Duterte to join high-level general debate in UN General Assembly

Maris Federez   •   September 20, 2021   •   1003

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will once again participate in the high-level general debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to be held on Sept. 21 to 27.

“The President will speak on the first day of the High-Level General Debate on 21 September 2021 within the 1600H-1800H window, New York time (22 September 2021 between 0400H and 0600H, Philippine Standard Time),” Malacañang said in a statement Sunday.

The President is expected to discuss, among other topics, the Philippines’ position on “global issues of key concern namely universal access to Covid-19 vaccines, climate change, human rights, including the situation of migrant workers and refugees, and international and regional security developments.”

The high-level general debate will be presided over by the incoming president of the 76th UNGA, H.E. Abdulla Shahid of Maldives.

It will follow a hybrid format of in-person and virtual attendance of delegates, in view of the evolving situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UNGA is the main deliberating organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented.

The 2021 session will center on the theme, “Building resilience through hope – to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.”

Ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila bukas na sa publiko pero mga bata, bawal sa ilang parke

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bukas na sa publiko ang ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila kasunod ng pagsasailalim sa rehiyon sa COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Kabilang sa mga binuksang pasilidad ay ang Quezon Memorial Circle, kung saan pinapayagan ang pagpasok ng mga bata basta’t may kasamang magulang o adult guardian.

Maaari ring kumain sa parke at bukas ang playground para sa mga batang gustong maglaro.

May mga nag-iikot namang security personnel upang masegurong nasusunod ng mga bisita ang ipinatutupad na public health protocols.

Malawak ang Quezon Memorial Circle at maaari itong pagdarausan ng individual exercise.

Bukas ang lugar mula alas-5 ng umaga hanggang alas-8 ng gabi.

Sa Maynila naman, bukas rin ang Luneta at Paco Park mula alas-5 ng umaga para sa mga nais mamasyal at mag-ehersisyo sa liwasan.

Ngunit ayon sa National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), bawal pa rin ang pagpasok sa Rizal Park ng mga menor de edad kahit sila ay mag-e-ehersisyo.

“Sa ngayon po, dahil po sa IATF guidelines ay hindi po muna natin ina-allow ang mga bata sa parks and then, yung pagdating naman din po sa pagkain, hindi pa rin po nag-a-allow ng picnic po sa park,” ang paliwanag ni Florizza Buclatin, ang chief of staff ng NPDC.

Sa Intramuros, tumatanggap na rin ng bisita ang Baluarte de San Diego at Fort Santiago pero bawal pa rin ang mga menor de edad.

Bukas ang Fort Santiago mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-7 ng gabi habang ang Baluarte de San Diego naman ay bukas mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-6 ng gabi.

Bukas ang mga pasyalang ito, bakunado man o hindi kontra COVID-19.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa mga bisita, kailangan pa ring nakasuot ng face mask, iwasan ang overcrowding at panatilihin ang physical distancing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Business recovery very likely as restrictions ease — employers group

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is confident that businesses will be able to recover soon as alert level restrictions begin to ease in selected areas in the country.

ECOP said that business owners are seeing gradual recovery from losses as protocols to counter the spread of COVID-19 relax.

“Kapag nagnonormal yung restrictions mag-uumpisa nang kumita ang mga iyan,” said ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.

Ortiz-Luis added that it is now time for the government to allow companies to operate with a larger percentage of their workforce to help them recover.

He said all it takes for them is to implement stricter health protocols in their areas of employment.

Employers must also not make vaccination status a basis for accepting employees returning for work.

“Kapag tinanong mo meron din ilan-ilang nagpa-positve sa workplace eh. Pero kapag ininspeksiyon mo saan nakuha, hindi naman doon sa workplace eh. Nakuha sa paghanap ng sasakyan, pagpila sa kung ano-anong pinipilahan,” Ortiz-Luis said.

“Napakaraming pila: pila sa ayuda, pila sa COMELEC, pila sa paghanap ng sasakyan, paglalakad, pagtitipon, paghahanap ng pagkain. Doon nakukuha. Hindi sa workplace. Bakit hindi mo papasukin?” he added.

However, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stressed that vaccination, alongside the efficient implementation of quarantine restrictions, is still the key to economic recovery.

“The continued decline in COVID-19  infection cases owing to the speedier COVID vaccine rollout and more effective granular lockdown will help underpin the economy’s gradual reopening,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Currently, the National Capital Region is under Alert Level 3 until the end of October, wherein several business establishments have been allowed to operate with limited capacity. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Dominguez tells DOF, attached agencies to prepare back-to-office plans

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the department and its attached agencies and state corporations to prepare their respective plans on transitioning work back to their respective offices.

In a statement, the DOF said Dominguez has emphasized that the back-to-office plans should strictly adhere to health and safety protocols being implemented against COVID-19.

The order comes after more than a year of shifting to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

Dominguez said that as more government employees get fully vaccinated, the DOF and its agencies such as the Bureaus of Customs (BOC), of Internal Revenue (BIR), of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and of the Treasury (BTr); Insurance Commission (IC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other attached organizations should gradually shift to working normally in their respective offices.

The transition plans, Dominguez said, should include testing protocols for employees and their immediate families, and seminars to educate them on how to return safely to full-time office work.

“I think that we should already have a plan for transitioning back into working normally. In other words, back-to-office work,” Dominguez said during a recent executive committee (Execom) meeting.

“I’d like everybody to start working on this plan already assuming that we’re going to have to live with this virus,” he added.

The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has yet to allow the full transition to back-to-office arrangements with the National Capital Region (NCR) now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 3 status.

The DOF said that 76.6 percent of its employees have been fully vaccinated, as of October 8.

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