Mayor Isko urges IATF to file raps over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021   •   284

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 pandemic to file complaints against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over last weekend’s overcrowding at dolomite beach in Manila Bay.

In a television interview, Domagoso said an agency under the DENR opened the dolomite beach to the public without coordinating with the local government.

Mayor Isko was referring to the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), an agency under the direct supervision of the DENR secretary, which has coordinative functions among all offices and agencies involved in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of Manila Bay.

“I am calling on IATF. Charge those people in DENR of violating… show our rules. If we cannot implement it within their offices, then there is no point implementing them sa taumbayan,” he said.

Domagoso, a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections, also stressed that it is the DENR that has control over the area amid rehabilitation and development efforts.

“In fact, may gate nga sila para makapasok ka sa dolomite. But due diligence must be observed especially in this situation wherein it can be a super spreader,” he said.

The opening of the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach on Oct. 17 attracted thousands of people during the last two weekends. Videos and photos circulating on social media showed that social distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols were violated.

The DENR later on banned children below 12 years old from entering the dolomite beach, saying it was “overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the public”.

At a Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda admitted the shortcoming on the part of the agency but assured that this was addressed immediately.

“Sinasabi nila na nagkaroon ng violation ng social distancing, immediately na-address po yan,” he said. “Nagkulang ng kaunti pero naagapan.”

The Philippine National Police earlier said it will deploy more personnel to the area to help control the crowd.

IATF updates testing, quarantine protocols; Apayao now under Alert Level 2

Maris Federez   •   December 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved testing and quarantine protocols for arriving international passengers in all ports of entry in the Philippines coming from countries/territories/ jurisdictions not classified under the Red List.

This was what was agreed upon in the task force’s meeting on Thursday (December 2).

In a statement released to reporters, acting spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the new protocols shall take effect Friday, December 3.

As part of the new protocols, fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to have a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival.

On the other hand, individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated shall be required a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Like those who are vaccinated, they, too, shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival, regardless of a negative RT-PCR test result.

The statement also said that the IATF has directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to ensure that airlines board only passengers who comply with the negative RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.

“The testing and quarantine protocols of minors, on the other hand, shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status and country of origin,” the directive read.

“For international passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine, they shall continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival,” it added.

The directive further read that Filipinos from Red List countries allowed entry via government-initiated or non-government repatriations and Bayanihan Flights shall only be allowed to deplane via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and/or Clark International Airport.

The DOTr, through their attached agencies, is directed to ensure the compliance of airlines with this directive.

Upon arrival, passengers must comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under IATF Resolution No. 149-A (s.2021).

Meanwhile, the IATF also amended the metrics for determining alert level classifications of provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities.

Amendments include removing the One-Week Growth Rate as a metric for escalation from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2, and the escalation of areas under Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 if either case classification or total COVID-19 bed utilization increases to moderate risk or higher.

Also, part of the amendment is the escalation of areas under Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 if both case classification and total COVID-19 bed utilization are at moderate risk, or if case classification is at high to critical risk.

With the implementation of the revised metrics, Apayao shall be classified under Alert Level 2 from December 3 to 15, Nograles said. —/mbmf

Pagpapatupad ng mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, nakasalalay sa Kongreso – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nakasalalay sa Kongreso ang pagbalangkas ng batas kung gagawing sapilitan sa bansa ang pagpapabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ito ang naging pahayag ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) matapos sabihin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na payag siyang gawing mandatory ang COVID-19 vaccination sa Pilipinas sa harap ng banta ng bagong COVID-19 variant na Omicron.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, wala sa kapangyarihan ng IATF na pilitin ang publiko na tumanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Kailangan po ng batas, mas magiging… mas magkakaroon ng mandatory enforcement kapag meron pong batas mula sa Congress at mapirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte, so it is up to congress to feel the need kung kinakailangan magkaroon ng batas to make it mandatory,” ani Nograles.

“As far as IATF is concerned, patuloy pa rin po ang ating pagmi-meeting tungkol d’yan at paguusap namin sa proposal na yan,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, iiminungkahi naman ni Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año na higpitan na lamang ang mga polisiya para sa mga hindi pa bakunado upang maengganyo ang mas marami pang Pilipino na magpabakuna.

Aniya, may kapangyarihan naman ang mga alkalde na maglabas ng kautusan o ordinansa para makumbinse ang kanilang mga constituent na magpaturok na ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hindi natin ima-mandatory but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations, kung hindi ma-achieve ang herd immunity,” ani Año. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

COVID-19 Alert Level 1, hindi pa maaaring ideklara sa alinmang panig ng bansa – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang mga panuntunan upang maisailalim sa pinakamababang COVID-19 Alert Level ang isang lugar, ayon sa Malakanyang.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, ito ang isa sa mga dahilan kaya hindi pa makakapagdeklara ang pamahalaan ng Alert Level 1 sa alinmang panig ng bansa.

“Yung alert level 1, pina-finalize pa po natin lahat ng parameters na kinakailangan para ma-consider ang isang lugar na qualified mag-alert level 1. So, sa ngayon po, meron pa po kaming tini-tweak at pina-finalize na mga parameters. So, right now hindi tayo handa na mag-declare ng any alert level 1 sa ngayon,” ani Nograles.

Nakasaad sa panuntunan ng IATF sa nationwide implementation COVID-19 Alert Levels System na ang mga lugar na mababa at pababa ang case transmission, total bed utilization at intensive care unit (ICU) usage rate ang maaaring isailalim sa alert level 1.

Sa pinakamababang alert level, full on-site o venue at seating capacity na ang pinahihintulutan sa mga establisyemento at activities pero dapat ay maigting pa rin ang pagpapatupad ng public health standards.

Samantala, kumpyansa naman ang Duterte administration na maabot pa rin ng bansa ang four to five percent target economic growth rate para sa taong 2021.

Ito ay kahit mananatili sa COVID-19 alert level 2 ang Metro Manila at mga kalapit probinsya nito hanggang kalagitnaan ng Disyembre.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, kung patuloy itong pagbaba ng kaso, patuloy rin po ang pagbaba rin ng mga ADAR, two-week growth rate, at patuloy pa rin po ang safe reopening ng ating ekonomiya then we are very confident that we will reach our growth targets,” ani Nograles.

Muli namang nanawagan ang Palasyo sa publiko na magpabakuna na at sumunod sa mga panuntunan para sa ligtas na pagbubukas ng ekonomiya. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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