Gordon bats for reopening of Subic Airport for OFW repatriation efforts

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2020   •   762

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ricard Gordon has renewed his call for the reopening of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) to accommodate flights carrying repatriating overseas Filipino workers (OFW) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement on Sunday, Gordon pointed out that the Subic Airport is “very suitable” for receiving arriving OFWs because it has facilities for the accommodation, testing, and quarantine of repatriates.

He also said that the newly opened Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark can also accommodate a combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.

Gordon noted that more than 300,000 OFWs are expected to arrive in the next three to four months, and diverting flights carrying repatriates to SBIA would help facilitate their testing and immediate travel to their respective provinces after their test results have been released.

“Kahapon kinausap ko si Sec. Art Tugade at sabi ko Art, matagal ka nang nangangako sa kin, buksan mo na ‘yung airport ng Subic para diyan maglanding ‘yung ibang OFWs para ma-test na sila kaagad-agad,” he said.

Gordon also said that arriving ships carrying Filipino seafarers can dock at the Subic seaport.

“Dati sa Manila Bay sila nagte-test, ang hirap pumasok. Sa Subic, kalmado ang tubig kaya mas madaling pasukin ng Coast Guard ‘yung mga barko para makapag-swab sila sa mga seafarers,” he said.

Gordon further said that using the SBIA for OFW repatriation efforts could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.

“Once we have tested everybody here we can advertise to the whole world, ‘we have already tested all the employees here, we have tested everyone here so now you are welcome to come down here.’ And jobs can be generated right away,” he said.

Gordon said a P500-million budget has been allocated in the 2019 budget for the rehabilitation of the SBIA.

Pasay City mayor open to possible city-wide ECQ to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano on Thursday said she will not object should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decide to place the entire city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In an online media briefing, Rubiano said the city government is doing its best to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases.

She added that they have already looked into the idea of placing the city under ECQ upon learning of the detection of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, initially reported in South Africa in Pasay.

Rubiano, however, noted that placing Pasay City under ECQ will have an impact on the entire National Capital Region since the city is considered as a travel hub.

“Ang impact kasi ay nasa entire NCR dahil nakita niyo po at siyempre sa country na rin dahil nandidito po sa amin ang airport, MRT, LRT,” she said.

“Travel hub po kami at yung domestic air travel will be cancelled while international travel will be restricted,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rubiano confirmed that four residents of Pasay have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant but all of them have already recovered.

The mayor also said that the patients were under quarantine when results of their tests came out.

“Yes po, recovered na pero inuulit po namin ang kanilang swab nang makasigurado po tayo. Na-isolate po namin agad sila pati po na-contact trace,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on March 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility are set to arrive on Thursday night (March 4), according to Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

In a statement, Go said President Rodrigo Duterte will personally witness the arrival of the said vaccines. Go added that medical frontliners will now have the option to choose the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also confirmed it’s arrival, further explaining that the shipment is part of the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX facility.

The vaccines were initially scheduled to arrive on March 1 but was delayed due to “supply problems.”

Go, meanwhile, hopes for the continuous rollout of the country’s vaccination program and encouraged the public to register for vaccination.

Sana po ay tuloy-tuloy na po ang pagro-rollout ng pagbabakuna at dapat nating kunin ang kumpyansa ng mamamayan na ang tanging solusyon, ang tanging susi ay ang bakuna lamang para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay, (I hope the vaccination rollout will continue and we should get the trust of our citizens which is the solution, the key for our lives to return to normal),” he said. AAC (witth reports from Harlene Delgado)

Cinemas in GCQ areas to reopen on March 5 with limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Cinemas and other recreational establishments in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas will reopen on March 5, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Based on the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08, s. 2021, cinemas in GCQ areas will only have a 25% capacity and moviegoers will not be allowed to eat and drink inside. Facemask must be worn at all times.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a statement, said this is to help businesses to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as to provide more jobs for Filipinos.

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF, DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” he said.

Meanwhile, cinemas will be able to operate at 50% capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Libraries, museums, and parks are allowed at 75% capacity.

Lopez also reiterated minimum health standards will still be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, especially while the government continues to reopen establishments for the country’s economic recovery. -AAC (with reports from JP Nunez)

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