T. Ursula puts over 23,000 passengers stranded in terminals, ports nationwide

Maris Federez   •   December 25, 2019   •   927

MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ursula has put several international and domestic flights and trips on land and sea canceled on Wednesday (Dec. 25).

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) data showed that more than 3,000 Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) and cargo vessels, 157 merchant vessels, and 46 motorbancas were stranded in different seaports in the country.

According to NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal, 63 domestic flights had been canceled due to Typhoon Ursula as of 12 noon Wednesday.

“Medyo lumakas po itong bagyo at yung mga dinaanan ni Tisoy noon parang ito rin yung dinalaw po ni bagyong Ursula,” Timbal said.

This left about 23,739 passengers stranded in several bus terminal, sea ports and airports across the country.

The onslaught of Typhoon Ursula has also caused several areas in the Visayas flooded.

Moreover, the strong winds brought by Typhoon Ursula left damage in a mall in Roxas City.

“Yung mga kasamahan po natin sa ground yung mga nasa Region 8 ay nagsisimula na po silang magconduct ng damage assessment dun sa area,” Timbal added.

The NDRRMC remains on standby for the latest situation report on Typhoon Ursula from the rest of the country. –(from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

119 smuggled live tarantulas seized at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have prevented another attempt of illegal wildlife trade by intercepting 119 live tarantulas this week.

The BOC on Friday said the live tarantulas were found concealed inside rubber shoes in DHL warehouse last Oct. 28.

The parcel, declared as “buty” — a Polish word for shoes— was shipped by a certain “Michal Krolicki” from Poland to a consignee in General Trias, Cavite.

“Through the vigilance of Customs operatives and examiners, the package yielded suspicious images, and was subjected to physical examination,” the BOC said in a statement.

Customs examiners uncovered different species of live tarantulas in individual plastic vials.

The seized tarantulas were immediately turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR WTMU) on October 29 for proper handling and disposal, the bureau said.

This is not the first time that the BOC intercepted smuggled wildlife species in NAIA.

In 2019, Customs NAIA intercepted 757 live tarantulas concealed inside oatmeal and cookie boxes and 87 live spiders inside white plastic canisters, both exported from Poland.

Tarantulas are classified as endangered wildlife species, and illegal wildlife trading is penalized with imprisonment of six months and one day to one year and a fine of P10,000 to P200,000 pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act; while unlawful importation is penalized with not less than 30 days and one day but not more than six months or a fine of not less than P25,000 but not more than P75,000, or both, if the appraised value of goods unlawfully imported, including duties and taxes, does not exceed Php250,000.00 under Section 1401 of RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The BOC-NAIA assured that despite the pandemic, it will sustain collective effort to protect the country’s premier airport against all fraudulent attempts to import and/or export endangered wildlife species, aside from dangerous drugs and other high risk and dangerous contrabands that pose threat to national security and public health.

COVID-19 testing service ng PH Red Cross sa NAIA, hindi pa naibabalik

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pa rin umano naibabalik ang COVID-19 testing ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) para sa overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na dumarating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ayon kay Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) head, Undersecretary Raul del Rosario, hinihintay pa ng One-Stop-Shop (OSS) ang opisyal na koordinasyon mula sa National Task Force para sa pagbabalik ng COVID-19 testing na ginagawa ng PRC sa NAIA.

Ang OSS ay joint initiative ng DOTr at OTS para magbigay-ayuda, kabilang na ang pagsasagawa ng swab testing, sa mga turista, locally stranded individuals at mga OFW na umuuwi sa bansa sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.

Habang suspindido pa ang serbisyo ng PRC, tiniyak ni Del Rosario na magpapatuloy pa rin ang pagproseso ng 12 laboratoryo sa swab testing ng mga OFW.

“There are social media stories about the resumption of the swabbing by Red Cross. As head of TGMROF, pending official instructions from the NTF Chair, the government will continue to render FREE RT-PCR related services to all returning OFWs. As what we have collectively done, we shall continue to aspire to give the most efficient service to these OFWs,” ang pahayag ni Del Rosario

Una nang sinabi ni PRC chairman, Senator Richard Gordon na ibabalik na ng Red Cross ang swab testing services nito na sagot ng Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) matapos bayaran ng ahensiya ang kalahati sa higit P1 bilyon nitong utang sa PRC noong Martes.

Noong nakaraang linggo ay itinigil ng PRC ang COVID-19 testing services nito na binabayaran ng PhilHealth dahil sa lumulobo nitong utang.

Ngunit giit ni Gordon, kailangan pa ring bayaran ng PhilHealth ang natitira nitong balanse sa loob ng susunod na tatlong araw alinsunod sa pinasok nilang kontrata.

“We are not waiting. We’re preparing a letter, saying we thank you for your payment, but we need you to pay the whole amount in accordance with the contract,” ang pahayag ni Gordon.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang tugon ang PhilHealth sa pahayag ni Gordon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

BOC destroys hazardous, unsafe goods worth P10-M

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has destroyed P10 million worth of hazardous, unsafe products that were illegally imported.

The BOC-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) reported another 24.6 tons of vape products, cosmetics, expired medicines/supplements, and other hazardous and unsafe goods were destroyed through the thermal decomposer (Pyrolysis) facility of the Integrated Waste Management Inc., in Cavite on October 17 and 19.

The said goods were imported without necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration and permits.

Port of NAIA District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan, in a statement, said the proceedings aim to address perennial congestion problems of customs facilities on abandoned and illegally shipped items. AAC

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