Boracay stinks of days-old island waste

Marje Pelayo   •   January 2, 2020   •   730

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Garbage is everywhere in Boracay Island after days of heavy rains and winds brought about by Typhoon Ursula.

A source sent UNTV images showing piles of garbage along the sidewalks believed to be from households and commercial establishments within the island.

The source said that piles of trash have been there for more than eight days already and that no help from the local government has come to transfer the garbage even domestic wastes out of the island.

Power lines are still cut except for the main roads which causes heavier burden to residents because the price of fuel particularly diesel has soared to P57/L – P67/L.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) explained that the typhoon not only affected the garbage collectors but it also damaged their equipment.

“Ang tunay pong sitwasyon ay biktima po ang mga kasama natin diyan na maglilinis nung Boracay, (The real situation there is, even our men who are supposed to collect and clear the garbage were also victims or affected by the typhoon,)” noted Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.

What’s worse, the official said, is that residents lack discipline.

They keep on piling garbage even right after the previous batch has been collected.

The Department, nevertheless, promised to send additional personnel and dump trucks to collect the garbage and clear the island.

Antiporda also confirmed allowing exemptions to permit the delivery of petroleum products into the island. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Boracay hospital closes after doctor tests positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital located on Boracay island is temporarily closed to the public after one of its doctors tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Aklan Provincial Health Office said Monday.

Dr. Cornelio Cuachon Jr., chief of Aklan Provincial Health Office, said the hospital had to be closed after a 37-year old doctor working for the facility contracted coronavirus.

Cuachon said the doctor is currently under strict 14-day isolation after he manifested symptoms of the viral disease.

The doctor was said to have manifested symptoms such as cough and sore throat just days after he traveled to Manila to attend a convention from March 4 to 7.

He returned to Boracay on March 8 and worked at the hospital for over a week before he was advised to undergo quarantine.

“Mayroon siyang ubo, saka sore throat and then colds but hindi na siya nagpakonsulta. After nine days, binigyan siya ng advise na talagang mag-strict quarantine kasi nandoon lang siya sa ospital so mataas ang rate ng transmission,” Cuachon said.

The health official added that the doctor is now recovering from the illness.

Cuachon said, more than 10 hospital workers who had close contact with the infected doctor are also undergoing quarantine.

It is not yet clear when the said hospital will reopen. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lalaine Moreno)

Metro Manila residents enjoy change in environment, lifestyle under ECQ

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Residents in the National Capital Region (NCR) have noticed a significant improvement in the quality of the air in the metropolis.

The smoke being emitted by factories and transport vehicles and the traffic congestion that have become the norm in the lives of Metro Manila residents have lessened since the Luzon region was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The said measure was instituted to address the threats of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that continues to spread in Metro Manila and several parts of Luzon.

The ECQ has also changed the lifestyle of Metro Manila residents, as some have learned the benefits of walking to their destinations and buying only the essential things for themselves and their families.

The suspension of all types of public transportation has paved the way for the air to clear and for the traffic to decongest.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the air quality or particulate matter 10 has significantly changed.

“Ngayon kung titingnan natin nag a-average tayo from good to fair so napakaganda, nakapakaganda nung air quality natin ngayon,” said DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.

PM10 or the “inhalable particles”, are particles equal to or smaller than 10 microns (PM10) that can reach the throat and the lungs.

A UNTV Drone shot presented a smog-free skyline of Manila and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig as compared to the previous pollution that was once visible in the said places.

The environment department believes that the suspension of public transportation and the reduced number of private vehicles traveling have done the environment a big favor.

“Visually kita natin talagang ang laki mula sa umaga wala yung smog na nakikita natin na akala mo pa ay ma-fog yung buong NCR pero yun pala ay polusyon yun,” Antiporda added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has also observed that crime and accidents have considerably decreased in Metro Manila and in Region 3 after the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in the entire Luzon.

According to PNP spokesperson, PBGen. Bernard Banac, the crime rate in Luzon had gone down by 80 percent.

“In fact bumaba po ng almost eighty percent ang crime rate hindi lamang dito sa kalakhang Maynila maging sa region at iba pang dako ng Luzon,” Banac said.

Banac added that the latest PNP record shows that road accidents since the ECQ was put in place until March 24 totaled to only 81, a considerably low number compared to the average 50 per day on ordinary days. — (with details from Dante Amento) /mbmf

DENR removes, seizes barbed wire in reforestation site in Masungi

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) removed and seized the barbed wires hammered into Sacking Trees or Tibig at the reforestation site in Masungi, Rizal.

READ: Geopark seeks gov’t help to protect reforestation project from quarrying

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu vowed to close down the quarry involved and cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA)  Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) issued in the protected area and reforestation site.

Meanwhile, the Masungi Georeserve expressed their gratitude to those who gave their support and prompted the authorities to take action on the incident.

“In the next few days, let’s continue to be vigilant and closely follow and support the next steps being taken by authorities,” according to the geopark’s Facebook post.—AAC

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