Zika Virus spreading Globally

Source: PhilStar.com

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency, with the Department of Health (DOH) warning that the threat of the mosquito-borne virus reaching the Philippines is real.

The UN agency sought to build an international response to the threat, which has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil. Honduras on Monday declared a state of emergency as Zika infections soared. (See story on Page 15.)

WHO director general Margaret Chan told reporters that coordinated international action was needed to improve detection and expedite work on a vaccine and better diagnostics for the disease, but said curbs on travel or trade were not necessary.

Chan, whose agency was assailed as too slow in reacting to West Africa’s Ebola epidemic that killed more than 10,000 people in the past two years, cited “first and foremost the concern about microcephaly,” the birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and improperly developed brains.

She noted that it was “strongly suspected but not yet scientifically proven” that Zika causes microcephaly.
“Can you imagine if we do not do all this work now, and wait until the scientific evidence comes out?” Chan told reporters at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. “Then people will say that, ‘Why don’t you take action because the mosquito is ubiquitous?’”

The emergency designation, recommended by a committee of independent experts following criticism of a hesitant response to Zika so far, should help fast-track international action and research priorities. The move lends official urgency to research funding and other steps to stem the spread of the virus.

‘Spreading explosively’
The WHO said the Zika virus, transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, was “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as four million people in the Americas. The Pan American Health Organization says Zika has spread in 24 nations and territories in the Americas.

This marks the fourth time the WHO has declared a global health emergency since such procedures were put in place in 2007, with the others arising from influenza, Ebola and polio.

DOH: Zika threat real
The DOH said the threat of the Zika virus in the Philippines is real due to the existence of mosquitoes not only in the country but its neighboring nations as well.

“Because of the existence of mosquitoes, the risk is there… It’s an old virus with a new occurrence, a possible public health threat. There is still a lot more that we need to know about the virus,” Health Secretary Janette Garin told reporters.

Garin said what is important is to eliminate all possible breeding sites of mosquitoes.

Zika virus is transmitted by infected day-biting Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito species that causes dengue and chikungunya.

According to Garin, the Philippines is not among 29 countries reporting cases of Zika virus.

Although the first case in the country was recorded in 2012 involving a 15-year-old boy from Cebu City, Garin said nothing followed after this.

While there is no travel advisory for the 29 countries affected by Zika, the health chief said it is best for pregnant women to avoid traveling to these places.

The Zika virus has raised questions worldwide about whether pregnant women should avoid infected countries. Chan said delaying travel was something pregnant women can consider but added that if they needed to travel they should take protective measures by covering up and using mosquito repellent.

Brazil has reported some 3,700 suspected cases of microcephaly. Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro told Reuters the epidemic was worse than believed because in 80 percent of cases the infected people had no symptoms.

Testing kits
According to Garin, the DOH-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has 1,000 testing kits for Zika virus even before the first case was documented in 2012.

She explained that a suspected dengue patient normally undergoes testing for dengue fever. If the patient is negative, he or she will be examined for chikungunya and then Zika virus.

The testing kits were acquired by the DOH for free from Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention since they are not yet commercially available.

Garin said they requested for more testing kits from the CDC and the agency is expected to send 1,000 more sets in two weeks.

Garin said the RITM is training five other hospitals on how to use the testing kits with the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines. These are the Southern Philippines Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Baguio General Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and San Lazaro Hospital.

The DOH is looking into reports that a Filipina in Honduras was infected by the Zika virus.

Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesman for the DOH, said health officials were coordinating with their counterparts in Honduras.

Mobilize barangay leaders – Bongbong
Vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged the DOH to tap and mobilize barangay leaders to step up preventive measures against the Zika virus.

“Barangay officials constitute our best line of defense against this threat. With their cooperation and commitment, preventive actions can be implemented down to the grassroots level,” he added.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, noted that barangay officials know better the situation in their respective areas and are directly connected with their constituents who need to be informed of the Zika virus.

He said barangay officials would be effective in leading residents on “search and destroy” efforts to rid their surroundings of stagnant water, which are breeding site of Aedes mosquitoes.

PRC to launch cleanup
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman Richard Gordon urged the public to clean their surroundings regularly to remove breeding sites of mosquitoes.

“Similar to our dengue prevention campaign, the PRC will mobilize its volunteers all over the country to lead and encourage the people to practice cleanliness and remove all possible areas where mosquitoes breed,” Gordon said.

He said the use of mosquito repellent, long sleeves and long pants and mosquito nets can help prevent mosquito bites. – With Perseus Echeminada, Non Alquitran, Mayen Jaymalin, Rudy Santos

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Joker Arroyo passes away at 88!

Former senator Joker Arroyo–a key figure in the anti-Marcos movement–has died while undergoing open heart surgery in the United States. He was 88 years old.

 

Arroyo, a human rights lawyer, served as member of the Philippine Senate for two consecutive terms in 2001 and 2007 before he quit politics in 2013.

He also served as congressman of Makati City (Metro Manila) for nine years and as executive secretary of then-President Corazon Aquino.

Arroyo was born on January 5, 1927 in Naga, Camarines Sur, where he finished his primary and secondary education before getting a scholarship at the University of the Philippines.

A graduate of the UP College of Law and the Ateneo de Manila, he earned public recognition when he challenged before the Supreme Court (SC) the constitutionality of Proclamation 1081 imposing martial law.

Based on his Senate profile, Arroyo handled more human rights cases than any other lawyer from 1972 to 1986.

He defended various political detainees including former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., Eugenio Lopez Jr., Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd, Communist Party of the Philippines founder and chairman Jose Ma. Sison, former Senate President Jovito Salonga, former senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Eva Estrada Kalaw, Renato Tañada, Eduardo Olaguer and many others.

He was also the lead prosecutor during the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in December 2000.

Arroyo has been married twice.

His first wife is Gregg Shoes entrepreneur Odelia Gregorio.

Their eldest daughter is Ma. Antonia Odelia “Maoi” Gregorio Arroyo, CEO of Hybridigm Consulting, the first biotechnology commercialization firm in the Philippines.

His second daughter, Ma. Zef Francisca “Baba” Arroyo, is an entrepreneur, artist and pastry chef.

Arroyo’s second wife is lawyer Felicitas Aquino, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.

Their daughter is Joker’s namesake and a champion equestrian, whose career highlights include a team gold medal for the Philippines at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

Source

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The World Famous CranioSacral Therapy is now in Davao City and Digos City!

From Davao City, Dr.Charles T.Ortiz of Dentista Dabawenyo Dental Clinic, participate in Upledger Institute continuing education program.

Dr. Charles T. Ortiz with Upledger Institute Instructor Marian Sisco

Dr. Charles T. Ortiz with Upledger Institute Instructor Marian Sisco

Singapore – Dr.Charles T. Ortiz, Dentist at Dentista Dabawenyo Dental Clinic, 4th Level, Gaisano Mall of Davao, J.P. Laurel, Bajada Davao City, recently participated in the CranioSacral Theraphy l and II workshop offered by The Upledger Institute, Inc., an innovative healthcare organization offers continuing education courses to medical professionals wordwide.The course is designed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger, who develop CranioSacral Theraphy and has taught the technique internationally.

CranioSacral Theraphy is used to detect and correct imbalance in the craniosacral system,which maybe cause of sensory,motor or neurological dysfunction.The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and the spinal cord.It extends from the bones of the skull, face and mouth- which make up the cranium-down to the sacrum,or tailbone area.

The theraphy has been successfully used to treat headaches, neck and back pain, TMJ,chronic fatigue,motor coordination difficulties,eye problems and central nervous system disorders.

Dentista Dabawenyo Dental Clinic, 4th Lvl,Gaisano Mall of Davao,J.P Laurel,Bajada, Davao City please call 273-4845 or 0918-946-8946 and 0932-891-8946.

Ortiz Dental Clinic, Medical Center of Digos Cooperative Hospital, Tres de Mayo, Digos City please call 273-4845 or 0918-946-8946 and 0932-891-8946.

For more information on the CranioSacral Therapy or The Upledger Institute, please call 1 800 233 5880

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Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli love problem REAL!

On July 5 episode of “Gandang Gabi, Vice” guest Sarah Geronimo admits that her relationship with Matteo Guidicelli is not perfect and they are having issues.

sarah matteo

Sarah, who graced the show with leading man Piolo Pascual to promote their latest movie “The Breakup Playlist,” said that “lahat naman ng relasyon may pinagdadaanang trials.” when asked by Vice if “may problema ba kayo ni Matteo ngayon?”

Asked if Piolo is the reason, Sarah said “Oo. Hehehe.” In which Piolo responded with, “Pasensya na. Hahahah!”

She also revealed that she and her first love Rayver Cruz are still not talking but with ex-boyfriend Gerald Anderson she is now in good terms with.

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Jejomar Binay slams Aquino qov’t where he is also a part of: Lazy, slow, indecisive!

Where is the government?

Vice President Jejomar Binay repeated this sentence throughout the 15-minute speech in Filipino as he delivered his sharpest words yet against the Aquino administration at the launch of his political party on Wednesday in Makati, the city that the Binay family has controlled for almost 30 years.

He devoted a large part of his stinging and emotionally charged speech lambasting the government, at one point describing it as an association of “tamad, usad-pagong at teka-teka (lazy, slow and indecisive)” people.

“After five years, so many are still without jobs, hungry, ill and with no one to turn to, youths who cannot go to school, rampant crime and illegal drugs in the community. Poverty is widespread,” the Vice President said.

“The nation asks: ‘Where is the government?’” he said, addressing the crowd from a glowing red lectern shaped like the No. 1, resembling the digit in the logo of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Binay noted that until now no charges had been filed against the killers of the 44 members of the police Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25. (Seventeen fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and five civilians also died in the clashes.)

Bungling, insensitive

Binay kept repeating the phrase “palpak at manhid (bungling and insensitive),” which he first used last week in explaining his split with the Aquino administration.
“UNA is not an association of the bungling and insensitive,” he said. “It is not a group of people who are lazy, turtle-paced, and hesitant in facing the nation’s problems.”

The Vice President said that should UNA make any mistakes, it would own up to them immediately. “We will not blame or accuse others. We will own up to the responsibility with humility.”

Dig at Grace Poe

Apparently taking a dig anew at Sen. Grace Poe, who has overtaken him in recent surveys on voters’ choice for president, Binay said his party was made up of people with “experience and not newbies just studying governance and public service.”

If elected President, Binay said he would advance social services, strengthen agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, BPOs, quality basic education and healthcare.

He said the party would respect the Constitution and always let the law prevail.

People first

“Una ang bayan! Una ang tao! Una ang Pilipino (The country first! The people first! The Filipino first!)” Binay said in concluding his speech.

Binay assumed the chair of the newly formed political party.

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco was formally elected UNA president; Sen. Gregorio Honasan, vice president; JV Bautista, secretary general; and former Finance Secretary Gary Teves, treasurer.

Tiangco said Binay’s speech set the tone for his campaign for the presidency in 2016.
“This kind of governance cannot continue. They are for continuing the legacy. What we’re saying is we should not continue this,” he said, alluding to the Aquino administration’s touted tuwid na daan (straight path) governance.

Tiangco said Binay rightly pointed to the problems facing the nation, such as the troubled Metro Rail Transit system and the slow rehabilitation of the places ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in 2013.

Manny Pacquiao

In attendance at the UNA convention were Sen. JV Ejercito, former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, former Tarlac Gov. Tingting Cojuangco, former Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and UNA lawmakers, including Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

Binay’s son, Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who stepped down on the strength of a suspension order by the Ombudsman, appeared minutes after the program started.

He waved to the crowd and was met by cheers inside the 3,000-seat auditorium, which was filled to capacity.

Loudest cheers

But the loudest cheers were reserved for UNA’s most famous member: Pacquiao. “We have a right to choose who’s in our heart,” he told reporters when asked if he was afraid of reprisal from the administration.

He said he was still in the process of deciding whether to run for senator.

Asked if he would campaign for Binay, Pacquiao was evasive: “That depends. We have not talked about that. I am here to support the party declarations.”

Joseph Estrada absent

Notably absent was former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, one of the three pillars of UNA, along with Binay and detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

Binay spokesman Mon Ilagan said the former President had a prior engagement but acknowledged that the latter was “contemplating” a number of issues, such as possibly supporting Senator Poe, the daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr., or running for President again himself.

Tiangco said a city mayor had plenty of responsibilities and would not take Estrada’s absence against him. “None,” he replied when asked if he was concerned Estrada would end up supporting Senator Poe.

Replying to the Inquirer, Ejercito said he went to the party launch “as a friend of Binay.”

Ejercito said it would be a problem for him if Poe would run for President against Binay.

Festive atmosphere

The atmosphere at Makati Coliseum was festive, a cacophony of drums and cymbals filled the air and stage lights flickered around the auditorium.

Radio jocks Nicole Hyala and Chris Tsuper served as emcees, cracking jokes and engaging the audience in comic banter.

Makati residents and UNA members from the provinces turned up in droves and by the busload, many wearing campaign shirts bearing Binay’s name and slogans.

The emcees spent the first few hours acknowledging the politicians in attendance, along with their constituencies.

Binay’s combative words came as a surprise to the media. Ilagan, a few hours before, said Binay’s speech, would be “not as fiery as before.”

Surprised by speech

“What you will hear now are the programs, the vision, the plans, of UNA as a political party,” he said. “The speech of the VP will have a more positive theme this time.”

Tiangco said he was surprised by the content of the Vice President’s speech.

“I didn’t expect it would go like that. I didn’t see the final speech. We were busy in the organization. I don’t know who wrote it,” he said.

“What we should ask is: ‘Did he speak the truth?’ … No one will argue that the problems he mentioned are the problems being felt by people,” he said.

Tiangco said there was no plan to incite the people’s anger against the government.
He said Mayor Binay’s suspension had nothing to do with the elder Binay’s fiery words.

Self-description

Liberal Party stalwarts scoffed at Vice President’s stabs at his former colleagues in the Aquino Cabinet.

“What a beautiful self-description,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said in a text message.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice brushed off Binay’s claims saying that the Aquino administration would not have achieved its glowing economic record by being lazy and indecisive.

“And more importantly, you can’t hit your economic goals if the cost of your projects are overpriced like the P2.3-billion Makati [City Hall] Building II and the P1.2-billion Makati Science High School building,” Erice said.

Calling Binay the “master trapo (traditional politician)”, Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said the Vice President merely “enumerated a litany of promises but he did not explain how he will do it.”

“Makati has a lot of money and a very small population thanks to the big business whose existence predates Binay. But because of corruption a considerable number of communities in Makati are still depressed,” Treñas said.

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33 feared dead as ferry capsized off Ormoc, Leyte!

Source: Inquirer.net

AT LEAST 33 people were killed after a passenger ferry with 173 on board capsized in rough waters off Ormoc City in Leyte past noon on Thursday, just a few minutes after leaving the port there, a disaster monitoring official said.

Rescue boats picked up dozens of survivors who clung to the overturned hull of the Kim Nirvana, one kilometer (about half a mile) from Ormoc port, Ciriaco Tolibao from the city’s disaster risk reduction and management office told AFP.

Divers were scouring the murky waters searching for survivors from the inside of the ship, he said.

A report on Manila radio said 21 people were missing. However Tolibao could not say how many were still missing or had been rescued.

The coast guard confirmed that it was engaged in search and rescue activities but could give no further details of the operation.

Poorly-maintained, loosely-regulated ferries are the backbone of maritime travel in the sprawling archipelago.

But this has led to frequent accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives in recent years, including the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster in 1987 when the Dona Paz ferry collided with an oil tanker, leaving more than 4,300 dead.

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Junjun Binay finally leaves Makati City Hall!

Source: Interaksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines —  Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. left City Hall Wednesday morning after failing to get the Court of Appeals to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against his preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman, the second since March.

However, Binay stressed his stepping down was “temporary” pending the appellate court’s decision on his petition to stop his suspension over complaints of overpricing in the construction of the Makati Science High School building.

In March, Binay was also ordered suspended over the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2 but managed to fend it off when the appellate court issued a TRO.

This time, the court’s 10th division ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to file their comments to Binay’s petition within 10 days of receiving the order and for the mayor to file his reply five days after receiving the comments.

“Action on the application for TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction is held in abeyance pending receipt of the parties’ pleading. Upon submission of the aforesaid pleadings or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the Petition will be deemed submitted for decision, unless the Court requires the parties to file their respective memoranda,” the resolution, dated June 30, Tuesday, said.

In his petition, Binay said the Ombudsman erred when it ruled that he should be held accountable for the alleged anomaly in the construction of the MSHS considering that three of the seven phases involved in the construction were made when he was not yet the mayor of Makati.

He said that as to the subsequent phases of the construction, he again invoked the so-called “Aguinaldo doctrine,” saying any administrative liability on his part was already removed when he was reelected as city mayor in 2013, beating by a wide margin lawyer Renato Bondal, who filed the complaint.

Binay also accused the Ombudsman of violating its own charter, which requires “strong evidence” to justify a preventive suspension.

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Kid Pena sworn in again as acting Makati mayor, Binay locked himself in City Hall anew!

MANILA, Philippines — Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Pena Jr. was sworn in as acting mayor Tuesday morning, a day after the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., the second time it has done so this year.

Binay was ordered suspended over complaints about the alleged overprice in the construction of the Makati Science High School Building but, like the first time, has refused to acknowledge his suspension and has locked himself inside City Hall.

Just before Pena’s oath-taking, a brief fracas broke out between Binay’s supporters, who threw plastic chairs at riot police as they blocked representatives of the Department of Interior and Local Government from posting the notice of suspension at the locked down City Hall.

In March, the Ombudsman also ordered the mayor suspended over similar charges of overpricing, this time in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

However, the order remained unserved after the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order.

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Mayor Binay desperately seeks CA relief over second suspension!

Source: Interaksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines —  Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. has again sought relief from the Court of Appeals against his suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Binay may face additional administrative and even criminal charges for defying the preventive suspension order.

Binay filed his petition Tuesday morning, a day after his preventive suspension was ordered over the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati Science High School Building and around the same time Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Pena Jr. was sworn in as acting mayor.

Just before Pena was sworn in, a brief fracas erupted at the Makati City Hall, where Binay has locked himself in since Monday, as his supporters hurled plastic chairs to prevent police and representatives of the Department of Interior and Local Government from posting the notice of suspension on the building.

The Ombudsman first ordered Binay suspended in March over the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2. However, that order was not served after the CA issued a temporary restraining order.

In his petition, Binay asked the CA to “correct” the alleged “grave abuse of discretion” committed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in ordering his suspension six-month preventive suspension by issuing a temporary restraining order.

Binay said the Ombudsman erred in ruling he should be held accountable for the alleged anomaly considering that three of the construction’s seven phases were undertaken before he became mayor.

“Petitioner cannot be held accountable for any for any alleged anomaly involving Phases I, II and III of the project as he was not yet the elected mayor,” Binay’s 35-page petition said.

He again invoked the so-called Aguinaldo doctrine, saying any administrative liability on his part for the subsequent phases of the construction had been removed when he was reelected in 2013, beating by a wide margin lawyer Renato Bondal, who filed the complaint against him.

In his complaint, Bondal accused the mayor of conspiring with other city officials to rig the bidding in favor of Hilmarcs and claimed what should have been a P470-million project had been overpriced by more than P862 million.

Binay also argued that the Office of the Ombudsman had failed to present “strong evidence” to justify his suspension, in violation of its own charter.

“Considering that the undisputed acts of the case and the very allegations of the complaint itself clearly evince a conclusion that petitioner cannot be held administratively liable and there is no evidence, much less any allegation of specific acts constituting a criminal offense, necessarily the assailed Joint Order was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction as it disregards the law and established jurisprudence,” the petition said.

The mayor also accused the Ombudsman on relying on “hearsay statements” that his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, ordered the bidding for the MSHS construction rigged.

In any event, he said, “it must be emphasized that there is nothing in the Joint Order or the said Sworn Statements that mention Petitioner, much less attributes any acts against him.”

Neither, the mayor added, was there any truth to Bondal’s claim that the Invitation and Application for Eligibility to Bid for the MSHS construction was not published, pointing out that the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Officers admitted that it had been.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Binay may face additional administrative and even criminal charges for defying the preventive suspension order.

Two lawmakers suggested that it would be good for Mayor Binay to heed the suspension order and step down temporarily to allow due process to take its course.

“They are not the gifts of God to the people of Makati. There are other people who can run the city,” Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice underscored in a news conference.

Erice, a staunch critic of the Binays and stalwart of the administration’s Liberal Party (LP), said Binay should abide by the Ombudsman’s order and temporarily leave his post.

The mayor can go to court and question the decision if he believes his rights have been violated, he added.

In the same news conference, Akbayan partylist RepresentatIve Ibarra Gutierrez said Binay has all the opportunities to question the suspension order, but added that he has to first comply.

“It’s not a pretty sight from the point of view of the rule of law,” Gutierrez said. “Instead of respecting the order of the Ombudsman, you have a show of defiance.”

Erice played down observations that the Binays were being singled out by the courts, and that the cases against the allies of administration were not being acted upon: “They’ve probably just grown so used to having their way with nobody to scrutinize their actions, but in this Administration’s Tuwid na Daan (Right Path) mantra, everything should be transparent and subject to perusal.” (With a report from Lira Dalangin-Fernandez)

 

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Great Wall of China slowly disappearing!

Source: GMANetwork.com

BEIJING – Around 30 percent of China’s Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities—including stealing the bricks to build houses—erode the UNESCO World Heritage site, state media reported.

The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometers in sections, from Shanhaiguan on the east coast to Jiayuguan in the windswept sands on the edge of the Gobi desert.

In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometers (5,600 to 13,000 miles), depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.

Construction first began in the third century BC, but nearly 6,300 kilometers were built during the Ming Dynasty of 1368-1644, including the much-visited sectors north of the capital Beijing.

Of that, 1,962 kilometers have melted away over the centuries, the Beijing Times reported.

Some of the construction weathered away, while plants growing in the walls have accelerated the decay, said the report Sunday, citing a survey last year by the Great Wall of China Society.

“Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they cannot withstand the perennial exposure to wind and rain,” the paper quoted Dong Yaohui, a vice president of the society, as saying.

“Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rain storm in summer.”

Tourism and local residents’ activities are also damaging the longest human construction in the world, the paper added.

Poor villagers in Lulong county in the northern province of Hebei used to knock thick grey bricks from a section of wall in their village to build homes, and slabs engraved with Chinese characters were sold for 30 yuan ($4.80) each by local residents, it said.

Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan, the state-run Global Times said Monday.

“But there is no specific organization to enforce the rules. Damage could only be reported to higher authorities and it is hard to solve when it happened on the border of two provinces,” said Jia Hailin, a cultural relics protection official in Hebei, according to the report.

It added that explorations of undeveloped parts of the Great Wall—an increasingly popular leisure activity in recent years—had brought those sections more tourists than they could bear, damaging them severely.

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