Duterte to decide soon on Luzon state of calamity

THE Palace on Tuesday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has received the recommendation of the national disaster management council on declaring a state of calamity in the entire Luzon island and will announce a decision soon. At the same time, Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said they are also evaluating the recommendation made by environmental group Greenpeace Philippines for a declaration of a “national climate emergency” in the Philippines following the devastation in the aftermath of a series of typhoons since October. “Pag-aaralan iyan ng Palasyo…Talagang binibigyan po ng prayoridad ng Presidente para magkaroon ng permanenteng solusyon dito sa climate change (the Palace will study this…the President is really giving priority to have a permanent solution on climate change,” he said in mixed English and Filipino. — Gillian M. Cortez 

Power infra damage from Ulysses climbs to P122M

DAMAGE from Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) on power distribution facilities owned by electric cooperatives has reached P121.97 million, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) reported on Tuesday. Restoration is still ongoing, but about 257 cities and municipalities in parts of Luzon now have full access to electricity, the NEA said. There are 160 areas where supply has been partially restored, and 59 areas that still don’t have access to electricity. In a separate announcement on Monday evening, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said it has restored all transmission lines affected by Ulysses. Meanwhile, the government said it is already conducting coronavirus tests in evacuation centers where thousands of families displaced by the recent series of typhoons are staying. “We are already doing that. What we use in evacuation centers are antigen test kits,” Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in mixed English and Filipino during a briefing on Tuesday. The OCTA Research Group earlier urged the government to conduct testing and contact tracing in evacuation facilities to avoid a potential outbreak, especially with the implementation of distancing and other health protocols a challenge in limited spaces. — Angelica Y. Yang and Gillian M. Cortez

Panglao inaugurates new seaport as Bohol reopens to tourists


A new boardwalk at the seaport terminal in Panglao has been formally inaugurated in time for Bohol’s reopening this week to tourists. “The blessing that transpired was very timely as commercial travels both by sea and air are scheduled to resume today (Nov. 16),” the Panglao municipal government said in a statement. The local government under Mayor Leonila P. Montero also launched two new speedboats for coastal monitoring and ensuring the safety of guests. Bohol hosted the first hybrid Philippine Travel Exchange held in October, during which travel operators generated at least P17 million in bookings. Tourists are required to pre-register through the province’s site, www.bohol.gov.ph.