Rappler Special Coverages

SPOTLIGHT VISAYAS: Daily news and latest updates from central Philippines

SPOTLIGHT VISAYAS: Daily news and latest updates from central Philippines


Visayas, in central Philippines, is smallest of the main island groups both in terms of total land area and population. It has only 16 provinces, grouped into three regions. While Visayas accounts for only 20% of the country’s population, two of its regions are among the five most populous in the country. It is home to the most vote-rich province, Cebu, historically considered the Philippine capital in the larger south.    

SPOTLIGHT VISAYAS brings you developing stories and special features from the regions of Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas.  

Bookmark and refresh this page for updates.


316 Metro Cebu medical frontliners test positive for COVID-19

316 medical frontliners in Metropolitan Cebu have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data from the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Saturday, January 22.

Cebu City councilor Joel Garganera, head of the EOC, said these medical frontliners were fully vaccinated, and are mostly asymptomatic and mild cases.

Cebu City is currently experiencing a notable uptick in its COVID-19 cases, following the holidays and the detection of 22 cases of the Omicron variant in the island this month. It is now under Alert Level 3 or the risk classification which limits the operation of non-essential establishments.

Garganera urged the public to continue adhering to minimum health protocols, saying, “Dili ni madala sa gobyerno, sa EOC, sa PNP o sa b[arangay] lang; this is a shared responsibilit[y], kita tanan adunay kalabutan sa pagsaka o pag-ubos sa kaso sa C[OVID].”

(This cannot be contained alone by the government, the EOC, the Philippine National Police, or the barangay alone; this is a shared responsibility. All of us have a role to play in the increase and decrease of our COVID cases.)

Lorraine Ecarma

Mandaue City mayor gets COVID-19 again

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said he tested positive for COVID-19 in a Facebook post on Thursday, January 20.

It’s not the first time Cortes contracted the coronavirus. In April 2021, the mayor took an RT-PCR test after experiencing symptoms. He tested positive back then.

Dili gyud ni malikayan labi na sa klase sa atong trabaho. Ug tungod niini, ipaubos ko sa mandatory isolation (It can’t be avoided, especially due to the kind of work we have. And because of this, I will be put [myself] under mandatory isolation),” he said.

Despite this, Cortes assured the public that they would continue to monitor operations in the city even while he’s in isolation.

John Sitchon

Eastern Visayas hospitals full of COVID-19 cases, region logs single-day high

The Department of Health in Eastern Visayas says most hospital admissions are mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

Read more.

Brynch Bonachita, Lance Lim

9 cops indicted over killing of Calbayog City Mayor Aquino

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted nine police officers for their involvement in the killings of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and his security escorts in March 2021.

Read the full story here.

Lance Lim

Cebu City encourages home isolation for mild COVID-19 cases

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on Thursday, January 20, urged COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms to isolate at home, saying the local health office would help them with medicine kits.

Rama, in an interview with state media Radio Pilipinas, said the city government has encouraged public and private hospitals not to admit mild cases.

Read more.

Lorraine Ecarma

5,000 travelers stranded by Matnog Port’s damaged ramps

At least 5,000 individuals traveling from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao have been stranded at the Matnog Port in Sorsogon over the last 24 hours due to damaged vessel ramps for roll-on roll-off and fast craft vessels.

Around 800 cargo and passenger vehicles idled on the highway leading to the Matnog Port as they awaited ramp repairs from 11 pm Tuesday, January 18, to Wednesday, January 19.

Matnog Port is considered the last point in Luzon for travelers on land-and-ferry trips to the Visayas and Mindanao.

Read more here

Lance Lim
Must Read

Negros Occidental’s biggest hospital swamped with COVID-19 cases

Negros Occidental’s biggest hospital swamped with COVID-19 cases

CEBU CITY: DTI sets limit on purchase of meds amid rising COVID-19 cases

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Central Visayas set a limit on purchases of over-the-counter cough and fever-reducing drugs, through a joint memorandum issued with the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, January 17. 

Currently, the DTI is limiting the quantity that an individual or household can purchase of the following drugs:

  • Paracetamol
  • Phenylephrine hydrochloride, chlorphenamine maleate, paracetamol
  • Carbocisteine

Read the full story.

Lorraine Ecarma

ILOILO: Governor Defensor thumbs down ‘no-vaccination, no-entry’ policy


Cebu province to give P8,000 per family to rebuild homes destroyed by Odette

Residents in Cebu province whose homes were totally damaged by Typhoon Odette will receive cards amounting to P8,000 for the purchase of hardware and materials needed to rebuild their homes.

In her virtual press conference on Tuesday, January 18, Cebu governor Gwen Garcia explained that these cards will have a unique QR code, which they can present to their respective local government units or partner general supply stores.

With these cards, they can then redeem galvanized iron sheets, fiberboards, and plywood.

Garcia also said that P1 million from the provincial government’s coffers has been distributed to the 36 towns in the province affected by the typhoon.

Lorraine Ecarma