PGMA names Duque as NDCC chairman

May 4, 2009 1:38 am 

MANILA, May 3 — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed Health Secretary Francisco Duque to assume the chairmanship of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) as the government tightens preventive measures against the dreaded H1N1 virus.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in an interview with DZRB from Cairo that the President has given Duque all necessary powers and resources to protect the people from the NIHI menace.

Remonde is a member of the presidential delegation to Egypt and Syria.

Earlier, the President called for the holding of a comprehensive forum on the H1N1 flu next week to map out a comprehensive strategy against the virus.

Remonde said the forum would serve as a venue to “share information and best practices from the experts and map out appropriate defensive strategies for public health.”

He pointed out that the outbreak of the flu in several countries and the possibility that it might become pandemic make it necessary for the government to be fully prepared for any eventuality.

“Our people continue to look to our government for information as well as protection and this forum will serve as a launching point for both of these major policy directions, as well as a focal point for marshaling all available resources, similar to our successful response to the SARS scare several years ago,” Remonde said.

When the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in 2003, the Philippine government was able to prevent the spread of the virus, which had killed a number of people in the Asian region, particularly Hong Kong and China.

To prevent the spread of misinformation about the H1N1 that could spark panic, Remonde said the government, led by the Department of Health, would carry out a comprehensive information campaign about the virus and how to avoid it.

He said call centers would also be tapped to disseminate information about the H1N1 and how to avoid being infected by the virus, something that was not done during the SARS outbreak. (PNA)

RMA/OPS/rsm

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