Sacks of dried endangered species seized in Palawan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2019   •   624

(L-R) A box of dried seahorse and sacks of other dried endangered species

A joint law enforcement operation yielded stockpiles of dried endangered species and wildlife byproducts seized at Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa in Palawan last September 27.

Authorities recovered 38 sacks of dried pangolin scale; 18 boxes of dried seahorse and nine ice boxes of dried sea turtle carapace.

According to Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), the confiscated items are now under the custody of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Staff.

The killing, hunting, processing of protected wild is against RA 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

The operation was a joint initiative of Western Command Armed Forces of the Philippines (WESCOM, AFP) together with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and barangay officials of San Pedro.

Follow up operations are ongoing to identify the identities behind the unlawful activity.

US, PH soldiers build two classrooms in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Two new classrooms jointly built by United States and Philippine troops have been opened in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The new classrooms were inaugurated on February 19, at the Malatgao National Elementary School, the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement.

US Navy Lt. Joshua Moore said the new learning facilities, built by American and Filipino soldiers under arrangements through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), will be used by over 100 students residing in the community.

“This project provides a much-needed schoolhouse for the Malatgao National Elementary School in Palawan, which will be utilized by over 120 students,” Moore was quoted as saying in the statement.

“We are proud to assist this community working hand-in-hand with our Filipino counterparts,” he added.

Under the VFA, US and Philippine troops participate in war and disaster response drills and assist in humanitarian projects like erecting multi-purpose buildings or helping repair schools.

The deal, which came into force in 1999, was terminated by President Rodrigo Duterte last week. The notice of termination will take effect after 180 days.

The US Embassy said that in the last four years, its Navy engineers, known as Seabees, have completed 24 humanitarian projects across the Philippines.  

These projects include single- and double-room classrooms, water catchment systems, multipurpose school huts, and multipurpose communal buildings.

Joint construction operations such as these between the Philippine Navy Seabees, U.S. Navy Seabees, Philippine Marines, and local Barangays serve to strengthen the U.S.-Philippine partnership.

“I think working with U.S. troops will make our alliance stronger and continue to increase our bonds for years to come,” said Apprentice Fireman Construction Electrician Joel Nioda from Zamboanga City.

“This will help unify and grow our bilateral relationship,” he added.

Since October 2016, the U.S. Navy Seabees construction projects for Philippine communities are valued at more than PHP100,000,000 ($1.9 Million).

Duterte to visit tourist sites to boost tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte prepares to board a helicopter after gracing the inauguration of the Sangley Airport Development Project in Cavite City on February 15, 2020. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte will visit popular tourist sites in the Philippines to promote local tourism amid the COVID-19 threat.

READ: It’s more fun in the Philippines: Duterte invites Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid Covid-19 fears

The President may travel to Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol to attract more visitors and potentially make up for the losses of the current travel ban in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

“He’s a magnet. His presence attracts people from attending an event,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Usec. Art Boncato said they will schedule a trip as soon as possible.

“We’re of course lining up destinations like Boracay, Cebu for instance even Bohol, as the initial list of destinations for the president most probably visit within the next couple of weeks,” he said.

READ: Duterte asks local carriers, hotels to help boost PH tourism amid COVID-19 threat

Tourism industry stakeholders agreed to help boost domestic travel by offering discounted airfare and hotel rates following a meeting with President Duterte.

“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin ‘yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” Duterte said on his video message.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

BFAR warns of shellfish poisoning, red tide toxins in waters of Palawan, parts of Visayas

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has raised the alarm over consumption of shellfish and ‘alamang’ from the coastal waters of Palawan and several areas in the Visayas due to high level of red tide toxin.

Based on the latest laboratory results, the level of paralytic shellfish poison is beyond regulatory limit in the coastal waters of the following:

  • Puerto Princesa Bay (Palawan)
  • Puerto Princesa City (Palawan)
  • Dauis (Bohol)
  • Tagbilaran City (Bohol)
  • Irong-irong Bay (Western Samar)
  • Cancato Bay, Tacloban City (Leyte)
  • Lianga Bay (Surigao del Sur)

Meanwhile, high level of red tide toxin is present in the waters of:

  • Carigara Bay (Leyte)
  • San Pedro Bay (Western Samar)

“All types of shellfish and Acetes s. or alamang gathered from the areas stated above are NOT SAFE for human consumption,” the BFAR said in its advisory.

The agency added, however, that fish, squids, shrimps and crabs in the area are safe for human consumption provided that they are “fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.”

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