News Briefs: March 23, 2017

Classes at Manila Science High School suspended over mercury spill

MANILA – Classes at the Manila Science High School were suspended for the second straight day on Thursday, March 23, due to a mercury spill that could cause illnesses.

In a statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said cleaning staff "accidentally spilled up to 60 ml [of] mercury" along a corridor outside two classrooms, and it was "not clear if proper disposal was observed."

The mercury spill happened last March 11, but reports said city officials were only alerted more than a week later. The school has since asked a third-party company to conduct cleanup operations, said the DOH.

The DOH also said a health team led by the East Avenue Medical Center and the Philippine General Hospital is conducting assessments for 280 students and some school personnel. Two persons reportedly developed rashes after the spill, but this has yet to be verified. –


Caticlan seen to grow as major player in Asia’s cruise industry

AKLAN – Caticlan port is expected to become a mayor player in the Asian cruise industry after Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCL) bared its plan to expand into the area.

Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said that RCL has expressed willingness to expand, invest, and provide technical support to develop Caticlan port in Malay, Aklan, as its homeport. This will make the northern end of Aklan as the first-ever homeport in the Visayas of a major cruise line.

“The cruise ship company targets Chinese tourists as their primary market. The new deal for cruise ship tourism is good for business, job and opportunities for local communities in Western Visayas,” Miraflores said. “Caticlan might outgrow the Manila port in terms of cruise port terminal development with the recent move of RCL.”

The governor said RCL chose Caticlan over Manila and Palawan as its home port in the country because of Boracay island. – Boy Ryan Zabal


Search continues for 12 onboard sunk vessel off Bataan

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Thursday, March 23, they are still searching for the the 12 persons – 4 of them minors – who were onboard the “Christian” banca, which sank off Mariveles, Bataan, last Sunday.

The PCG learned of the incident from the coast guard in Naic, which received a report from a certain Violeta Baybay, who introduced herself as wife of one of the missing persons.

The victims, who are all from Naic, Cavite, attended the fiesta in Barangay Alas-asin, Mariveles, Bataan. They failed to return home. 

The following were on board the vessel. Two passengers have yet to be identified: