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COVID claims fifth local journo in three months as Bacolod downgrades to Alert Level 2

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – COVID claimed its fifth fatality here in the media industry in the past three months as the city slipped to a downgraded Alert Level 2 starting yesterday, 15 November 2021.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia also issued today Executive Order 53 laying down new restrictions in compliance with the new alert level of the National Inter-Agency Task Force.

This urban capital was previously placed under Alert Level 4, the second highest under the new classification system.

As the new alert level swung into effect, broadcaster Ray Carmona lay dying inside a private hospital here.

He was dead before sunrise yesterday, around 4am, 15 November 2021.

Avelino “Butch” Gasper Jr, one of Ray’s friends who called him a “coffee buddy,” told DNX the veteran broadcaster already had kidney problems and was supposed to undergo a dialysis last week.

Gasper is a fellow broadcaster of Carmona dyKB Radyo Ronda, the local subsidiary of the formerly government-owned Radio Philippines Network (RPN), where Carmona hosts a two-hour Saturday show, Banwa Binagbinaga (Think About It, People).

Gasper said he last saw Ray two weeks ago, on a Saturday, when he subbed for Carmona who did not do boardwork for his 7-9 show.

“He looked pale and wan, he went home because he felt cold and was shivering,” he recalled.

Carmona was brought the day after to the hospital where he was swabbed and tested positive for COVID, Gasper said.

Ray is the fifth COVID victim in the local media since September when broadcasters Manuel delos Santos, Rushmore Ubas, Franklin Villanueva, and writer Jerome Galunan fell to the disease.

Villanueva also hosts a program on RPN.

SHORTER CURFEW, HIGHER CAPACITY

Among the modified restrictions Leonardia ordered are the shortening of curfew hours from the previous 10pm to 4am to the shorter 11pm to 4am one.

Social gatherings are now allowed in outdoor places to up to 70 percent of full capacity.

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CORRECTED: This article has been corrected to indicate a change in the title of Gasper who was mistakenly referred to as manager.

The current manager is Bong Tan.

Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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