1st typhoon’s toll: 1 child died, 4 missing, over 23,000 families still displaced

STORM Auring, the first typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, left one person dead, two others injured and four still missing as of Wednesday morning, the national disaster management agency reported. Defense Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said the casualty was a six-year-old child who drowned in Claver, Surigao del Norte. “The (four) missing, three of these are fishermen who ventured out to the sea in Bislig,” he said at the briefing Tuesday night in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur where President Rodrigo R. Duterte and several Cabinet members were present. Almost 50,000 families were affected, mainly in the Surigao provinces in the country’s south, when the tropical storm swept through over the weekend. NDRRMC said 23,359 families composed of over 87,000 individuals were still staying in evacuation centers or with relatives as of Feb. 24. Of the 64 flooded areas across the eastern side of the archipelago from Bicol to the Caraga regions, water has yet to subside in 18 areas. NDRRMC recorded 679 affected houses, with 226 totally destroyed and 453 partially damaged. Auring, with international name Dujuan, caused minimal damage to public infrastructure with only Surigao del Norte province reporting a P2.8 million cost on flood control and water facilities. The storm moved slowly over the Philippine sea and weakened into a tropical depression before making landfall over Batag, a small island in central Philippines. Relief operations are ongoing using prepositioned food and non-food items in the regions. Additional supplies were being shipped from the central social welfare office on Wednesday. Department secretaries also assured assistance on emergency employment, agriculture, and for small and medium enterprises. — MSJ

Another 4,047 hogs delivered to Metro Manila

ANOTHER 4,047 live hogs and 24,368 kilograms of pork carcass have been delivered to Metro Manila as part of government initiative to augment supply, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. In a report on Feb. 23, the DA said that around 66.2% or 2,677 heads of the supply that arrived were sourced from the region of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). Other sources were Bicol Region at 530, and Oriental Mindoro at 400 heads. “[The] Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley, Eastern Visayas, and CARAGA have no shipments since they reported that the hog supply in their areas are insufficient,” the DA said. “Ilocos Region and Central Visayas were not able to transport to Metro Manila on Feb. 23 since majority of their shipments were delivered to other areas such as Pampanga, Bulacan, and Negros Oriental,” it added. Since the implementation of the price ceiling on Feb. 8, the DA said that a total of 73,365 heads of live hogs and 439,852 kilograms of pork carcass have arrived in Metro Manila. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

PHL mayor named among ‘anti-corruption champions’ in new United States gov’t award

PASIG City Mayor Victor N. Sotto — @VICOSOTTO

PASIG City Mayor Victor “Vico” N. Sotto has been named an “International Anti-corruption Champion,” a new award launched on Feb. 23 by United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in recognition of individuals across the world “who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption.” In a note posted on the US State Department’s site, Acting Assistant Secretary James A. Walsh described Mr. Sotto as “a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anticorruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office.” The 31-year old mayor, a former councilor of the city, won his current post in the 2019 elections after beating “an incumbent mayor whose family had ruled the city for 27 years,” Mr. Walsh wrote, “Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance.” Mr. Sotto joins 11 others in the first batch of awardees. They are: Ardian Dvorani (Albania), Diana Salazar, (Ecuador), Sophia Pretrick (Federated States of Micronesia), Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro (Guatemala), Ibrahima Kalil Gueye (Guinea), Anjali Bhardwaj (India), Dhuha A. Mohammed (Iraq), Bolot Temirov (Kyrgyz Republic), Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla  (Libya), Francis Ben Kaifala (Sierra Leone), and Ruslan Ryaboshapka (Ukraine). “As President (Joseph R.) Biden has emphasized, our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad.  I commend the dedication of these 12 brave individuals to these same ideals,” Mr. Walsh said in a statement. — MSJ

Pilipinas Shell provides solar-powered street lights in Batangas

PILIPINAS Shell Petroleum Corp. has installed 16 solar-powered street lights along the Batangas-Tabangao-Lobo road covering the village of San Isidro, the company announced Wednesday. “A community’s progress rests on an effective partnership between government, starting with the barangay, and the private sector,” said San Isidro Barangay Chairman Andres B. Malibiran. The Batangas City police station commander, Lt. Col. Gerry M. Laylo, said the lights also contribute to maintaining peace and order. Pilipinas Shell has a solar farm in Tabangao, which has been supplying power to the listed oil company’s import terminal since December. The street lighting project was under the Save, Invest and Nurture Access to Green Energy and Technology program led by Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. — Angelica Y. Yang