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6.5 Quake in Samar; 2nd Quake in PH

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MANILA (AFP) – Philippine rescuers were scrambling on Tuesday (April 23) to reach about two dozen people feared buried under a building near Manila that collapsed a day earlier in a strong earthquake, as again a powerful new second quake hit the nation.

The US Geological Survey put the fresh quake on the central island of Samar at magnitude 6.5, which is stronger than the one that hit close to the capital in the north on Monday.

The authorities were assessing possible damage from the latest quake, which struck at a depth of 70km, but warned that residents should expect aftershocks.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake hit near Tutubigan, which is hundreds of kilometers south of the quake that hit near Manila.

USGS downgraded the magnitude of the fresh quake after initially recording it at 6.6.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Cebu Pacific said some of its flights had to be canceled after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) temporarily closed the runway at the Clark International Airport until Wednesday.

The worst of Monday’s damage was in the province of Pampanga, which was the site of most of the 11 fatalities, disaster officials said.

More than 100 others were injured by falling rubble, including in Manila, according to police.

The toll could rise as crews fanned out across the mostly rural region to assess damage in isolated hamlets that lost power and communications in one of the area’s strongest tremors in years. More than 400 aftershocks have been registered since the initial quake, Philippine seismologists said.

Scores of rescuers in the town of Porac were using cranes and jackhammers to peel back the pancaked concrete structure of a four-story market building where the Red Cross said 24 people were unaccounted for.

“Every minute, every second is critical in this rescue,” Cris Palcis, a volunteer sniffer dog handler, told AFP. “Time is short for the people under the rubble so we have to be quick.” Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda told journalists that rescuers could still hear at least one person trapped beneath the rubble, but the digging was proceeding delicately to avoid accidentally crushing the survivor.

The quake also damaged several centuries-old churches which were crowded with worshippers in recent days as the majority-Catholic Philippines marked the Easter holiday.

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2020 Public Holidays

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The regular holidays are:

January 1, 2020, Wednesday – New Year’s Day
April 9, 2020, Thursday – Araw ng Kagitingan
April 9, 2020 – Maundy Thursday
April 10, 2020 – Good Friday
May 1, 2020, Friday – Labor Day
June 12, 2020, Friday – Independence Day
August 31, 2020, last Monday of August – National Heroes’ Day
November 30, 2020, Monday – Bonifacio Day
December 25, 2020, Friday – Christmas Day
December 30, 2020, Wednesday – Rizal Day

Special non-working days:

January 25, 2020, Saturday – Chinese New Year
February 25, 2020, Tuesday – EDSA Revolution Anniversary
April 11, 2020 – Black Saturday
August 21, 2020, Friday – Ninoy Aquino Day
November 1, 2020, Sunday – All Saints’ Day
December 8, 2020, Tuesday – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
December 31, 2020, Thursday – last day of the year

Additional special non-working holidays:

November 2, 2020, Monday
December 24, 2020, Thursday

Malacañang will issue proclamations to declare national holidays for Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha after the approximate dates of the Islamic holidays have been determined.

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Philippines eyes bid to host 2030 Asian Games

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MANILA, Philippines — Even before the conclusion of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the government is already setting its sights on the Asian Games a decade away.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), said yesterday he would make the proposal to President Duterte.

“I’m preparing a long memo to the President to ask if we can bid (for the 2030 Asian Games). If we do win that bid, the host will be the administration after the next administration. So we will have a good 10-year period to prepare,” Cayetano said in an interview.

The opening ceremony of the SEA Games on Nov. 30 has won praise, although it has not been free of controversy. Cayetano believes that hosting another international event would be a good investment for the country.

“Remember, in 2023, we will host the basketball World Cup. And in 2016 or 2017 we hosted the World Cup in volleyball. Industry-wise, this will bring in big money and employment opportunities to Filipinos if we develop our sports tourism,” he stressed.

The Speaker said he had discussed the matter with the Philippine Olympic Committee president and Cavite 8th district Rep. Bambol Tolentino, who favored the proposal.

Cayetano suggested that the Duterte administration may pass on the bid to the next administration, and then to the next administration that would be in charge of the hosting.

“What is advantageous with the Asian Games is that venues need not be just in Luzon, and you can actually build facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao,” the representative of Taguig and Pateros pointed out, Philippine Star reports.

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DENR shuts down 4 open dump sites in Pampanga

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shuts down last week four illegally operating dump sites in this province.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns, issued the cease-and-desist order (CDO) against the City of San Fernando, and municipal governments of Bacolor and Porac for operating the illegal dump sites.

The open dump sites were located at Lara village in City of San Fernando, Maliwalo in Bacolor town, and barangays San Jose Matli and Matli Dos, both in the town of Porac.

“Poor waste management at dump sites poses serious threats, not just to the environment, but also to public health. That is why, we are taking our messaging to uphold proper waste disposal to a higher level to encourage communities, especially our local government units, to not make open fields as repository areas for wastes,” he said.

Under the law, establishment and maintenance of an open dumpsite is strictly prohibited.

The DENR found mixed garbage of plastics, diapers, polystyrene and even hospital wastes like syringes and tubings in the dump site.

Antiporda said the DENR is keeping an eye on the operations of illegal dump sites, since it bears a serious impact on the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“We cannot clean Manila Bay if we allow this,” he said, pointing out that dump sites have leachate, which could flow to nearby rivers and bodies of water.

The DENR also summoned the local chief executives and their respective municipal councils to explain the operations of the illegal dump sites and to present their immediate plan of action for the closure and rehabilitation of these garbage dumps.

“They [municipalities] were given seven days to explain the illegal operation of the dump site, as supported by the necessary documents, clearances and other permits issued pertaining to the implementation of the disposal site,” he said.

Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, provides that no open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including local government units, which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, is allowed.

Any person found violating the law shall be fined with P500,000 plus an amount not less than 5 percent but not more than 10 percent of its net annual income during the year.

But if local government officials and officials of a national agency are found guilty of violating the law, they can be charged administratively in accordance with Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code.

Meanwhile, Mayor Edwin Santos denied the existence of an open dump site in the City of San Fernando.

“We are not operating an open dump site. We only have the City Transfer Station,” Santiago said in a statement following the issuance of a CDO against the operation of the facility in Lara village here.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Regina Rodriguez also said no dump site is operating in the city.

Rodriguez said the former dump site has been converted to a transfer station when it was rehabilitated through the city’s greening program.

“We are fully implementing RA 9003. From the garbage collection, to the sorting and transferring, our system works. We are in partnership with the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp., which collects the garbage every day from our transfer station. We will never tolerate the existence of an open dump site here in San Fernando,” he said.

Rodriguez added that the transfer station was reviewed and approved by the DENR Region 3 pursuant to the Department’s Administrative Order 9, Series of 2006, or the “General Guidelines in the Closure and Rehabilitation of Open Dump site and Controlled Dump Facilities.”

Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario/PNA

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