THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) recorded 27 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases as of Wednesday in its main office, which has been closed to the public since Mar. 12 for disinfection. “We have a new case today as of 9:30 a.m., so our total number of cases is 27,” DoJ Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said. Work is continuing with 50% of manpower on-site and the rest on a work-from-home arrangement. Ms. Villar said they “have been strictly observing all the safety protocols on social distancing, wearing face masks and face shields, and hand washing. We also make sure that we have enough supplies of face masks/shields and alcohol. We have alcohol dispensers in all common areas.” Of the total COVID-19 infected, eight were confirmed on Tuesday and “are active cases,” she said. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago
Cebu launches tourism packages
THE CEBU tourism sector has launched five packages for domestic travelers, inclusive of air fare, accommodations and organized trips to the different attractions across the province. The Suroy Suroy Sugbo program, launched on Mar. 16, was initiated by the provincial government as part of the local economic recovery strategy. “Tourism is not just a leisure activity, it is an economic activity,” Governor Gwedolyn F. Garcia said at the launching event, noting how it creates employment and a market for small local businesses, among other revenue opportunities for the province’s 44 towns and six cities. Cebu province accounted for about half of the P50-billion tourism income in the Central Visayas Region in 2019. “The project which is partnered with three major airlines (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia), tour operators, resort owners, among others, is aimed at helping the tourism industry in Cebu to get arrivals during weekdays as they are already full during weekends,” the provincial government said in a statement. The four days/three nights tour options include trips going north to Daanbantayan; island adventures either in Bantayan or Malapascua; to the south with visits to agri-tourism sites, outdoor activities, and swimming with whalesharks in Oslob ; or a ‘staycation’ in a resort. For more information, visit the provincial tourism portal at www.discover.cebu.gov.ph.
DENR to address water hyacinths proliferation in Pasig River, Laguna de Bay
THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is forming a team with fisherfolk to control the spread of invasive water hyacinths in Pasig River and Laguna de Bay, which cause major obstruction to water flow and navigation. In a press release on Wednesday, DENR said Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda has ordered members of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force (APTF) to focus on removing water hyacinths in the two water ways while looking into employing fisherfolk in harvesting the aquatic plants. “We want to make a drastic change in the quality of water in Manila Bay,” Mr. Antiporda said in a statement, citing that one of the APTF’s goals is to ensure that there are no floating debris along Manila Bay and its tributaries. Pasig River, which passes through five cities in Metro Manila, connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. In October, the DENR said it was looking at launching a livelihood project that will allow fisherfolk to exchange water hyacinth harvests for cash to provide them with an alternative livelihood amid the global health emergency. — Angelica Y. Yang