NWRB assures enough water supply in the capital


THE NATIONAL Water Resources Board (NWRB) has guaranteed that water supply is sufficient in Metro Manila amid further decline in the water level of Angat Dam.

As of Tuesday morning, Angat Dam’s water level was at 199.73 meters, lower by 0.10 meters from Monday, according to data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The dam, the main water source for the capital, dropped below the 200-meter elevation mark last Sunday.

Its “ideal” water level is at 212 meters. NWRB Executive Director Dr. Sevillo D. David Jr., in a text message, assured that the decline in water level is normal due to relatively scarce rainfall.

“Even with the decline, and based on the rainfall projections of PAGASA, we will have sufficient supply of water for the next months, particularly this summer, until the onset of the next rainy season,” Mr. David said.

NWRB recently increased the water allocation to the two water concessionaires, Manila Water Company, Inc. (Manila Water) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad), amid the state of public health emergency due to the new coronavirus spread. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Mindanao business sector proposes measures to soften COVID-19 impact to MSMEs

THE MINDANAO business sector issued on Tuesday a 14-item list of proposals to the national government to soften the impact of the new coronovirus threat in the southern islands, especially for consumers and small enterprises.

The petition, signed by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Area Vice President for Mindanao Maria Teresa R. Alegrio and the six PCCI regional governors, calls on “President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte to immediately approve and implement the above measures to allow affected firms and households to cope with the adverse effects of COVID-19 and the fallout from countermeasures enforced by the national and local governments to curb its further spread.”

One of the requests is for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department Finance to “encourage banks to declare a moratorium on loan amortizations falling due within six (6) months from the occurrence of Covid-19.”

This covers financing for business, consumer, home, and large enterprises.

“Affected MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and even corporations have to apply with their respective universal, commercial and savings banks for the moratorium to take effect,” it said.

PCCI also urged the Department of Trade and Industry to strictly enforce price controls, particularly for “food supply and other basic and prime commodities.”

Other recommendations include, among others:

For the Department of Information and Communications Technology to enjoin telecommunication companies to remove “all Data Capping in mobile Broadband Internet services” until the crisis is declared over;

Reconsider the holiday pay for workers for April 9, Holy Thursday, which is also Araw ng Kagitingan, suggesting a 200% salary computation if in operation instead of 300% and 100% if closed;

That Mindanao be declared a separate food quarantine area to allow the unhampered delivery of food for the entire country in light of the Department of Agriculture’s declarations on nationwide quarantined agricultural products (affected by the foot and mouth diseases, avian flu, etc.);

Create a food logistics backbone from General Santos to Cebu City and Tagbilaran City via Davao and Bukidnon with cold storage in key points;

Utilize the Conditional Cash Transfer/Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to subsidize micro and small businesses;

For the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to establish a rehabilitation fund for affected MSMEs; and

That DTI encourage mall owners/management/lessors to waive rentals for MSMEs during the period of closure orders. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

Local governments warn residents vs ‘fake disinfectors’

AT LEAST two local governments, one in Luzon and another in Mindanao, have warned residents against burglars posing as members of official COVID-19 response teams and offering free disinfection services.

“These criminals have looted many houses with this deceptive method,” the Cagayan provincial government said in an advisory on its official Facebook page.

The information office of the province, which has no confirmed case of the new coronavirus disease as of March 16, stressed that there are “NO groups authorized by the government to sanitize homes.”

Cagayan de Oro City issued a similar warning saying “some unscrupulous individuals” have been reported to be posing as part of the local government’s teams.

“At present, the disinfection is being done at churches, schools, mosques, city hall, and public places, and residential areas are not yet included as of this moment,” the city government said, “be on guard… against fake disinfectors.”

There is so far no COVID-19 case in the city, the regional center of Northern Mindanao, but a positive patient was treated at one of the hospitals located there.