Regional Updates (09/22/20)

regional updates 09 22 20 - Regional Updates (09/22/20)

President gives thumbs up to Manila Bay ‘white sand’

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte defended the artificial white sand project along Manila Bay and praised Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu for the rehabilitation program. “Now, people now are really enjoying the reclaimed area with the white sand,” Mr. Duterte said in a televised talk late Monday. People flocked to Manila Bay on Sunday when the area with the controversial project was opened to the public. The laying of  crushed dolomite for a “white sand” effect is part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program that started January 2019. The Supreme Court mandamus that directed the rehabilitation was issued in 2008. The use of dolomite has been criticized over health risks and environmental impact. — Gillian M. Cortez

Tacloban mayor seeks amnesty on local tax penalties to boost collection

TACLOBAN CITY Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez has asked the local council to pass two ordinances that will condone the payment of penalties, surcharges, and interests on unpaid local taxes “for 2019 and prior years.” The amnesty covers those who failed to pay real property taxes and other tariffs collected by the local government. The mayor endorsed draft copies of the two ordinances to the council on Sept. 21. In a statement, the city government said the mayor “hopes to encourage the public to pay their obligations to the City without the penalties, surcharges, and interests, to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic to the landowners, proprietors, and all other Taclobanons.”

SMC starts nutribun food relief project in 4 areas

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) kicked off its free nutribun project for poor communities on Tuesday, with four baking sites set up in Petron gas stations starting operations. The four areas are Caloocan, Tondo, and Payatas in Metro Manila and Malolos in Bulacan. “About a month ago, we announced a new initiative to make nutribuns available to the poor, to help keep them from hunger as our country continues to deal with the health crisis. I’m happy to report that the first four Petron nutribun baking stations are now operational,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said in a statement. The distribution of nutribuns are handled by partner non-government organizations and the local government units. Mr. Ang said more sites will be added as soon as special baking ovens are built and installed at other Petron stations.

Liquor ban: Mayors wrestle with business welfare vs irresponsible drinkers

THE IMPOSITION and lifting of liquor ban amid the coronavirus crisis, a function mainly relegated to mayors, is proving to be a tough balancing act between the welfare of businesses and managing social gatherings that could be venues of virus transmissions. Baguio Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong yesterday recalled his directive made just a day before to reimpose the liquor ban as the city prepares to reopen to tourists starting with residents of provinces in Region 1. He ordered the ban after findings that “unbridled drinking sprees caused the two recent clustering of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city,” according to a statement from the city government. Mr. Magalong said the reconsideration to lift the ban was made alongside a strengthened policy to monitor residents for the observance of health protocols. “What happened at Slaughterhouse and Ferdinand barangays must not be disregarded but we also have to consider the economic repercussions of implementing another liquor ban at this time when businesses are struggling to recoup their losses,” he said. The mayor also appealed to the public “to do their share.” He said, “Let us continue to espouse discipline wherever we are and whatever we do.  It is our only hope in surviving the virus and moving on with our lives.  When we drink, please make sure that we don’t overdo it.  Drink moderately and be virus-free,” he said.

In Davao City, where the liquor ban was in effect for more than six months and lifted only on Sept. 21, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio stressed that the decision was mainly “for the businesses and for the people who are working in the liquor business.” Warning residents of unrestrained drinking, she said, “We did not lift the liquor ban for you.” Dining places are restricted to serving just two portions of alcoholic beverage per customer while pubs and other similar establishments are still prohibited from operating. Serving as well as retail sales of liquor is also subject to the city’s ordinance imposing a prohibition from 1 to 8 a.m. — Maya M. Padillo

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