RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão says that the ongoing military-led operation to curb illegal deforestation and fires in the Amazon rainforest will end April 30. Mourão defended on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum the success of Operation Green Brazil 2, which launched last May and saw deployment of thousands of soldiers across the Amazon, but critics of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government have said the military operation has failed to clamp down on rampant illegal logging. Conclusion of the program means environmental agencies will once again be responsible for monitoring the country’s rainforest, Mourão said, adding the region’s sustainable development depends on private-sector and international investment.
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Meanwhile, since March 14, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6)has not received from its various units across Western Visayas reports on pettystreet crimes such as snatching, bag-slashing, pickpocketing and the like. Very few buy-bust operations were carried out since last weekbecause most targets were not keen on making transactions, according toDirector Alex Tablate of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region6. Tablate also said the scarcity of buyers – mainly due to thecommunity quarantine – may have discouraged drug pushers from doing business atthis time. The operatinghours of night clubs, massage parlors, spas, casinos, cockpits, movie houses,computer shops, online gaming shops and the like are until 8 p.m. also./PN The six provincial governments – Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Capiz,Guimaras, Negros Occidental – in Western Visayas and key cities such as Iloiloand Bacolod have taken unprecedented steps to shield their areas from thepossible entry and spread of COVID-19 such as imposing border restrictions,closing schools, cancelling mass gatherings, and shortening business hours. On the otherhand, the operating hours of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, cocktail loungesand the like shall be until 8 p.m. only. “COVID-19 is adversely affecting illegal drug sales. Wala silang orders. Stay lang sa bahay ang mga buyers and users,”Tablate said. “Mahigpitang mga pulis sa pag-inspect,” the director added. Some target drug personalities did not have supplies likely becausetravel restrictions were making it difficult for their suppliers to transportor ship the supply, said Tablate. Theseshortened operating hours ordered by Mayor Jerry Treñas aim to further limitthe people’s risk of exposure to the virus causing COVID-19. PDEA-6 regional director Alex Tablate It appeared, according to PRO-6 spokesperson, Police LieutenantColonel Joem Malong, that petty street criminals stayed at home for lack ofprospective victims. Citing intelligence reports, he placed the drop in sales at around40 percent. She noted the dramatic shrinking of the volume of people going outand the number of public transport operating. In this city alone, shoppingcenters are operating on a shortened period – from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. only. ILOILO City – The virus causing a pneumonia-like disease nowcalled COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) may be scaring drug traffickers andpetty street criminals in Western Visayas. “Perhaps they’re scared of getting the coronavirus, so wala may mabiktima ang mga criminals,”said Malong. These precautionary measures forced people to just stay home, saidMalong.