Friday, September 4, 2020

White sand on Manila Bay

Many are criticizing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for dumping “white sand” on Manila Bay’s shoreline yesterday as part of a program to rehabilitate the notoriously polluted body of water in Pasay City.

“Why are they putting purely aesthetic program first in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay? Who is this program for? Does the DENR not know that they are destroying the coasts?” marine conversation group Oceana Philippines said yesterday in a statement.

The government agency caught the public’s attention when pictures and videos of what looked liked “white sands” and “sand dunes” within the bay’s vicinity surfaced online.

A dolomite is a sedimentary rock that has color ranges of white-to-gray and white-to-light brown. It is used for construction materials and has the ability to neutralize acids.

Antiporda said that the initiative is for people who cannot go to Boracay or other tourist destinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Boracay, the country’s top tourist destination, is internationally recognized for its pristine beaches with fine white sands.

The “white sand” is made of crushed dolomite rocks that were transported from Cebu, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda explained yesterday in an interview. The government intends to fill 500 meters of the Bay’s naturally gray shoreline as part of a rehabilitation program that started in January 2017. The project costs at least PHP397 million (US$8 million), according to the Department of Public Works and Highways. 

Antiporda said they were inspired by the white sand beaches of Boracay and Palawan and that it was done for people who could not afford to go to those tourist spots. He admitted in an interview with cable channel ANC that he was unaware of the amount of money used for the synthetic sand and that it was impossible to divert the funds to aid Filipinos during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is not a new project. We cannot connect this with the pandemic… maybe if this was just cash that we could juggle from one place to another, the government could do that. But this is not possible. That is prohibited,” Antiporda said in English and Filipino.

But both the Cebu provincial board and the Cebu City Council say they never issued permits to mine dolomites in their areas for the Manila Bay project

The chairman of the Cebu provincial board's environment committee said Friday, September 4, that no permit was issued for the extraction or transport of the dolemite used for the sand being dumped just off Manila Bay. “As far as the Cebu provincial government is concerned, wala pay naissue nga permit (no permit was issued) for that. Borgonia said that they have asked the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) to investigate the issue.

The controversy started when social media lit up after concerned netizens reported white sand being dumped in Manila Bay to enhance the view along the baywalk.

Advocacy group Oceana Philippines also called out the project saying that it may harm the natural ecosystem and coastal integrity of Manila Bay.

Thursday, April 2, 2020


1,074 workers in the formal sector in the National Capital Region (NCR) received their 5k grant through DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

“We’ve processed a total of Php 5,504,250.00 financial support and each of the CAMP beneficiaries received their 5k assistance through a money remittance scheme,” said DOLE-NCR Regional Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol in a report submitted to DOLE Bureau of Local Employment on March 24, 2020.

As of said date, DOLE-NCR received 46,213 CAMP applications submitted by 973 private establishments in Metro Manila that have implemented Flexible Working Arrangements (FWAs) or temporary closure, in view of the DOLE Labor Advisory No. 9, series of 2020.

From the said number of applications, the regional office are currently processing over 43,000 requests for financial assistance.

Due to the influx of applications received online, Mirasol asked for patience and cooperation of the employers. Also, in compliance with the quarantine protocol and to help prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19, the regional director had temporarily restricted the entry of visitors in their physical office and advised their clients to send their CAMP applications through e-mail.

“We have a skeletal workforce available in the office but in strict adherence to the Enhanced Community Protocol in Luzon, we are temporarily not welcoming any visitors. Please understand that we prioritize the safety and health of our customers and so we request our clients and partners to transact or communicate with us online via e-mail or through our hotline numbers to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Mirasol said.

Signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III on March 17, 2020, the DOLE Department Order 209-20 or the Guidelines on the Adjustment Measures Program for Affected Workers due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program is a safety net program that offers financial support to affected workers in private establishments that have adopted FWAs or temporary closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under DOLE-CAMP, a one-time Financial Assistance equivalent to Php 5,000 shall be provided to affected workers in lump sum, non-conditional, regardless of the employment status. They also have an option to avail of the Employment Facilitation that provides affected workers an access to available job opportunities suitable to their qualifications through job matching, referral and placement services either for local or overseas employment, employment coaching, and labor market information.

To avail of the 5k financial assistance, affected workers whose companies have implemented FWAs or temporary closure are to submit the completed DOLE Establishment Report on the COVID-19 Form and Company Payroll for the month of February (or earlier), pursuant to Labor Advisory No. 12, series of 2020. For immediate processing and remittance of the 5k assistance, DOLE-NCR also requests a copy of payroll account numbers of affected workers and company payroll's bank name / branch.

DOLE-NCR through its six field offices is open online via e-mail and through hotline numbers below for any related inquiries or concerns on CAMP from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM:

CAMANAVA FIELD OFFICE (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela)
E-mail:  / Hotline: 0998-963-3903

MUNTAPARLAS FIELD OFFICE (Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas)
E-mail:  / Hotline: 0998-963-3859

PAPAMAMARISAN FIELD OFFICE (Pasig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, Marikina, San Juan)
E-mail:  / Hotline: 0947-994-1433

E-mail:  / Hotline: 0998-963-3971

E-mail:  / Hotline: 0995-334-3174 / 0928-354-4238

E-mail:  / Hotline: 0925-487-5979  / 0947-881-3044

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Kim Chiu are now safe

Kim Chiu and her personal assistant and driver are safe. Chiu reportedly proceeded to her taping after the shooting incident.

In an Instagram post, Chiu said she was sleeping inside her car when she was awakened by several gunshots.

Two men on a motorcycle shot the van carrying Cebuano actress Kim Chiu along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City early Wednesday, March 4.

Still shaken by the incident, Chiu said: “I was so scared. I don't know what to feel right now. Wala naman akong kaaway or ka atraso. Kung sino man ang gumawa nito Diyos na ang bahala sa inyo dalawa.”

At the end of the day, the actress is just grateful that she, her driver and her personal assistant were unscathed.

“Inisip ko na lang walang nasaktan sa amin. God protected us,” she said.

While she may not be able to attend to calls or messages for the meantime, Chiu thanked everyone who has been checking up on her.

A report from the Anonas Police Station said the shooting happened around 6:15 a.m. in front of the UP Town Center in Katipunan.

Driver Wilfred Taperla said they were waiting for the traffic light to turn green so they could turn left to C.P. Garcia Avenue from Katipunan when two men on board a motorcycle approached the right side of the vehicle and started shooting them.

He said the actress was sleeping but was roused by the shooting. No one was hurt in the incident.

Taperla said the suspects were both wearing black helmets and jackets.

The perpetrators fled towards Old Balara, Quezon City.

It was earlier reported that the actress proceeded to her taping after the incident.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Coronaviruses in the Philippines

Coronaviruses are actually common and most people get infected with a strain or variety at some point in their lives.

A definition from the WHO website stated that the coronavirus or CoV is “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

“Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people,” the article added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms of CoV are a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and “a general feeling of being unwell.”

The DOH said it is still waiting the results of the samples they sent to the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia. This will help them determine if what the boy had was 2019-nCoV or not.

Three other Chinese nationals who arrived at the Kalibo International Airport and suspected to have such illness also turned out negative for the new strain. The trio have since been discharged.

Latest World Health Organization figures cite 6,065 cases and 132 deaths from the virus, which began in Wuhan City in China's Hubei province.

A five-year-old Chinese boy was previously admitted in a Cebu City hospital after manifesting signs of fever, throat irritation and cough which he had been experiencing prior to arriving in the Philippines.

The boy’s mother did not show any symptoms. Both of them came from Wuhan City in China, the ground zero of the new coronavirus strain or the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

The boy later tested positive for the virus. The particular strain, however, is not yet known.

Today, "Upon the recommendation of [Health] Secretary Francisco Duque, the President has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated, as well in other places in China where there is a spread of the disease," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announces in a statement to media.

"It will last until the treat is over given that the safety of our countrymen is foremost in the President’s mind," he also says.

President Rodrigo Duterte is meeting with medical experts and top government officials next week to discuss the Novel Coronavirus.   

Coronaviruses are actually common and most people get infected with a strain or variety at some point in their lives. 

Following a meeting with the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee in Geneva on Thursday (Friday morning in Manila), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization has declared the Novel Coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern.

It is a formal declaration that means that the novel virus first reported in Wuhan, China is a "public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response."