Duterte to meet with DILG, LGUs to tackle gov’t efforts vs. nCoV, ASF, other issues

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020   •   334

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will meet on Monday all local chief executives and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to discuss government efforts against the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD), African Swine fever (ASF), and other issues confronting the country.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the president will meet with all 1,715 local chief executives and heads of national government agencies, including Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., among others.

Año said the chief executive called for a meeting “to call the attention of the local chief executives on various local governance concerns,” as they discuss the current public health and peace order issues in the country.

“The President will give direction on some pressing national issues such as the need for a strong local government response on the coronavirus and the recurring ASF in the country. We will hear all the answers directly from the President and the heads of national government agencies,” Año said.

The DILG chief added that the convention will also serve to synergize all efforts of the government in responding to the “most urgent predicaments on public health and peace and order” to ensure that every local government unit is in the loop with the latest steps undertaken by the national government.

He said a detailed discussion on the guidance on the proper protocol in dealing with the coronavirus as provided in the recently released DILG Memorandum Circulars 2020-018 and 023, as well as the latest update on the coronavirus are integrated into the one-day convention of local leaders.

“This is a good venue for the LCEs to raise their concerns sapagkat ang mga opisyal ng mga kagarawaran ay nandoon together with President Duterte. This is a much needed coming together of all LCEs lalo na ngayon,” he said.

The DILG chief said the meeting will also focus on the implementation of Executive Order 70 on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflicts (ELCAC).

Gov’t to allow motorcycle back-riding for married, cohabiting couples starting July 10

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has allowed motorcycle back-riding for married and cohabiting couples beginning Friday (July 10) under certain conditions.

According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, a motorcycle rider must provide a protective shield in between him and his back ride and both must wear respective helmets and facemask.

“Kailangan po ito for safety purposes at for convenience na rin po. So instead na nakayakap tayo doon sa driver, dito na po tayo hahawak [This (shield) is for safety purposes and for convenience as well. Instead of directly embracing the driver, we will hold on to this],” Malaya explained as he demonstrated how to use the protective shield.

“So kailangan din solid din ito at naka-bolt o welded doon sa motor para maging safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle. [This (shield) must also be solid and bolted or welded on the motorcycle to be safe for both individuals utilizing the motorcycle],” he added.

Malaya said the DILG will release an official design of protective shield which shall be used as pattern for motorcycle riders.

“Ang importante lang po ay more or less ay sumunod tayo doon sa design na inaprubahan at ito po ay made of solid materials [What’s important is that we adhere to the approved design and it should be made of solid materials],” Malaya said.

Both riders must have a valid ID and a legal document that proves their relationship as a couple which may be presented at checkpoints.

“Pwede pong dalhin nila yung kanilang marriage certificate o kaya any government-issued ID na nakalagay doon sa likod na relationship at name ng mister o misis at address [They may bring their marriage certificate or any government-issued ID that bears at the back their relationship, the name of spouse and their address],” Malaya said.

However, Malaya clarifies that non-related back riders are still not allowed and violators will be apprehended and issued with citation tickets. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte on reopening the economy: ‘We cannot afford to gamble’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The country is not yet ready to fully reopen its economy, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Chief Executive said the government is doing the process gradually, otherwise the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections would spike that could lead to a bigger problem.

He said he cannot follow the example of other countries because the Philippines does not have as much resources if the situation gets worse.

“Tayong pobre we cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium. Mahirap tayo. Hindi tayo puwedeng sumugal (As a poor country, we cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium. We are poor. We cannot afford to gamble),” the President said during his public address on Tuesday evening (July 7).

President Duterte cited situations in the United States and Brazil where despite being powerful and wealthy, are not spared from the impact of the pandemic.

“Although they opened their economy for money to come into the government coffers, there was a spike. They were having a problem of almost a relapse — in the totality of the number,” he added.

Meanwhile, the President expressed doubts that the country has entered the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.

“Now we do not even know if the number of 34, 178 of active cases is still a part of the first wave or have we arrived at the second wave. I don’t think so. We are still grappling with the first wave,” he argued.

He urged Filipinos to obey strict health protocols and have more patience as the government works to combat the pandemic.

Mga kababayan ko, ako mismo gusto ko nang lumabas. Ayoko nang magpapigil. Kung gusto ko nga makipag-away na ako. Ang problema iyon ang gusto ko, pero ang gusto ko ay hindi makakabuti sa ating lahat,” he said.

(My fellow countrymen, I personally I want to go out. I don’t want to be barred from doing so. I am even ready to fight over this. The problem is, what I want is not good for everyone.)

“We have to be very circumspect in reopening the economy. Dahan-dahan lang (Let’s do it gradually), because if you open the entire Philippines and thousands upon thousands of new cases would happen, then we are in deep s***. Talagang mahirapan tayo (We will seriously struggle),” he said. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

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