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DOT, DENR, AND DILG DISCUSS REHABILITATION PLANS FOR BAGUIO CITY
The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), recently reviewed the rehabilitation plans for Baguio City.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “Serious concerns have been raised over the city’s seemingly unabated urban development and over tourism, leading to big city problems like traffic, overcrowding, water shortages, and growing pollution. But there is hope on the horizon. Just like our previous collective efforts have demonstrated, rehabilitation is possible when done properly and when everyone is convinced of the merits of sustainable tourism development. The current thrust of the DOT is to encourage everyone to #SaveOurSpots, instilling the culture of responsible tourism and greater concern for our environment.”

The rehabilitation will involve improving the 34-hectare Burnham Park. However, Sec. Puyat emphasized that she opposes the idea of constructing a parking building within Burnham Park’s premises. On the other hand, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that there are no plans for total closure of the place like the situation in Boracay.

Photo by Romeo Peralta, Jr.

TAYTAY SPORTS COMPLEX GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY
Senator Bong Go, together with Rizal Provincial Governor Nini Ynares and Taytay Mayor George Gacula, led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Taytay Sports Complex, which is to be erected on the 13-hectare former dumpsite in Barangay Muzon, Taytay. According to Gacula, once the sports complex is completed, it can serve as venue for international events and even serve as the home court of the Philippine national football team, the Azkals.

Five hectares will be allotted to state-of-the-art facilities such as the grandstand, oval, Olympic-size swimming pools, basketball covered courts and athletes’ quarters. The first phase of construction will be finished within the year, while the second phase will be completed in 2021. An estimated Php300 million has been allocated for the first phase of the said project, which the regional public works and highways office will handle.

Photo courtesy of Tacloban city government

TACLOBAN CITY GOVERNMENT PROVIDES PHP3.2 M FINANCIAL AID TO SCHOOLS AFFECTED BY TYPHOON URSULA
The city government of Tacloban gave Php3.2 million financial support to 64 elementary and secondary schools affected by Typhoon Ursula. According to Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the Php50,000 financial aid given to each headmaster is from the city calamity fund and is intended for the repair of facilities.

Based on a report from the Department of Education, 861 classrooms within the Eastern Visayas Region were heavily damaged by Typhoon Ursula.

Photo courtesy of DOH

FIRECRACKER RELATED INJURIES DOWN BY 35% AS THE NEW YEAR STARTS
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III shares that compared to the previous year, the New Year’s festivities, which started on December 21, 2019 to January 1, 2020, showed a 35 percent decrease in reported cases of firecracker related injuries.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced that around 160 injuries were reported, which was fewer than the 251 total number of injuries listed in 2019. In addition, there were no cases of firework ingestion, stray bullet injury, and death recorded. Based on the agency’s record, most victims came from Metro Manila (84), CALABARZON (13), Ilocos Region (12), Central Luzon (11), Cagayan Valley (10), and Western Visayas (10).

REGION 12 WORKERS RECEIVE PHP25 WAGE HIKE
Private sector employees in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) will be given Php25 per day wage hike in two tranches, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Labor Regional Director Sisinio Cano confirmed that the Regional Wages and Productivity Board approved the increase last December 16, 2019. In the first tranche, workers will receive additional Php15 upon effectivity, while a Php10 increase will take effect on Labor Day, May 1.

The new minimum wage for the non-agriculture sector will be Php336, while that the agriculture, retail, and service sector will be Php315. The last wage adjustment in the region was in May 2018 where workers in the non-agriculture sector were given Php311, while the wage in the agriculture, retail, and service sector was pegged at Php290.

Photo courtesy of Cebu City PIO FB Page

CEBU CITY: ONE OF THE TOP 100 DESTINATIONS WORLDWIDE
The Philippines made it to the list of the Top 100 City Destinations Worldwide of Euromonitor International. According to the market research agency, Cebu City took the 77th spot ahead of Auckland, New Zealand at 78th. With 3,539.6 estimated tourist arrivals based on part-year data, the study added that the Queen City of the South has shown 26.2 percent growth in 2019. Cebu City is the only city in the Philippines that was included in the list.

Asian cities in the top 10 include Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macau, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. Euromonitor International also cited the following as “cities to watch”: Singapore; Delhi, India; Hurgada, Egypt; and Fukuoka, Japan.

Photo courtesy of Meralco

ONE MERALCO FOUNDATION HELPS TAAL VOLCANO VICTIMS THROUGH MOBILE CHARGING STATION
One Meralco Foundation (OMF), the corporate social responsibility arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), built solar-powered mobile charging stations to help 3,000 families displaced by the Taal Volcano eruption.

The foundation, together with Meralco employees, distributed relief goods for victims housed at Batangas Sports Complex in Batangas City, and the City Evacuation Center and PUP Gymnasium in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. OMF said that they will setup other mobile power station in other evacuation centers.

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