in Rizal, Palawan. Ransang is located in a remote mountainous village in southwest Palawan.

There is no outbreak of malaria in Palawan, Gov. Reyes added. In fact, Health Secretary Francisco Duque has issued an official statement declaring that it is safe to travel to Palawan.

Reyster Langit succumbed to heart failure while undergoing treatment for cerebral malaria in a health facility in Los Angeles, California. His cameraman who joined him in the trip to Ransang also died at the San Lazaro Hospital. A third member of the team, Palawan-based DWIZ stringer and freelancer Jesus Christian Macadaeg passed away due to multiple organ failure as a result of septicemia in a private hospital in Puerto Princesa City.

"We mourn with the families of all those who lost their loved ones," Gov. Reyes said expressing his condolences to the bereaved families. The death of our friends from media is really very unfortunate but this should not prevent travellers and tourists from visiting and enjoying Palawan's pristine environment, Gov. Reyes remarked. "Though malaria is endemic in some areas of Palawan, the urban areas including our resorts and tourism destinations are safe. The habitat of malaria-carrying mosquitoes are usually found in the remote barangays or villages with dense forest areas, swamps and slow-moving rivers and lakes," he pointed out.

Moreover Gov. Reyes stressed that since 1999, the province has exerted efforts to control malaria through the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria program.

"Through KLM, we have taken concrete action to control malaria and we believe that we have achieved considerable gains in our campaign to reduce if not eliminate malaria incidence provincewide," Gov. Reyes said.

Regular activities of the KLM includes massive blood smearing, early case detection by trained barangay microscopists deployed in most of the barangays provincewide and malaria awareness information campaigns. Bed nets treated with anti-malaria solutions are distributed to households.

In coordination with the Department of Health, KLM is also conducting residual spraying which has a knock down effect of 3 to 6 months. The residual spray, according to Rey Angluben, KLM project director has passed the safety standards of the World Health Organization.

With these efforts, the KLM has reported a reduction in the incidence of malaria cases and deaths. At present, malaria is not even among the top five leading causes of mortality in the province.

Mr. Angluben is quick to note that Palawan is not the only province where malaria is prevalent. Reports show that 68 provinces nationwide are affected with malaria and that recently a higher incidence rate than Palawan's has been noted in other provinces.

Gov. Reyes is optimistic that with the continous efforts of the KLM in coordination with other agencies, Palawan will be able to reach its target of malaria eradication by 2020. "We need the cooperation of all sectors in our fight against malaria."

Meanwhile, Gov. Reyes has instructed the KLM, the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Tourism Office to provide tourists and travelers with adequate information on malaria for their proper guidance to avoid the disease.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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