Lockdown aid

WORKERS are busy packing food aid at the Caloocan Sports Complex on April 4. About P23 billion worth of aid for Filipinos affected by a strict lockdown in the capital region and nearby provinces will be released to local governments starting Monday, according to the Interior and Local Government department.

Bill to create Davao agency

A SENATOR has filed a bill that seeks to create a Metro-Davao Regional Development Authority to boost the region’s growth.

The National Government should step in and help establish the region as a metro center and major contributor to the development of Mindanao and the entire nation, Senator Maria Imelda Josefa R. Marcos said in the explanatory note of Senate Bill 2116.

The bill also seeks to create a network of growth centers aligned with the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022.

These will complement urban growth centers in boosting productivity and ensuring ample opportunity to prevent overcrowding in urban areas, the senator said.

“Rural areas will be developed for economic and industrial prosperity, as well as for border and territorial security,” she added.

Under the bill, services under the Davao agency include those that have a metro-wide impact and which transcend legal and political boundaries, or which entail expenditures that local government cannot undertake on their own.

These services include development planning, uniform transport and traffic management, solid waste management, flood control and sewerage management, urban renewal, zoning, land use planning and shelter services.

The bill allotted P5 billion for the initial operation of the Davao agency. It may levy fines and fees for its services. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Palawan area declared red tide-free

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the northwestern coast of Palawan island is now free from red tide contamination.

People may eat shellfish from the area, it said in a bulletin.

Areas still affected by red tide include Dauis and Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Tambobo Bay, Negros Oriental; Calubian and Cancabato Bay, Leyte; Dumanquillas Bay, Zamboanga del Sur; Balite Bay, Davao Oriental; and Lianga Bay and Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

“The areas are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond the regulatory limit,” BFAR said.

All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang harvested from red tide-positive areas are unfit for human consumption, but all other marine species may be eaten with proper handling, it said.

Red tide is caused by algal blooms, during which algae become so numerous that they discolor coastal waters. The algal bloom may also release toxins that can cause illness in people and animals.

Eating contaminated shellfish can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning, which affects the nervous system.

The usual symptoms of red tide poisoning include headaches, dizziness and nausea. Severe cases may result in muscular paralysis and respiratory issues. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave