Regional Updates (09/24/20)

Akbayan asks SC to cite DENR for contempt over Manila Bay project

AKBAYAN CITIZENS’ Action Party asked the Supreme Court to cite the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in contempt for dumping crushed dolomite along Manila Bay to create a “white sand” effect. In its motion-in-intervention, Akbayan said DENR’s project violates its continuing mandate to rehabilitate the bay. The party cites the ecological impact and health hazards of the material. “In truth, the artificial beach enhancement project does nothing to enhance the environmental integrity of Manila Bay. What is worse is the high probability that this costly cosmetic project might actually do more harm than good, both to the coastal marine environment and the residents of the Manila Bay area,” it said. In a separate motion, Akbayan asked the court to allow it to intervene and immediately convene the Manila Bay Advisory Committee headed by the chief justice. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Iloilo City reverts to stricter quarantine rules

MAYOR JERRY P. Trenas has ordered the implementation of stricter quarantine protocols starting Friday even as Iloilo City’s lockdown status has yet to be changed by the national inter-agency task force handling the coronavirus response. “We need to think fast, decide fast and act fast,” he said in a statement on Thursday, citing the recommendation of the city’s own coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) local task force. “We will put into place all protocols for GCQ (general community quarantine) under our Executive Order,” he said, while awaiting approval and an official announcement from the national team, which has sole authority for quarantine level declarations. The city is currently under the more relaxed modified GCQ. The protocols include the reimposition of liquor ban, curfew from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., prohibition of social gatherings “of any kind.” Barangay officials are also ordered to step up monitoring of people in their communities who are showing COVID-19 symptoms for immediate referral to health authorities for isolation and testing. The entire city hall office is closed from Sept. 23-25 as all workers undergo testing. As of Sept. 22, the city recorded 2,062 cases with 1,590 recoveries and 36 deaths. Of the 436 active cases, 105 are in hospital while 274 are in a quarantine facility.

Corn farmers affected by pest, Taal eruption get assistance

AGRICULTURAL INPUTS worth P1.14 million were recently distributed to corn farmers affected by the fall armyworm pest and the Taal Volcano eruption in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) Region. The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office said the inputs included hybrid glutinous corn seeds, hybrid yellow corn seeds, fertilizer, insecticides, and fall armyworm pheromone lure. The aid is under the DA’s regional corn and cassava program that aims to boost production and improve the income of farmers. Citing the United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization, the DA said pheromone traps can determine the presence and build-up of the fall-armyworm pest in a specific area. Fall armyworm larva feeds on corn, rice, and other crops. The pest was first reported in June 2019 in Piat, Cagayan Province. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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