Regions Briefs: BFAR raises red tide alert in Puerto Princesa
Residents and visitors in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province were advised against eating shellfish after the red tide alert was raised in the Puerto Princesa Bay. This brought to 12 the areas nationwide where harmful algal bloom was prevalent, according to the latest bulletin from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). BFAR said shellfish collected in these areas were found positive for paralytic shellfish poison beyond the regulatory limit. The agency said all kinds of shellfish and krill-like prawns (alamang) from an area under red tide alert should not be harvested, sold or eaten. However, fish, squid, shrimps and crabs are safe for human consumption provided these are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs are removed before cooking. The problem results from the excessive blooming of harmful algae that produce toxins that are harmful to people and other marine animals, the BFAR said. Also on red tide alert are eight areas between the islands of Samar and Leyte, including coastal waters of Biliran province; Leyte province including Carigara Bay; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Maqueda, Villareal, Cambatutay and Irong-Irong Bays and Daram Island in Western Samar; Gigantes Islands in Carles, Iloilo; Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol; and Balite Bay in Davao Oriental. —RONNEL W. DOMINGO
PNP suing NPA over drug-related death in Davao
DAVAO CITY—Police said the man killed by communist rebels in Paquibato district was involved in the illegal drug trade. Senior Insp. Catherine dela Rey, city police spokesperson, said police would file murder charges against the NPA for the killing of Neptali Alfredo Pondoc. In a statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao, said the NPA “meted out the death penalty” on Pondoc, who was killed in his farm in Barangay Malabog. Sanchez said Pondoc operated one of the drug syndicates that traded “shabu” (crystal meth) from Diwalwal in Monkayo, Compostela Valley, to Panabo City, Paquibato and Calinan in Davao City. He said the operation on Jan. 23 was backed by a government-issued warrant against Pondoc. Dela Rey, however, denied any knowledge of an arrest warrant against Pondoc, even if he had surrendered under Operation “Tokhang,” the police’s antidrug campaign. —KARLOS MANLUPIG
Navy ship joins antipiracy patrol in Mindanao
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Philippine Navy is deploying BRP Andres Bonifacio to Mindanao in a bid to boost the military’s war on terror and piracy—particularly against the Abu Sayyaf and its allied groups. The 1967 Hamilton Class high endurance cutter, formerly known as USCG Boutwell of the United States Navy, docked here last week. Navy officials said it will be deployed as soon as the “shakedown mission” or familiarization voyage for its crew is completed. Navy Commander Brendo Casaclang, commander of BRP Andres Bonifacio, said the ship will patrol the waters off Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, along with BRP Alcaraz and BRP Del Pilar, as the military intensifies its operation against the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups. BRP Andres Bonifacio was acquired by the government under the US Excess Defense Articles Program last year. —JULIE ALIPALA
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