GCQ extended in Metro Manila until end of November

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2020   •   771

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until November 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement in a taped address to the nation aired on Tuesday (Oct. 27), after meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The President has also decided to keep Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City and Lanao del Sur under GCQ until the end of November.

Nevertheless, local government units still have until October 28 to appeal to the IATF on the quarantine classification of their respective areas for the next month.

Metro Manila mayors have earlier stated that they want to keep the GCQ status for the NCR until the end of the year. They, however, applied eased restrictions on movement, travel, and business.

Except for Navotas City, the whole of NCR is implementing lesser curfew hours to allow more businesses to recover.

The Philippines had been under community quarantine classification since March due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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.

Day 1 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout records more than 700 vaccinees

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of recipients on Day-1 of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Metro Manila has exceeded the expectation of the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is a solid proof of the success of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Based on the tally reported to Malacañang, the first day of the vaccine rollout yielded 756 vaccinees from six hospitals in Metro Manila:

  • UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), 128
  • Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center & Sanitarium, 85
  • Lung Center of the Philippines, 20
  • Veterans Memorial Medical Center, 353
  • Victoriano Luna Medical Center, 60
  • PNP General Hospital, 110

Prior to Day-1, only less than one hundred frontline workers in PGH volunteered to be vaccinated.

“Naging napakatagumpay po ng Day-1 ng ating national vaccination program. Kung sana po lahat po ay nagdiwang. May iba pa pong naiyak sa tuwa nung nakita nilang nagpapabakuna si Dr. Gap Legaspi,” Roque said. —/mbmf (with details from Rosalie Coz)

iNITAG rejects IATF’s request to include influencers among first recipients of Sinovac vaccine

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reported that the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF) had asked the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (INITAG) to reserve slots for CoronaVac shots for influencers to boost public trust in the vaccine.

The list of influencers submitted to INITAG include President Rodrigo Duterte, the members of the Cabinet, lawmakers, local chief executives, and other personalities.

INITAG, however, disapproved the request as the vaccination rollout prioritizes the medical frontliners in receiving the vaccines.

“Kami po sa IATF ay nag-propose na mga 50 na mga bakuna ay ireserba sa mga tinawatag nating influencer nang mapaigting natin ang vaccine confidence. Hindi po sumang-ayon ang INITAG,” Roque said.

The only thing that the Palace could do was to apologize to the local chief executives who had initially volunteered to be vaccinated.

Only three personalities from the administration were inoculated with the CoronaVac under the directive of the president.

They are National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer and Vaccine CzarSec. Carlito Galvez; NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Vince Dizon; and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Benhur Abalos who represents the local chief executives of Metro Manila. —/mbmf (with details from Rosalie Coz)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.