CROP damage from rain and flooding during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) is now at P4.18 billion, higher than the previous estimate of P4.03 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. In a bulletin on Monday afternoon, the DA said Ulysses has affected 106,619 farmers and 106,489 hectares of land. Around 174,383 metric tons (MT) of produce were lost. Regions that incurred losses include CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region), Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Bicol, and Zamboanga Peninsula. “The increase in values is attributed to the updated reports from CAR, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon,” the DA said. Rice accounted for 50% of the total agricultural damage, followed by high-value crops at 22%, fisheries at 17%, and other subsectors at 11%. Damage to rice amounted to P2.07 billion. Some 69,534 hectares of farmland were affected and 130,412 MT of production volume were lost. Losses to high-value crops reached P932.93 million with 12,870 hectares of land affected and 35,731 MT of volume loss. Corn damage was pegged at P402.18 million with 24,096 hectares of farmland damaged and 8,240 MT of produce lost. Other subsectors that reported damage include fisheries at P711.95 million, livestock at P52.16 million, and irrigation at P11.86 million. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave
Labor dep’t orders work stoppage on Skyway project for accident probe
CONSTRUCTION of the Skyway Extension project has been suspended while the Labor department conducts a probe on Saturday’s accident that killed one motorist and hurt four others. The work stoppage order was issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to EEI Corp. and its subcontractors. In a briefing on Monday, DoLE officials said the investigation will determine violations on occupational safety. In a separate briefing, Occupational Safety and Health Center Executive Director Noel C. Binag said the proponent and contractors involved in the Skyway Extension project “failed to identify hazards.” He said, “I believe they were not able to assess the situation on the ground that is why they were not able to anticipate the hazard.” The operator of the crane that toppled might also face charges for reckless imprudence, but DoLE said the project owner, contractors, and subcontractors will be held liable for other charges relating to occupational safety violations. The stoppage order covers the entire stretch of the project. Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of proponent San Miguel Corp., said on Sunday that the company and EEI Corp. will be implementing stricter safety measures as he assured support to the family of the fatality and those injured. — Gillian M. Cortez
Go on a ‘creative crawl’ in Baguio
TOUR operators in Baguio are offering “creative crawl” packages that will take visitors to the mountain city’s arts and culture venues, including the BenCab Museum of National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera and Ili-Likha Artists Village of National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik. “Baguio is more than just its natural wonders, and we want more Filipinos to rediscover what UNESCO designated as a Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who visited the city last week for the ongoing Ibagiw 2020, a month-long festival highlighting the city’s culture and history. “Initiatives like Ibagiw will certainly help revive tourism in the region and jumpstart the local economy… Experiencing the Ibagiw 2020 festival ensures the bright future of Baguio’s creative economy while keeping its traditions and art forms alive,” she said in a statement on Monday. For the creative crawl, stops also include the following: Mirador Hill, a nine-hectare Jesuit property that provides views of Baguio and Benguet’s landscape; the Mandeko Kito Artisanal Market, an arts and crafts fair organized by the University of the Philippines Baguio featuring local talent in the Cordillera Region; the Museo Kordilyera; Pilak Silver Craft; and Tam-awan Village, among others. “The pandemic has brought on challenges for everyone, especially those working in the tourism industry. Creative crawls bring guests to places they may not have visited before, thus supporting more locals. This means no one gets left behind as we rebuild tourism,” Ms. Puyat said. For more information on the Ibagiw 2020, which will be on until Nov. 30, visit https://ibagiw.baguioartsandcrafts.org/.
For a list of accredited tour operators, Baguio City’s requirements for tourists, and other information, visit: app.philippines.travel, https://hdf.baguio.gov.ph/, and http://visita.baguio.gov.ph/.