IATF to study mayors’ bid to retain Metro Manila under GCQ after Sept. 30 – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020   •   600

MANILA, Philippines – Most mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are in favor of extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) being implemented in the region, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

Año said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Sunday, Sept. 27 to discuss the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council on the next quarantine status in NCR by October.

“Maraming mga mayors ng NCR ang gusto pa rin mag-GCQ pero depende pa rin sa usapan sa Sunday,” he said.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30 as earlier recommended by the IATF and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Año said they will thoroughly discuss the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal in order to balance the factors of public health and economy which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dalawa ‘yan: mahigpit na MGCQ o maluwag na GCQ. Kapag titignan mo mas maganda talaga na naka-GCQ tayo kahit magluwag ka ng konti pero meron kang talagang mas mataaas na panuntunan kaysa yung nag MGCQ ka pagkatapos hihigpitan mo,” he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that Metro Manila could be placed under modified GCQ as this would allow the reopening of more industries to help revive the economy.

The IATF is also set to meet with Duterte on Sunday night to discuss the next quarantine classifications in NCR. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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.

Karagdagang 5,000 doses ng Sinovac, ipadadala ng DILG sa Pasay City

Freema Gloria   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na rin ngayong araw (March 2) ang pagbabakuna sa mga healthworker sa Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) gamit ang inisyal na 300 doses ng Sinovac vaccine na ipinadala ng national government.

Unang nagpabakuna sa nasabing ospital si DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya. Aniya, ito ay upang makahiyakat sa publiko na magpabakuna rin.

“Papaano mahihikayat yung ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung mismong yung gaya namin na humihikayat sa kanila ay hindi nagpapabakuna. Kaya namin ginagawa ito” sabi ni Malaya.

Sinabi rin ni Usec. Malaya, nangako ang Department of Interior and Local Government na magpapadala ito ng karagdagang 5,000 doses ng bakuna sa PCGH.

Dagdag pa ni Malaya, batid ng pamahalaan ang hamon sa lungsod ng Pasay kung paano nito nilulutas ang pagkalat pa ng COVID-19 sa lungsod. Kaya nais ng pamahalaan na mabakunahan ang lahat ng frontliners sa Pasay City.

Ayon naman kay Dr. John Victor de Gracia, ang deputy chief ng clinical service ng PCGH, nasa mahigit 400 ang kanilang empleyado, ngunit nasa 100 lamang ang boluntaryong nagpabakuna ng Sinovac. Karamihan umano sa kanila ang mas piniling magpabakuna sa vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer.

Gayunpaman, malaking tulong na rin sa kanila ang bakunang ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng pamahalaan.

“This is really a big help for us because this is another line of protection for us” sabi ni De Gracia.

Sa ngayon, nasa 77 na barangay na ang isinailalim sa localized enhanced community quarantine .

Tatlo rin sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa ay mga residente ng naturang lungsod.

Ngunit ayon kay Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto, gumagaling na ang mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant at bumababa na rin ang positivity rate o ang bilang ng mga nagpositibo sa lungsod.

“Doon sa barangays na may South African variant ay aming uulitin ang pagti-test upang makasigurado tayo doon sa naging positive at doon sa mga na-contat trace natin” sabi ni Mayor Calixto.

Nagdagdag na rin ang DILG ng mga contact tracer upang mas mabilis ang pagtunton sa mga nakasalamuha ng mga nagpositibo sa sakit. — Rey Pelayo

Duterte to consider nationwide MGCQ if vaccine supply is enough

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to further ease quarantine restrictions in the country particularly in Metro Manila.

“I am considering it. Our economy is really down, as in down so the earlier na mabilisan itong vaccine, the better,” he said.

However, he wants to make sure first that there is enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines not only in Metro Manila but in all provinces before he allows the full reopening of the country’s economy to prevent further decline.

“If the vaccine is available to anybody for one reason or another, sa mga probinsiya na-distribute na ‘yan kasi hindi naman mag-abot ng 110 million. Sa estimate nila it’s about 40 million. Kung maka-hit tayo ng 40 million o nandiyan na ‘yong vaccine, maski mag — mayroon tayong mga 20, 30 (million) bubuksan ko na.” the President said.

President Duterte acknowledges the people’s need to work to be able to eat and survive and this will only be sustained by reopening the economy and also to allow business to regrow.

Over the weekend, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the National Capital Region and some other areas will remain under general community quarantine on March 1.

The rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine.

Recommendations placing NCR under MGCQ were also raised, however, the President responded that without vaccine rollout, no MGCQ will be declared.

On Sunday (February 28), China’s donation of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine has arrived in the country and the government is expected to begin vaccine rollout on Monday (March 1). MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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