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Legarda warns of heat stroke in coming months

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has warned the public of heat stroke as extreme heat is expected to occur in the coming months since the country entered the dry season, and expressed serious concern over incidents linked to the rising heat index.


Last March 24, it was reported that up to 120 students were taken to hospitals in Laguna after they fainted and showed symptoms of heat exhaustion during a fire drill conducted at a school in Cabuyao City.


On March 26, a school in Makati confirmed that a student-athlete died after collapsing during a football varsity game.


While the cause of death was not determined with finality, it was also on the same day that the city issued a heat warning.


“As the average temperature rises, more lives will be at risk. We need immediate measures to address such risks, including wide dissemination of heat stroke first aid measures, heat warnings by local governments and through text messages, and siren warnings when the thermometer has risen to dangerous levels,” Legarda stated.


“Most of the sectors in the margins are outdoor workers. Warnings to stay indoors are economically impossible for them. There will be massive economic impacts well before heat threatens health and wellbeing,” she added.


The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported on March 30 that the heat index in Laoag City in Ilocos Sur might reach 48 degrees Celsius on April 1, which corresponds to an “extreme danger level” on its heat index chart.


It also warns of an impending El Niño and high temperatures, particularly in May.


The PAGASA said high temperatures might adversely affect the body, such as causing fatigue and stroke.


Senate Bill No. 1470, or the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) Land Use Development and Infrastructure Plan (LUDIP) Act, is currently being deliberated in the Senate as the youth are also at risk.


Legarda will introduce amendments for the introduction of biodiversity improvements, such as trees. She hopes to also file additional measures to green campuses of primary and secondary levels with native trees as these regulate temperatures better and are suitable for biodiversity, and make the campuses more conducive to learning throughout the year.


“As we face increasing temperatures globally, we can reduce immediate risks by regulating microclimates in outdoor spaces we live and work in. Small trees like kamuning and banaba are fragrant and fast growing and can also improve air quality, reduce energy use, enhance drainage and quality of life,” Legarda said.


“A changing climate is a reality, and the small and big steps we need to address it must be accepted, normalized, and widely practiced,” she furthered.

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