Female sea turtle found dead in Legazpi City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 11, 2020   •   360

A female green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was found dead along the shores of Purok 7, Barangay Arimbay in Legazpi City on February 9.

Residents of Purok 7 found the dead turtle in its decomposition stage. She measured 75 centimeters in length and 71 centimeters in width.

“The Office through the Conservation and Development Division (CDD) immediately responded and documented the green sea turtle before it was buried in the shores of the same barangay,” according to DENR-Bicol.  

“Based on the findings, the turtle might have been entangled in a fishnet causing the lacerations on its neck, which resulted in its drowning,” the post further reads.

DENR-Bicol reiterates that marine turtles are protected by law and catching them will be punishable by imprisonment.

They also called on the public to turn over any wildlife to the authorities.—AAC

Albay evacuates residents as Typhoon ‘Ambo’ threatens Bicol, Samar areas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Albay on Thursday ordered the evacuation of vulnerable residents ahead of the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo (international name: VongFong).

The regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said families and individuals living in low-lying, coastal, mountainous, flood- and landslide-prone areas, and within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone of Mayon volcano will be prioritized in the evacuation.

The OCD added that residents near Mayon volcano channels, including in Barangay Miisi, Binaan, Anoling, Quirangay, Maninila, Masarawag, Muladbucad, Nasisi, Mabinit, Matan-ag, and Basud will also ve evacuated.

OCD-Region 5 chief of operations Akim Berces said local disaster councils have been advised to strictly follow evacuation and health protocols under the community quarantine to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while carrying out evacuation efforts.

“Nagi-evacuate na po tayo as early as now, para po ma-practice natin yung minimum health standards na kailangan sa COVID-19,” Berces said.

Local disaster offices have also been advised to use other evacuation centers that are not being utilized as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients.

“Hindi nila gagamitin yung quarantine facilities for this evacuation para kay Ambo… nakahiwalay po talaga siya. ‘Yung sa COVID-19, sa COVID-19 lang, ‘yung sa evacuation center, doon po lang din,” Berces said.

As of posting time, heavy rains and strong winds brought about by ‘Ambo’ have begun lashing parts of Bicol and Samar.

As of 12:15 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that Typhoon Ambo has made landfall over San Policarpio, Eastern Samar.

PAGASA said ‘Ambo’ may bring heavy to intense with at times torrential rains over Samar Provinces, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes.

Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains will be felt in Albay, Camarines Sur, and the rest of Eastern Visayas.

In its 11 a.m. update, Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) no. 3 was raised over Sorsogon, Albay, and Ticao Island, Northern Samar, northern portions of Eastern Samar, and Samar. (note: Pagasa said this is still valid for broadcast until 2 pm)

TCWS no. 2 was raised over the southern part of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Burias Island, mainland Masbate, and Marinduque; Biliran, the rest of Samar and Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, TCWS no. 1 was hoisted over Aurora, southern portion of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, the rest of Quezon, Romblon, Bataan, and Pampanga; and the northern portion of Leyte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala)

Not yet ready: Legazpi City appeals for inclusion in enhanced community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   May 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Legazpi City in Albay has appealed to the national government to be included in areas which will remain under the enhanced community quarantine until May 15.

According to Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, they need more time to prepare measures before the city can shift to a general community quarantine mode.

Rosal said they specifically need to address concerns relating to the resumption of public transport operation.

“Kailangan paghandaan natin at least kailangan pa natin ng 15 days parang assessment ba. Like transport, ilan ang kailangan? Ilan talaga? Alam mo naman sa probinsya ang gusto ng mga tricycle parang bus, puno,” he said.

Guidelines released by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) state that public utility vehicles in GCQ areas may operate at a reduced capacity and should follow set health and safety standards.

These include the specified passenger load for public buses, jeepneys and tricycles. Drivers, conductors and passengers are also required to wear face mask, and observe physical distancing.

Public vehicles are also told to use automatic fare collection system to minimize physical contact.

PUV drivers and operators are also required to secure special permit that they can be allowed to resume operations.

The IATF earlier identified areas that will remain under ECQ, including Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON, Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo Province, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Cebu Province and Davao City.

Areas not specified under ECQ will shift to a more relaxed GCQ starting May 1.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF has yet to decide on the request of the Legazpi City government.

“Yan lang po ang naiisip ko ngayon na nag-aapela na manatili po sa ECQ. Hindi pa po naaktuhan ng IATF dahil mahaba rin po ‘yung pag-uusapan ng IATF kasama na po ‘yung second tranche ng SAP (social amelioration program) disbursement,” Roque said during a televised briefing on Friday.

Starting May 16, only the IATF should make decisions on whether to lift, extend or impose community quarantine in provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities.

The inter-agency also said that provincial governors will be authorized to impose enhanced community quarantine in component cities, municipalities and barangays upon the concurrence of their respective regional inter-agency task groups.

Mayors of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities are also allowed to implement enhanced community quarantine in barangays upon the concurrence of their respective regional inter-agency task groups.

Meanwhile, other areas in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte have started opening for business after being confined indoors for nearly two months.

Luis Pedimonte, who owns a small food joint, is raring to go back to business even if they are only allowed to do delivery and take-out under the GCQ rules.

“Siyempre gusto na magbukas dito na makukuha ang pang araw-araw mo yung mga pangangailangan.. oo syempre susunod ka pa rin,” Pedimonte said.

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) station in Camarines Sur also prepared markings and other “new normal” measures to ensure physical distancing among their passengers.

“Pati sa upuan ng kotse kailangan may social distancing, kailangan naka-face mask yung pasahero pati yung mga empleyado, lahat,” said Antonio Bare, officer-in-charge of PNR-Bicol operation department area-2.

Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado, for his part, assured that checkpoints along the province’s border will remain to monitor security during the GCQ.

“Ganun din po yung mga papasok, consider natin mga ano yan PUM so 14 days pa rin po ika-quarantine natin sila bago natin pakawalan,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala)

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

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