House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020   •   525

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC

Daily COVID-19 cases sa NCR, posibleng madoble kung hindi magpapatupad ng hard lockdown — OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang OCTA Research group na dapat magpatupad ang pamahalaan ng “circuit breaker” lockdown upang mapigil ang posibilidad ng lubhang pagkalat ng Delta COVID-19 variant sa bansa.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye, maaaring magpatupad ng dalawang linggong enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) o kaya ay modified ECQ upang hindi magaya ang Pilipinas sa sitwasyon sa mga kalapit bansa nang kumalat ang Delta variant.

“What we’re envisioning is something along MECQ, ECQ. They will depend on the government and the amount of precaution we need… It was a precautionary recommendation because of an impending, clear, and present danger post of Delta,” ani Rye.

Sa pagtaya ng grupo, kapag hindi naagapan ay maaaring makapagtala ng 1,500 hanggang 3,000 kaso ng COVID-19 kada araw sa National Capital Region sa susunod na dalawang linggo.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. David Guido, nasa 1.33 na ngayon ang COVID-19 reproduction number sa NCR.

Halos kapareho aniya ito ng reproduction rate nang magkaroon ng surge noong unang bahagi ng 2020.

“It looks like it is manageable this time but it may no longer be manageable if we wait too long, before we make a crucial decision in our pandemic management,” ani Guido.

“We are averaging 1,000 cases. Two weeks ago it was just 600, and we thought it was decreasing, but something is driving the pandemic and pushing the caseload higher,” dagdag pa niya.

Dapat ding iwasan na umabot pa ang bansa sa worst-case scenario at umabot sa critical level hanggang 100% full ang hospital capacity sa NCR sa buwan ng Agosto.

Kasabay ng mga paghihigpit ng quarantine classification ay ang tuloy tuloy at mas mabilis na COVID-19 vaccination sa bansa.

Inirerekomenda rin ng grupo na paikliin ang interval sa pagbibigay ng doses ng Sinovac at AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Ramp up vacination even while we’re on lockdown. We can still do it,” ani Rye.

“OCTA is exhorting government to focus on its plan, we believe its plan will work in which the NCR plus 10. I was told by Sec. (Carlito) Galvez some time in August, 2 million Moderna vaccines are coming through as a donation from the United States,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, inayunan naman ni Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion ang panukalang ito ng OCTA.

“If the government, DOH Secretary Duque will push for a two-week hard lockdown, we will support it because we will prefer to solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, then we will have to lockdown for months. That is the most catastrophic thing that could happen in our country if that happens in the 4th quarter,” ani Concepcion.

Una nang ipinahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kaniyang huling State of the Nation Address na kung kinakailangangan ay magpapatupad muli ng lockdown ang pamahalaan dahil sa banta ng Delta variant

Patuloy ang pakiusap ng mga awtoridad sa publiko na maging responsable, huwag magpakampante at magpabakuna na upang makaiwas sa mas mabagsik na Delta COVID-19 variant. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Close to 3,000 contact tracers trained; 1,800 deployed — TESDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has announced that the government has already trained close to 3,000 contact tracers and has deployed almost 1,800 of them.

During a virtual public briefing on Wednesday (July 28), TESDA Deputy Director-General Aniceto Bertiz said that aside from the programs allotted for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and individuals who lost their jobs to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, TESDA is also training individuals to become contact tracers.

“We were able to produce 2,978 contact tracers all over the country. Halos 1,800 of those are already hired sa mga local government unit (LGUs) (Almost 1,800 of those are already hired by local government units),” he said.

The TESDA official also said they continuously coordinating with LGUs and other industries for the new contact tracers to be hired especially amid the threat of the Delta variant.

Bertiz, meanwhile, said the free upskill training of TESDA will help in lowering the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country.

Hinuhubog natin ang ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng bagong kakayahan and at the same time, we are connecting them hanggang kabuhayan (We are honing our fellowmen to acquire new skills and at the same time, we are connecting them to have livelihood),” he said. -AAC

PH gov’t open to lockdown bid to curb threat of Delta variant — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is studying all options and proposals to prevent the further transmission of the more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the country, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said Wednesday.

During a televised public briefing, NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the government is open to implementing lockdowns in Metro Manila amid increasing cases of COVID-19.

“Nakita natin ang experience ng ibang bansa at kailangang maghanda tayo dito; kailangan lahat ng options ay maging open tayo kung ano ang puwedeng gawin,” he said.

Dizon made the remark when asked to respond to the OCTA Research group’s suggestion to implement a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in Metro Manila after its COVID-19 reproduction rate climbed to 1.33.

He, however, stressed that the government needs to balance every aspect as further restrictions will make the economy bleed.

“Pero siyempre kailangan ibalanse natin lahat yan at napakahirap po ng mga desisyon na ganito lalo na sa ating mahal na pangulo. Kaya kailangan guided tayo ng ating mga eksperto at pipilitin nating makahanap ng balansyadong solusyon,” he said.

He also said that the best move right now is to prepare for the possible new COVID-19 surge by further strengthening the country’s healthcare capacity and speed up vaccination against COVID-19.

“Hindi ko po masasabi yan kasi unpredictable ito. Nakita natin ang nangyari sa ibang mga bansa, walang naging handa. Pero pipilitin natin na maghanda ng mga supplies na kailangan natin, maghanda ng ICU beds, regular beds at maghanda sa mas madami at mas mabilis pang pagbabakuna,” he said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 18 million COVID-19 shots. Over 6.8 million individuals have completed their doses.

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