Mayor Isko says Manila to impose curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in response to COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 15, 2020   •   844

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine capital will impose curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in response to the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso announced Sunday.

In a Facebook Live video, Domagoso said that under the new curfew policy, no person shall be allowed in the streets, commercial establishments, recreation centers, malls or other areas outside the immediate vicinity of their residence.

“May bago pong curfew na magaganap sa lungsod ng Maynila. Simula alas-otso ng gabi hanggang ala-singko ng umaga, paiiralin ang curfew sa Manila, in line with our challenges, and to continue to fulfill our plan in the city of Manila against COVID-19,” he said.

Mayor Isko said that a resident may only be allowed to go out during curfew hours in cases of emergency, and for purposes of buying essential needs or performing work-related requirements.

Domagoso issued the announcement is in support of the national government’s measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

On Saturday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said that all mayors in Metro Manila agreed to issue a resolution imposing a curfew among their constituents starting March 15 to April 14.

It later clarified that the curfew implementation will depend on the ordinances yet to be passed by local government units.

Metro Manila has been placed under community quarantine until April 14 as part of measures to combat coronavirus.

TNVS gears up as operations resume on June 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 30, 2020

The Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) industry is already preparing for the resumption of operations on June 1 when Metro Manila finally shifts to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

TNVS driver Noel Guimbaolibot has added plastic covers and disinfectant solutions in his car as part of the minimum health standards for public transportation.

Noel is looking forward to the resumption of operations since he hasn’t been able to earn for over three months because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said he has to brave the risk of getting infected in order to earn for his loved ones.

“Sa ngayon, hindi pa naman nawawala iyong COVID-19. Ang pinakamaganda talaga ay lagi lang maging maingat. Magsuot ng face mask every time, mag-spray ng alcohol, (COVID-19 is not going away just yet. It would be best to always be careful. Wear a face mask and spray alcohol),” he said.

Grab PH will be implementing new protocols for their partner-drivers in accordance with the directives of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Before being allowed to operate, Grab PH’s partner-drivers will have to answer a checklist to determine if they are fit enough to operate. They will also undergo training to make sure they are following health protocols.

Cashless system will also be encouraged to avoid direct contact. Drivers will also be allowed to cancel their booking if the passenger is not wearing a face mask. Likewise, passengers may also cancel their booking if the driver is not wearing a face mask.

Grab PH president, Brian Cu assures that they will not implement any fare hike as operations resume. However, they will appeal to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a five-peso fare increase by next month.

“The disinfection kits and disinfection measures are an added cost for them, to the drivers, so we made a proposal to the LTFRB to raise the per trip cost by a fixed amount to help cover these items,” he said.

Meanwhile, TNVS drivers are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing before resumption of operations unless they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms. Grab PH has test kits prepared for their partner drivers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday that international travel restrictions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will still be implemented despite the easing of community quarantine protocols in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international travel restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are still in place unless these are lifted or eased by the national government.

“As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment,” Morente said.

“Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Immigration acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to depart unless they are permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.

Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ beginning June 1 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to ease quarantine restrictions.

Under GCQ, limited operations of public transportation will be allowed to resume and more businesses are allowed to reopen.

Metro Manila may transition to GCQ after May 31 —Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 hopes to come up with a decision on whether to extend or lift the existing modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas in the country after May 31.

Malacañang sees a greater chance of transitioning from MECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ) come June 1 as recommended by National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

“They gave their recommendation to the IATF but I can quote both of them, chances are we will in fact be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila according to the chief implementer and the DILG secretary,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), likewise, recommended to the IATF to place the National Capital Region (NCR) to GCQ.

If that is so, public transport will be allowed but only on a limited capacity to ensure that minimum health standards are observed. 

Meanwhile, Roque appealed to both the public and private sectors to finalize their work schemes following the 50% operational capacity wherein half of the total number of employees will be working on site and half  will be working from home.

“We are appealing to both the private and public sector to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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