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Regional Updates (10/15/20)

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2 areas in Negros Oriental now free from red tide

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has declared the areas of Siit Bay and Bais Bay in Negros Oriental as officially free from red tide contamination. Other areas, however, remain positive, based on BFAR’s 21st shellfish bulletin for the year. These are: Puerto Princesa Bay in Palawan; coastal waters of Milagros in Masbate; coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol; Tambobo Bay in Negros Oriental; coastal waters of Daram Island and Zumarraga, and Irong Irong and San Pedro bays in Western Samar; Cancabato Bay in Leyte; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Balite Bay in Davao Oriental; and Lianga Bay and the coastal waters of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang harvested from these areas are not safe for human consumption, but all other marine species can be eaten with proper handling. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Road to new Borac port in Coron ready soon

ACCESS TO the newly-built Port of Borac in Coron, Palawan is almost complete, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The almost 10-kilometer (km) paved road leading to the port is “on track for completion within the year,” DPWH said in a statement on Thursday. The project is divided into three contracts: 3.25 km covering Barangays Decabobo, Buenavista and Turda; 4.45 km in Barangays Guadalupe, San Nicolas and Decabobo; and 2.22 km in Barangays Guadalupe and San Nicolas. “Concreted roads leading to ports are vital in tourism areas like the islands of Coron which are reachable only either by planes or ferries,” said DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar. The Port of Borac, managed by the Philippine Ports Authority, was officially launched in July.

P54.5M released to farmers, fisherfolk affected by Taal eruption

AGRICULTURAL interventions worth P54.4 million have been distributed to farmers and fisherfolk in various Batangas towns that were affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in January this year. The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Calabarzon regional office, together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), distributed farm inputs and other assistance to farmers in the towns of San Nicolas, Laurel, Mataas na Kahoy, and Agoncillo. The aid package includes carabaos, cattle feeds, vitamins and antibiotics, certified seeds, complete fertilizers, urea fertilizers, muriate of potash, agricultural lime, and power sprayers, among others. Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar rallied the beneficiaries, citing agriculture was the only sector to post growth in the second quarter as the economy was dragged down by the coronavirus pandemic. “Farmers and fishers are our frontliners. You are heroes in your own areas. May you continue to farm and fish because together, we will increase our food sufficiency level and soon we may no longer have to rely on importation,” Mr. Dar said. Batangas 3rd District Rep. Maria Theresa V. Collantes, in a message, said the interventions help Batangas farmers to fully recover from the damage caused by the Taal Volcano eruption. DA Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa assured that the agency will continue to support farmers and fisherfolk affected by calamities. “We will never grow tired of helping farmers because they never grow tired of providing us with top-quality produce. Together, we will achieve food resiliency, with substantial increase in production and income for our farmers and fishers,” Mr. de Mesa said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Typhoon Ofel seen to weaken as it exits Philippines

TROPICAL DEPRESSION Ofel is likely to weaken as it moves out of the Philippines, according to weather bureau PAGASA. As of Oct. 15 morning, Ofel was already over the West Philippine Sea and PAGASA said there was “an increasing likelihood that this tropical depression will weaken into a Low Pressure Area within the next 12 to 24 hours.” All typhoon warning signals have been lifted, but rains brought by Ofel and the southwest monsoon were still expected over Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, and the northern parts of Luzon. As of 10:00 a.m. Thursday, the typhoon was located 275 kilometers west of Tanauan City, Batangas and expected to be out of the Philippine area by Friday.

Zamboanga City collects 79% of tax collection target as of end-Sept. with amnesty program


ZAMBOANGA CITY collected almost P3.3 billion in taxes as of end-September, representing 78.7% of this year’s P4.2 billion target, despite a drop in income from private businesses and local government economic enterprises. City Treasurer Romelita F. Candido, in an online briefing, said while the collection so far is not as “favorable” as in past years, they are counting on the city’s three amnesty programs to help bring in payments. These amnesty programs cover the following: penalties, surcharges and interest on unpaid realty taxes accumulated from past years to May 31, 2020; unpaid transfer tax up to this year; and penalties, surcharges and interests on unpaid business taxes up to 2019. Meanwhile, Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar presented on Thursday the city’s proposed 2021 budget of P4.38 billion. Ms. Salazar said next year’s spending plan combines the implementation of existing programs and response measures for handling the continued coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat. “As we struggle to embark on the COVID-19 new normal, we acknowledge that government services and the overall welfare of the people should be our primary concern, hence the social services sector comprises a majority of our fiscal plan at P2.4 billion or 56% of the entire budget,” the mayor said. The budget is up for the city council’s evaluation and approval.

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