DILG sa LGUs: maglabas ng ordinansa vs reunion, mass gatherings sa holiday season

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2020   •   253

MANILA, Philippines – Inatasan ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ang mga local government unit (LGU) na maglabas ng ordinansa na magbabawal sa pagsasagawa ng mga reunion o anumang malaking pagtitipon ngayong holiday season.

Ayon kay DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing, ipapaloob sa ordinansa ang ipapataw na parusa sa sinumang lalabag sa polisiyang ito na layuning maiwasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19.

“The punishment for those who violate minimum health standard is dependent on the executive orders, ordinances or resolutions passed by the LGU. It’s always the basis for our PNP to arrest those who violate depending on the local ordinance,” ang pahayag ni Densing.

Sinabi ng opisyal na kakatulungin nila ang Philippine National Police sa pag-iikot sa iba’t ibang lugar upang ipatigil ang anumang mass gathering.

Magbabantay rin ang mga otoridad sa social media para sa sinumang magpapaskil ng larawan o video ng mga pagtitipong lalabag sa ipinaiiral na health protocols.

Matatandaang ilang ulit nang ipinapaalala ng mga eksperto na mapanganib pa rin ang pagsasagawa ng mass gathering lalo na ngayong holiday season dahil pa rin sa nagpapatuloy na banta ng COVID-19.

Una na ring iginiit ng pamahalaan na ayaw nitong magkatotoo ang projection ng health experts na lolobo ang kaso ng COVID-19 pagkatapos ng holiday season.

Payo naman ng Department of Health sa publiko na sa online na lang muna gawin ang anumang pagtitipon, pati na ang pamimili ng mga kinakailangang bagay upang makaiwas na mahawa sa COVID-19.

“I think, the reasons are basically the same. The increased mobility of people because of the holiday seasons. This is also why this is a warning to all of us that if we let our guard down, you’re going to see what we’ve been saying all along — the surge in the number of cases,” ang pahayag ni DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DILG defends decision to remove quarantine, travel authority requirement

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has defended the decision of the government’s task force on COVID-19 response to remove and ease several protocols and requirements for domestic land, air, and sea travel amid the pandemic.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to streamline protocols across all local government units (LGU) was made in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines and League of Cities in the Philippines.

Under the IATF-MEID Resolution No. 101, the travel authority issued by the PNP and the medical certificate from LGU health office will no longer be required for domestic travel.

Malaya also said that the RT-PCR test was never a requirement from the national government.

“First, we wish to clarify that the PCR test was never a requirement by the national government. It was some LGUs who required it. Now, under the new protocols, the PCR test may still be required by the LGU of destination,” he said.

“Travelers just need to check with their LGU if its required. But please take note that LGUs can only require the RT-PCR test and cannot require the Antigen or rapid tests as requirement for travel,” he added.

On the removal of quarantine requirement, Malaya said that they consulted with the health professionals and they recommended that no traveler shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine.

Only those who exhibit symptoms upon arrival will be placed under quarantine.

“Therefore, the health assessment of passengers or travelers supervised by medical professionals shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” he said.

He said that all LGUs, regardless if they require PCR tests or not, shall conduct clinical and exposure assessment at all points of entry and exit to ensure that only asymptomatic, non-close contact individuals are allowed to travel or move from one LGU to another.

The DILG issued the clarification after Vice President Leni Robredo criticized the removal of some travel requirement and testing protocols, saying it could trigger a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Malaya said Robredo’s criticism is misplaced.

“When the Vice President said that it was the locally stranded individuals who were responsible for the spread of COVID to the provinces, this was in the early days of the pandemic when our infection rates were high and compliance with minimum health standards were very low,” he said.

“A year later, compliance is now high, our active cases are low, and our people know what to do to protect themselves and their families,” he added.

Malaya said that they needed to streamline local regulations for domestic travel as well as recommend best options to encourage domestic travel for leisure to revive the heavily-hit travel and tourism sector and related industries while managing the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

He, however, reminded the public to continue observing strict health and safety protocols to prevent COVID-19 spread.

“Maging disiplinado pa rin po sa pagsunod sa physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette at pagsuot ng face masks at face shields. Disiplina muna para sa ligtas na biyahe,” he said.

Karagdagang 5,000 doses ng Sinovac, ipadadala ng DILG sa Pasay City

Freema Gloria   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na rin ngayong araw (March 2) ang pagbabakuna sa mga healthworker sa Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) gamit ang inisyal na 300 doses ng Sinovac vaccine na ipinadala ng national government.

Unang nagpabakuna sa nasabing ospital si DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya. Aniya, ito ay upang makahiyakat sa publiko na magpabakuna rin.

“Papaano mahihikayat yung ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung mismong yung gaya namin na humihikayat sa kanila ay hindi nagpapabakuna. Kaya namin ginagawa ito” sabi ni Malaya.

Sinabi rin ni Usec. Malaya, nangako ang Department of Interior and Local Government na magpapadala ito ng karagdagang 5,000 doses ng bakuna sa PCGH.

Dagdag pa ni Malaya, batid ng pamahalaan ang hamon sa lungsod ng Pasay kung paano nito nilulutas ang pagkalat pa ng COVID-19 sa lungsod. Kaya nais ng pamahalaan na mabakunahan ang lahat ng frontliners sa Pasay City.

Ayon naman kay Dr. John Victor de Gracia, ang deputy chief ng clinical service ng PCGH, nasa mahigit 400 ang kanilang empleyado, ngunit nasa 100 lamang ang boluntaryong nagpabakuna ng Sinovac. Karamihan umano sa kanila ang mas piniling magpabakuna sa vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer.

Gayunpaman, malaking tulong na rin sa kanila ang bakunang ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng pamahalaan.

“This is really a big help for us because this is another line of protection for us” sabi ni De Gracia.

Sa ngayon, nasa 77 na barangay na ang isinailalim sa localized enhanced community quarantine .

Tatlo rin sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa ay mga residente ng naturang lungsod.

Ngunit ayon kay Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto, gumagaling na ang mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant at bumababa na rin ang positivity rate o ang bilang ng mga nagpositibo sa lungsod.

“Doon sa barangays na may South African variant ay aming uulitin ang pagti-test upang makasigurado tayo doon sa naging positive at doon sa mga na-contat trace natin” sabi ni Mayor Calixto.

Nagdagdag na rin ang DILG ng mga contact tracer upang mas mabilis ang pagtunton sa mga nakasalamuha ng mga nagpositibo sa sakit. — Rey Pelayo

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

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