Community pantry organizers in Metro Manila urged to coordinate with LGUs

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2021   •   938

MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Manila Council (MMC) called on organizers of community pantries in the metropolis to have prior coordination with their respective local government units (LGU) to ensure that COVID-19 health protocols are properly observed.

While lauding the Filipino spirit of bayanihan as community pantries emerge on various parts of Metro Manila, the MMC, by virtue of Resolution No. 21-08 Series of 2021, underscored the importance of coordination to sustain the downward trend two-week growth rate of COVID-19.

Citing data from the Department of Health, the MMC said the growth rate of COVID-19 lowered to -5% within the period of March 21 to April 17 from 164% for the period February 28 to March 27.

“While the organizers of community pantries exemplify collective charity and concern for the plight of the underprivileged and are truly worthy of emulation, support, and praise, the primordial minimum public health standards under the prevailing community quarantine must remain paramount,” the resolution stated.

“The sacrifices endured and gains accumulated during the ECQ and MECQ must not be put to waste by a disregard of the prohibition on mass gatherings, observance of social distancing, and the wearing of face masks and face shields,” it added.

The council approved the resolution on April 23. The MMC is composed of 17 Metro Manila mayors.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos, who is also the concurrent chair of the MMC, said advance coordination would allow LGUs to set up measures to ensure the observance of physical distancing and other public health protocols in community pantries.

Community pantries’ adherence to the prevailing health guidelines is also part of the Filipino bayanihan spirit that it is promoting, he added.

“As the community pantries intend to extend assistance to our kababayans, let us be reminded that aside from giving food at this time, one of the noblest kind of help is making sure that they are not at risk of acquiring the virus which, at worst, can cost their lives,” Abalos said.

The MMDA chief also reminded that individuals aged 17 below and senior citizens aged 65 and older should stay at home, in compliance with the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

MMDA chairman, hopeful for NCR shift to Alert Level 3

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said he remains hopeful that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under Alert Level 3.

During a virtual public briefing on Monday (September 27), Abalos said reports show that reproduction rate and the number of active cases have decreased in the past three or four days.

“I’m always data-driven. Tinitingnan ko three to four days ago, talagang gumanda naman ang reproduction rate, growth rate, even ang active cases. Iyong active cases kung titingnan natin, it was at a high of about 40,000 noong September 15. Ngayon po ay bumaba na tayo ng 29,000, (I was looking at [the data] three to four days ago. The reproduction rate, growth rate, and even the active cases are improving. The active cases, we can see that it was at a high of about 40,000 last September 15. Now it is down to 29,000)” he said.

Abalos hopes that with the recent data, quarantine classifications in the NCR would ease. The MMDA chair said that the total bed and ICU utilization rates should also drop to allow a shift in quarantine classification. The NCR is currently under Alert Level 4 until September 30.

Meanwhile, the official also hopes that the number of fully-vaccinated individuals in the NCR would reach 8 million by October 26.

Based on the recent data, 15.7 million individuals have received COVID-19 vaccine, where around 7.1 million received the second dose. Around 8.6 million individuals meanwhile, have received the first dose of the vaccine. AAC

IATF amends guidelines in NCR alert level 4 restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (AITF-MEID) has amended the guidelines for the implementation of the Alert Level 4 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the revised guidelines will take effect on October 1 should the pilot implementation of the alert level system be extended next month.

The new strategy is being imposed in virus hotspots in the NCR until September 30.

The amendments recently approved by the IATF include allowing individual outdoor exercises within general area of residence for persons not required to remain in their respective homes.

Authorities earlier allowed outdoor exercises for residents regardless of health and vaccination status, but they shall only be limited to moving within their village or barangay.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of COVID-19 deceased shall be allowed.

Attendance to these services, however, will only be limited to immediate family members, the IATF said.

All contact sports, whether indoor or outdoor, will remain prohibited. Those being conducted under a “bubble-type” setup are exempted.

Personal care establishments and home services are still not allowed. These services include aesthetic and cosmetic services or procedures, make up services, spas, reflexology, wellness, and holistic services and other similar procedures.

Granular lockdowns effective in curbing COVID-19 transmission — MMDA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sees the implementation of granular lockdowns as effective in addressing COVID-19 transmissions.

According to MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos, since the implementation of granular lockdowns in the National Capital Region (NCR), the number of COVID-19 cases significantly dropped in the nation’s capital.

The official noted that the cooperation of barangay officials contributed a lot as they know more about how to implement the measure in smaller areas to contain COVID-19.

With the implementation of granular lockdowns, the healthy population can still move without risking the larger population.

Based on the data from MMDA, the number of active cases dropped to around 36,000 on September 19 from more than 40,000 last September 15.

Also, the COVID-19 reproduction rate in NCR slowed down from 1.90 on September 15 to 1.03 on September 22.

“This granular lockdown [ay] tamang-tama ng structure ng Pilipinas. Kaya nga I would say na it’s one of the things kung bakit bumaba tayo aside from vaccination. It is this effective use of the granular lockdowns,” said Abalos.

Abalos said that local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila are aiming at lowering the Alert Level in the region from  4 to 3 after the implementation of the pilot test of the alert system.

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