Friday, December 08, 2023

Leptospirosis cases up 40% in Northern Mindanao

The Department of Health-Region 10 urged the public to remain vigilant as the number of leptospirosis cases in the Northern Mindanao region has significantly increased this year

According to the DOH-10 Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit, 97 cases have been recorded in the region as of October 7, 40.58 percent higher than last year.

Misamis Occidental has the highest number of cases, with 41, followed by Cagayan de Oro City (27), Bukidnon (14), Misamis Oriental (13), and Iligan City and Camiguin with one case each. Lanao del Norte has no reported so far.

Emman Valentin, health program officer of the DOH-10 Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit, said one of the factors in the rise of cases was the series of flooding, such as in Misamis Occidental, where a huge increase from only three cases in the same period last year was recorded.

The much-relaxed Covid-19 restrictions this year, Valentin said, may also have contributed to the increase in cases compared to last year when people stayed in their homes.

“So now, in 2023, although the Covid has not been lifted, we are more relaxed. So, the movement of the people has now been going out,” Valentin said on Friday, October 13.

Leptospirosis is an infection caused by the Leptospira genus of bacteria and can be transmitted through the urine of infected animals, such as mice, rats, pigs, dogs, horses, and cattle.

It can also be contracted by humans wading in floodwater tainted with animal urine. If there are cuts or abrasions, this disease may enter the body through damaged skin, as well as through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

An infected person may experience fever, chills, headache, muscle pain (myalgia), skin rashes, diarrhea, redness of the eyes (conjunctival suffusion), and jaundice or yellowish discoloration of the skin.

Valentin said every province, city, and municipality has a surveillance officer who has been conducting information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns against leptospirosis. They were instructed to advise people who have been exposed to floodwater to take prophylaxis, which can be had for free from the local government units.

The public has been reminded to maintain the cleanliness of their surroundings and avoid wading and swimming in floodwater to keep away from the disease. Going to the nearest health center or consulting a physician has been advised, especially for individuals with suspected leptospirosis.

“Untreated leptospirosis may lead to severe complications that can cause liver or kidney failure, jaundice, damage to other major organs, or even death,” DOH-10 OIC Director Dr. Ellenietta Gamolo said.

According to the DOH, keeping the environment clean, disposing of garbage properly to avoid rat infestations, and using pest control measures are some of the best practices to prevent leptospirosis.

Health authorities advised the public always to wear boots when crossing floodwaters and wash their feet after wading in the flood. Open wounds also need to be covered by plasters and keep their eyes, ears, and mouth from floodwater to avoid bacterial infection. (Manila Bulletin)

New Normal ordinance sa Bukidnon, andam ipatuman

Andam ipatuman sa probinsya sa Bukidnon ang Provincial Ordinance No. 2020-028R (26th SP) o ang New Normal Ordinance, ugaling adunay mosulod nga virus o pandemya sama sa COVID-19, pinasikad sa gipasa nga sugyot-resolusyon ni Board Member Nemesio B. Beltran, Jr., atol sa ika-60 nga regular session sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Oktobre 3, 2023

Nakalatid sa maong ordinansa nga ugaling adunay proclamation national o international kabahin sa health emergency, ang mga nakalatid nga mga health protocols dinhi mao ang masunod apan kung wala magdeklara ang mga hingtungdang opisina o ahensya o organisasyon, kini nga New Normal Ordinance ang masunod sa panahon nga adunay masinati nga virus o unsa mang health emergency sa lalawigan. (LGU Bukidnon)

Covid-19 Bivalent Vaccination gipahigayon sa Malaybalay

Nagmalampuson nga napahigayon ang Covid-19 Bivalent Vaccination (Pfizer) Vaccination sa dakbayan sa Malaybalay

Ang Provincial Government of Bukidnon nitaho nga ang maong aktibidad nahigayon niadtong Hulyo 6, 2023 sa BPMC, Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

Tinguha sa Department of Health (DOH) nga mahatagan og dugang proteksyon batok sa COVID-19 virus ang mga healthcare workers sa Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center (BMPC) ug senior citizens.

Gihatagan ug prioridad niini ang mga health care workers ug senior citizens nga nakahuman na og dawat sa ilang 2nd booster shot sa milabay nga upat ka bulan.

Sa data gikan sa Provincial Health Office (PHO), miihap sa 114 ang kinatibuk-ang nabakunahan niini.

Samtang, padayon nga naglibot ang DOH ngadto sa mga LGU aron sa pagpamakuna sa nasangpit nga mga priority groups, aron makuha ang target nga 4,630 ka indibidwal sa dili pa matapos ang Hulyo 24, 2023. (Omar Rashid Z. Abdullah)

Bivalent vaccines launched in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–To further boost the protection of healthcare workers and senior citizens in Northern Mindanao, the Department of Health Center for Health Development Northern Mindanao (DOH-CHDNM) officially launched the COVID-19 Bivalent Vaccination drive for Northern Mindanao, June 29

The bivalent vaccine, produced by Pfizer Pharmaceutical, contains the original strain of COVID-19 with an added strain of the omicron component BA.4-5 for better prevention of COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant of SARS-COV-2.

“As a matter of principle, since there is a limitation on supply, we prioritize the health workers (A1) and senior citizens (A2). We have an initial allocation of about 16,440 doses for Northern Mindanao for its initial

implementation,” DOH-10 Regional Director Jose R. Llacuna, Jr. said.

With the arrival of the vaccines, two launch sites were established by the health department to officially kick off the bivalent vaccination implementation, namely, the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) and Sitio Macanhan, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.

Despite the limited number of vaccines, Llacuna has assured the healthcare workers in NMMC that additional supplies are expected to arrive in the coming weeks and that bivalent immunization will commence in the different areas of the region.

“We will wait for about four to six months after the second [booster] dose before those will qualify for the bivalent dose,” Llacuna added.

Meanwhile, with the launch of bivalent vaccination in Cagayan de Oro City, the city government has fully supported the program. Hundreds of senior citizens have lined up for the third booster dose at the vaccination site.

As the campaign for the third booster dose commences, both DOH-10 and the City Government of Cagayan de Oro City urge all senior citizens to avail themselves of the program to protect them against COVID-19 further. (JAKA/PIA-10)

Northern Mindanao struggles to offset tax share cuts in post-pandemic recovery

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The COVID-19 pandemic global health emergency may have ended, but its impact is far from over in Northern Mindanao, where local governments are now scrambling to look for more revenue sources to offset double-digit reductions in their tax shares from the national government

ocal governments in the region are receiving 15% less this year compared to the amount of National Tax Allotment (NTA) released to them by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in 2022.

Misamis Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal disclosed the reduced NTA in his second state-of-the-province address at the Seafront Arena in Oroquieta City on Saturday, July 1.

Oaminal’s announcement was based on Local Budget Memorandum No. 87, which the DBM released on June 9, indicating that the NTA for Misamis Occidental this year is about P1.552 billion.

This figure is 14.8% or roughly P271 million lower than the P1.823 billion which the province received in tranches in 2022.

Oaminal blamed the NTA reduction on the COVID-19 pandemic, which crippled economic activities throughout the country and affected government revenues starting in March 2020.

The DBM computed this year’s NTA based on tax collections three years ago.

“As we all know, most local government units, with the exception of highly urbanized cities like Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, are NTA-dependent,” said the governor, urging all those present to “make our tourism vibrant for us to generate more revenues.”

This year’s reduced tax share is even more apparent in Cagayan de Oro City, with its share reduced by over P404 million from 2022’s P2.759 billion.

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy, backed by an ordinance, granted tax relief to delinquent real property and business taxpayers and offered incentives for early and advanced payments of tax obligations. Cagayan de Oro’s 2023 annual budget is over P7.5 billion.

So far, the City Treasurer’s Office has collected P576 million in tax delinquencies and advanced tax payments, aiming to generate about P5.41 billion from local revenues on top of its NTA.

Northern Mindanao’s NTA this year, as indicated in DBM Local Budget Memorandum No. 87, is P36.111 billion, which is 14.6% lower than 2022’s P42.307 billion or a difference of P6.2 billion.

Reductions in NTAs have also started to affect the provincial governments of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental, as well as their cities, municipalities, and barangays.

Under Section 284 of the Local Government Code of 1991, local governments are entitled to a 40% share in the national internal revenue taxes based on the collection of the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year.

When the law was implemented, all local governments started receiving Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) – now called NTA – from the DBM.

In its April 10, 2019 resolution in the case of “Congressman Hermilando I. Mandanas et al. vs. Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al.” (Mandanas-Garcia case), the Supreme Court en banc declared the phrase “internal revenue” unconstitutional.

The SC also ordered the secretaries of finance and budget and management, the commissioners of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, and the National Treasurer to include all collections of national taxes in the computation of the base for the just share of the local governments.

Starting in 2022, the phrase “National Tax Allotment” was used instead of “Internal Revenue Allotment” as a result of the ruling.

Based on certifications from collecting agencies, the DBM calculates and allocates the share of local governments using the formula under Section 285 of the Local Government Code.

The DBM then issues a local budget memorandum no later than June 15 of the current fiscal year to inform the local governments of their respective NTA shares. These NTA shares serve as the basis for the preparation of local government annual budgets. (

Northern Mindanao crafts six-year plan to reduce high poverty incidence

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines — The gross regional domestic product of Northern Mindanao grew by 7.2% in 2022, indicating recovery from the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, residents of the region have yet to feel this improvement, according to an official from the state’s planning agency

“Poverty remains the biggest challenge,” said Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Northern Mindanao during the June 21 launch of the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan (NMRDP) for 2023-2028.
Cariño said Northern Mindanao had previously reduced poverty levels by 15 percentage points, and the six-year NMRDP aims to further reduce the poverty incidence among the population from 26.2% in 2021 to 15% by the end of 2028 and among families by 10%.
The 21-chapter NMRDP, developed through a series of consultations and focused group discussions among various stakeholders in the region, includes a list of 2,045 identified projects starting this year until 2028.
The objective is to increase Northern Mindanao’s ratio of hospital bed capacity to one bed per 1,000 patients by 2028 from the current one per 2,328
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She said these projects aim to stimulate economic activities, create jobs, and provide sources of livelihood, requiring over P3 trillion in public and private investments during the six years.
“The 2022 data is still incomplete until now; hence we used the 2021 figures,” said Cariño, who also serves as the vice-chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Northern Mindanao.
Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Dimaporo, the chairperson of the RDC, said the completion of the Panguil Bay Bridge project, connecting her province to Tangub City, Misamis Occidental, would facilitate the transport of goods, delivery of basic services, and movement of people.
Dimaporo said the development of Cagayan de Oro into a metropolis within the planning period would accelerate the region’s goal of becoming an international gateway in Mindanao by 2040.
The planned Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro aims to expand the region’s urban center to include 14 localities from the city’s nearby provinces.
The RDC-X aims to transform Northern Mindanao’s five provinces and nine cities into a “leading agricultural hub and major industrial, tourism, and trade center.”
NEDA Undersecretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos described the NMRDP as “meticulously crafted” and “aligned seamlessly” with the Philippine Development Plan for 2023 to 2028.
“This plan signifies not an end but rather the dawn of a crucial phase,” he told development council members.
He said strategies must be translated into tangible actions and continually evaluated while also addressing challenges such as inflationary pressures, climate change, and the spread of animal diseases. The region, he noted, has already become a major producer of livestock and poultry products.
Abad Santos acknowledged the region’s recovery from negative economic growth during the pandemic, placing it just behind the National Capital Region and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that the region’s economy expanded by 7.2% last year, surpassing the 6.3% growth in 2021 and the 5.6% before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. This growth translated to an increase of P62.49 billion in the region’s gross domestic product.
The PSA-10 said a family of five requires an average of P11,920 per month to fulfill their basic food and non-food necessities in 2021, which corresponds to the poverty threshold in Northern Mindanao.
According to the report, the poverty incidence in the region was 26.2%, affecting approximately 1.72 million individuals that year.
During the first semester of 2021, Lanao del Norte showed the highest poverty incidence at 39.1%, affecting approximately 62,900 families. In contrast, Cagayan de Oro had the lowest poverty incidence of 11.6%, affecting around 22,600 families.
Although Bukidnon’s poverty incidence stood at 36.9%, it recorded the largest number of poor population and low-income families in the region. The province had 115,000 families or 605,500 individuals living in poverty, showed the PSA-X report. (Uriel Quilinquing/Rappler)

Northern Mindanao building more hospitals

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities in Northern Mindanao are building more hospitals to address the shortage of beds and staff in case there is a new emergency in the future

Mylah Faye Cariño, regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), said the 600-bed St. Francis Doctors’ Hospital and Medical Center has already been constructed along Masterson Avenue. At the same time, the city government of Cagayan de Oro has also finished the construction of a hospital in Barangay Lumbia.
In nearby Gingoog City, trader Arsenio Sebastian said the Polytechnic business group had started constructing a 100-bed capacity hospital that would complement a kidney center being planned by the local government.
Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo said they have already converted a COVID-19 testing center in the capital municipality of Tubod into a facility for infectious diseases.
NEDA 10 and the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Council (RDC) presented these developments during the launching of the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan 2023-2028 on June 21.
The plan is to build up the ratio of hospital bed capacity to one per 1,000 patients by 2028. At present, the bed-to-patient ratio in Region 10 is 1: 2,328.
Region 10 is comprised of nine cities—Cagayan de Oro, El Salvador, Gingoog, Iligan, Malaybalay, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Tangub and Valencia—and five provinces, namely, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.
“Many of these hospitals are presently funded by private business, but the government would be investing more,” Cariño said.
Ralph Paguio, vice president of Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company and business sector representative to RDC 10, said the government should not be caught unprepared again where hospitals were teeming with record numbers of COVID-19 patients.
“A friend of mine who was infected with COVID-19 died inside his car unattended because the hospital was already full,” Paguio recalled.
He said the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Region 10’s main facility for COVID-19, overflowed with patients as smaller hospitals from the other cities and provinces sent more of their cases.
Cagayan de Oro, during the peak of the pandemic on July 7, 2022, had a cumulative 25,945 cases and 941 deaths since March 2020. (Froilan Gallardo/ MindaNews)

DOLE secretary leads labor, management confab in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma visited Northern Mindanao and held a Labor and Management Forum to discuss issues and concerns regarding labor and management sectors in the region on May 11 at Limketkai Luxe Hotel

“Mahalaga na mapakinggan ang mga posisyon, justification at mga komentaryo, ng aming social partners, the labor and employer sectors,” the Secretary said.
(It is important to listen to the positions, justifications, and comments of our social partners, the labor and employment sectors)
He added that the goal is to come up with a beneficial solution or formula that will guarantee continuity of employment, the creation of more opportunities for workers in the region, and the stability and continued operation of companies that will provide benefits and other better conditions of employment.
One of the issues raised by the labor sector and proposed by Nicandro Borja of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) was the strengthening of tenure security.
Meanwhile, Teresita L. Hadman of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno also proposed the abolition of contracting and subcontracting arrangements.
Laguesma reiterated that security of tenure is initiated under Section 3 of Article 13 of the Philippine Constitution and that there is an existing guideline on contracting and subcontracting arrangements under Department Order 174.
“We have heard complaints against abuses; kinikilala nang ating batas paggawa ang legitimate contracting and subcontracting, pero hindi pinahihintulutan ang abuses (our labor law recognizes legitimate contracting and subcontracting, but it does not allow abuses),” he said.
Further, he explained that employers should not tolerate these abuses because they have a big stake in good management and labor relationships.
“You have a stake in promoting and maintaining industrial peace,” he said to the management sector.
As to the proposed increase in wages, Secretary Laguesma said, “Hindi po kami tumututol sa pagdaragdag ng sweldo, hindi naman kami nagsasabi na agad isusulong natin yan, dapat po pag-aralan (We are not against an increase in wages, we are not also saying we will immediately push for that because it needs to be further studied).”
He explained that as the country eased restrictions from COVID-19, companies were also still in recovery mode.
DOLE, he said, is a consultative and advisory body that provides technical input.
“The regional tripartite wages and productivity board (RTWPB) is not a perfect mechanism, but it is the existing mechanism that can actually approximate a balance so that we can sustain, address the wage of the workers without endangering continued operations of the company, and provide for expansion and a reasonable return on investment that can be earmarked for more expansion, which can mean more jobs,” the Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the management sector raised concerns about the inclusion of employees’ salaries and benefits in the computation of value-added tax (VAT) of 12% for legitimate labor contractors and retirement pay concerns. (JMOR/PIA-10)

DOH-10 intensifies immunization vs measles, rubella, polio

MISAMIS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH)-10 aims to further increase the immunization status of children in Northern Mindanao with the conduct of a month-long immunization campaign against measles, rubella, and polio this May

According to the health department, immunization coverage for children aged 0–59 months had lowered during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a pool of populations that are susceptible to measles infection. It was also noted that this year, an increase in suspected cases of measles was recorded.

“Nakita namo nga adunay 18% increase sa suspected cases of measles sa rehiyon karon (We have seen that there is an 18% increase in suspected cases of measles in the region today),” DOH-10 Local Health Support Division Chief David Mendoza said.

Mendoza explained that in the same period last year, they only recorded 69 suspected measles cases compared to this year’s 82. There were also no laboratory-confirmed cases last year compared to this year’s three laboratory-confirmed cases: one for measles and two for rubella.

The DOH-10 hopes that the supplemental immunization activity they are conducting against measles, rubella, and polio can help beef up the immunization coverage of the region and prevent a possible outbreak of such vaccine-preventable diseases.

Mendoza added that to strengthen the immunization campaign, fixed sites, and house-to-house initiatives are done throughout the region to make sure that all eligible individuals will be vaccinated and no children will be left behind.

In the vaccination sites, regardless of the vaccination status, oral polio immunization is available for children aged 0–59 months, while measles-rubella immunization can be availed of by children aged 9–59 months.

As the government extends its efforts to protect the children, the health department admits that their efforts together with the various agencies and local government units are futile without the support and participation of the public, especially the parents and guardians and that to combat the possible spread or outbreak of measles, rubella, and polio, it will take a whole-of-society approach.

DOH-10 urges parents and guardians to allow their children to get immunizations for added protection. Protecting children against any vaccine-preventable disease should be a priority for each parent and guardian. (JAKA/PIA-10)

Northern Mindanao tourism bounces back by 177% in 2022

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Tourism in Northern Mindanao Region bounced back by 177 percent last year following the easing of restrictions from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) protocols, an official said on April 28, 2023

Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño, the region’s National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-10) director, said the exceptional achievement can be attributed to “revenge travels” or the return of travelers’ influx to the region.

“The region’s annual tourist arrivals, domestic and foreign, in 2022 increased by 177% to 1.66 million from 599,000 in 2021,” Cariño said in a statement.

Cariño said the continued easing of pandemic-related mobility restrictions also led to increased demand for travel and tourism-related services in the region.

She described the expansion of Northern Mindanao’s economy last year as a sign of the region’s “further recovery from the pandemic and its resilience amid external headwinds.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority-10, meanwhile, also recorded Northern Mindanao’s services sector with a growth of 10.1 percent in 2022, describing it as a signal of the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. (Nef Luczon/PNA)