Regional Updates (04/14/21)

San Juan closes city hall until April 28 for disinfection; taxes due extended to May 20

THE SAN JUAN local government is suspending all transactions at the city hall from April 14 to 28 to give way to the disinfection of all offices. However, all departments involved in the coronavirus response will continue to function, Mayor Francis M. Zamora announced on Wednesday. The city government is currently implementing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program and distribution of the latest cash aid from the national government. The deadline for all local taxes due during this period has been extended to May 20, Mr. Zamora said. The city, with a population of over 122,000, had 1,982 COVID-19 active cases as of April 13 out of the total 7,394 recorded since the start of the pandemic. It had 116 deaths and 5,296 recoveries.

Tropical storm Surigae seen to be stronger when it enters PHL by Friday

THE TROPICAL storm currently located over 1,200 kilometers (km) east of Mindanao is expected to intensify into a typhoon category over the coming days and will likely enter he Philippine area by Friday, state weather bureau PAGASA said on Wednesday. The storm with international name Surigae will be given the local name Bising once inside the country’s weather line. Surigae “may intensify into severe tropical storm in the next 24 hours. It is forecast to continuously intensify throughout the forecast period and may reach typhoon category by Friday,” the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 11 a.m. bulletin. The storm is forecasted to move in a north-west direction and will possibly be 710 km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar by Saturday morning. “Considering the uncertainty in the track forecast of this storm, a westward shift in the current forecast track may result in potentially significant impacts over the aforementioned areas (Southern Luzon and Visayas) over the weekend and onto Monday,” PAGASA said.

Oceana urges DENR to halt ‘flawed’ Manila Bay beautification as more dolomite dumped

CIVIL society organization Oceana called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to order its contractors to immediately stop putting a fresh layer of crushed dolomite on the baywalk area of Manila Bay, which started Wednesday. “What is happening now is appalling… instead of tending to the flawed beautification project of Manila Bay, the government needs to prioritize the effect of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic on its people,” Oceana Vice President Gloria Estenzo-Ramos said in a press statement. The University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute has previously said “dolomite sand will only erode, given the hydrodynamic conditions of the bay. Continuously replacing the sand will be even more expensive.” Ms. Estenzo-Ramos said the dolomite “dumped in the area from Sept. to Dec. 2020 has already been reclaimed by the sea. From Dec. 2020 to Feb. 2021, this dolomite beach has eroded by at least 300 square meters. They are refilling it again and even extending the area.” The artificial white sand project is part of the DENR’s Manila Bay rehabilitation project, which has an estimated cost of P389 million. DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu last year said the agency is “prepared to defend their decision.” — Angelica Y. Yang