Philippine islands named top favorites in Asia by int’l travel magazine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2020   •   1361

The Philippines dominated the Conde Naste Traveler’s (CNT) list of top islands in Asia.

Cebu and Visayas Islands have been named among Top Island in Asia while Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said it will be a challenge for the department to continue advocating sustainable and responsible tourism practices that will help preserve these destinations.

“This latest citation from CNT gives us in the Department of Tourism (DOT) a boost of confidence, as we continuously carry out our strategies to gradually reopen domestic tourism, to once again welcome travelers from other countries when things become better,” she said. AAC

Duterte tells DPWH to relocate residents in no-build zones

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to coordinate with local government units (LGU) and other agencies in relocating informal settlers in Cebu displaced by Typhoon Odette.

In a pre-recorded meeting with government officials, Duterte said the DPWH should work with LGUs for possible resettlement of families who will be relocated from “no-build zones” or areas deemed dangerous to reside in.

“Alam mo you need to talk to the mayors — well, pati governors, but more importantly is how the mayor would govern his city or municipality kasi sila lang ang makaturo kung saan lilipat ‘tong mga ‘to,” Duterte said.

“Ang akin kasi, I do not want to dismantle or to destroy houses unless there is a relocation site. Malaki nga ang problema mo diyan sa totoo lang. When you begin to bulldoze those houses there, you have a problem in your hands and that is a social problem actually,” he added.

The president issued the directive as the DPWH reported about roads damaged by storm surge caused by Typhoon Odette, particularly the Santander-Barili-Toledo Road in Cebu.

DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado reported some portion of the pavement and even houses were destroyed after the typhoon hit Cebu, stressing the road must be constructed with permanent improvements.

Mercado said the DPWH will try its best to negotiate with the residents and convince them to relocate because of the dangers posed by staying near the coastline.

At the same time, the DPWH head said he issued a department order strictly implementing the road right-of-way provision of the law, as well as the no-build zone policy.

In a no-build zone, no structure should be built within the 40 meters from the centerline going towards the shore, he explained. In this case, the residents have violated the guideline because their houses are within the 40-meter no-build zone.

The DPWH said it will need P50 million to fund the permanent improvement, adding a seawall and drainage system have to be built to protect the structure from another storm surge.

“I am calling the planning and the finance and tomorrow we will — will continue to scour for money and hopefully we can report to you that — so that you will be happy, Mr. President. We will be resourceful,” Mercado said.

The DPWH chief said they have requested for augmentation fund from their savings but because of the damage, their request must be amended to fund the construction of the Santander-Barili Road section.

The project could be completed within three to four months with massive infusion of equipment and non-stop work of government contractors, he added.


Reported deaths due to Odette climb to 326, 58 missing – NDRRMC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of reported deaths due to Typhoon Odette has reached 326, the latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed.

In its report released on Friday, a total of 58 people were reported missing, while 661 others were injured due to the onslaught of Odette in many areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.

A total of 3,380,167 persons or 870,334 families from 5,508 barangays in 11 regions were affected by the calamity, it added.

Affected regions include MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen, CARAGA, and Bangsamoro.

Electricity has been restored in 149 out of 273 cities and municipalities that experienced power outages following the storm, the NDRRMC said.

Three cities and municipalities are still without access to water while 371 areas are still experiencing communication problems.

The NDRRMC noted that Odette damaged a total of 348,642 houses, around P3.9 billion worth of infrastructures, and more than P2 billion worth of crops, livestock, and fisheries.

A total of 126 ports were reported non-operational or had suspended trips. Of which, 72 ports resumed operations in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Region 5, Region 7, Region 9, Region 10, the NDRRMC said.

At least 1,353 passengers, 697 rolling cargoes, and 4 vessels were stranded.

A total of 343 cities/municipalities were declared under a state of calamity, the NDRRMC said.

China sends 20,000 relief packs to Odette-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 21, 2021

The government of China is sending food packages for those affected by Typhoon Odette in Visayas and Mindanao areas, its Embassy in Manila said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said relief packages worth P8 million pesos are on its way to areas devastated by the typhoon.

These areas include Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cagayan de Oro City, Surigao City, and Negros Oriental.

Each package contains five kilograms of rice, 10 canned food and 10 noodles pack, it added.

“Our hearts go out to all the Filipino families who were devastated by Typhoon Odette which has caused massive casualties as well as property loss,” the statement read.

“China will do its utmost to continue its firm support to the disaster relief efforts of the Philippine government and the Filipino people. We wish all those affected could overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date.” It added.

In addition to food packages, China also sent 4.725 million kilograms of rice to typhoon-hit areas.

The embassy said about 1.5 million kilograms were allocated for Cebu, while the 3.225 million kilograms in Manila will be transported to other areas.

“We thank the Philippine government, in particular the Department of Social Welfare and Development for their great efforts in urgently distributing these rice to those Filipino families in need,” it said.

Typhoon Odette left many casualties and a trail of destruction when it battered many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao last week.

Local authorities fear the death toll could still go up in the coming days as verification process continues.


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