SEVERE TROPICAL storm Quinta intensified into typhoon category Sunday afternoon and was expected to make landfall over the eastern coast of Camariñes Sur or northeastern coast of Albay in the evening. In its 5 p.m. advisory on Oct. 25, weather bureau PAGASA raised typhoon alert levels in parts of Luzon and Visayas, and rainfall warnings were up in most areas of the country due to the storm’s wide trough. Emergency response and local government teams started preemptive evacuation in high-risk areas and sea travel along the storm’s path was also halted. The Philippine Coast Guard reported that as of Sunday morning, 649 rolling cargoes, 50 vessels, 10 motorbancas, and over 1,000 people were stranded in ports across the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas. Quinta will continue to bring rains Monday as it moves over the West Philippine Sea. It is likely to exit the Philippine area on Tuesday afternoon, according to PAGASA’s forecast.
600-bed quarantine facility for Calabarzon patients ready by mid-November
THE CONVERSION of the Calabarzon Regional Government Center in Calamba City into a 600-bed quarantine facility for coronavirus patients will be completed by mid-November, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced Sunday. The isolation facility will accommodate patients from the region, which is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. Calabarzon has the second highest number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVDI-19) patients in the country, after the capital region Metro Manila, with almost 11,000 active cases as of Oct. 24. DPWH said the converted facility will have 50 beds allocated to healthcare workers and the rest for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. It will be jointly managed by the Calamba City government, Department of Health, and Office of Civil Defense. DPWH has been fast-tracking the construction of additional isolation units nationwide using existing buildings, shipping containers, and other quick-build materials to augment limited healthcare facilities. Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, who heads the task force in charge of facility augmentation, said 357 of the 695 target facilities have been completed as of Oct. 22, providing 15,608 additional beds out of the 24,707 target. “The added bed capacity for isolation and quarantine will be a big boost to the government’s effort in containing the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Sadain said.
Peralta to ask court to fast-track resolution of Manila Water, Maynilad appeal
CHIEF JUSTICE Diosdado M. Peralta said he will ask the court to fast-track the resolution of the appeal of the two Metro Manila water concessionaires over the almost P2 billion fine imposed against them for allegedly violating Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004. “I’ll check the records, and then I will advise the member-in-charge to fast-track the resolution of that,” he told reporters in an online briefing Friday. Mr. Peralta has inhibited from the case as his wife, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta, is part of one of the rulings involving a fine on one of the parties involved. “But as a chief justice because that is your concern, I will confer with the member-in-charge to fast track resolution of the motion for reconsideration,” he said. The high court last year held Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. jointly liable with regulatory agency Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems for failure to connect sewage lines and install and maintain wastewater treatment facilities within five years after the law took effect in early 2004. The two companies have been ordered to pay P921.5 million each in liabilities, covering the period May 7, 2009 to Aug. 6, 2019. The water concessionaires asked the court to reverse its ruling, citing compliance. Mr. Peralta, chairperson of the Supreme Court Manila Bay Advisory Committee, said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has reported to him on wastewater treatment projects being undertaken by Manila Water and Maynilad, which he intends to visit. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas