LRT-2 to shorten operating hours starting April 17

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021   •   285

MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) will temporarily shorten its operating hours due to the increasing number of LRT-2 frontline personnel infected with COVID-19, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said.

In an advisory, the LRTA said the shortened operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be implemented starting Saturday, April 17 until April 30.

“Consistent with the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), our Management opted to shorten the operating hours so as to help us prevent the further spread of the virus and avoid the possible paralysis of our operations in case the numbers continue to surge,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said.

Out of 1,944 total LRT-2 employees, 1,906 have been tested from April 7 to 8. Of this number, 273 individuals were found positive for coronavirus.

The LRTA said that only 56% are currently functioning among ticket management and sales collection personnel, and about 73% among train drivers. Some 68% of the station personnel are left available with the rest under quarantine due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.

“We have already isolated all the infected/exposed personnel, have implemented work-from-home arrangements for depot workers, revisited train ventilation and air-flow protocols, and ensured that all minimum public health standards are complied with at all times to avoid the further spread of the virus,” Berroya said.

He said that the reduced operating hours will allow the LRTA to still effectively manage LRT-2 operations considering the manpower deficit and allow COVID-19 afflicted employees to recover and complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation period.

The LRTA also noted that under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) being implemented until April 30, LRT-2 is expected to experience a significant decline in ridership.

“At this time of public health emergency, the welfare and safety of both our passengers and personnel must always come first,” Berroya said.

The LRTA appealed to passengers to strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols, stressing that “the road to beat the virus is a two-way street.”

Passengers are also reminded to always wear face masks and face shields, to be self-aware and socially disciplined, and to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.

Meanwhile, buses are plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) to augment LRT-2 operations and to help accommodate affected passengers.

The normal LRT-2 operating schedule will resume on May 1, 2021, the LRTA said

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DTI: Halos 200-libong manggagawa, balik-trabaho sa ilalim ng GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Maaari nang makabalik sa trabaho ang nasa 200-libong empleyado matapos na ibalik sa general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” ang National Capital Region (NCR) at mga karatig-lalawigan.

Ayon kay Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, magiging daan ang paglipat sa GCQ ng NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, at Laguna – tinatawag na NCR Plus – upang mapababa ang bilang ng mga nawalan ng trabaho noong kasagsagan ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“As we further open the economy, we are expecting to bring back 200,000 to 300,000 jobs to lessen the number workers displaced since the start of the ECQ,” ani Lopez.

Noong nasa ilalim ng ECQ ang NCR Plus, umabot sa 1.5 milyon ang bilang ng mga Pilipino nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa coronavirus pandemic.

Nabawasan ito at naging isang milyon noong ipinatupad ang modified ECQ.

Ayon kay Lopez, sa ngayon ay aabot pa sa 700-libong manggagawa ang hindi pa rin nakakabalik sa trabaho dahil sa limitadong operasyon ng ilang establisimyento gaya ng mga restaurant, at barbershop. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DOH says no to proposed vaccine pass for access to indoor establishments

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is not recommending the proposal to use a “vaccine pass” that would allow persons already inoculated against COVID-19 to have access to business establishments.

“Hindi po kami sang-ayon sa ganyang pagpapalakad o kaya ay magkaron tayo ng mga ganyang proseso,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergere said in a virtual press briefing.

Vergeire said the DOH is not in favor of the proposal as there is no sufficient evidence yet to say that a person who has already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can no longer be infected or spread the virus.

She added that initial studies have shown that the currently available vaccines against coronavirus cannot adequately block the virus.

“Wala pa ho tayong sufficient evidence to say na ang isang taong with complete doses of vaccines already would have that kind of immunity, na hindi na siya magkakaroon ng sakit o makakapanghawa dahil nga po dito sa mga paunang mga ebidensiya na ibinigay sa atin, hindi po nakakapag-block ng transmission adequately ang mga bakuna na mayroon tayo ngayon,” she said.

“As we have said, ang pinaka-assurance o benepisyong nakukuha natin ngayon sa vaccines is reducing severe infections and hospitalization. As to preventing mild to moderate infections, hindi pa rin po tayo nagbibigay ng ganyang assurance sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

Vergeire also reminded the public, especially those who have completed the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, to still observe health protocols against COVID-19.

“Even if you are fully vaccinated, meaning you have completed two doses, kailangan pa rin natin magpatupad ng minimum health protocols,” she said.

“Itong sinasabing vaccine pass ay hindi pa rin mairerekomenda ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan,” she added.

IATF allows TESDA to hold in-person assessments for household service workers in MECQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to conduct face-to-face assessments for household service workers in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang said Friday.

However, the conduct of the activity is subject to conditions, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque said in-person assessments shall be held only in TESDA Training Institutions and will remain prohibited in private assessment centers.

The activity will also be limited to household service workers who are ready for deployment and have already secured contracts and visas.

“Applicants must further abide by TESDA guidelines relative to the conduct of in-person assessments,” Roque said.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has also allowed the resumption of Career Executive Service Written Examinations and Assessment Centers by the Career Executive Service Board, subject to health and safety protocols and the strict observance of the minimum public health standards.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved this policy in a meeting on Thursday, May 13.

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