Sunday, May 25, 2014

DPWH virtually clear contractor of collapsed bridge

MALOLOS CITY—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) virtually cleared the contractor of the bridge in Calumpit town that collapsed on Friday.

However, local officials are looking at the possibilities of filing charges that may lead the revocation of contract of the Wing-An Construction Development Corporation.

Engineer Jesse Obordo of DPWH regional office in Central Luzon said that they see no reason to file sanctions against Wing-An which is owned by a certain Engineer Shelwyn Lao based in San Juan City in Metro Manila.

“Wala namang violation, kaya walang sanction na ipapataw sa contractor,”Obordo said as he defended the contractor of the P166-Million bridge rehabilitation project.

He said that the collapse was an accident and only two workers suffered minor injuries.

Obordo said that while the project is originally expected to be completed last April 23, it remain on schedule as the implementation was suspended at least twice.

He said that first suspension on the project was first implemented when a temporary hanging bridge was constructed last year.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Angat Dam to hit critical level today

Angat Dam file photo by Dino Balabo

MALOLOS CITY-- Water elevation at the giant Angat Dam continue to drop and it is expected to hit critical 180 meters above sea level today, May 11, 2014.

This came as water elevation at the dam further drop to 180.12 masl as of 6AM today based on monitoring of the state weather bureau.

It dropped by .35 meters since yesterday when the state weather bureau recorded 180.47 meters.

Engineer Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant (Arhepp) based in Hilltop, Norzagaray earlier said that they will cut allocation for farmers irrigation when level at the dam hit critical 180 masl.

Here's record for water elevation at the Angat Dam in the past seven days. All are recorded by Pagasa at 6AM.

May 5--182.20 masl
May 6--181.92 masl
May 7--181.65 mals
May 8--181.31 masl
May 9--180.85 masl
May 10--180.47 masl
May 11--180.12 masl

Friday, May 9, 2014

CL on alert for rice black bug

Rice black bug.  Photo by Bulacan PAO

MALOLOS CITY—Ever heard of herding ducks in the rice field soon after crop gets established?

Well, that’s one of the solutions offered by the experts in further controlling possible rice black bug infestation in Central Luzon where ricelands are also being threatened by irrigation shortage due to possible long dry spell.

Aside from the above, experts also suggested intensive implementation of integrated pest management  (IPM), spraying of pathogenic microorganism called metarhizium, and raising water level on ricelands.

Based on records from the Central Luzon office of the Department of Agriculture (DA), rice black bug (Scotinophara coarctata) infestation has affected  2,820 hectares of farmlands in the region.

They said it remains under control but local agriculturist in Bulacan are not taking it easy noting that hot temperatures leads rice black bug to further burrow itself on rice stems.

Citing experts’ explanation,Gloria Carillo, head of the Bulacan Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) said that the bug used to suck sap on the rice stem and lay eggs on it.

“It’s an invasive pest species that attacks all growth stages of the rice plant,” she said in describing the bug.

At present, Carillo said that there have been sightings of the bug in the towns of Bulakan, San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Baliwag, all in the province of Bulacan.

Other provinces in Central Luzon showed greater impacts of infestation caused by the bug.

Records from the DA-III office showed that a total of 570 hectares of ricelands in the province of  Aurora were affected by the bug.

Also in Nueva Ecija (550 has), Pampanga (220 has), and Tarlac with 1,500 hectares.

Records also showed impacts on rice yields in affected areas ranged from 3-5 percent in Nueva Ecija, 10-20 percent in Tarlac, 20 percent in Aurora, and 20 to 40 percent in Pampanga.

Felicito Espiritu, head of the DA-III information office said that while affected areas in the region climbed over 2,000 hectares, the infestation remained under control.

Trapping rice black bug in Bulakan town. Photo by Bulacan PAO

He said that local farmers has been trained to conduct regular monitoring through surveillance using light trapping equipment.

He explained that light trapping equipment which utilizes bright lights attracts black bugs.

Records showed that rice black bug infestation in the country is not new.

It is first monitored in 1979 in Southern Palawan where an outbreak was recorded in 1982 covering 4,500 hectares.

In the years that followed, incidents were recorded in 1996 in Zamboanga City damaging about 2,000 hectares; in 1995 it became a serious pest in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); and in 1996, it moved to the provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

In 1998, rice black bug infestations were recorded in Davao Del Sur and Negros Occidental; then in Siquijor and Bohol provinces the following year.

From the year 2000 onwards, infestations were further recorded northwards.

Records showed that in 2000, infestation was recorded in Caraga Region, followed by Leyte in 2001; Samar in 2003; Sorsogon in 2005;  and Catanduanes, Albay and Camarines Sur provinces in the Bicol region in 2006.

By 2007, first infestation was recorded in the province of Aurora, then in Isabela and Laguna the following year; and in other parts of Luzon in 2010.   Dino Balabo