Poe wants gov’t to hire safety-compliant PUVs to shuttle workers amid GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2020   •   592

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday urged the government to hire traditional public utility jeepneys that are compliant to safety protocols to augment the number of public utility vehicles (PUV) that will shuttle commuters to work amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement, Poe said the government should all the more provide transportation options to the public given the limited capacities of PUVs to observe physical distancing measures.

Thousands of commuters have been struggling to get to their workplaces since the first day of GCQ in Metro Manila as authorities maintained that the resumption of mass transportation should be gradual.

“Malinaw na walang masakyan ang maraming pasaherong bukod sa nagtitiis sa kakahintay sa mahabang pila ay hindi rin siguradong makakarating sa kanilang pupuntahan,” she said.

During deliberations on the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill on Tuesday, Poe suggested that an amount be set aside for hiring of the additional shuttles, and that clear guidelines should be in place for the resumption of public jeepney operations.

The senator noted that since the start of the GCQ, only 90 buses are plying along EDSA as against the 3,500 buses running pre-quarantine.

With only 25 passengers per trip per unit, only about 20,000 passengers can be accommodated instead of the 250,000 before the lockdown.

“A line on the Department of Transportation spending should state that it will prioritize hiring of additional shuttles during our transition process into an eased quarantine,” Poe said.

She also proposed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) maintains the status quo or ‘no phase out’ of old PUVs to prevent mass displacement.

At the same time, Poe asked the agency to directly subsidize drivers and buses and jeepneys that will be allowed operate during the transition period.

“This will enable PUV drivers to comply with social distancing measures without sacrificing financial viability,” she said.

Poe also asked for the prompt release of promised subsidies to PUV drivers and operators, who were left without income during the lockdown.

The senator also pushed for the inclusion of the department’s mandate to guarantee a masterlist of qualified transport service workers to implement the wage subsidies and cash-for-work program, and coordinate the accelerated distribution of the first and second rounds of subsidy under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Poe likewise pitched to negotiate the restructuring of existing loans and the provision of credit lines and interest-free loans of critically-impacted transport service providers, and facilitate the contracting of PUVs and other forms of emergency livelihood arrangements.

IATF places Bulacan, Apayao, Capiz under GCQ beginning October 18

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Quarantine restrictions in the provinces of Bulacan, Apayao, and Capiz have been downgraded, Malacañang announced Sunday.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the recommendation to place the said provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) from October 18 to October 31, ” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Bulacan and Apayao were initially placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) while Capiz was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions.

Under GCQ, any person below 18 years old, above 65 years old, including those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices.

Entertainment and recreational venues, casinos, and outdoor sports are sill not permitted to operate during GCQ. Face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education shall be suspended. AAC

LIST: Areas under MECQ, GCQ until Oct. 31

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the placement of several areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the latest risk-level classifications shall take effect beginning October 16 until October 31.

The following areas have been placed under MECQ:

  • Apayao
  • Kalinga
  • Batanes
  • Bulacan
  • Bataan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Naga City
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte

Meanwhile, the following areas are placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions:

  • Abra
  • Baguio City
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Pangasinan
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • City of Santiago
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Quirino
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Negros Oriental
  • Bohol
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Butuan City
  • Surigao del Sur

Also approved under GCQ are the following areas:

  • Ilocos Norte
  • Dagupan City
  • Ifugao
  • Benguet
  • Tarlac
  • Lucena City
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Marinduque
  • Albay
  • Camarines Norte
  • Aklan
  • Antique
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Iloilo City
  • Iloilo Province
  • Cebu City
  • Cebu Province
  • Mandaue City
  • Siquijor
  • Tacloban City
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Cotabato City
  • Lanao del Sur

All other areas shall be placed under Modified General Community Quarantine, Roque said.

Abra, Baguio City, Bohol placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions effective Sept. 24

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The provinces of Abra and Bohol as well as Baguio City have been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from September 24 to 30.

The new quarantine classification was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday (September 23) evening as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Prior to the latest announcement, Abra and Baguio City were under GCQ while Bohol was under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Under GCQ with heightened restrictions, the following activities are allowed:

1. Indoor dining services at 20% venue or seating capacity.
2. Al-fresco or outdoor dining services at 50% venue or seating capacity.
3. Personal care service providers like beauty salons, beauty parlors, barbershops, and nail spas at 30% venue or seating capacity.
4. Outdoor tourist attractions at 30% venue capacity with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.
5. Business establishments with Safety Seal Certifications are allowed at an additional 10% points beyond the prescribed on-site capacity or venue capacity, whichever is applicable.
6. Religious gatherings to 10% of the venue capacity which the local government unit (LGU) may increase to 30% if needed.
7. Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased but limited to immediate family members
8. Interzonal travel subject to restrictions of the local government unit of destination
9. Point-to-point travel to areas under GCQ and MGCQ without age restrictions subject to an RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement for those below 18 years old and above 65, and other protocols and restrictions as may be imposed by the Departmentof Tourism (DOT) and the LGU of destination.
10. Specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT), such as staycations without age restrictions at such capacities, protocols and restrictions, as may be imposed by the Department

Meanwhile, activities not allowed under GCQ with heightened restrictions include:

1. Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions events and social events in venue establishments
2. Indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions

Likewise in his statement, Roque said the province of Ilocos Norte shall be under a more relaxed risk-level classification from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to GCQ.

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