Queuing for community pantries not a reason to defy curfew — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2021   •   402

MANILA, Philippines — Lining up in community pantries to avail of free goods is not a reason to violate curfew hours being implemented in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces, Malacañang said Tuesday.

“Ang curfew po talaga ay uniform sa NCR at sa mga karatig na probinsiya. Hindi po pwedeng maging dahilan ang pagpila sa pantry para magkaroon ng exemptions sa curfew,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

Roque issued the reminder following reports that some individuals were issued tickets and asked to pay a fine for going out of their residences during curfew hours to line up in community pantries.

The curfew hours in Metro Manila are from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. while it is under modified enhanced community quarantine until April 30.

Roque also called on community pantry organizers to coordinate with their respective local government units to ensure that health protocols against COVID-19 are properly observed.

“Makipag-ugnayan sa ating mga lokal na pamahalaan dahil ang ninanais lang po natin na itong bayanihan sa pamamagitan ng community pantry ay maibsan ang kagutuman sa panahon ng pandemiya,” he said.

“Pero ayaw rin natin na ang community pantries ang maging dahilan ng pagkalat ng COVID-19,” he added.

The Metro Manila mayors earlier urged community pantry organizers in the metropolis to coordinate with local officials to ensure that minimum health protocols are implemented and COVID-19 transmissions will be prevented.

“While the organizers of community pantries exemplify collective charity and concern for the plight of the underprivileged and are truly worthy of emulation, support, and praise, the primordial minimum public health standards under the prevailing community quarantine must remain paramount,” read the resolution issued by the Metro Manila Council.

“The sacrifices endured and gains accumulated during the ECQ and MECQ must not be put to waste by a disregard of the prohibition on mass gatherings, observance of social distancing, and the wearing of face masks and face shields,” it added.

Metro Manila to have shorter curfew hours starting Sept. 16 – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Unified curfew hours being implemented in Metro Manila will be shortened when the pilot implementation granular lockdowns and quarantine alert levels system starts on Thursday, Sept. 16, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Tuesday.

In a Palace briefing, MMDA chairperson Benjur Abalos said curfew hours in Metro Manila will be adjusted to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Thursday.

Current curfew hours in Metro Manila under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification are from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“Ito ho’y inuusad na. Nagbotohan kami (Metro Manila mayors), ilalabas namin ang resolution na ang implementasyon isasabay sa pilot, magiging 10 ng gabi hanggang 4 ng umaga,” Abalos said.

Earlier in the day, the national government announced Metro Manila’s shift to a new quarantine system but stressed that this is just a pilot test.

Based on the system’s guidelines issued on Monday night, cities of municipalities will be classified under Alert level 1 to 5, depending on the COVID-19 infection rate. The alert levels per area will be determined by the Department of Health.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said mayors in Metro Manila agreed to place the region under Alert Level 4 as a whole. This level covers areas with high COVID-19 case counts or high utilization rate of total ward and ICU beds.

Under Alert Level 4, the following are prohibited from going outside their residence:

  • Persons below 18 years old
  • Persons over 65 years old
  • Those with immunodeficiencies, co-morbidities, or other health risks
  • Pregnant women

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes when accessing essential goods and services, or going to work in permitted industries and offices.

The guidelines also stated that intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences may be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination.

Individual outdoor exercises shall be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status but shall be limited within the general area of their residence provided, that the minimum public health standards and precautions such as the wearing of facemasks, and the maintenance of social distancing protocols are observed.

Outdoor or al fresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries shall be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status. Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10%.

Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor or al fresco capacity.

The guidelines also said that in-person religious gatherings shall be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status. These gatherings may be allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but may accommodate only individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Provided, that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

 

MRT-3, LRT-2, PNR extend free rides for vaccinated APORs as NCR reverts to MECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that authorized persons outside residence (APORs) or those known as essential workers may still enjoy free train rides at MRT-3, LRT-2 and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) as the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila is extended until September 15.

However, the managements of MRT-3, LRT-2 and PNR remind APORs, that only those vaccinated may avail of the free rides, regardless if it is only their first dose or they are already fully vaccinated.

The schedule of free train rides for vaccinated APORs is as follows:

MRT-3
7:00 AM to 9:00 AM
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

LRT-2
5:00 AM to 7:00 AM
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Philippine National Railways (PNR)
4:00 AM to 6:00 AM
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
7:00 PM onwards

To avail of the free ride, APORs must present their respective vaccination cards and valid IDs to the assigned security personnel at the station as proof.

Other credentials that may be presented include Certificate of Employment (COE); Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID; or company ID.

The DOTr reminds the public that only APORs are allowed to use the MRT-3 under MECQ.

Trains are operating at 30% passenger capacity which is equivalent to 124 passengers per train or a total of 372 persons per train set.

Passengers are reminded to observe the strict health protocols inside trains and train stations specifically the ‘7 Commandments’ against COVID-19:

1) Always wear a face mask and face shield;
2) No talking policy is applied at all times;
3) No eating;
4) Maintain proper ventilation in all public transportation;
5) Disinfect regularly;
6) Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to board;
7) Always observe appropriate physical distancing.

NCR to remain under MECQ; granular lockdown pilot test deferred – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Capital Region (NCR) will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) as the pilot test for the proposed granular lockdown has been deferred, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) postponed the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns with alert levels system in the NCR which was supposed to start on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Roque did not state any reason for its deferment.

The government earlier announced that the NCR will shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) from Sept. 8 to 30. During this period, the pilot test for localized lockdowns in the region would also be enforced.

Roque, however, said the guidelines for this system has yet to be approved and released by the IATF.

“Metro Manila’s current risk classification as modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” he said.

With the MECQ maintained over the NCR, Roque said that indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas shall remain prohibited.

Religious services, on the other hand, performed through online video recording and transmission shall be allowed.

Meanwhile, immediate family members are allowed to attend necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals as long as the deceased died of non-COVID-19 causes.

“However, they need to show satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and have to comply with the minimum public health standards,” Roque said.

As opposed to region-wide restrictions, granular lockdown seeks to enforce mobility limitations only on specific areas tagged as COVID-19 hotspots.

The move aims to help the country’s economy recover from the impact of the pandemic-induced restrictions by allowing business establishments in areas with low infection rate to resume operations.

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