#COVID-19 Regional Updates (04/30/20)

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Zamboanga City, Davao del Norte want extended strict quarantine

SEVERAL local governments in Mindanao, where only Davao City has been declared as a high risk area for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), want to extend the strict quarantine measures being implemented despite a greenlight to ease restrictions by May 1. One of these is Zamboanga City, the central district in the western Mindanao area. The city council passed a resolution on April 29 asking the national task force to allow it to maintain the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols until May 15, similar to the declared high-risk areas. “We fought for this (extension) because while our COVID positive cases are lower than other cities, we still have around 119 suspect cases waiting for their test results. We will not gamble on our public health… we will not risk for a possible resurgence of COVID-19 by lifting the ECQ early,” Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said in an online briefing. As of April 29, there were eight COVID-19 cases within the city, including three recoveries and two deaths. Ms. Salazar said should the national government reject its request for an extended ECQ, the city government is also prepared to implement the GCQ (general community quarantine) with health facilities, personnel, and safety measures already being finalized. — Marifi S. Jara and Carmelito Q. Francisco

SMDC says Makati condominium declared safe for occupancy

SM Development Corp. (SMDC) assured residents that its condominium in Makati City is safe for occupancy despite the collapse of a part of the building on Thursday morning. In a statement, the property developer said it was concluded that “the structural integrity of the development and that the buildings are safe for occupancy” following “a thorough walk through of the mall premises and residential buildings” by structural consultants and Makati City engineers. The cause of the incident is still to be investigated. The damaged portion involves the wall of a parking level at SMDC’s Jazz Mall, which collapsed to the driveway. Two people suffered “minor abrasions” from the incident. SMDC said it will take the necessary measures to address the situation and avoid a similar occurence in the future. SMDC is the residential arm of listed SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Shares in SM Prime at the stock exchange climbed five centavos or 0.16% to P31 each yesterday. — Denise A. Valdez

3 PHL cities make it to WWF climate change challenge

THREE cities in the Philippines have been selected as finalists in World Wide Fund’s (WWF) One Planet City Challenge (OPCC) for 2020, a global competition on best practices in environmental sustainability. The three cities are Batangas, Muntinlupa, and Santa Rosa. “In these trying times, being business-as-usual in the way we do things is no more sufficient to secure a safe and sustainable future. I would like to acknowledge the cities who participated in this initiative for pursuing innovative ways towards sustainable and healthy cities for the current and future generations,” WWF Philippines Executive Director Jose Angelito M. Palma said in a statement. Cities in 53 countries worldwide participated in the OPCC competition, which represented around 66% of the world’s population. The three Philippine finalists have also qualified for the OPCC’s “We Love Cities” campaign, which aims to facilitate better communication among city officials and citizens on climate and sustainability issues. A national winner per country and a global winner will be chosen by the OPCC jury composed of urban sustainability experts worldwide. The awarding ceremony is set middle of the year. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

300-ha estate in CamSur offered for ‘Balik Probinsya’ project

A 300-hectare industrial estate in Camarines Sur is being offered as a possible relocation site for companies in Metro Manila in line with the proposed program to encourage more investments outside the capital, House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte said. The “Balik Probinsya” program, proposed by Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go, aims to bring people back to their home provinces by providing job opportunities there. Mr. Villafuerte said the CamSur property is “ideal” for investors as it is already equipped with the necessary infrastructure such as fiber optic internet connection, and power and water supply. The complex has an industrial park accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the government would provide an extended income tax holiday for companies relocating outside Metro Manila. — Genshen L. Espedido