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Batanes governor orders tuna removed from Betty relief packs after Mindoro issue

Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco has ordered the removal of a specific canned tuna from family food packs ahead of the expected impact of Typhoon Betty (international name: Mawar), citing earlier complaints about the product from Mindoro Island recipients.

Cayco said the specific canned tuna—set to expire in 2025—was ordered to be removed from the packs of the Department of Welfare and Development (DSWD) by the national government, and are set to be replaced by another brand.

“Inatasan kami ng national na tanggalin ito dahil ito ‘yung naging issue sa Mindoro. Issue doon is bulok na raw, mabaho, maalat, at tsaka malansa,” she said in a report by Jonathan Andal on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

“Papalitan ng panibagong, ibang brand, kaya lang naging problema ‘yung pampalit ay wala pa hong barkong makapunta pa ho dito,” she added.

(We were tasked by the national [government] to remove this because of the issue in Mindoro. The issue there was that they were said to be rotten, pungent, salty, and fishy… These will be replaced with a new and different brand, but the problem is that the replacements have yet to arrive as no ships can sail here.)

Oriental Mindoro residents, who had received the food packs after the oil spill from the MT Princess Empress threatened fishing catch and livelihoods in the province, complained earlier this month that the tuna looked and tasted "salty" and different.

Batanes is among the dozen areas placed under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 1, which indicates that winds of 39 kilometers per hour to 61 kilometers per hour or intermittent rains are expected within 36 hours.

Typhoon Betty entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) early Saturday morning, and has since decelerated to have maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour near the center.

For her part, Cayco on Sunday made her rounds in areas under her jurisdiction, to ensure that the necessary precautions have been made ahead of Typhoon Betty’s expected impact.

The local government has prepared some 6,000 food packs, along with non-food family packs on standby which include hygiene kits, cooking materials, and sleeping gear.

It has also prepared wood and galvanized metal sheets should they be needed for rehabilitation efforts, and is loaning Batanes residents rope that they can use to reinforce their roofs.

Cayco is also considering a liquor ban in the whole province, as was ordered in the Municipality of Uyugan, to ensure that residents remain vigilant. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA Integrated News