Damage to agriculture due to Taal eruption hits P3-B

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2020   •   859

MANILA, Philippines – Over P3-B worth of agricultural products have been damaged on the first week of Taal volcano’s eruption, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

So far, the eruption has affected 15, 790 hectares of land and a total of 1,923 animal heads with an overall estimated value of P3.06 billion, a big leap from the previous report of P577-M.

The latest report incorporated additional damage in Laguna and updated reports from Batangas and Cavite which include high-value crops that were destroyed namely coffee, cacao, pineapple, assorted fruits and vegetables, rice, coconut, as well as the provinces’ fisheries.

The DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resuorces (BFAR) and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), however, is continuously assessing the affected areas for the impact of volcanic activities on marine life in Taal Lake and animals in the volcano region.

Based on the latest report, tilapia and bangus (milkfish) culture incurred losses of up to P1.6 billion worth; making fisheries the most affected commodity in terms of damage and losses.

DA urges households to engage in urban farming amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) strongly recommends urban farming as a way to spend quarantine time at home.

This is the main objective of DA’s ‘Plant, Plant, Plant Program’ spearheaded by Agriculture Secretary William Dar which aims to ensure food sufficiency during emergency situations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health crisis.

The program encourages private seed and seedling companies to join the project and help promote urban farming in Metro Manila.

The local government of Quezon City, for example, has set up a demo farm within the City Hall compound where a variety of vegetables are grown.

The area can be accessed through Elliptical Road and Kalayaan Avenue.

The facility is also giving away seeds and seedlings to residents of Quezon City who are interested to start vegetable gardening at home.

Garden Caretaker Ruben Marcellana said some vegetables in the demo farm are ready for harvest.

Growers may enjoy a fresh harvest in just a period of one month once they plant the seedlings.

Magmula sa seeds, one month po siya (From a seed, it takes one month)” he said.

Ang ginagamit naming soil is organic din (The soil we use is also organic),” he added.

Due to limited space, urban farming can be done on rooftops, in the garage or by the window using hanging pots.

Growing vegetables at home will cut time spent in public markets especially since movement is limited under ECQ. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano alert to level 1

UNTV News   •   March 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.

State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”

Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited. 

The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.

It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN

UNTV Cup players to join Wish Olympics

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2020

Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters

MANILA, Philippines — Players from UNTV Cup – the Liga of Public Servants – are set to join the Wish Olympics, a charity sports and entertainment event for the benefit of the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

Among the players are PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr. and Anton Tolentino, Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters, Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders and Carlo Gonzalez of GSIS Furies.

PBA Legends and UNTV Cup Commissioners Atoy Co and Ed Cordero, as well as PBA Legends Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Calaguio, and Willie Miller, will also be gracing the event and extend their support.

Spearheaded by Wish 107.5 innovator and public service advocate, Kuya Daniel Razon, Wish Olympics will be held on February 23, 2020, at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders

It is aimed at extending more charity works to the people of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna who have been severely affected by the explosion of the Taal Volcano.

Since the first week of the calamity, UNTV and the Members Church of God International, together with local and national government agencies have been carrying out medical missions and relief efforts for the victims.

Razon said he realizes the enormity of the eruption’s aftermath and that it will take months before the evacuees could carry on again with their normal lives.

This, he said, prompted him to think of ways to better extend assistance to the victims, and such is by way of the said sports and entertainment event.

PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr.

It will be participated in by artists like Morisette, Imago, Clara Benin, Jayda, The Juans, The Wishfuls, Rhea Basco, Mark Herras, JayR, Rayver Cruz, Ejay Falcon, Young JV, Jordan Herrera, Adrian Alandy, James Blanco, Albie Casino, Gerhard Acao and Axel Torres.

Professional volleyball players and TV/movie personalities such as Gretchen Ho, Kathy Bersola, Claudia Barretto, Gwen Zamora, Roma Joy Doromal, Che Sindayen, Jem Ferrer, Patcharee Saengmuang, Sandy Delos Santos, Aya Fernandez, Casey Da Silva, Ana Gopico, Amanda Villanueva, Nicole Tiamzon, Heather Guino-o, and Erika Alkuino will also team up for a friendly volleyball match.

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