Joint Task Group Taal visits towns severely affected by Taal eruption
Maris Federez • February 6, 2020 • 622
The Joint Task Group (JTG) Taal is continually monitoring the towns of Batangas that are severely affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
The group on Wednesday (Feb. 5) distributed relief goods, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
With the Taal Volcano alert level brought down to 3, the group said it will continue its clearing operations on the streets that were covered by ashfall; cleaning of schools and repairing of establishments in the town of Laurel.
“Nakaready tayo sa lahat ng eventualities pati paglikas siyempre priority rin natin ang paglikas,” said AFP chief Ge. Felimon Santos Jr.
Laurel, Batangas Mayor Joan Amo said they are continuously beefing up their readiness to respond to the possible explosion of Taal.
“Bumuo na kami ng contingency plan para sa disaster plan po namin […] Ang panawagan ko lang sa aking mga kababayan sana po ay seryosohin at makinig nang mabuti doon sa aming itatalagang o ibibigay sa kanilang plano base na rin sa pinag-aralan at pinagkasunduan ng buong nanunungkulan dito sa bayan,” Amo said. — (from the report of Sherwin Culubong) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – Daily survival during this time of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is a big challenge.
Most households depend on relief goods coming from local government units (LGUs) or some ‘good Samaritans’ delivering packed items especially for low-income families.
One common item that these relief packages have is the canned sardines.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently reported that demand for canned sardines has doubled since the ECQ took effect.
But the agency warned traders of the existing price freeze on basic commodities at this time that the country is under state of calamity.
Consumer group ‘Laban Konsyumer’ is in support of DTI setting a limit in purchase and pricing of canned sardines.
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), each Filipino consumes an average of three and a half kilogram of sardines per year.
Given the current population, BFAR assures enough production of raw fish being used for sardine manufacturing now that dry season or the harvest season has started especially in Zamboanga Peninsula, the major source of fish used in sardine manufacturing.
There are a number of nutrients that can be obtained from eating sardines, according to nutritionist Krizia Paylago.
These include certain proteins and Omega 3 fatty acid which help prevent heart disease and certain cancer; calcium and phosphorous that strengthen the bones and teeth; potassium that helps lower stress; as well as sodium and lycopin.
But Paylago does not recommend daily consumption of sardines especially to people with hypertension or high-blood pressure; heart problems; gout and liver problems.
Sardines can be cooked in many ways and with certain vegetables like moringa leaves, swamp cabbage, pechay and other green leafy vegetables.
“Basically, ready to eat na lahat ang mga ito pero i-highlight lang natin na mas mainan din itong pangsahog o pampalasa sa iba’t iba pang kayang i-prepare natin ang ulam tulad ng gulay dahil nga naman iisa ang lasa nito at saka may kaalatan,” Paylago explained.
[Basically, these are ready to eat goods but we want to highlight that these can also be cooked with vegetables for a variety of menu since they have almost similar flavor and saltiness.]
Paylago suggests some tips on proper purchase and consumption of canned sardines:
Check the expiration date.
Wash the can before opening.
Check the content for unpleasant smell and taste or abnormal discoloration.
Do not purchase or consume sardines with corroded, damaged can as these may have small openings where bacteria such as clostridium botulinum may populate and cause health risk like paralysis when consumed.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has clarified that residents from gated communities and private subdivisions can still get assistance from the government amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, but they are not a priority.
The DILG made the clarification following reports that the department allegedly said it will not provide assistance to those who live in private subdivisions.
In a statement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya stressed that they never said that residents of private subdivisions are in no need of or do not deserve government help amid the public health crisis.
Malaya said the department “strongly condemns the attempt by certain sectors to misrepresent, misquote or otherwise place out of context” his and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año’s earlier statements about the distribution of government assistance.
“What Secretary Año said in his press conference in Malacanang and I said in the DILG show ‘Kuwentuhang Lokal’ on DZMM Teleradyo is that residents of private subdivisions and gated communities who are well-off should not expect food packs or relief goods from the Local Government Units because those are for poor and indigent families who are mostly daily wage earners, no work no pay, and are in dire need of government assistance,” Malaya said.
The DILG official said that the government’s assistance is for all but vulnerable sectors and poor families in need of help will be given a priority.
“We NEVER said that only the poor will be assisted. Of course, the government will assist them. That is why Congress passed RA 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” so that everyone is helped because COVID-19 affects us all,” Malaya said
“We are not a rich country. We are a poor country. We do not have limitless resources. Thus, we have to prioritize,” he added.
According to Malaya, around 18 million households or 73% of all households in the country are poor or low-income in the informal sector, and are typically under the “no-work, no-pay scheme,” have no SSS, and have negligible or no savings.
“The food packs currently being distributed by the LGUs are meant for them for them to be able to survive this crisis,” he added.
Malaya said that those in the formal economy which is some 6.6 million households all over the country will receive other forms of government assistance during this crisis but not the food packs.
According to Malaya, these types of assistance include the following:
Credit facilities and reduced lending rates
Reprieve in the payment of national and local taxes, fees and other charges required by law to ease the burden of families and individuals
30-day grace period for the payment of all loans (including salary, personal, housing and motor vehicle loans) including credit card payments without incurring penalties, fees and charges; and
A 30-day grace period in the payment of residential rent, without incurring interests, penalties and fees.
“In addition, DOLE’s COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) will provide cash subsidy to workers in the formal economy who are affected by the crisis, while the TUPAD program, will provide temporary employment for displaced workers,” the DILG said.
“Government has also appealed to private sector employers to assist their employees in this time of hardship and many have responded positively. This does not include special programs by LGUs and other National Government Agencies that are implemented by them separately, like discounts in the payment of Real Property Taxes and other local taxes and fees,” it added.
The department called on the public to refrain from spreading false information as the country responds to the COVID-19 crisis.
“As frontliners in the war against COVID-19, responding to irresponsible and malicious statements take time, effort, and energy from what could have been utilized for more productive pursuits to defeat our common enemy,” it said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.
In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.
“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.
State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”
Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.
The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.
The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited.
The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.
It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN
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