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A week after their simultaneous raids in Lorenzo-owned companies in Davao, the New People’s Army rebels strike again this time attacking a mining firm in Mati City, Davao Oriental morning of May 6.
Like their early morning raid in Lapanday Foods Corporation in Mandug, Davao City last April 29, the rebels also raided the Mil-Oro Mining Corporation in Barangay Macambol, Mati City around 4:30 am Saturday.

About 15 heavily-armed rebels overpowered the guards and took away seven firearms with several rounds of ammunitions. The report said guerrillas also took nine handheld radios, three GPS gadgets, a laptop computer, a printer, a digital camera, two wristwatches and a pair of shoes.

The rebels also torched a total of 27 vehicles before leaving the area. Estimated cost of damage is placed at P109 million.

The military is now conducting hot pursuit operation against the rebels.

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The air quality reading in Davao Region has remarkably improved over the weekend after two days of consecutive rains which lasted for almost an hour each.

The Environmental Management Bureau’s Air Quality Management Section said that the particulate matter reading last Sunday was less than 10 micrometer while the microgram per cubic meter registered at 43.

This is an improvement from the previous reading of 65-93 microgram per cubic meter from October 17-24. Health authorities said that once it reaches 155 and more, then then the air quality becomes dangerous especially to those who have respiratory problems.

The EMB said that the air quality has improved from fair to good. The agency credited the improvement to the northerly wind and the heavy downpour during the weekend.

Asked how long they expect the haze to stay in the country, the EMB said that it will totally depend on the source of the haze. The haze is believed to have come from the Indonesia fires.

For now, health authorities said, people can still do their usual normal activities in the open air.

Those who have respiratory ailments are however advised to limit any outdoor activities and to wear the appropriate mask, in this case a N95 mask, that would filter out contaminants in the air.

Haze update in Davao

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The effect of haze brought about by Indonesian fires here in the Davao Region has somehow improved after a heavy downpour Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was not enough to totally eradicate haze throughout the region.

After Sunday’s rain, the haze somehow thinned down and patches of blue sky can already be seen.

On Saturday, a heavy downpour also happened in Tagum City where the 16th national jamboree of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines is currently being held with about 20,000 scouts from all over the country attending.

The heavy downpour also caused mudding in the camping area. The two consecutive days of heavy rain which lasted for less than an hour each, has contributed to the improvement of the effects of haze in the region.

Last Friday, health authorities said that the air quality in the Davao Region is still “good to fair” despite the presence of haze for weeks now.

Department of Health 11 senior health program officer Gloria Raut said that based on the latest air quality reading provided to them by the Environmental Management Board of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Davao air is still within the 0-54 and 55-154 micrograms per cubic meter range which means that the air quality is still “good to fair” or “healthy”.

There is still no health warning issued until now by the DOH 11. Those with respiratory problems and those who would not take chances are however advised to wear the prescribed N95 masks which are the same mask prescribed during the Sars-scare.

Upon checking at the weather this morning, we saw vast grey skies with still some patches of blue in the horizon.

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The air quality in the Davao Region is still “good to fair” despite the presence of haze for more than a week now.
Department of Health 11 senior health program officer Gloria Raut said that based on the latest air quality reading provided to them by the Environmental Management Board of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Davao air is still within the 0-54 and 55-154 micrograms per cubic meter range which means that the air quality is still “good to fair” or “healthy”.

GLORIA RAUT, Department of Health 11 senior health program office

Raut said that once it reaches 155 and more, then then the air quality becomes dangerous especially to those who have respiratory problems.

For now, she said, people can still do their usual normal activities in the open air. Raut said that the concern as of now is the haze’s effect on the airline industry which would usually affect the vision of the pilots landing their planes.

Asked what preventive measures they could recommend to the public, Raut said that it’s best to limit any outdoor activities and to wear the appropriate mask, in this case a N95 mask, that would filter out contaminants in the air.

It was learned that haze may contain air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter that can cause diseases.

GLORIA RAUT, Department of Health 11 senior health program
officer https://youtu.be/sYEf_t1585w

But aside from the airline industry, expected to be affected as well is the agricultural industry.
Maria FebeOrbe, Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao assistant regional director, said that according to studies haze can adversely affect the plants’ growth including agricultural crops.She said that considering that haze is a pollutant made of dust, soot, ash which can settle on plant leaves, its deposits will interfere the photosynthetic activity of the plant due to reduction of sunlight’s penetration to the crop”.

Add to that, she said, there are perceptions that haze can suppress rainfall.
“Due to the presence of aerosols which result to more clouds containing smaller droplets and are less likely to release rain,” she explained.

With this, Orbe feared that crops needing water to yield optimally will suffer reduction of production levels.
The agriculture department said that the crop that is most likely to be affected is rice especially those planted in non-irrigated lands.

For now, the Department of Agriculture could however not gauge as to whether there is a concrete damage to crops due to haze as early as now.

They are however considering the possibility of decrease in production levels. Orbe said they are already gearing up if such happens.

The Pagasa is uncertain as to when the haze will clear out in the region and the rest of the country but they assured that it will disappear soon.

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Local authorities in Davao Oriental have ordered an all-out manhunt against the person/s responsible for killing the 3-year old Philippine Eagle Pamana inside the Mt. Hamiguitan Range that lies in the borders of Mati City, and San Isidro and Governor Generoso towns.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon said she already ordered the provincial police to conduct a thorough investigation and run after whoever is responsible for shooting Pamana with an airgun.

Metal fragments recovered inside the body of Pamana indicated that she was shot with an airgun.

Mati City Mayor Carlo Rabat meanwhile expressed regret for the death of Pamana. He appealed to the residents of barangays Lanca, Luban and Cabuaya in the Mt. Hamiguitan Range to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and immediately relay to the authorities if they have information of people who may possess airguns in their area.

Governor Malanyaon said she will discuss with the police the viability of offering a reward money for anyone who could give information that would lead to the identification and arrest of the culprit.

TV personality Kim Atienza has also offered reward to anyone who has information.

Pamana’s body was retrieved last August 16 in Mt. Hamiguitan.

Jose Lechoncito of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources 11 Wildlife Section said that Pamana’s global positioning system (GPS) transmitter went into a “mortality mode” on August 10.

Mortality mode, he explained, is when the GPS transmission is no longer moving in one place. The following day, August 11, the Philippine Eagle Foundation readily formed a team and searched for Pamana.

On August 16, the carcass of Pamana was retrieved. Lechonsito said that the body was already in the advance state of decomposition.

Pamana was released into the wild last June 12, 2015 by the Philippine Eagle Foundation and the government of Davao Oriental province to commemorate the 117th celebration of Philippine Independence Day.

The ceremony was held at at the buffer zone of the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Barangay La Union in San Isidro town.

Pamana was rescued three years ago as an eaglet surviving two gunshot wounds. She was found in mountain range of Gabunan in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.

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The Davao City Central 911 Emergency is on standby while waiting for the latest notice whether or not a tsunami would reach Davao Region brought about by the quake in Chile Thursday morning (Philippine time).

Central 911 head Emmanuel Jaldon said that their emergency teams are on standby at a moment’s notice in case it would be confirmed that destructive tsunami would reach Davao.

As of the moment though, Jaldon said, it is not likely that waves reaching Davao would be destructive considering that the waves that hit the coast of Chile were only 15-feet high.

Jaldon said that they are however not taking chances and have already started preparing their people and equipments for any eventuality.

“We have protocols to follow in terms of alert status. As of now, we are monitoring possible distant source tsunami but unlikely because only a 15 foot wave was generated along the coast of Chile. The necessary early warning status will be issued of threat level will be heightened and the corresponding actions will be executed,” said Jaldon.

An 8.3 magnitude quake hit in Chile Thursday morning (Philippine time) which caused tsunami.

The waves might reach Davao Region thus Dabawenyos are advised to wait for further notice and be prepared for any eventuality.

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Haze from the forest fires in Indonesia have reached Davao Region.

This was the confirmation made by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Davao Region in a radio interview Monday morning.

Ben Rosales, weather observer of Pagasa Davao, said that the haze affecting Davao was brought by the monsoon winds blowing northeast from fires in Indonesia towards the direction of the Philippines.

Since October 3, Cebu has been experiencing haze. Davao has started experiencing haze since last week.

At least eight of the ten countries in the ASEAN region have been affected by the haze, including southern Thailand and Vietnam, and most parts of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The haze affecting Cambodia and Philippines is also suspected to have arisen from Indonesian rather than local sources.

Indonesia has struggled for years to contain forest fires, especially in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

The fires are caused by firms and farmers who engage in illegal slash-and-burn practices as a relatively inexpensive means of clearing land. Sumatra and Kalimantan possess large area of peatland, which is highly combustible during dry season. The haze has been particularly severe this year due to the El Niño phenomenon which has caused drier conditions, allowing the fires to spread more.