Plastic barriers to return as gov’t allows operation of motorcycle taxis

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2020   •   567

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force has issued guidelines for the return of motorcycle taxis.

Apart from the implementation of minimum health standards like the wearing of facemask and sanitation routine, riders are required to utilize plastic barriers with design approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Borrowing of helmets is not allowed and only cashless transactions are encouraged.

Riders should also have regular testing to make sure they are negative from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

“Napaka importante nitong motorcycle taxi guidelines dahil hindi lang supply ng transportation ang ibibigay natin (This motorcycle taxi guidelines are very important because we are not merely providing supply of additional transportation),” Secretary Vince Dizon, the Depauty Chief Implementer of the NTF, said.

“Kailangan masiguro natin na safe at hindi nako-kompromiso ang ating standards at guidelines sa pagpigil ng transmission ng COVID-19 (We must make sure that it is safe and it will not compromise our standards towards curbing the COVID-19 transmission),” he added.

In line with this, the technical working group will meet with the representatives of Angkas, Joyride, and Move It to discuss the guidelines and to set the official date for the motorcycle taxis’ return to operation.

The motorcycle taxi groups said they are willing to abide by the guidelines though they expressed concern over how passengers will adjust to the new system.

“Ito po ay hindi pa po sanay ang mga tao (People are still not used to this) so this is something we need to push for our awareness campaign,” explained George Royeca, Angkas’ Chief Transport Advocate.

The extended pilot test run for the motorcycle taxis will be for three to six months.

To date, there is no legislation yet that will make their operation legal. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Nearly 2 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vax doses for private sector arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Another batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses has arrived in the Philippines, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

The shipment containing a total of 1,981,500 doses of Astrazeneca vaccines arrived in Manila on Wednesday, December 29.

These vaccine shots procured by the private sector will most likely be used as booster shots for the local government units and the private sector, according to Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

The latest shipment brings to 210,023,540 the total COVID-19 vaccine doses the country has received since February.

Prior to this, a total of 2,005,300 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to the Philippines on Tuesday.

The last batch completes the 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine secured through a tripartite agreement with the national government and vaccine manufacturers.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,357,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine also arrived at NAIA 1 around 1:20 a.m. on Wednesday.

NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Philippines has so far received over 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since February.

By the end of 2021, the NTF said the Philippines is expecting to have a total of 210 million doses of various vaccine brands.

The task force earlier said this supply will be used to further scale up the government’s vaccination campaign to achieve the target to inoculate more than 70 million people by 2022.

Over 47.8 million individuals in the Philippines are so far fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while over 60.8 million individuals have at least received their first dose.

PH gov’t eyes immunizing 15 million people in 3-day COVID-19 vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to inoculate some 15 million individuals during the nationwide three-day vaccination drive to be held on the last week of November, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.

Galvez said the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program targeted to be launched on Nov. 29 until Dec. 1 will be held in 5,000 vaccination sites, including private facilities, schools, and government buildings.

“Ang objective po nito is to mobilize all stakeholders, people and logistics to facilitate the vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines of at least 15 million individuals in three days,” he said in a taped meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte that aired on Wednesday.

He said the program also aims to increase the immunization rate in areas whose vaccination drives are facing logistical challenges and limitations.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said a formal directive will be released on the national vaccination drive, which targets to cover 16 regions in the country including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The NTF earlier said that the program is part of the government’s efforts to scale up vaccination against COVID-19.

The national government has been eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people to achieve population protection against the viral disease.

The Philippines has so far vaccinated about 29.8 million since the immunization campaign was rolled out in March.

Minors with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 now almost 13K – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The number of minors with co-morbidities who were inoculated against COVID-19 has reached 12,958, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said that from the initial eight hospitals, the country now has 26 hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

“We want to protect our children from severe disease and hospitalization. Kasi nakita natin noong Delta, almost 20 percent or 17 percent po ang nakita natin na na-hospitalize na mga bata,” he said.

With the country’s increasing vaccine supply, Galvez said the national government will continue to accelerate the vaccine rollout for this age group by opening more vaccination sites for them.

The vaccine czar stressed that vaccinating children against coronavirus disease will also be instrumental in the reopening of face-to-face classes and ‘ancillary businesses’ related to the education sector.

He likewise cited the social and mental impact of restricting the movement of children since the pandemic started.

He said allowing them to have “leeway to move around and play” will not just help in protecting the mental well-being of minors, but also revive economic activities especially this holiday season.

“We can only do these kung ma-vaccinate na rin natin ang mga bata so they will have ‘yung consumers’ confidence to go out,” Galvez said.

The national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Based on the 2021 Philippine Projected Population of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country has a population of 12,722,070 under the 12 to 17 years old age group.

As of October 25, there are now 25,955,669 fully vaccinated individuals in the country, which represents 33.65% of the country’s target population.

 

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