Adequate water supply ensured amid El Niño

MANILA, Philippines — With the recent passage of the Caregivers’ Welfare Act, caregivers nationwide may now look forward to better working conditions, assured benefits and protection against all forms of abuses, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said.

Estrada, who chairs the Senate committee on labor and steered the enactment into law of Republic Act 11965, noted the need to defend the rights and ensure the protection of caregivers against harassment, violence and economic exploitation.

“This law is a big step to ensure that the condition of our caregivers will be improved. A vulnerable but vigorous sector of our society will be protected,” he said.

“It is essential to protect them from any mistreatment. Caregiv ers are usually undervalued. They should be treated with dignity, respect and fairness,” Estrada added.

Aside from RA 11965, Estrada also stood as co-author and co-sponsor of several bills, including the New Agrarian Emancipation Act, One Town, One Product Philippines Program and Automatic Income Classification of Local Government Unit s Act.

MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Makati announced yesterday that residents of the enlisted men’s barrio or “embo” barangays are no longer qualified for the subsidized healthcare benefits of the city’s yellow card.

The yellow card program is an initiative of Makati, which provides free or subsidized healthcare to cardholders in city-run hospitals.

According to the Makati government, the move is in compliance with the Supreme Court (SC)’s ruling in 2021, giving Taguig City the jurisdiction over the 10 embo barangays.

“Following the decision of the SC, we regret to inform you that starting Jan. 1, the yellow card of those from the 10 embo barangays will no longer be valid,” the Makati government said.

“As much as Makati wants to keep health centers and lying-in clinics open, we need to shut down as their licenses to operate have expired,” city hall added.

The local government, however, clarified that govern ment employees with yellow cards may still avail themselves of Makati’s healthcare subsidy.

In 2023, the SC upheld its 2021 decision, transferring the jurisdiction of the 10 embo barangays from Makati to Taguig.

These are Barangays Cembo, South Cembo, Comembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Pembo, Pitogo, Post Proper Northside, Post Proper Southside and Rizal.

MANILA, Philippines — A motorcycle-riding traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) hit commuters getting off a bus along the EDSA Carousel in Cubao, Quezon City on Sunday.

Believed to be drunk, the MMDA enforcer, who was in uniform and equipped with a two-way radio, struck two passengers who alighted from a bus on the southbound lane of the EDSA Carousel, according to a report of the Special Action and Intelligence Committee for Transportation (SAICT).

The passengers suffered minor injuries, the report said.

The traffic enforcer was speeding along the EDSA busway when he rammed the commuters, according to SAICT.

Video footage uploaded by the MMDA on its Facebook page showed the enforcer was apparently drunk as he could not get on his motorcycle following the accident.

A bus driver, who recorded the video, sought help from officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assigned at the bus stop and apprehended the traffic enforcer.

The MMDA personnel did not yield his driver’s license to the PCG officers and told them to stop picking on him, saying he was also a law enforcer, according to SAICT.

The MMDA has yet to identify the traffic enforcer.

Acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said he has ordered an investigation into the incident.

“He might be terminated if he is a job order employee,” Artes said.

MALOLOS – Water supply for Metro Manila households as well as rice farms in Bulacan and Pampanga will be adequate during the dry months despite risks posed by El Niño in the first and second quarter of the year, officials said yesterday.

This developed after the water elevation at Angat Dam in Bulacan reached more than two meters above its ideal end-of-the-year level of 212 meters yesterday.

Manuel Lukban Jr., chief of the Bulacan disaster risk reduction and management office, told The STAR that Angat’s water level was at 214.2 meters as of 11 a.m. yesterday.

Lukban said that normally, when the dam’s water elevation reaches 212 meters on the last day of the year, supply for Metro Manila households and farms in Bulacan and Pampanga would be adequate for the coming dry season.

Lukban said the dam has been releasing 50 cubic meters per second of water to Metro Manila and 20 CMS to its downstream river system.

He said the water elevation in Ipo and Bustos dams were at 100.87 and 15.20 meters, respectively.

Ipo’s spilling level is 101.00 meters, while Bustos is at 17.35 meters.

Water discharged from Angat goes to its downstream river system and to Bustos Dam, Lukban said.

Due to this, dam operators opened Bustos’ spillgates to release 10 CMS of water to the dam’s downstream river system.

Francisco Clara, chief of Bustos’ water control and coordinating unit, said they started releasing yesterday irrigation supply to the dam’s north and south service irrigation zones, to flush out garbage that accumulated in the irrigation canals.

“Today, regular irrigation supply for Bustos’ service irrigation canals will start for the dry rice cropping season this year,” Clara said.

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