Regional Updates (08/03/20)

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Dingalan town to be developed as next ‘tuna capital’

THE TOWN of Dingalan in Aurora province is being eyed as the country’s next ‘tuna capital’ after General Santos City in Mindanao, given its strategic location and abundant fishing grounds, the Department of Agriculture said. In a statement Monday, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said he has directed the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a fishport complex in Dingalan, located about 183 kilometers northeast of Metro Manila facing the Philippine Sea. It is near the Philippine Rise — a 13-million hectare undersea extinct volcanic ridge that has rich biodiversity and abundant natural resources, including oceanic tuna species such as the Pacific bluefin tuna. Mr. Dar also directed a study for a wholesale fish market in Rosales, Pangasinan. “Sashimi grade tuna from Dingalan can be flown out of the country through Clark Airport, and various fish produce from Pangasinan, Aurora, Zambales and Central Luzon can be consolidated in Rosales, Pangasinan and distributed to north, central, and north-eastern Luzon, and even to Metro Manila,” Mr. Dar said. “Very soon, Dingalan will not only be known as the ‘Batanes of the East,’ but also as the country’s ‘tuna capital of the north,’” he added. On July 27, BFAR officials led by Region 3 Director Wilfredo M. Cruz visited Dingalan and laid out plans for the town’s fishing sector. Mr. Cruz said he has submitted a proposal to the BFAR Central Office for the construction of a fish port, which will also serve as a dock and refuge for all vessels during typhoons and a station for the Philippine Coast Guard. Further, Mr. Cruz said BFAR Region 3 will help the local government of Dingalan in organizing a fisherfolk cooperative, which will give members access to more government assistance. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Spotted from a Moalboal beach

@CEBUGOVPH

Frolicking dolphins were spotted by local tourists in Panagsama Beach in Moalboal, Cebu on Sunday morning, August 2. Cebu reopened its popular destinations on Friday, July 31, to tourists from within the province. Among the tourism activities that have resumed operations include whale shark watching, diving, canyoneering, hiking, and cultural heritage sites and museums, among other.

Only online submissions to SolGen’s office on Aug 4–18

THE OFFICE of the Solicitor General in Makati City will be closed from August 4 to 18 in line with the shift to a stricter lockdown in Metro Manila. Submissions can be sent online while the SolGen’s workforce adopts a work-from-home arrangement. “Parties may email efile@osg.gov.ph for documents they intend the OSG to receive during the duration of the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine). All other documents may be emailed to docket@osg.gov.ph,” the agency announced Monday. President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in a late-night address on Sunday, placed Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan under the modified enhanced community quarantine category, wherein public transport is limited among other restrictions. The shift follows the call of the medical community for a return to a hard lockdown for two weeks “to recalibrate strategies” against the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the capital region. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Bohol governor says tourism sector can’t reopen unless residents show more discipline

TOURISM stakeholders discuss the development of Bohol as a “travel bubble” destination, wherein visitors from low-infection countries will be allowed to fly in directly. — GOV. ART YAP PAGE

BOHOL GOVERNOR Arthur C. Yap said the province could not reopen to tourists until residents show more discipline in following health protocols. “Unless we have that discipline of disciplining our families and disciplining visitors then it would be difficult to reopen Bohol, because I can’t allow infections to spread in Bohol, because as what is happening right now in Cebu and Manila, the medical health care is already collapsing,” he said in a speech before the Rotary Club of Panglao Island on Saturday afternoon. Mr. Yap cited that in his travels for projects around the province, he has recorded residents on the road not wearing a face mask or three people on a motorbike without helmets, among other violations. “I have to be very honest with all of you. I frequent Panglao as I also frequent many parts of the province. And, even if the (local government) leadership is quite strict, sometimes I detect that we are too tired of COVID (coronavirus disease 2019). We have grown weary of COVID and we seemed to have relaxed,” Mr. Yap said. The speech comes after a visit over the weekend by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat to see how the province is doing and what assistance they need for preparing to resume tourism activities. Ms. Puyat has previously said Bohol could become a model province for tourism in the COVID era. Mr. Yap met with tourism stakeholders on Sunday to discuss plans, including a centralized booking system and contact tracing, setting up a holding area at the airport, and community reorientation, among others.

LABORATORY
Meanwhile, the province’s first accredited coronavirus testing laboratory, located at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital, formally opened Monday. Mr. Yap said with their own facility, samples no longer have to be sent to Cebu and “the waiting time for the result will no longer drag for two weeks.” The province is also setting up a containerized laboratory in the capital, while at least two more are planned for other entry points to the island province. “There would probably be three containerized PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) labs here, because we don’t see this (health) problem going away in a short period of time,” the governor said. As of August 2, Bohol has 20 active COVID-19 cases, 63 recoveries, and four deaths. Majority of the patients are returning residents who were stranded locally or overseas workers displaced by the global pandemic. — MSJ





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