Maynilad plants 13,000 tree saplings, mangrove propagules in 2020

MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. planted 13,000 tree saplings and mangrove propagules last year under its watershed management initiative that aims to prevent flooding and soil erosion. In a statement, the west zone water concessionaire said 1,500 mangrove propagules were placed along the Manila Bay coastline in Kawit, Cavite to help improve water quality and protect the shore from floods. Another 11,500 trees were planted across 28.5 hectares of the Ipo and La Mesa Watershed together with partner organizations. The water provider said reforestation efforts at the Ipo watershed will assist in mitigating soil erosion, which causes high turbidity levels in the raw water supply. “Some 15 million people in Metro Manila and adjoining provinces rely on the Ipo Dam, as well as the Angat and La Mesa watersheds, for their daily supply of potable water,” the company said. For this year, Maynilad said it is looking to plant 8,000 additional tree saplings and mangroves that will cover around 20 hectares of land area in the watersheds. “Reforestation is an important part of watershed management initiatives that keep our water resources sustainable,” Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ramoncito S. Fernandez said. The company said it has planted almost 600,000 indigenous trees in the Ipo watershed since 2007, and around 208,000 mangrove propagules along the coastal areas in Cavite since 2013. Maynilad provides water to areas in the west zone of the National Capital Region (NCR) such as Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas, Malabon, Manila, Makati, and Quezon City, as well as parts of Cavite province including Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario. Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

6 Boracay tourists face charges for fake COVID-19 test results

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) has filed charges against six tourists from Manila who presented forged negative test results for coronavirus on their trip to Boracay in January. In a statement on Monday, the department said the six, who were caught upon entry, are facing a case of falsification of documents filed by the Department of Tourism’s Region VI-Boracay Field and Compliance Monitoring Office through Senior Officer Marc M. Judicpa. “We laud the recent parallel actions of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Aklan and Malay local government units (LGUs) to reinforce IATF MEID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) regulations and health and safety protocols for the protection of guests, workers and host communities,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in the statement. “We will continue to be vigilant and ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter entry of such delinquent and unwanted visitors. This is how serious the DoT is in the enforcement of existing health and safety rules,” she said. Three of the six tourists later tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The DoT also stressed the importance of tightening registration procedures, including validation of COVID-19 results. “In anticipation of the further relaxation of regulations governing inter- and intra-regional movements, the local government units should be prepared to address an increase in the number of applications and visits.  Enforcement is key and we must all do our share in keeping Boracay safe,” Ms. Puyat said. The DoT said 11,898 visitors were recorded in Boracay in January 2021, with an average 300 to 400 tourists a day. 

Bacolod City records zero new coronavirus cases on February 12, 14; active at 88

BACOLOD City did not have new coronavirus cases recorded on February 12 and 14, but there were six confirmed patients on the 13th, bringing the city’s active cases to 88 as of Sunday, according to data from the Department of Health’s (DoH) regional office. The city has recorded a total of 5,798 cases with 5,524 recoveries and 186 deaths. The city government submitted last week its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination plan, which will be subject to the Health department’s approval. Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia, in a statement from the city information office on Friday, said they expect the vaccine supply to arrive in July. “Our vaccines will come possibly in July but we would like to keep the ball rolling. What we want for Bacolod is that when the vaccines come, everything is smooth and in order,” Mr. Leonardia said. Apart from the supply coming from the national government, the city has procured 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca using local funds. The city’s vaccination roadmap covers procedures from registration to post-inoculation monitoring, logistics, and manpower. — MSJ

NBI to conclude Dacera case investigation this week

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is expected to conclude this week its investigation on the controversial death of 23-year old Christine F. Dacera after the agency receives evidence from the police. Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said in a Viber message to reporters on Sunday that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was expected to share with the NBI by Monday what it has gathered on the case, including specimens, garments, and mobile phones. The NBI will submit its report on the case to the Department of Justice (DoJ) “for the consideration of the investigating prosecutor,” Mr. Guevarra said. Ms. Dacera, a flight attendant, was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Makati City on New Year’s day after partying with friends. Her death has been declared as due to natural causes but her family asserts there was foul play. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

Tarlac-Nueva Ecija link


THE FIRST 18-kilometer segment of the 30-km Central Luzon Link Expressway, a toll-free highway, will be open to motorists by May 15, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced Monday. The initial section connects Tarlac City to Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. The P11.811-billion project, when fully completed, is seen to cut travel time between Tarlac and Cabanatuan cities to 20 minutes from the current over an hour via the existing Pan-Philippine Highway.