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Philippine News Digest 76

May 28, 2004 · 

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Contents:
-Philippine economy up 6.4 percent

-UN: China faces AIDS time bomb

-700,000 asians killed yearly by bad food, water

Philippine economy up 6.4 percent

The Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the highest since 2001, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board. This figure surpassed the forecast by economists who earlier predicted a GDP growth of between 4.3 and 5.5 percent. The gross national product meanwhile increased by 6.2 percent following an upward revised growth of 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. Even so, analysts and other multilateral institutions predict that the robust growth wouldn’t last. Some say it was driven by domestic consumption aided by election-related spending by the government. Source: Michelle V. Reno in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 May 2004.

UN: China faces AIDS time bomb

The United Nations through UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot warned Chinese authorities of an AIDS epidemic spreading to key economic areas like Guangdong and Shanghai unless it breaks the silence surrounding the issue. AIDS acitivists in the past have been muzzled or detained for speaking out but the UN official was optimistic that there had been a “sea change” in how China is confronting the disease making it less likely there will be 10 million people infected by 2010 as the United Nations warned. Official figures put the number of people with HIV at 840,000, about 10 perent of whom suffer from AIDS. Activists say the extent of the outbreak is far higher, saying over a million may be infected in the central province of Hennan alone. Source: Reuters in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 May 2004.

700,000 Asians killed yearly by bad food, water

Hartwig de Haen, assistant director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization revealed in a conference of food safety policymakers and specialists from 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that more than 700,000 Asians die from consuming contaminated food or water every year. He said that the average estimated cost in each outbreak of food-borne illnesses is $100 per person per year and the cost could be higher in developing nations. This can badly strain health care systems and reduce productivity, according to Han Tieru, UN’s World Health Organization representative. Source: Agence France Press in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 May 2004.

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