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Regional Updates (01/14/21)

Cagayan River dredging to start soon

DREDGING operations in three heavily silted segments of the Cagayan River, which partly caused heavy flooding in Cagayan province last year, will start by the end of the month or early February, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Thursday. In a press release, the DENR said the government is “all set” to remove three sandbars along the midstream areas of the 500-kilometer river. These three sandbars, which have a total volume of seven million cubic meters, are located in Barangay Bangag in Lal-lo town; Casicallan Norte, Gattaran; and Dummun, Gattaran. “This is a strategic move in the short-term while medium- and long-term solutions for the flooding in Cagayan Valley are still underway,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement. The DENR chief said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recommended the immediate dredging of three of the 19 identified priority sandbars because they restricted the flow of flood water to the Aparri Delta and Babuyan Channel. The Cagayan provincial government, in a meeting with the inter-agency task force (IATF) on Tuesday, has also lined up various projects this year to avoid a repeat of the flooding, which included the capital Tuguegarao City. — Angelica Y. Yang

Banaue mayor orders lockdown until Jan. 17 as mountain town records first locally-transmitted coronavirus cases

BANAUE, which had less than 10 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic last year, recorded its first local transmission cases on Wednesday. Mayor Wesley A. Dulawan issued an advisory on January 13 for a town-wide lockdown until January 17 for contact tracing and immediate testing. “Banaue has recorded its 9th  and 10th COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases today — both direct contacts of case no. 08 who is a direct contact of case no. 07… this indicates local transmission thereby needing urgent action,” the mayor said. A curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. is in effect and “ALL social gatherings” are prohibited “until further notice,” he said. Banaue, with a population of just over 21,000, is known for its rice terraces listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. — MSJ

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