Manila ramps up security, health measures amid rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 8, 2021   •   609

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso during a directional meeting with concerned agencies

MANILA, Philippines –  The local government of Manila has ordered its enforcement units to step up all health and security measures amid increasing cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippine capital, the city government said.

In a directional meeting on Monday morning, Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso directed the Manila Police District (MPD) to intensify police presence in the streets, barangays and major thoroughfares to strictly enforce minimum health protocols.

“Lalo nating higpitan ang pagpapatupad ng minimum health protocols sa lahat ng kalsada at barangay sa Maynila, upang matigil ang tumataas na bilang ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lungsod,” Mayor Isko said.

He, however, reminded the police to remain courteous to the public.

Domagoso also authorized the Manila Barangay Bureau (MBB) to implement barangay-level lockdowns should COVID-19 cases rise in communities.

“Kapag tuloy-tuloy na lumobo ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa alinmang barangay, automatic mong i-lockdown. Coordinate with the MPD and (MPD chief) General (Leo) Francisco for the security plan,” Domagoso said in his directive addressed to MBB chief Romy Bagay.

Mayor Isko also ordered the redeployment of hundreds of COVID-19 safety marshals in the city, and directed the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) to augment the security personnel of the MPD.

“Muling pagalain mo ang mga COVID-19 Safety Marshals natin. Magsaway sila ng mga pasaway sa kalsada. Tuloy-tuloy tayo, walang patid, lalo na sa susunod na dalawang linggo,” he said.

The Manila mayor also instructed concerned local agencies to prepare food boxes to be distributed to more than 700,000 families in the city as part of the local government’s COVID-19 Food Security Program.

Manila City has so far recorded about 825 active cases, with 27,447 total recoveries and 813 fatalities.

Ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila bukas na sa publiko pero mga bata, bawal sa ilang parke

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bukas na sa publiko ang ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila kasunod ng pagsasailalim sa rehiyon sa COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Kabilang sa mga binuksang pasilidad ay ang Quezon Memorial Circle, kung saan pinapayagan ang pagpasok ng mga bata basta’t may kasamang magulang o adult guardian.

Maaari ring kumain sa parke at bukas ang playground para sa mga batang gustong maglaro.

May mga nag-iikot namang security personnel upang masegurong nasusunod ng mga bisita ang ipinatutupad na public health protocols.

Malawak ang Quezon Memorial Circle at maaari itong pagdarausan ng individual exercise.

Bukas ang lugar mula alas-5 ng umaga hanggang alas-8 ng gabi.

Sa Maynila naman, bukas rin ang Luneta at Paco Park mula alas-5 ng umaga para sa mga nais mamasyal at mag-ehersisyo sa liwasan.

Ngunit ayon sa National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), bawal pa rin ang pagpasok sa Rizal Park ng mga menor de edad kahit sila ay mag-e-ehersisyo.

“Sa ngayon po, dahil po sa IATF guidelines ay hindi po muna natin ina-allow ang mga bata sa parks and then, yung pagdating naman din po sa pagkain, hindi pa rin po nag-a-allow ng picnic po sa park,” ang paliwanag ni Florizza Buclatin, ang chief of staff ng NPDC.

Sa Intramuros, tumatanggap na rin ng bisita ang Baluarte de San Diego at Fort Santiago pero bawal pa rin ang mga menor de edad.

Bukas ang Fort Santiago mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-7 ng gabi habang ang Baluarte de San Diego naman ay bukas mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-6 ng gabi.

Bukas ang mga pasyalang ito, bakunado man o hindi kontra COVID-19.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa mga bisita, kailangan pa ring nakasuot ng face mask, iwasan ang overcrowding at panatilihin ang physical distancing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Dominguez tells DOF, attached agencies to prepare back-to-office plans

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the department and its attached agencies and state corporations to prepare their respective plans on transitioning work back to their respective offices.

In a statement, the DOF said Dominguez has emphasized that the back-to-office plans should strictly adhere to health and safety protocols being implemented against COVID-19.

The order comes after more than a year of shifting to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

Dominguez said that as more government employees get fully vaccinated, the DOF and its agencies such as the Bureaus of Customs (BOC), of Internal Revenue (BIR), of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and of the Treasury (BTr); Insurance Commission (IC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other attached organizations should gradually shift to working normally in their respective offices.

The transition plans, Dominguez said, should include testing protocols for employees and their immediate families, and seminars to educate them on how to return safely to full-time office work.

“I think that we should already have a plan for transitioning back into working normally. In other words, back-to-office work,” Dominguez said during a recent executive committee (Execom) meeting.

“I’d like everybody to start working on this plan already assuming that we’re going to have to live with this virus,” he added.

The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has yet to allow the full transition to back-to-office arrangements with the National Capital Region (NCR) now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 3 status.

The DOF said that 76.6 percent of its employees have been fully vaccinated, as of October 8.

Pharmally on Blue Ribbon hearing: ‘They treat us like criminals’

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines [UPDATE] — The Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation on Friday issued a statement regarding the heavy scrutiny it is going through over its alleged questionable deals with the government on the procurement of pandemic supplies.

In a statement released to media, Pharmally corporate-secretary Mohit Dargani said that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has not been impartial in the way it handled the hearing on the said allegation.

“The Blue ribbon failed to treat us justly. Rather than impartially listening to us, they tried to get us to incriminate ourselves. They want us detained because we asserted our rights, they can’t get what they want to hear from us,” Dargani said.

Dargani also refuted claims that President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in their deal with the government in supplying the country with face masks and face shields as part of the efforts to address the pandemic.

“Walang kinalaman ang Presidente sa transactions namin with PS-DBM (Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management),” Dargani said.

Dargani further slammed the committee for what he claimed as false accusations.

“We are being falsely accused for political gain. Malapit na eleksyon and we are like hostages. Hindi na para sa bayan. But for their political survival,” the Pharmally official said.

“They treat us like criminals whose lives aren’t worthy of living anymore,” he added.

Dargani further said that Pharmally has been cooperating with the committee out of respect to them, but this, he stressed, “was completely out of harmony with accepted legal standards.”

Conversely, Senator Riza Hontiveros issued her reaction to Dargani’s statement.

Hontiveros insists that Pharmally has yet to complete the documents that the Senators in the Blue Ribbon have been asking from the pharmaceutical company since the start of the committee hearing.

“Let me just remind Mr. Dargani, lahat ng resource persons sa mga hearing ay under oath. Kapag pabago-bago at hindi nagtutugma ang mga kwento nila, they are disrespecting the Blue Ribbon Committee and the Filipino people,” she said.

“The Chairman is within his power to hold them in contempt, and I fully support the committee’s efforts to find the Dargani siblings,” she added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also reacted to Dargani, saying, “to cooperate in the Senate means they should submit the documents subject of subpoena duces tecum or as asked by a senator. I suggest they read the PH Constitution!” —/mbmf

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