Police to track down cops, military involved in KAPA

COPS, MILITARY and other government workers involved in the alleged investment scam of Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA) will be tracked down and investigated, according to the national police chief. “The special task group is  there to investigate kung sino ‘yung mga kasali dito. ‘Yung sinasabi nila na members na hindi lang kapulisan or ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philipines). Lahat ng member ng gobyerno (all those involved, not just the police or the AFP. All members of government),” Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said in an online briefing Wednesday. KAPA founder Joel Apolinario, who is facing syndicated estafa charges, was arrested Tuesday with 23 of his armed men in a resort in Lingig, Surigao del Sur. — Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR

JICA to give lab equipment, supplies to RITM, San Lazaro Hospital

THE JAPAN International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is donating laboratory equipment and supplies to two facilities in Manila conducting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing. The recipients are the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) and San Lazaro Hospital, both longtime institutional partners of JICA. “COVID-19 is not only a challenge of one nation, but of the rest of the world. JICA will continue to work closely with our partner nations like the Philippines, as we have done in the past, so we can get through this public health challenge together,” JICA Philippines Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo said in a statement on Wednesday. The equipment and supplies are scheduled to be turned over in September. The Philippines earlier signed a soft loan of 50 billion yen or around P23.5 billion with Japan, through JICA, to fund outbreak-containment efforts. JICA has extended 3.6 trillion yen in official development assistance to the Philippines since 2018. — Jenina P. Ibañez

NIA to develop hydropower plant in Isabela

THE NATIONAL Irrigation Administration (NIA) has partnered with EMME Environmental Solutions, Inc. (EESI) for the development of a hydrokinetic power project on the Magat Canals located in the town of Ramon in Isabela. NIA Senior Deputy Administrator Abraham B. Bagasin and EESI Chairman Edgar B. Aglipay signed an agreement on July 17 for the construction of a hydropower plant through the installation of hydrokinetic turbines on seven irrigation canals in the Magat River Integrated Irrigation System. The agreement indicates that the conduct of feasibility studies and installation of demo units of hydrokinetic turbines in the irrigation canals will not disrupt the operation and maintenance of other existing canals of the irrigation system. NIA said the memorandum is effective for a non-extendable period of one year and will be at no cost to the agency. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Shortlist for Mindanao railway project management in, but none still for building contractor

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) has received the shortlist of bidders for the project management contract of the China-funded Mindanao railway’s first phase, but none yet for the build-and-design contractor. DoTr Assistant Secretary Eymard D. Eje did not give the names on the project management list, which he said is already “at hand.” The list of bidders for the build-and-design contract was expected in June from the Chinese Embassy. The P82.9-billion railway’s first phase, covering the 100.2-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, will be financed through an official development assistance package from the China government.

Meanwhile, Project Manager Clipton J. Solamo said they are aiming to complete all the pre-construction activities by the third quarter this year. This involves right-of-way (ROW) and site acquisition, area inspections, project alignment, and meetings with officials and residents of affected communities. “We are targeting to finish the pre-construction works within the third quarter of this year,” Mr. Solamo said in a text message. The National Economic and Development Authority approved a single track, diesel-run railway system for the initial segment, but Mr. Eje said they are acquiring a 40-meter wide ROW for the entire line as a provision for a possible upgrade to a dual track electric system in the future. — Maya M. Padillo

Iloilo City withdraws ban on people from Negros Island

THE ILOILO City port area.  — BW FILE PHOTO

ILOILO CITY Mayor Jerry P. Treñas has withdrawn the temporary closure of its borders for those coming from Negros Island, which is composed of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental and the independent city of Bacolod. “Upon due consideration, the City of Iloilo hereby reconsiders its decision to ban the travel of passengers from Iloilo City to Bacolod and vice versa. We apologize to everyone for the inconvenience,” Mr. Treñas said in a statement posted on the city government’s Facebook page. The ban was supposed to be in effect July 22 “until further” notice, according to an earlier post. Mr. Treñas cited the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city. Bacolod City, the main jump-off point for sea transport from Negros to Iloilo, also closed its border in response to Iloilo’s move. “This is primarily a reciprocity to the issued statement of Mayor Jerry Treñas… that is logic because if Iloilo will not receive people from Bacolod and the island of Negros, what is the sense in allowing trips from Bacolod to Iloilo,” Bacolod Mayor Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia said in a video message posted on the local government’s Facebook page just past midnight Wednesday. “We are closing our borders to passengers coming in from Iloilo City, Province of Iloilo and the whole of Panay, including Guimaras, effective 11:59 p.m. of July 21,” he said. Transport of essential goods to and from both cities will continue, according to both mayors. Of the 810 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 21 in the Western Visayas Region, 607 are repatriates. Of the total, 98 are from Iloilo City, including 48 returning residents and overseas workers. Negros Occidental has the highest cases at 272, including 240 repatriates. Bacolod has 92, with 65 repatriates. — Marifi S. Jara