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Abaca farmers to get promised assistance

The National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) is reportedly set to undertake next month the hydrographic survey of the proposed route of the undersea power cable to be laid between Presentacion in Camarines Sur and Codon in San Andres, Catanduanes.

Cong. Hector Sanchez said that the terms of reference for the contract has already been okayed by Transco and is set for bidding anytime now.

The survey will seek to determine the depth of the sea bed between the two endpoints. The congressman said that it could be as much as a kilometer deep, although a map I have shows a maximum depth of 204 fathoms or 373 meters off CamSur and about 67 fathoms or 123 meters in the narros passage between the mainland and Catanduanes.

Sanchez disclosed that the project, from the survey to cable laying, would be completed in two years although the timeline could be shortened to at least 18 months.

The company will have to consider the acquisition of the right-of-way on land as well as the possible encroachment of the submarine cable in declared marine preserve areas.

Regarding the project’s possibly being entangled in the PDP-Laban squabble, the congressman said he has already been assured of the project’s funding and implementation.


On the issue of the unreleased P121 million assistance for abaca farmers in Catanduanes, Cong. Sanchez said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already issued the Sub-Allotment Advice (SAA) in the last two weeks of June.

The funding will be released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which will use it for a targeted Cash-for-Work program specifically for abaca farmers affected by the destruction wrought by supertyphoon Rolly on their plantations.

He vowed to monitor the release and disposition of the funds, which “went missing” at the Department of Agriculture.

The DA officialdom reportedly preferred that the fund be used to procure abaca suckers for distribution to beneficiaries, a move which Catanduanes leaders opposed.


Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr. has lifted the curfew he imposed last June 2, 2021, saying that the object of the curfew has been served.

On that day the curfew began, the capital town had 23 active COVID-19 cases and six deaths. Viga and Bagamanoc had zero active cases then, while San Miguel had six, Caramoran 13 and Panganiban just two.

More than a month later, on July 15, Virac’s active cases have declined to 13, but the number of fatalities more than doubled to 13.

On the other hand, San Miguel’s cases jumped to 16 and Caramoran stayed almost the same at 14. In contrast, Panganiban’s active count shot up to 14, Viga’s number rose to 17, and Bagamanoc’s came up to nine.

Mayor Cesar Robles and the Panganiban IATF banned public gatherings and drinking of liquor outside residence at all hours and instituted a 9pm to 4am curfew beginning July 14.

Viga Mayor Bong Tarin also implemented a granular ockdown in barangays Oco and Rojas, with DSWD regional office and the province providing food packs to quarantined residents.

Last week brought in 28 new cases from July 11 to 17, bringing the July total to 133. This is more than the 104 recorded for the first 17 days of June.

Of the 97 active cases, 87 are quarantined either at home or at LGU facilities while 10 are admitted in hospitals, with two of them having severe symptoms.

Proof that the virus is spreading in homes is San Miguel’s five cases last July 17.

Four of them apparently belong to the same family in Balatohan.

In Caramoran, a few weeks ago, COVID hit one family, leading to the death of two members, including a retired principal. Several others were infected.


THE CLUNKING SOUND. A car mechanic received a repair order that read: “Check for clunking sound when going around corners.”

So he took it out on a test drive and, sure enough, whenever he went round a corner, he heard a clunk.

However, he quickly located the problem and returned the repair order to the service manager with the notation: “Removed bowling ball from trunk.”

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