Gatchalian, Binay test negative for coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2020   •   1402

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay

MANILA, Philippines – Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay on Tuesday announced they tested negative for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In separate statements, Gatchalian and Binay both confirmed they are not infected with the virus, and thanked everyone for their prayers, support and encouraging messages.

The two legislators earlier submitted themselves to a voluntary home quarantine after a resource person who later tested positive for the virus attended a Senate hearing they were both in.

The Senate was closed earlier for disinfection, but Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the upper chamber will remain “business as usual” to ensure that legislative work would continue even while community quarantine is being enforced.

Gatchalian said that with his negative test result, he is now ending his self-quarantine.

“After submitting myself to a COVID-19 test last Friday, I’m happy to announce today that I tested negative for the virus. Thus, I am ending my self-quarantine,” he said in a Facebook post.

Binay, however, said she will continue to stay home and finish her 14-day quarantine.

“I will still continue with my 14-day quarantine. Hindi pa po tapos ang laban natin kontra sa COVID-19, and we don’t want to have a false sense of security,” she wrote on her Facebook account.

The two senators also called on the public to seriously follow the regulations set by the government, including strict social distancing, practicing of proper hygiene, and home quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of work to be done especially in the middle of this crisis while the number of infected cases continues to rise. We must pool our resources together to fight this dreaded virus. Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat na sumunod sa mga panuntunan na inilatag ng ating gobyerno para hindi na lumobo ang bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19,” Gatchalian said.

“COVID-19 is a serious matter. Let’s take the necessary precautions in protecting ourselves for the sake of our families and everyone else,” Binay said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon region under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12.

The Philippines has so far recorded 142 coronavirus infections with 12 deaths.

Antipolo City market on lockdown as 18 tenants, vendors contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Antipolo City government has ordered the lockdown of the city’s public market after 18 of its tenants and vendors tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The lockdown, which started on Tuesday (June 30), would be in effect for two weeks, according to Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares.

The patients are now in isolation for mandatory quarantine while disinfection procedures are currently being undertaken within the market’s premises. 

Meanwhile, the local government unit has started distributing relief goods to other tenants and vendors affected by the closure. 

“Ang amin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan sa atin pong mga kababayan ay sana po sumunod tayo sa mga umiiral na batas ngayon, mga alituntunin,” appealed Relly Bernardo Jr. of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

[We constantly appeal to our constituents to follow health regulations, follow the law.]

“Siguraduhin po na nakakasunod po tayo sa mga protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng mask, regular hand sanitation, at physical distancing,” he added.

[Always make sure that we are following protocols like wearing of masks, regular hand sanitation, and physical distancing.]

Likewise, the LGU is asking for help from the private markets in the city to conduct COVID-19 tests among their tenants.

The LGU added that private market owners can request from the city hall should they lack funds. —MNP (with details from JP Nunez)

3 options being considered for Duterte’s SONA, Sotto says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Congress is considering three scenarios for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

In an online press conference, Sotto said the Senate and the House of Representatives have been discussing options on how to hold the SONA this year amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Option number one involves conducting a traditional SONA in the Batasang Pambansa, with the president and several members of the legislative branch in attendance but without guests.

Option number two is to have the president deliver his speech at the Malacañang while lawmakers convene in Batasang Pambansa.

Option number three will see the President staying in Malacañang while senators and members of the House convene in their respective session halls.

Sotto believes the Palace will prefer that the address be made in Malacañang to ensure the president’s safety amid the threat of coronavirus pandemic.

“Kung ano ang safest sa pangulo ang primary consideration sa pag-decide sa SONA setup,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Cebu provincial capitol closed for 3-day disinfection

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Capitol building will be closed to the public for three days from July 1 to July 3.

A memorandum issued by the Office of the Governor states that the three-day closure is to give way to a thorough disinfection of provincial government offices at the Capitol compound.

The memo also stated that work in the Capitol will be suspended on said dates but skeleton workforces will be implemented in essential services, including the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Provincial Health Office, and the security and administration offices

The measure came after 15 Capitol employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The said total breaks down to 10 active cases, four recoveries and one death from the viral disease.

Most of these workers are residents of Cebu City while two are from the neighboring cities of Talisay and Mandaue.

The Capitol building is located in Cebu City, which is now a coronavirus hotspot, due to surging infection cases.

As of June 30, the Department of Health Region 7 has recorded a total of 6,024 confirmed cases in Cebu City, 1,158 in Cebu Province, 792 in Mandaue City and 618 in Lapu-Lapu City.

Cebu City remains under enhanced community quarantine as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte during his late-night address on Tuesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Gladys Toabi)

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