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During certain hours of the day: Capitol to turn off aircon units

During certain hours of the day: Capitol to turn off aircon units

CEBU, Philippines — To cut down on power consumption and avoid the mysterious disease from China that thrives in air-conditioning systems, the Capitol will now literally open its windows and switch off its aircon units during certain times of the day.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia relayed to reporters the latest cost-cutting measure of the provincial government following her meeting with the department heads yesterday.

She said it was agreed during the meeting that the operation of aircon units at the Capitol will now be limited to specific times of the day.

Garcia said provincial architects have been tasked to study which parts of the Capitol are exposed to the sun’s heat during particular times of the day as those offices will still be allowed to use aircon.

Those that are not directly facing the sun will have to make do with the fresh breeze to limit the use of aircon units, and thus save on electric costs.

“Mohuwat ta og recommendation para kahibaw ta at what hours of the day and certain areas or parts of the building pwede maka-turn off sa ilang aircon (We will wait for the recommendation from our provincial architects so we would know which parts of the Capitol may switch off aircon),” she said.

The architects are expected to inspect the Capitol premises within this week and come up with a report within two weeks after.

Garcia’s administration has been working to reduce Capitol’s expenditures. Its first major cost-cutting measure was to do away with direct hiring of medical and clerical personnel and to outsource them instead from a manning agency.

This time, Garcia is banking on aircon shutdown to increase Capitol savings, especially since the provincial government’s electric bill, particularly that of the executive department alone, reaches at least P1 million a month.

That figure does not include power consumption at the legislative building and the Cebu South Bus Terminal, which is also being run by the Capitol.

“Padayunon ta ni kay dako ta og savings ani (We should continue with this move because we can save a lot out of this),” Garcia said.

Aside from a reduced operation of aircon units, the Capitol will also install solar panels soon to provide extra energy for its power needs.

Garcia said trees will be also planted around the Capitol compound.

‘Mysterious disease’

The plan to regulate the use of aircon at the Capitol came after officials discussed about the “mysterious” disease from China that is reportedly transmitted via aircon system. Its symptoms include respiratory infection and fever.

As a preventive measure, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) will craft a program against the mysterious disease.

“First of all, I am tasking the PHO to come up with a recommended program which would ensure that we are given adequate protection kay more of kuan man ta — preventive,” Garcia said.

Garcia said there is no definite cure for the disease at the moment.

Dr. Christina Giango, PHO head, is urging the public to avoid air-conditioned public places such as malls, as well as to wear masks and practice proper nutrition and hygiene.

Last week, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III updated that the DOH is now on alert against the mysterious disease that has affected 44 individuals in China.

The Bureau of Quarantine has also been tasked to closely monitor incoming passengers for symptoms of respiratory diseases and fever.

For its part, Mactan-Cebu International Airport has been on a heightened alert status for the disease since December and continues to monitor arriving passengers through its thermal scanner, said MCIA information officer Maryann Dimabayao.

Dimabayao said the monitoring will last until after Sinulog on January 19.

She said arriving passengers are checked if their body temperature is high. If so, they will be isolated by the Bureau of Quarantine to further check on their health status.

Despite the safety precautions, Department of Health-7 Director Jaime Bernadas clarified that their agency has no official pronouncement yet about the supposed mysterious virus that has infected dozens in China.

But Bernadas confirmed that Secretary Duque has already ordered the BOQ to conduct heightened surveillance on all incoming passengers at the airports.

Bernadas added that regional health units, city health offices, and hospitals already have protocols for it.

Duque earlier urged travelers experiencing flu-like symptoms, especially those coming from China, to get themselves checked immediately. (FREEMAN)


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