One of the world’s tallest flowers spotted at Masungi Georeserve in Rizal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2020   •   405

Park rangers at the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal spotted one of the world’s tallest flowers while doing maintenance work last week.

They saw the 8’7″ tall Amorphophallus rostratus or commonly named as Voodoo Lily after noticing a slightly unpleasant smell when the flower bloomed.

Experts confirmed the native species. An indigenous ranger said they call it ‘biga’ which locals cut and cook the stalk of in boiling water before eating it.

“Amorphophallus species are known as some of the largest flowers in the world by their inflorescence. At least three species of varying sizes have been documented in Masungi,” the post read.

There are 200 known species in tropical and subtropical climates; many like the Amorphophallus rostratus in Masungi are endemic to their localized areas.

The park reiterated the importance of preserving the forest.

“Truly this is another native wonder that must be conserved from quarrying and other harmful activities in our forests and protected areas,” they said. AAC

DENR seizes P3.2-M worth of agarwood

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized 20 kilos or P3.2 million worth of agarwood in two separate operations.

DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) and the NBI-Environmental Crime Division conducted operations in Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal last June 8.

Four suspects, identified as Ramil Ong, Bernie Bagay, Rizal Mofar, and Arjhun Gaviola, were arrested for the illegal transportation of the said high-value tree species.

“This clearly sends out the message that the government’s campaign against environmental offenders remains unrelenting despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc worldwide,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

The four suspects were charged with violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act. They are detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.

Agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials used in perfumery, costing at least P160,000 per kilo in the Philippines.

It is extracted from host trees locally known as Lapnisan and Lanete, which are both included in the national list of threatened Philippine plants. —AAC

Cavite, Rizal governors ask IATF to allow motorcycle backriding for married, cohabiting couples

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

(File photo)


MANILA, Philippines — Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla initiated an appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to allow motorcycle backriding particularly for married or cohabiting couples. 

In his open letter addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Remulla explained that because of the impact of the outbreak on businesses, many companies couldn’t prioritize providing shuttle services for their employees, at least in Cavite, and mass transportation remains limited which adds to the burden of workers and employees going to and from workplaces.

He noted that while he agrees with the national government in implementing strict social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which prompted a ban on motorcycle backriding, he appealed that exemptions be given to married or cohabiting couples.

Ang nais ko pong idulog ay mapayagan ang backriding sa kaso ng mga mag-asawa at nagsasama (I ask that you allow backriding for married and cohabiting couples),” Remulla said given that married couples live under one roof and sleep on the same bed.

“Kung hinahayaan po natin silang sumakay sa de aircon na kotse, bakit hindi po sila maaring sumakay sa iisang motorsiklo? Kung pareho sila ng kamang tinutulugan, bakit hindi sila puwedeng magbyaheng magkasama? (If we allow them to ride an air-conditioned car, why not allow them on the same motorcycle? If they sleep on the same bed, why can’t they travel together?]” he argued.

The Cavite governor said the provincial government is willing to provide a ‘Couple’s Pass’ which married couples may support with a marriage certificate.

Meanwhile, Acting Rizal Governor Dr. Reynaldo San Juan Jr. also made a similar appeal in an open letter to the IATF.

Governor San Juan argued that since transportation is limited during the quarantine period, motorcycles are the “cheapest and fastest” way of getting to work or to a destination. 

He specifically noted the plight of women who are compelled to walk long distances just to get to work. 

Dahil hindi pinayagan ng IATF ang backrider, napipilitang maglakad ang mga kababaihang asawa ng mga nagmo-motorcycle ng ilang oras para lamang makarating sa kanilang pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan, (Because IATF has banned backriding, the wives of motorcycle riders are forced to walk for several hours just to get to work)” San Juan said. 

San Juan ascertained that they will enforce the necessary measures for the protection of the riders and the general public should the IATF grant his appeal.

These include the strict implementation of wearing masks, presentation of proper identification cards, travel pass and marriage certificate to make sure that the proposed policy will not be abused or taken advantage of. 

Rizal village under 14-day total lockdown to curb COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay San Jose in Montalban, Rizal is under total lockdown starting April 27 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Under the Executive Order MDLH-044 s. of 2020, signed by Montalban Mayor Dennis Hernandez, the total lockdown imposed on the San Jose village will be in effect for 14 days or until May 10, 2020.

The order comes after the municipality recorded 10 positive coronavirus cases with one fatality. Barangay San Jose has a population of 200,000.

The guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases states that a barangay-wide quarantine is advised if there are at least two positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different households in the same barangay.

The order states that all borders and checkpoints boundary of the barangay shall be closed and no residents will be allowed to go out of their homes except for those accessing basic necessities such as food and medicine. They will only be allowed to leave their residences from 6 a.m. to 12 noon.

Residents working in manufacturing sector and retailers of basic food items and medicines will also be allowed entry into the village.

Banks and other essential establishments will also remain in operation.

Entry and exit of public transport, such as tricycles, habal-habal, electric trike, that are carrying medical workers will also be allowed, provided that strict physical distancing will be observed.

Local village officials have called on residents to stay home and follow the quarantine protocols. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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