Health official warns haze remains a threat to public health

Nov. 10, 2015

DAVAO CITY – An officer of the Department of Health in Davao Region warned the public to be wary of the impact of the haze to the health even if it is already gone.

Speaking in the quarterly meeting of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council,  Dr. Paulo Fantojan, spokesperson of the Department of Health 11 explained that current haze  which started in June in Indonesia was caused by forest fires.

He said the transboundary haze had been existent in the past but its impact is more felt nowadays.

Fantojan recalled that in October 28, the weather bureau declared the Philippines as haze free.

“We are not actually easing our guards because the forest fire is still going on in Indonesia, which might be aggravated by the entry of three more typhoons this year that can once again bring the haze from Indonesia,” he said.

Fantojan said haze is clearly air pollution with different gases and particles, causing light transparency of the air and was initially experienced in Davao City in October 17 and other areas in Mindanao like the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, General Santos and Zamboanga.

He said the haze phenomenon already caused 5,000 cases of respiratory illness in Southeast Asia and the haze might last up to January of 2016.

He said manifestations may show from mild, to moderate and to severe.

“The public might experience only mild symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, eye irritation, dry cough, dry throat from pollutants,” Fantojan said.

He said persons with medical problems like asthma, chronic lung diseases. Chronic sinusitis and allergic skin conditions are likely to be more severely affected.

“These illnesses might be aggravated because of these irritants,” Fantojan said. (

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