MMDA chairman, hopeful for NCR shift to Alert Level 3

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021   •   148

MANILA, Philippines — Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said he remains hopeful that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under Alert Level 3.

During a virtual public briefing on Monday (September 27), Abalos said reports show that the reproduction rate and the number of active cases have decreased in the past three or four days.

“I’m always data-driven. Tinitingnan ko three to four days ago, talagang gumanda naman ang reproduction rate, growth rate, even ang active cases. Iyong active cases kung titingnan natin, it was at a high of about 40,000 noong September 15. Ngayon po ay bumaba na tayo ng 29,000, (I was looking at [the data] three to four days ago. The reproduction rate, growth rate, and even the active cases are improving. In the active cases, we can see that it was at a high of about 40,000 last September 15. Now it is down to 29,000)” he said.

Abalos hopes that with the recent data, quarantine classifications in the NCR would ease.

The MMDA chair said that the total bed and ICU utilization rates should also drop to allow a shift in quarantine classification.

The NCR is currently under Alert Level 4 until September 30.

Meanwhile, the official also hopes that the number of fully vaccinated individuals in the NCR would reach 8 million by October 26.

Based on the recent data, 15.7 million individuals have received the COVID-19 vaccine, where around 7.1 million received the second dose.

Around 8.6 million individuals, meanwhile, have received the first dose of the vaccine. AAC

PRC allows deployment of dentists as vaccinators

Maris Federez   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has greenlit the deployment of dentists as vaccinators to ensure the faster rollout of government efforts against COVID-19.

This was announced by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Ben Hur Abalos during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the Nation public address aired Monday night.

However, Abalos said this needs an emergency order from the Department of Health (DOH).

“Sumulat na po ang Professional Regulatory Commission, papayagan na daw po nila ang mga dentista na maging vaccinators kung mayroon daw emergency order na galing sa DOH. Yan ang kailangan. ‘Di na kailangan i-amend ang batas at napakaraming manpower na maibibigay po ito,” Abalos said.

The MMDA chief added that Metro Manila mayors have expressed willingness to help the vaccination drive in the provinces, especially now that the NCR has already reached the desirable number of COVID-19 vaccinees.

“Tutulong po kami sa sinasabi ni po Sec. Vince [Dizon], Sec. Charlie [Galvez], at Sec. [Eduardo] Año ang mga Metro Manila mayors sa pagbabakuna po sa mga kapitbahay po naming,” Abalos said. —/mbmf

MMDA, mall operators to discuss extension of mall hours

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and mall operators will discuss extending mall hours in preparation for the holiday season.

In a media briefing, MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos said the extension of mall hours will help avoid the influx of shoppers during rush hours. The MMDA will also discuss conducting sales only on weekends to avoid traffic congestion.

Para ang pasok hindi sabay-sabay, hanggang mga alas dyes ng gabi o maski midnight pa mas maganda ([We can extend it] up to 10:00 p.m. or even midnight to prevent customers from flocking to the malls en-masse),” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has placed the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 3 after recording a decline in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. AAC

Increased police visibility ordered in NCR public areas

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday said he has ordered all unit commanders in the National Capital Region (NCR) to increase police visibility in public areas following the downgrading of the COVID-19 Alert Level in the region.

In a statement, Eleazar said the directive was in response to the Department of Health’s (DOH) appeal for the continued implementation of the public health protocols after a number of people flocked to malls, churches, and other areas during the first weekend of placing NCR under Alert Level 3.

It was also in compliance with the order of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on the matter, he added.

“Nauunawaan namin ang pagkabahala ng ating mga kasamahan sa Department of Health at sa medical community patungkol sa mga report na ipinakita kung saan nagdagsaan ang mga tao sa mga pasyalan, malls at iba pang mga lugar noong nakaraang weekend,” Eleazar said.

DOH officials and some health experts earlier expressed concerns over what they describe was an apparent complacency on the part of the public when they go out of their homes to take advantage of the easing of restrictions in the metropolis.

In some parks and churches, it was apparent that some people failed to observe the protocols for their safety despite repeated appeals from the marshals.

“Kasama sa aking kautusan ang coordination sa ating mga LGUs sa Metro Manila upang maayos na maipatupad ang minimum public health safety protocols at ibang pang mga restriction na ipapatupad sa NCR,” Eleazar said.

While he welcomed the easing of restrictions in the capital region, the PNP chief said the public should remain vigilant and compliant to the health and safety protocols set by the government against COVID-19.

“Natutuwa kami sa PNP na kahit paano ay bumabalik na sa normal ang sitwasyon sa ating bansa subalit hindi dapat maging dahilan ito para tayo ay maging kampante at balewalain ang health safety protocols dahil kung hindi, ang panandaliang kaligayahan na ating nararamdaman ngayon ay mauuwi na naman sa matagal na lockdown,” he added.

The NCR will be under Alert Level 3 until October 31.

The national government has also expanded the implementation of the COVID-19 Alert Level System to some areas in the country beginning Oct. 20.

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