Case Study of Philippines
Air Quality and Visibility
- The Philippines was the least affected by the haze because of its distance from the Indonesia.
- There were only three areas affected: Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the western island of Palawan; and the cities of Zamboanga and General Santos in the southern Philippine Island of Mindanao.
- The haze reduced visibility to between 3km and 5km in these areas. At one time, visibility on the southern side of Palawan dropped to about 300m.
- Weather experts said that rains and easterly winds, which came in October, helped clear the skies after about two weeks.
- Poor visibility caused flight cancellations for only one to two days. A government task force formed to coordinate the government's response to the haze problem failed to quantify for the losses due to these cancellations.
- The Philippines offered to send a medical team to Indonesia. But Jakarta did not say whether it would accept the offer.
- As a result of the haze crisis, the Philippines and Brunei will be joining the Asean Haze Task Force, which is scheduled to have a three-day meeting in Bangkok starting November 18.
- Migratory birds stopping at Palawan Island were dropping dead from the skies, according to the environmental group Haribon.
- Local officials said that farmers in Palawan also reported increased insect attacks on their crops. Environmentalists said that the haze could have induced the insects to come out of their forest habitat.
- Mr Marlito Cardenas, the director of the Environmental Management Bureau and head of the Task Force Haze formed by President Fidel Ramos, said that air pollution in Manila was worst than the haze coming from the Indonesia. The local pollution at Manila is much worse, and the haze only exacerbated it.
- There was no significant impact on the economy. The government sent teams of environmental experts to affected areas but their expenses-airfare, food, etc-were well within the budget.
- The Tourism Department said that it noted no drop in tourist arrivals because of the haze.
- Health workers in Palawan reported 10 cases of asthma. In Zamboanga, authorities recorded 12 cases of acute respiratory infection. Most of the patients were young children.
- The health department also advised people in affected areas to stay indoors and wear masks for protection.
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