Pateros LGU to push for higher penalties on traffic obstructions

Maris Federez   •   August 9, 2019   •   1212

A barangay outpost located on a sidewalk is dismantled during clearing operations in Pateros.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government of Pateros on Thursday (August 8) have joined forces in conducting clearing operations in the whole municipality.

Authorities confiscated illegal vending structures, signages, and made-up kiosks along the sidewalks.

Pateros mayor Ike Ponce said they have given instructions to barangay officials to maintain the roads as obstruction-free.

The LGU has also formed an eagle squad or motorcycle-riding traffic law enforcers to conduct daily roaming in the streets to ensure that there are no obstructions.

The municipal office is also looking into approving ordinances that will increase the penalties for those who will cause obstructions in the streets.

The Pateros LGU is confident that they will be able to meet the 60-day deadline set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clear the roads within the municipality. (details from Joan Nano) /mbmf

Passengers without confirmed flights won’t be allowed at airports, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reiterated its call on passengers not to go to the airports as they will not be allowed to go in if their flights and tickets are not confirmed.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said strict health protocols are being implemented in airports amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and operations of airlines and other transportation companies are bound by these rules.

With the limited flights currently allowed to operate, Malaya stressed that “going to the airport without a confirmed flight or ticket is a waste of energy and time and will just lead to frustration.”

He advised passengers to contact the airlines to ensure that their flights are confirmed to avoid inconvenience.

He also reminded passengers that all tickets purchased prior to the pandemic have already been cancelled by the airlines and will need to be rebooked based on the new schedule of flights approved by airport authorities.

“Patuloy po ang paalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na huwag pong magpunta sa mga airport or seaports kung wala po tayong confirmed na flight,” he said.

“Mangyari lamang po na makipag-ugnayan kayo sa inyong airline kung confirmed ang inyong flight. Mapapagod lang po kayo sa biyahe at masasayang ang pera ninyo at mauuwi lang po ito sa wala,” he added.

Malaya also said that walk-in customers will not be able to purchase tickets at the airports as all flights are regulated in coordination with the airline companies.

“Even if you were issued a ticket by the airline, you will have to confirm that prior to going to the airport because there may have been some changes in flight schedules. Moreover, all tickets issued prior to the pandemic are canceled and will not be honored by airport authorities,” he said.

The Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), earlier released an advisory requiring all airlines to secure accurate information, especially the contact details of all passengers, even those who purchased tickets from travel agencies, to ensure that they will be properly notified by the airlines if flights are canceled. Moreover, the said information may also be helpful in future contact tracing purposes.

The CAB also directed all airlines “to make appropriate public announcements advising individuals who have purchased tickets prior to the COVID-19 crisis that their flights are canceled and that they need to rebook accordingly.”

So far, only 29 airports nationwide are open for operation and even in airports allowed to operate, there are limited flight schedules upon the request of Local Government Units, the DILG said.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

MMDA suspends work from July 9-10 after 4 workers contract COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim on Tuesday announced that work at the agency’s headquarters will be suspended from Thursday, July 9 to Friday, July to give way to the complete sanitation and disinfection of all its offices and adjacent premises.

This is after four MMDA personnel tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when they underwent mass rapid testing and confirmatory swab test.

“Upon the recommendation of the MMDA COVID-19 Committee, we have decided to suspend the operations at all our offices for sanitation and disinfection to protect not only our personnel but also the transacting public against the virus,” Lim said in a statement.

All personnel will be allowed to go home at 2 p.m. on Wednesday as their workplaces will undergo sanitation and disinfection procedures until Sunday, July 12.

Lim said that no employee shall be allowed to enter any office during the sanitation and disinfection period.

The MMDA chief assured that the offices of those who tested positive have already been placed on lockdown and sanitized. Contact tracing has also been conducted and people who had close contact with them were ordered to strictly comply with the 14-day quarantine period and were subjected to swab tests.

“We assure the public that our offices will resume operations as soon as we have completed the sanitation and disinfection of our all offices by Monday,” Lim said.

Others employees who tested positive in the rapid test were made to undergo swab test and quarantine, according to protocol.

The MMDA has its own isolation facility to accommodate employees exposed to persons with COVID-19, tested positive on rapid test, and for those awaiting swab test results.

The 800-square meter isolation facility, located at the MMDA’s parking area, has two sections – one for suspect and probable cases.

Each section of the isolation facility has a 24-bed capacity equipped with shower rooms, comfort rooms and lavatories. The rooms are fully-air conditioned, with WI-FI connection and are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Free meals are also provided.

The MMDA’s Medical Clinic is also closely monitoring and providing guidance and assistance to employees.

Meanwhile, the MMDA said it has put in place protocols for visitors entering the building to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The agency’s guidelines state that all visitors with official business with the agency shall initially stay in the reception area for verification if the visitor will be allowed to go to the concerned office.

Strictly no personal visits are allowed for the meantime given the high risk of COVID-19 transmission at this period.

Moreover, delivery personnel shall not be allowed to go straight to the office or area of the ordering or recipient entity. All deliveries shall be transacted only at the reception lobby.

Likewise, visitors need to fill-up health declaration form with contact details for contact tracing purpose. “This pandemic is a difficult time for all of us and we must do everything we can to protect our personnel and visitors,” Lim said.

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