Meralco extends no-disconnection policy until January 31, 2021

Maris Federez   •   December 21, 2020   •   443

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) shall be extending its no-disconnection policy until January 31, 2021.

This was announced by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco yesterday referring to his letter to Meralco management dated November 30, requesting the electric company to consider such extension.

In a statement, Velasco said extending Meralco’s no-disconnection policy is in keeping with the “bayanihan” spirit amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The extended grace period being given to our fellow Filipinos during the holiday season will provide much needed reprieve to those reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic and natural calamities,” Velasco said.

In response, Meralco President and CEO Atty. Ray Espinosa informed Velasco in a December 14 letter that the company will extend its no-disconnection policy for unpaid bills from December 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

Espinosa said that the extended grace period will benefit over 3 million customers or 47 percent of the company’s total customer base.

“We hope that by this extended grace period to our customers, much needed relief and reprieve is provided to the most disadvantaged MERALCO franchise customers during this holiday season amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,” Espinosa’s letter to the House Speaker read.

Velasco, in turn, thanked Espinosa for “showing true bayanihan spirit and empathizing with the plight of our indigent countrymen.”

“This is how we overcome the devastating effects of this pandemic, with leaders from both private and public sectors working together to make lives better,” he added. — /mbmf

Pasay City mayor open to possible city-wide ECQ to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano on Thursday said she will not object should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decide to place the entire city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In an online media briefing, Rubiano said the city government is doing its best to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases.

She added that they have already looked into the idea of placing the city under ECQ upon learning of the detection of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, initially reported in South Africa in Pasay.

Rubiano, however, noted that placing Pasay City under ECQ will have an impact on the entire National Capital Region since the city is considered as a travel hub.

“Ang impact kasi ay nasa entire NCR dahil nakita niyo po at siyempre sa country na rin dahil nandidito po sa amin ang airport, MRT, LRT,” she said.

“Travel hub po kami at yung domestic air travel will be cancelled while international travel will be restricted,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rubiano confirmed that four residents of Pasay have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant but all of them have already recovered.

The mayor also said that the patients were under quarantine when results of their tests came out.

“Yes po, recovered na pero inuulit po namin ang kanilang swab nang makasigurado po tayo. Na-isolate po namin agad sila pati po na-contact trace,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on March 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility are set to arrive on Thursday night (March 4), according to Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

In a statement, Go said President Rodrigo Duterte will personally witness the arrival of the said vaccines. Go added that medical frontliners will now have the option to choose the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also confirmed it’s arrival, further explaining that the shipment is part of the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX facility.

The vaccines were initially scheduled to arrive on March 1 but was delayed due to “supply problems.”

Go, meanwhile, hopes for the continuous rollout of the country’s vaccination program and encouraged the public to register for vaccination.

Sana po ay tuloy-tuloy na po ang pagro-rollout ng pagbabakuna at dapat nating kunin ang kumpyansa ng mamamayan na ang tanging solusyon, ang tanging susi ay ang bakuna lamang para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay, (I hope the vaccination rollout will continue and we should get the trust of our citizens which is the solution, the key for our lives to return to normal),” he said. AAC (witth reports from Harlene Delgado)

Cinemas in GCQ areas to reopen on March 5 with limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Cinemas and other recreational establishments in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas will reopen on March 5, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Based on the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08, s. 2021, cinemas in GCQ areas will only have a 25% capacity and moviegoers will not be allowed to eat and drink inside. Facemask must be worn at all times.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a statement, said this is to help businesses to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as to provide more jobs for Filipinos.

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF, DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” he said.

Meanwhile, cinemas will be able to operate at 50% capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Libraries, museums, and parks are allowed at 75% capacity.

Lopez also reiterated minimum health standards will still be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, especially while the government continues to reopen establishments for the country’s economic recovery. -AAC (with reports from JP Nunez)

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