Of consciences, blood bank and trash
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2015 - 10:00am

“Until we have taken it upon ourselves that the key to climate change adaptation and mitigation lies in each and every individual’s effort to be part of the solution, then the greatest challenge we will have to fight to combat the warming climate and its effects is our own indifference,” said  Sen. Loren Legarda, at the Summit of the Consciences for the Climate held the other day. Legarda was  the only Filipino among the more than 40 religious, political and environmental leaders at the  summit  in Paris, France.

Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, stressed that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also “a phenomenon that affects our lives, livelihood and way of living.”

Based on the 2012 Climate Vulnerability Monitor, each year, five million lives are lost due to climate change and the health impacts of its chief driver, fossil fuels, she said.

Moreover, the World Health Organization estimates direct damage costs of climate change to health alone at between two and four billion dollars each year by 2030.

“The world will continue to get warmer and with this comes long lasting changes in our climate system. Ordinary people have limited understanding of this, until they are painfully introduced to their impacts via extremely harsh weather events, flooding, declining fish catch, water scarcity, declining agricultural harvests, exacerbating health issues, extinction of animal and plant species, displacement of people, and even the demise of low-lying areas, among others,” Legarda said.

“These realities compel nations to work together in arresting the increase of global temperature from reaching four degrees Celsius. Every time a disaster strikes and devastates our communities, we realize the risks and the challenges. We seek for solutions, we seek the opinion of experts; but the greater challenge is heeding the advice and taking the necessary action,” she stressed.

The Senator also said that climate change, along with the extreme weather events it causes, knows no boundaries and the only way forward is a united global action towards mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

The Summit of the Consciences is a highlight of the global mobilization in preparation for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), which will be hosted by France in December this year.

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) inaugurates today the PRC National Blood Center at the new PRC Tower, along Boni Ave., corner EDSA in Mandaluyong. The state-of-the-art facility  brings to 82 the number of PRC’s blood centers all over  the country.

“Last year, the Red Cross was able to meet only 50 percent of our countrymen’s need for blood. As the foremost humanitarian organization, we aim to provide more because we are committed to alleviate human suffering. This is why we are putting up more blood centers,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.

Gordon said the Red Cross also wants to assure the public that the blood it provides is safe which is why the PRC is already working on having the newly-opened national blood center  and the rest of PRC’s blood centers, ISO certified like the National Blood Center in the old national headquarters in Port Area, Manila, which is an ISO 9001:2008 certified facility.

“We all know how important it is to make blood always available to those who need it. It can spell the difference between life and death. It is thus our concern to make sure that we encourage more people to donate blood. More than this, ensuring that the blood supply is safe, is of even greater importance in order to save lives,” Gordon stressed.

Located near the Metro Rail Transit’s Boni Station, the blood center is easily accessible to both patients and donors and is now fully operational 24/7 for blood issuance and blood distribution.

The blood center sits on two floors of the building, covering an area of 1,000 square meters, with a blood storage capacity of 4,000 units at a time. It has a walk-in blood bank refrigerator and five floor-type  blood bank refrigerators. It also has state-of-the-art testing machines for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and malaria, as well as five apheresis machines.

Gordon further disclosed that the PRC also has programs for indigents who require blood such as the Blood Samaritan Program and the Blood Samaritan Funds, a tie-up with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. To avail of free blood, indigent patients should present a blood request, certificate of indigency from hospital or social worker, or a barangay certificate.

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The dumping of garbage from Canada in a sanitary landfill in Tarlac is deplorable. That his countrymen’s trash is being dumped in the Philippines is a source of embarrassment to Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder. But the blame is heavier on Philippine government agency officials who allow garbage matter from another country to be dumped in this country. We have enough problems disposing of our own trash, why allow that of other countries to be dumped in our shores?

“The Philippines is not a trash bin of the world. Canada should take back their garbage,” said Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. She will file a resolution in the Senate to look into the matter.

Statistics provided by the senator’s office show that the Port of Manila, on two separate occasions from June 2013 to August 2013 and from December 2013 to January 2014, saw the illegal entry of 98  container vans carrying garbage from Canada-based firm Chronic, Inc. with the shipment assigned to Valenzuela City-based Chronic Plastics. It was later determined that the shipment supposedly carrying recyclable plastics in reality contained household wastes, including adult diapers and kitchen waste.

Canada refused to allow re-entry of the trash back to its ports. Thus the Bureau of Customs (BOC) decided to dump the wastes in a sanitary landfill in Tarlac,  citing the findings of the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that the shipment contained no toxic substances.

“This latest action by the BOC on this important issue poses long-term challenges for the country as it may create a precedent for others to ship their wastes here, in clear violation of the objectives of the Basel Convention and of our national laws,” Legarda stressed.

The senator said that the strict prohibition on the entry of hazardous wastes from abroad is affirmed under section 48 of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which prohibits the importation of toxic products misrepresented as “recyclable” or “with recyclable content”.

Who made money on this situation? Let’s have heads roll over this despicable violation of our law.

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Email:dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

ACIRC BLOOD CENTER CLIMATE GORDON LEGARDA LOREN LEGARDA NATIONAL BLOOD CENTER NBSP PRC QUOT
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