Philippine Asian News Today Vol 19 No 18 - Page 16

16 PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS TODAY September 16 - 30, 2017 Vancouver predicts nearly higher overdose support calls City of Vancouver pre- dicts nearly 7,000 overdose support calls by the end of 2017 4,919 overdose calls have been made in 2017, sur- passing the 2016 total Vancouver Police De- partment (VPD) reported that Vancouver saw a total of four suspected overdose death- saduring the week of Sep- tember 11 to 17, an increase from two reported the previ- ous week. The most stagger- ing data comes as Vancou- ver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) reported a total of 4,919 overdose support calls so far in 2017, surpassing the 2016 total of 4,709. The week of September 11 alone saw 93 overdose calls to VFRS. The City has been urg- ing the federal and provin- cial governments to make this public health emergency a top priority and is encour- aged by the $322 million in funding from the new pro- vincial government allocated towards fighting the overdose crisis. The City looks forward to working alongside the provincial government to ad- dress four key pillars of harm reduction, treatment, preven- tion and enforcement. A few of the actions recommended to both levels of government include: exploring decriminal- ization and a move towards a national regulatory framework for all illicit substances; ex- panding addictions treatment including injectable opioid as- sisted therapy; increasing the number of overdose preven- tion sites to all communities in need; providing necessary services in supportive housing for people at risk for overdose; implementing drug check- ing programs; and amending legislation for MSP to include coverage for evidence based, psycho-social addiction treat- ments. Toxicology reports on the most recent deaths are not yet complete, and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service. Read the BC Coro- ners Services’ report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC, January 1, 2007 to July 2017 here. ************ PH climbs a notch in competitiveness The Philippines climbed one place to rank 56th among 137 countries in the World Eco- nomic Forum’s Global Compet- itiveness Report 2017-2018. The report showed while the country improved its global ranking from 57th last year, its Asean ranking slid to 8th this year from 6th in 2016.  With the two-point drop in regional standing, the Phil- ippines now ranks behind Viet- nam and Brunei Darussalam, which both made large strides, according to the Makati Busi- ness Club. “It is good to see that we have maintained our over- all competitiveness and even moved one notch higher. How- ever, as we implement changes to improve, other countries are doing the same. In fact, Viet- nam and Brunei have overtak- en us this year,” MBC chairman Edgar Chua said. “We therefore need to do much more at a much faster pace.  We call on Congress to focus on passing priority bills identified by the business sec- tor especially the Comprehen- sive Tax Reform Program and not allow itself to be diverted by various political maneuvers like impeachment proceedings,” said Chua. The Philippine’s highest gains this year are in market size where it climbed four notches from its 2016 ranking; labor market efficiency, 4 notches up; and higher education and training, 3 notches up. Macroeconomic environ- ment remains the country’s highest-ranking pillar, but it slid down the 22nd spot, from its 2016 ranking at 20th. Its ranking in financial market also slid down from 48th in 2016 to 52nd in 2017.  In terms of market size, the sec- ond highest-ranking pillar, the country jumped four places to 27th. Based on top-ranked in- dicators, the Philippine’s com- petitive advantages are infla- tion (ranked 1st out of 137), HIV prevalence (ranked 1st), government budget balance (ranked 24th), business impact of malaria (26th), domestic market size index (27th) and available airline seat kilometers (27th). The report also showed that of the five top-ranked competitive advantages, gov- ernment budget balance slid down 7 spots from 2016, while domestic market size gained 3 notches from the previous year. Meanwhile, the country’s bottom indicators included the number of procedures to start a business (ranked last out of WWW.PHILIPPINEASIANNEWSTODAY.COM 137th), tuberculosis incidence (126th), burden of Customs procedures (125th), business cost of terrorism (125th) and quality of air transport infra- structure (124th). The Executive Opinion Survey, a major component of the report, showed that the most problematic factors for doing business in the Philip- pines were inefficient govern- ment bureaucracy, inadequate supply of infrastructure, cor- ruption, tax regulations and tax rates. Singapore remains the most competitive in Asean.(O. V. Campos, MS)