Makati City is the only PH finalist in World Smart Cities Awards

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 25, 2019   •   1642

Makati City has been the only Philippine city selected as a finalist for the World Smart Cities Awards this year, according to Makati Mayor Abby Binay.

The 2019 World Smart Cities Awards will be presented during the Smart City Expo World Congress to be held in Barcelona, Spain from November 19 to 21.

Binay said Makati is the only local government unit from the Philippines that has been invited to present its project entry entitled, “Use of technology to improve city disaster preparedness and communication to and from city citizens” during the awarding ceremony on November 20 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via.

She also said they are proud to have an opportunity to represent the country.

“We have gladly accepted the invitation, and we look forward to having a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences with fellow advocates of sustainability and inclusivity from other parts of the globe,” she said.

According to its website, the annual Smart City Expo World Congress, which started in 2011, is the meeting point for companies, public sector, startups, academia and citizens working together for the sustainable development of cities.—AAC

CIDG to file raps vs parents of ‘Poblacion girl’, 6 others over quarantine breach

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Tuesday said it will file charges against the parents of a Filipina traveler who broke the mandatory quarantine protocol during the holidays.

The PNP-CIDG said 6 others, including the personnel of a Makati hotel that served as her quarantine facility, will also be charged over the breach of protocols.

The charges will be lodged against Gwyneth Chua and her parents, and other individuals in violation of Rule 11 Section 1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern.

Authorities believed that Chua, who was dubbed as ‘Poblacion girl’, infected about 15 people after skipping isolation during the holidays.

In a statement, the CIDG said that Chua was transported to the quarantine facility, the Berjaya Hotel in Makati, after arriving from the United States on December 22.

She checked in at the hotel around 11:23 p.m. At 11:40 p.m. of the same day, Chua was fetched from the same hotel by her father in an SUV.

The CIDG said that on the night of December 23, Chua was confirmed to have visited a Makati restaurant according to CCTV footage and witness accounts.

On December 25, 2021, at 9:00 PM, Ms. Chua returned to the hotel assisted by her mother, it added.

“CIDG’S investigators concluded that Ms. Chua, being a returning Filipino overseas is obliged to follow the health protocol being imposed by IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and DOH (Department of Health),” it said.

Chua’s “action of leaving the quarantine facility and disregarding the quarantine procedure violated Rule XI Section 1 (g) (iii), (iv) of the IRR of R.A. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act), it added.

As for the individuals whom Chua met with on the night of December 23 and were allegedly infected with the virus, the CIDG said it “did not find sufficient evidence to charge them with any offense.”

“However, CIDG recommends and encourages the said individuals to file a complaint before CIDG for further referral to the prosecutor’s office,” their statement read.

The Palace on Monday said the government will impose penalties against quarantine violators to the “fullest extent of the law,” following Chua’s protocol breach to attend a party.

Chua is currently staying in an isolation facility in Metro Manila after her swab test came out positive last December 26.

Aside from Chua, authorities are also looking into another case of a Filipina who allegedly skipped mandatory quarantine protocols for inbound travelers.

The Philippine National Police also assured it will conduct random inspections in hotels to ensure compliance with quarantine protocols. The move is in light of reports that some hotels are offering an “absentee-quarantine” scheme to returning overseas Filipinos.

DILG, iimbestigahan ang iba pang napaulat na quarantine skippers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) na iimbestigahan nito ang mga napaulat na quarantine skippers o yaong mga biyahero na tumatakas umano at hindi kinukumpleto ang COVID-19 quarantine period.

“We will investigate para po maging proactive na ating pamahalaan, tutulong na po ang DILG at PNP sa DOT at BOQ para po malaman natin kung may mga nagskip nga o nagkakaroon ng absentee quarantine,” ani DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

Paiigtingin din aniya ng pamahalaan ang pagbabantay ng mga pulis sa mga quarantine hotel sa bansa upang masugpo ang tinatawag na modus operandi na absentee quarantine.

Ayon kay Malaya, magsasagawa ng random checks ang pulisya bilang ayuda sa Department of Tourism lalo’t kulang ang mga tauhan ng kagawaran upang bantayan ang 150 accredited hotels sa Metro Manila.

“Siya po ay nagbigay din po ng direktiba na bisitahin o magkaroon ng random visit sa iba’t ibang quarantine hotels sa buong bansa ang PNP,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Kasama sa aalamin ng mga pulis ang listahan ng mga naka-quarantine sa isang hotel sa tulong ng Bureau of Quarantine.

Ido-double check nila kung talagang nasa loob ang mga ito at oras na madiskubreng wala ang isang indibidwal sa hotel kung saan dapat ito naka-quarantine, iimbestigahan at sasampahan ng kaukulang reklamo ang hotel, mga staff na sangkot at ang mismong quarantine skipper.

Batay sa inisyal na imbestigasyon ng PNP-Criminal Investigation And Detection Group (CIDG), may kinalaman ang hotel sa paglabas ng tinaguriang si “Poblacion girl” na dapat ay nasa ilalim ng quarantine.

Pito na ang nagpositibo sa close contacts nito samantalang isa naman ang COVID-19 positive sa secondary contacts.

Sa ngayon, wala pang datos kung sa anong variant ang taglay ng quarantine violator. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Makati subway project to get tax incentives – DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The rail operations of the Makati City Subway project will be granted a four-year income tax holiday followed by five years of enhanced deductions and duty exemption on importation for the construction, operation, management, and maintenance of the project, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.

In a statement, the DOF said the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has approved the grant of tax incentives for the P81-billion Makati City subway project, which is expected to begin commercial operations in January 2026.

 The DOF said the board approved the tax incentive grant last month.

“In deciding to approve the project, the FIRB took into consideration the projected increase in economic productivity of P24.4 billion per year once the subway system becomes operational in 2026,” the DOF said.

“This will be monitored, along with the other projected benefits, in accordance with the principle of granting incentives based on merit or performance embodied in the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law,” it added.

Finance chief Carlos Dominguez, however, clarified that this package of incentives is confined only to the activity applied for, which is the rail operation.

“The incentives approved will not apply to the other business activities that would be generated from the subway operations, such as the lease of retail areas and advertising, which should be subject to the regular corporate income tax rate and other applicable taxes,” the DOF said.

The subway project is seen to help ease traffic congestion by providing an alternative transport service to up to 700,000 commuters, and reducing the volume of vehicles plying the city streets.

Throughout the deliberations for the project, Dominguez also said that the Makati City government and the Department of Transportation should work out the details of how to connect the proposed subway to the Metro Manila Subway project of the national government, the DOF said.

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