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Philip Morris’ electrically heated tobacco system gets US-FDA nod

July 9, 2020

THE U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the marketing of IQOS, Philip Morris International’s (PMI) electrically heated tobacco system, as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).  In doing so, the US FDA found that an IQOS exposure modification order is appropriate to promote the public health.  The decision demonstrates that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking.  IQOS is the first and only electronic nicotine product to be granted marketing orders through the FDA’s MRTP process.  “The FDA’s decision is a historic public health milestone. Many of the tens of millions of American men and women who smoke today will quit—but many won’t. Today’s decision makes it possible to inform these adults that switching completely to IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke, “André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer, said.  “IQOS is a fundamentally different product than combustible cigarettes and must be regulated differently, as the FDA has recognized. Now—more than ever—there is an urgent need for a fundamentally different conversation on a cooperative approach to achieve a smoke-free future. The FDA’s decision provides an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoke-free alternatives to differentiate them from cigarettes in order to promote the public health,” Calantzopoulos added. The FDA authorized the marketing of IQOS with the following information:  1. The IQOS System heats tobacco but does not burn it  2. This significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals  3. Scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system reduces your body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.  The agency concluded that the available scientific evidence demonstrates that IQOS is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole, taking into account both users of tobacco products and persons who do not currently use tobacco products  The FDA’s decision further builds on the emerging independent international scientific consensus that IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke, and follows the FDA’s April 2019 decision authorizing the commercialization of IQOS in the U.S.  The FDA’s decision provides an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoke-free alternatives to differentiate them from cigarettes in order to protect and promote the public health  This decision follows a review of the extensive scientific evidence package PMI submitted to the FDA in December 2016 to support its MRTP applications.  The PMI CEO further said “We are excited that this important decision will help guide the choices of adult smokers in the U.S. The best choice for health is to never start smoking or to quit altogether. For those who don’t quit, the best thing they can do is switch to a scientifically substantiated smoke-free product. As of March 31, 2020, PMI estimates that approximately 10.6 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to IQOS. We believe that this decision can help to further accelerate the transition of U.S. adults away from cigarettes. We, along with our licensee Altria, are committed to guarding against unintended use and fully support FDA’s focus on protecting youth.” “Today’s decision is a result of our ongoing commitment to put science at the forefront as we continue on our quest to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives as quickly as possible. We look forward to working with the FDA to provide any additional information they may require in order to market IQOS with reduced risk claims. Harnessing innovations like IQOS to dramatically speed-up the decline in cigarette smoking is the opportunity of this century. Comprehensive, science-based regulation can help to rapidly shift adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking to better options, while simultaneously guarding against unintended consequences,” the PMI executive stressed. The MRTP marketing orders were issued pursuant to a 2009 law that empowers FDA to regulate tobacco products, including through oversight of innovative tobacco products.  PMI submitted MRTP applications for the IQOS device and three HeatStick variants: Marlboro HeatSticks, Marlboro Smooth Menthol HeatSticks, and Marlboro Fresh Menthol HeatSticks.  On April 30, 2019, the FDA authorized IQOS for sale in the U.S. through issuance of premarket tobacco authorization marketing orders that deemed the marketing of the product appropriate for the protection of public health.  On March 30, 2020, PMI submitted a supplemental premarket tobacco product application for the IQOS 3 tobacco heating device with the FDA.

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Normin tourism suffers P1-B losses from Covid

May 18, 2020

 NORTHERN Mindanao's tourism sector has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, with losses reaching as high as more than P1 billion.     This assessment was made by the National Economic and Development Authority in Region 10 (NEDA-10) on Friday, based on the tourism outputs the region reported in the previous year.     NEDA-10 director Myla Fe Cariño said that between March 15 to April 30, the estimated losses to the tourism sector could reach P905,313,492 from domestic tourists, and P61,184,124 from foreign visitors, totaling to P966,497,616.     But since the extension of general community quarantine (GCQ) in different cities and provinces in the region, NEDA-10 estimates that from March 15 to May 15, the region will have recorded losses of up to P1,354,811,064 from domestic tourists, and P85,705,045 from foreign tourists, for a total of P1,440,516,109.     "This was also based on our previous data, which estimates that local tourists usually spend P2,117 per day, and the foreigners spend PHP5,497 daily," Cariño said.     Even after the quarantine is lifted in the region, she said the tourism industry will still have to cope with the losses while adjusting to the "new normal" arrangements.     "Based on the national survey, only 24 percent have expressed to travel to go on vacation, while 74 percent are not going. Other than that, hotels and resorts need to reconfigure their accommodation to comply with DOH (Department of Health) protocols, which means all rooms are only for single occupancy. Can you imagine if there is a family of four on vacation?" Cariño said.     Cariño said the economy can only fully recover when Covid-19 vaccines are already available.     Lanex Bregonos, owner of Zyll's Airlines Booking Office here, said that since the community quarantine was imposed on March 15, his airplane ticket sales are virtually non-existent.     "I am currently making ends meet with my savings, I am waiting for the reopening of flights even just for domestic destinations," he said, saying he has no alternative means of income as of the moment. (PNA)

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Davao Region posts lower fish production in 2019

May 18, 2020

DAVAO City -- Fish catch in Davao Region decreased by 7.2 percent, or 48,245.89 metric tons (MT) in 2019 from 51,983.43 MT in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).     The region’s fish catch last year was the lowest since 2015, when it recorded a production of 59,498.46 MT.     Of the total regional fisheries output last year, 49.8 percent came from aquaculture, 45 percent from municipal fisheries (marine and inland), and 5.2 percent from commercial fisheries.     Commercial fishing reported the biggest decline in production at 28.8-percent, from 3,498.54 MT in 2018 to 2,490.76 MT in 2019.     The biggest chunk in commercial fishing came from Davao City, comprising 50.8-percent. Davao Oriental followed with 37.0 percent, Davao Occidental with 8.6-percent, and Davao del Sur with 2.6-percent.     The PSA said the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro have no commercial fishing operations.     It added the region’s commercial species with most volume of production in 2019 were yellowfin tuna estimated at 910.57 MT; roundscad, 299.28 MT; big-eye tuna, 268.92 MT; frigate tuna, 224.96 MT.     The municipal fisheries of Davao Region posted 21,704.67 MT, a reduction of 6.1 percent from 23,120.86 MT in 2018. Of this total, 98.1 percent came from marine fisheries and the rest inland fisheries.     In terms of municipal fisheries production, Davao Oriental accounted for 42.1-percent; Davao Occidental, 39.3 percent; Davao del Sur, 9.6 percent; Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro shared 3.8-percent a piece; and Davao City, 1.5-percent.     Marine municipal fisheries production likewise declined, registering a production of 21,455.32 MT in 2019 or a decrease of 6.2 percent from 22,876.92 MT in 2018.     Aquaculture declined by 5.2-percent, registering a production of 24,050.46 MT in 2019 from 25,364.03 MT in 2018.     In aquaculture production Davao del Sur showed a substantial contribution with 46.7 percent, followed by Davao Occidental, 25.3 percent, Davao del Norte, 12.3 percent, Davao City, 8.5-percent, and Davao Oriental, 4.8-percent.

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PCG probes oil spill at CDO port

May 18, 2020

THE Philippine Coast Guard in Northern Mindanao (PCG-NM) on Friday began investigating the oil spill that occurred on the seaport of Barangay Macabalan, this city.     The oil spill was first reported to authorities by crews of the ships docked at the Macabalan port Thursday morning, said Ensign Jerich Ybañez, PCG-NM spokesperson.     “As soon as we got the information, we then referred it to our MEPU (Marine Environmental Protection Unit) which responded right away,” Ybañez said.     He said the MEPU contained the spill by retrieving the oil through absorbent pads and cordoning the area with “spill boom,” a floating barrier used to contain an oil spill.     As of Friday, the oil spill has already been contained as the PCG is now determining who was responsible for dumping the substance into the sea, he said.     “We have collected samples from the oil spill. As of the moment, we have yet to pinpoint (the culprit) but we are conducting an investigation,” Ybañez said.     He said they are now tracing the source of the spill through the samples they have gathered from the sea and from the shipping lines docked at the port.     Since Thursday, the PCG-NM has collected about 210 liters of concentrated and diluted oil from the spill, he said.     At the Macabalan port where a team from the PCG-NM was conducting the clean-up, ships coming mostly from Vietnam can be seen unloading tons of imported rice onto waiting cargo trucks.     “There is a ‘footprint’ and we are going to take the ‘footprint’ of what we have collected. From there, we will know where the oil came from,” he said, adding that once they have traced the oil spill to a particular ship, they will then prepare a complaint with the imposition of sanctions and penalties to follow.     He also said that it was good that his team was able to contain the spill immediately, as they have also coordinated with the Philippine Ports Authority and other agencies so they can prepare for any eventualities.     Commander Jonie Belarmino, head of the PCG’s MEPU in Northern Mindanao, said the oil spill could have an adverse effect on the marine life such as fish, corals, and mangroves if it was not contained.     He also said that the spill has reached a stretch one nautical mile or 1.852 kilometers when it was first reported.     “There was a possibility that it could escalate. So far, we have contained it through the use of the spill boom to prevent it from further spreading,” he said.     Belarmino appealed to shipping line operators to be mindful of their actions that could impact the environment such as discharging wastes in bodies of water.     “Ship operator and seafarers are all aware that disposing of oil into the sea is strictly prohibited. It is our responsibility to take care of our oceans,” he said. (PNA)

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Adidas reopens 3 Mindanao stores

May 18, 2020

HARD hit, like many businesses are, by the COVID-19 pandemic, Adidas Philippines is slowly, steadily getting back into action.     This developed following the reopening of the company’s three stores:  Ayala Centrio Cagayan de Oro, Gaisano Mall of Digos, and SM Cagayan de Oro Uptown.     The shoe and apparel brand stressed that these reopening are “in line with local government guidance and in collaboration with our retail partners”.     Cagayan de Oro and Digos are among the areas that transitioned to general  community quarantine on May 1, as they are classified as moderate-risk locales, according to Mindanao Daily.     Majoirty of the physical retail arm of Adidas remains closed in the country. However, “our .com is now able to resume operations to fulfill and deliver your orders,” the statement continued.     The company also announced that their online store is now running with a “skeletal team”. However, this team is working within regulated hours and under proper health guidelines.     Earlier, in March 18, the brand had announced that deliveries and fulfillment of their online store would be indefinitely suspended until clearance for normal operations would be given.     This month, it was able to hold a successful online drop of the Yeezy Boost 380 Mist. Tomorrow, May 9, 11 a.m., the Yeezy 700 V3 will go on sale.     “We appreciate your patience with us during these times and we thank you for continuing to look out for each other, our families, and the teams around us,” finished Adidas' statement.

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Mindanao’s food production capacity, an advantage under the ‘New Normal’

May 18, 2020

DAVAO City – For many years, Mindanao contributes a huge percentage of food production for the whole country. This trait of the said region is seen as an advantage under the ‘New Normal’ since Mindanao is known for being more than capable of sustaining its own agricultural needs and at the same time develop its own food surplus.     The President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (DCCCII) Gian Carlo Borja-Tria is positive that Mindanao is going to have huge potential at re-building its economy under the ‘New Normal’.     “…the consensus of many business observers is that the food production capability of Mindanao will be the premium advantage of the island…,” Tria said.     It is because of this that the DCCCII discussed the capabilities of Mindanao in food production as an indicator of how agriculture is going to play a vital role in re-building the losses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.     “…the fact the we (Mindanao) can produce food - and we actually have the capacity to produce surpluses – will be our advantage and I think that is where a lot of businesses will have to examine…”, Tria added.     The current trend of food production is currently low due to complications in logistics or movement brought about by the imposed public health safety measures. That is why it is important for the agricultural sector to ensure a dependable and stable system in ensuring the delivery of farm-to-market goods.     “Yung logistics kasi ng pag padala ng food sa ibang area ng Pilipinas ay medyo mahirap. Kung malakas ang logistics at mababa ang price nito, our products can easily be competitive and find their way to other markets like the Visayas and parts of Luzon (The logistics involved for sending food to different areas of the Philippines is a bit difficult. If logistics will become more dependable and affordable, our products can easily be competitive and find their way to other markets like in the Visayas and parts of Luzon),” Tria discussed. (PIA XI/KPLCaro)

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