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Regional Updates (02/02/21)

Fishing season for galunggong reopens in Palawan

THE three-month closed fishing season for roundscad, locally known as galunggong, in northeast Palawan has been lifted, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) announced Tuesday. BFAR said the resumption of fishing activities in the area is expected to stabilize the supply and price of galunggong and other fish commodities sold in the capital region in the coming weeks. “The province of Palawan is a major supplier of galunggong in Metro Manila with an average of 95% of galunggong catch landed in Navotas Port coming from Palawan in 2020,” BFAR said. Based on the price monitoring report of the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, the retail price of galunggong ranges from P200 to P260 per kilogram, much higher than the government’s suggested retail price of P140 per kilogram.

IMPROVED CATCH
In 2019, BFAR said some 653.66 metric tons (MT) of galunggong were caught by purse seine fishing method, higher than the 402.13 MT recorded in 2016 due to the implementation of the annual closed fishing season in the province. It added that 285.32 MT of galunggong were caught by ringnet in 2019, an improvement from 170.97 MT in 2016. BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona said the growing catch of galunggong in Palawan is a step in the right direction towards taking care of the country’s fishery resources. “This simply reinforces our firm decision to continue the implementation of the annual closed fishing season in the country’s major fishing grounds, which includes the galunggong-rich Palawan and integrate it in our holistic measures to fisheries management,” Mr. Gongona said. Alternative livelihood activities are provided to affected coastal communities during the closed season. Meanwhile, BFAR announced that two fishing vessels were caught violating the closed fishing season implemented in Palawan during the three month period from November to January every year in accordance with Joint Administrative Order No. 1 series of 2015, which aims to protect and replenish galunggong supply during its peak spawning season. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Iloilo to endorse ICTSI proposal to develop Dumangas port

ILOILO PROVINCE-PICAO

THE Iloilo Provincial Development Council (PDC) has agreed to endorse the proposal of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) to develop, operate and maintain the Port of Dumangas. “The PDC Execom will endorse the project to the Regional Development Council (RDC)without prejudice to the existing Supreme Court decision turning over the port’s operation to the Dumangas local government unit,” the provincial government said in a statement on Tuesday. The Philippine Ports Authority presented the ICTSI plan on February 1 to the council headed by Gov. Arthur R. Defensor, Jr. Dumangas Mayor Ronaldo B. Golez was also present at the meeting. ICTSI submitted a proposal to develop both the Iloilo Port Complex in Iloilo City, which is independent from the province, and the Dumangas port. ICTSI said in a statement on November 18, 2019 that the development of the Dumangas facility is necessary “to seamlessly handle the spill over from the (Iloilo) city port.” The company estimates an investment of at least P8.7 billion for the port projects. — MSJ

Transcom complies with Bacolod’s directives after COVID cluster at call center facility

BUSINESS process outsourcing (BPO) firm Transcom’s Bacolod office will be closed for 48 hours for disinfection in compliance with the city government’s directive following a cluster of 41 coronavirus cases among its employees. In a statement e-mailed on February 2, Transcom said it is “committed to continue in taking appropriate actions in unison with the local government” to ensure the safety of its workers, their families, and the Bacolod community amid the pandemic. The company also said all onsite personnel will now be required to undergo antigen testing every seven days instead of the 14-day interval implemented in all its offices. “Transcom has also transitioned 75% of its operations to work at home since the start of the 2nd quarter in 2020. The company spent more than $7 million in 2020 for business continuity initiatives that focused on ensuring the safety of its employees,” the company said.

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