No air pollution in Iloilo City-- DENR

Created on Friday, 28 February 2014

The ambient air of Iloilo City is not polluted yet, according to the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Engr. Ronald Limwa, Chief of Air Quality System, DENR-EMB, said that based on the 2013 total suspended particulates revealed by the roadside monitoring system posted in La Paz this city, the ambient air did not exceed the quality standard for pollution from motor vehicles.


Other than the roadside monitoring system, the DENR-EMB has also set up a continuous     ambient air monitoring system at Central Philippine University in Jaro.


The site in CPU, according to Limwa, represents the general ambient of Iloilo City as it covers the urban and rural areas, where pollution has undergone dispersion, with the surrounding areas experiencing widespread development.


The monitoring system in CPU considers several other perimeters of chemical pollutants, which include benzene, sulphur, ozone, among others, not only motor vehicles.


Limwa said that while generally not polluted, ambient air in Iloilo City, at times, exceeds standards because of several road constructions in different areas and the improvements undertaken in structures along the diversion road.


“These constructions should be regulated and not prolonged,” Limwa said.


Establishments with constructions cover their areas with nets to contain dust particles and other pollutants.


He also said that levels of pollution can vary within a given period because of contributory factors which may come not only from motor vehicles, but from certain human activities including burning of wastes and on-going constructions.


In an orientation held with the Metro Iloilo Airshed Governing Board and the Technical Working Groups, DENR-EMB Regional Director Jonathan Bulos said that with the mandate of the Clean Air Act (RA 8749), the agency is gathering together representatives from multi-sectoral groups to contribute to the effective implementation of the law.


He added that though air pollution is not yet alarming in Iloilo City, there should already be projects and activities undertaken to make the public and the stakeholders aware of possible concerns and rally them to participate.


The governing board and the TWGs said during the same orientation that major proponents of sources of air pollution should be called as resource persons every now and then for preventive and collaborative actions against pollution. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

Magnitude 4.9 quake jolts Cagayan

Created on Friday, 28 February 2014


A magnitude-4.9 earthquake jolted Cagayan province on Friday morning, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).


In its bulletin, the agency said the tremor occurred at 10:28 a.m. with its epicenter traced 171 kilometers northwest of Calayan in Cagayan.


Phivolcs said the temblor, which was tectonic in origin, had a shallow depth of 33 kilometers.


The agency said that there was no casualty or damage reported from the quake.


Phivolcs also said that no aftershocks are expected. (PNA)

DOH-NCR, PHILNOS conduct simultaneous nationwide organ donation sign-up campaign

Created on Friday, 28 February 2014


A massive organ donation registration campaign event kicked off at the Quezon Memorial Circle Friday morning.


Dubbed as the “Organ Donation Sign-Up Campaign: I Am a Lifeline”, the event is organized by the Department of Health-National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) and the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (PhilNOS).


The event aims to intensify public awareness on the importance and benefits of organ donation and transplantation.


Public can make a donation pledge by registering at the established registration site. Once listed, a lifeline identification card will be given to the potential organ donor.


The event will be done simultaneously nationwide in five other areas sites in the country-namely the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union; Jesse M. Robledo Coliseum in Naga; L. Mamba Gym in Tuguegarao; Almendras Gym in Davao; and Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila.


Health Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa in a statement said that the campaign also seeks to institutionalize an initial registry of potential organ donors in Metro Manila and address the significant demand for organ donors in the country.


“Organ donation saves lives and it is very important that every person has the power to save a life by becoming an organ, tissue or eye donor,” Herbosa said.


“It is a noble gift because you can give someone a second chance at life,” he added.


Herbosa also encourage everyone to register and become an organ donor since organ transplant offers a better quality of life to chronic renal disease patients.


“By having more organ donors in the country life-saving transplantations will made possible for more patients every year”, Herbosa said.


Most Filipinos are willing to donate a part of their body but only to their immediate family and closest relatives, according to a survey conducted by the Philippine Information Agency Survey in 2013


To date, PhilNOS only recorded a total of 12,000 patients who have undergone renal transplants due to the limited number of organs being donated.


Among the most needed organs for transplantation are kidney, liver, lungs and heart, respectively. (PNA)

BOC extends office hours in two ports until Saturday

Created on Friday, 28 February 2014


The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is extending operating hours at the Port of Manila (POM) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) to assist stakeholders who were affected by the expanded truck ban implemented by the City Council of Manila as well as the truck holiday that was spearheaded by the truckers’ group the past three days.


Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said on Thursday and Friday, the two ports will be open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm while on Saturday, March 1, the POM and MICP offices will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Likewise, the bureau is looking at opening on Sunday, depending on the volume of containers that have to be released.


He noted that additional examiners will be deployed as well as stand-by personnel complement from X-Ray Inspection to expedite the release of cargo with paid customs duties and taxes.


Truckers’ groups agreed to resume operations after the Manila City Government agreed to a temporary concession that will allow trucks with a gross weight of above 4,500 kilos to ply the streets of Manila from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm for the next six to eight months.


On the other hand, the BOC has incurred estimated losses of P217.39 million and P272.59 million in revenues of MICP and POM, respectively, in the first three days of the truck ban implementation.


BOC data showed that before the truck ban, the daily average collection of MICP is at P359.76 million while POM collects an average of P252.95 million. (PNA)


Power outage in Mindanao traced to faulty transmission line

Created on Thursday, 27 February 2014

A major fault along a transmission line maintained by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Bukidnon province reportedly triggered the continuing massive power outage in parts of Mindanao.


Santiago Tudio, general manager of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I), said the NGCP informed them that the cause of the outage has initially been traced to the transmission lines connecting the National Power Corporation’s hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon to the Mindanao power grid.


He said the NGCP advisory did not indicate any problem with the power plants but only with the transmission lines.


“The line somewhere in Bukidnon reportedly collapsed. They (NGCP) could not yet confirm the exact spot of the fault as their workers are still trying to locate it as of this time,” he said in a radio interview.


In a statement, the NGCP said the power outage, which started at 3:53 a.m., has been affecting the entire Mindanao grid.


“Reports indicate that the Mindanao grid experienced a disturbance at 3:53 a.m. NGCP is still determining the cause and extent of the disturbance,” the company noted.


As of 10 a.m., the entire southern and central Mindanao as well as parts of the Davao region has remained without power due to the disturbance.


Power was earlier restored in Davao City after the Davao Light and Power Company utilized its standby generators.


In this city, the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) was able to partially restore power in some parts of the city following the streaming of power supplies from the Alcantara-controlled Southern Philippines Power Corporation’s diesel-fired power plant in Alabel town in Sarangani.


Socoteco II serves this city, the entire province of Sarangani and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.


Tudio said Socoteco I is currently working on using its leased modular generator sets before noon Thursday to restore power in Koronadal City and the neighboring areas.


He said they received a go-signal from the Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday morning to operate the 12-megawatt generator sets on a temporary basis pending the approval and issuance of its permit.(PNA)

Power back in some Mindanao cities

Created on Thursday, 27 February 2014

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) assured the public that it is continuously monitoring the current power outage in Mindanao, which started at about 3:53 a.m. Thursday.

“NGCP is still determining the cause and is working to restore the power transmission service to all power customers in Mindanao,” the grid operator said in a statement.

It, however, said power has been restored in several areas as of 9:30 a.m. particularly in Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Cagayan de Oro City, and parts of Misamis Oriental. (PNA)

South Cotabato endorses development of US$ 12-M solar power plant project

Created on Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The provincial government of South Cotabato has formally endorsed the planned development starting this year of a US$ 12 million solar power plant project in Surallah town by a foreign-backed renewable energy company.


South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Wednesday they issued the endorsement to allow NV Vogt Philippines Inc. to begin with the preparations for the development phase of the five-megawatt (MW) solar power plant venture.


She said the project mainly involves the construction and development of an eight-hectare solar farm and power plant facilities in Barangay Centrala in Surallah.


At five MW, NV Vogt’s planned solar power plant would be the biggest photovoltaic power project in the country once completed, surpassing the one MW solar facility in Cagayan de Oro City.


Fuentes said the project’s endorsement was based on an earlier recommendation from the Provincial Development Council (PDC), which is the province’s highest development policy-making body.


The PDC, which is chaired by the governor, is composed of the mayors of the province’s 10 towns and lone, provincial government officials and department heads as well as representatives from accredited non-government organizations in the area.


“We endorsed the project mainly because of the benefits that it will bring, specifically in filling the energy vacuum in the province using the best alternative power from sustainable clean energy,” the governor said in a statement.


Fuentes said they also saw huge potentials with the venture in terms of job generation, increase in local tax revenues, expansion of eco-tourism opportunities and enhancement of local and foreign investors’ confidence to the area.


Considering the massive investment that the company will contribute to the local economy, she said the local government initially offered a 10-year tax exemption to NV Vogt as incentive pending the revision of the province’s revenue code.


She said the provincial government will shoulder the costs of the concreting of three-kilometer road from the national highway leading to the solar farm as additional support for the project.


“We assured them that the province will exert all efforts to provide them with safe, secure and peaceful environment to conduct their business,” Fuentes said.


Aside from its initial US$ 12 million or roughly P535.49 million investment, the governor said NV Vogt signified to invest an additional US$ 10 million for the project’s expansion in the next few years.


She said the company committed to later fund the establishment of a training center on solar technology in the province.


NV Vogt is backed financially by the Berlin, Germany-based ib vogt GmbH. Aside from the Philippines, the company has offices in the United Kingdom, Poland, India and Singapore.


The company signed an agreement with South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) in June last year for the streaming of power supplies from the facility.


Socoteco I serves this city, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.


The electric cooperative signed the supply contract with NV Vogt to provide additional power supplies to the area and cope with shortage caused by the declining capacity of the National Power Corporation’s (NPC) hydropower plants.


In September last year, Socoteco I was forced to implement daily rotational brownouts lasting eight hours daily due to the reduction of its supply contract with the NPC by 20 MW or 12 MW less than the area’s daily peak demand of 32 MW.(PNA)

DOE chief vows to restore power in Davao Oriental in 45 days

Created on Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has assured that electricity in areas affected by typhoon "Pablo" in 2012, particularly Davao Oriental, will be restored within 45 days, Malacanang said Wednesday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing at the Palace, said that President Benigno S. Aquino III already discussed the matter with Petilla last Tuesday.

The President, during his visit to Cateel, Davao Oriental, one of the areas hit hardest by the typhoon, was surprised to find out from Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon that about 57 percent of the province is still not re-energized.

This led President Aquino to reprimand officials of some government agencies without mentioning any names.

“Now the DOE is clearly on point with this and Secretary Petilla has assured the full restoration of electricity in all Pablo-affected areas within 45 days,” Valte said.

“He will be submitting a memo to the President containing the details of his action plan,” she added.

Valte also assured that there will be no more passing of responsibilities among concerned government agencies which, she said, were responsible for the President's frustration. (PNA)

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