Palace sees eased quarantine restriction in NCR Plus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021   •   290

MANILA, Philippines—Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus might ease next week.

On Thursday, Roque announced that community quarantine classification in NCR Plus might ease beginning June 15 due to the low attack rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and health care utilization rate. He reported that the hospital care utilization in Metro Manila remains very low or at 53% in ICU beds.

“I would say in fact that based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at de-escalation. It might not be to modified general community quarantine [MGCQ] but it could be to ordinary general community quarantine [GCQ] because ang GCQ natin ngayon ay mayroon pang restrictions (because the current GCQ still has restrictions),” he said.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will discuss whether to  reopen gyms and fitness centers.

The NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, is currently under GCQ with restrictions until June 15. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Batas, kailangan bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa hindi bakunado —Malacañang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

Bagaman isinusulong ng Malacañang sa kahalagahan ng pagbabakuna ng ating mga kababayan kontra COVID-19, iginiit nito na kinakailangan pa rin ang isang batas bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga hindi pa nababakunahan.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. hindi maaaring basta na lamang ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga aplikante na hindi pa bakunado kontra COVID-19.

“Kinakailangan po siguro ng batas kung ipagbabawal ang pagha-hire ng mga non-vaccinated individuals,” aniya.

Isa sa mga suhestyon ng pribadong sektor para mapalawak pa ng pamahalaan ang COVID-19 vaccination rollout ay ang gawing requirement ang bakuna sa hiring sa trabaho.

Pero para sa labor group na Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), discriminatory ang nasabing panukala at hindi makakabuti sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

Giit ng ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, marami sa mga Pilipino ang hindi pa rin nababakunahan kaya’t hindi maari na bakunado lamang ang papayagan ng pamahalaan na makapag-apply sa trabaho.

“Babagsak ang ating ekonomiya, maraming mga manggagawa at kanilang pamilya maghihirap dahil kulang po ang supply ng bakuna at hindi pa sila nababakunahan,” aniya.

Sa halip na higpitan ang mga mangagawa na hindi pa bakunado, iginiit ng labor group na dapat solusyunan ng pamahalaan ang mas mabilis na access sa bakuna ng ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga nasa malalayong lugar.

“Dapat ang pagtuunan natin ng pansin ay paano ba mababakunahan at papaano ba mapaparating ang mga bakuna doon sa mga probinsya at liblib na lugar kung saan maraming mangagawa ang naghihintay at nangangailangan ng bakuna,” ayon kay Tanjusay.

Samantala, sa panayam kanina kay Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre bello III sa isang news program, sinabi nito na may legal na basehan na umano, upang obligahin ng mga employer ang kanilang mga empleyado na magpabakuna sa ilalim ng Alert Level 3.

Gayunman hindi naidetalye ng kalihim kung ano ang binabanggit nitong legal basis sa pagpapabakuna.

Pero nang tanungin sa isang interview si DOLE Usec. Ana Dione, nilinaw nito na wala pang batas na nag-oobliga sa mga mangagawa na magpabakuna laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang requirement na bakunado ang isang empleyado medyo wala po tayong basehan diyan, wala pong basis in law, so ibig sabihin hindi po pupwedeng gawin ng mga kumpanya yan.

“As a basis, yung unvaccinated as basis of termination palagi po nating inuulit, sinabi at uulitin na yan po ay discrimination. If ang termination niya ang sole basis noon ay unvaccinated hindi po, bawal po iyan,” dagdag nito. (Ulat ni JP Nuñez)

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.

PNP assessing need to deploy more cops in NCR public areas – Eleazar

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday said he has directed all unit commanders in the National Capital Region (NCR) to continue to assess the need for the deployment of additional police officers in public areas.

Eleazar issued the directive following the downgrading of COVID-19 alert in the NCR to level 3.

The PNP chief noted that in the first weekend of the Alert Level 3 implementation, a number of people flocked to public areas including churches across the metro, the Dolomite Beach at the Baywalk, the Marikina River Park, the Quirino Grandstand, and the Mall of Asia grounds.

A number of people also went outside for their outdoor exercises, he added.

“I have tasked all concerned police offices to determine if there is a need to deploy more cops to enforce the minimum health standards. Kailangang matiyak pa rin natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan dahil baka ito na naman ang pagmulan ng pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa NCR,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kung gusto nating tuloy-tuloy ang pagbaba ng bilang ng natamaan ng COVID-19, kailangang mapairal pa rin ang disiplina at pagsunod sa mga panuntunan sa ilalim ng Alert Level 3. Hindi dahil may pagluluwag na nagaganap, magsisilabasan na tayo sa ating mga tahanan at babalewalain na ang health and safety protocols,” he added.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said they would wait for the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response regarding the mobility of minors amid the easing of some protocols and opening of more business establishments.

“Kami sa PNP ay tagapagpatupad lamang ng mga batas at regulasyon. Hihintayin namin kung ano ang magiging resolusyon nila sa bagay na ito at amin itong ipapatupad nang maayos,” he said.

The capital region will be under Alert Level 3 until Oct. 31.

Under Alert Level 3, the public’s movement, including intrazonal and interzonal travel, will be allowed except for reasonable restrictions based on age and co-morbidities as determined by the local government units.

Individual outdoor exercises will also be allowed for all ages regardless of vaccination status or co-morbidities.

More establishments will also be allowed to re-open at a maximum of 30 percent capacity.

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