‘Slow start’: DSWD says only 8% of P22.9 billion ECQ aid distributed in NCR Plus

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021   •   299

MANILA, Philippines – Only eight percent, or equivalent to more than P1 billion, of the fund allotted for government assistance has been distributed to low-income families affected by the 2-week enhanced community quarantine previously imposed in the NCR Plus areas, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People briefing on Monday night, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said that P1.7 billion of the total P22.9 billion government assistance aid has been disbursed to beneficiaries.

Citing data from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) covering the payouts from April 7 to 9, Bautista said around 1.7 million beneficiaries in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal have already received their aid.

The government earlier said that each beneficiary will receive P1,000 or a maximum of P4,000 per family.

Bautista admitted that the rollout of the assistance was off to a “slow start” but assured that the process will speed up in the next few days.

“Makikita po natin dito na talagang may slow start but as experienced last year, na talagang start po talagang mabagal, after four to five days doon na po nag-start ng pag-distribute ng special assistance,” he said.

The DSWD chief also reported to Duterte that a joint monitoring and inspection committee has been set up for every local government to ensure that the aid is properly distributed.

Grievance committees were also created where recipients can raise their concerns on government assistance.

Metro Manila and four nearby provinces – called NCR Plus – were placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 11 in a bid to slow down the COVID-19 spread.

The said areas were reverted back to modified ECQ starting April 12 until April 30.

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DTI: Halos 200-libong manggagawa, balik-trabaho sa ilalim ng GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Maaari nang makabalik sa trabaho ang nasa 200-libong empleyado matapos na ibalik sa general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” ang National Capital Region (NCR) at mga karatig-lalawigan.

Ayon kay Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, magiging daan ang paglipat sa GCQ ng NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, at Laguna – tinatawag na NCR Plus – upang mapababa ang bilang ng mga nawalan ng trabaho noong kasagsagan ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“As we further open the economy, we are expecting to bring back 200,000 to 300,000 jobs to lessen the number workers displaced since the start of the ECQ,” ani Lopez.

Noong nasa ilalim ng ECQ ang NCR Plus, umabot sa 1.5 milyon ang bilang ng mga Pilipino nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa coronavirus pandemic.

Nabawasan ito at naging isang milyon noong ipinatupad ang modified ECQ.

Ayon kay Lopez, sa ngayon ay aabot pa sa 700-libong manggagawa ang hindi pa rin nakakabalik sa trabaho dahil sa limitadong operasyon ng ilang establisimyento gaya ng mga restaurant, at barbershop. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DOH says no to proposed vaccine pass for access to indoor establishments

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is not recommending the proposal to use a “vaccine pass” that would allow persons already inoculated against COVID-19 to have access to business establishments.

“Hindi po kami sang-ayon sa ganyang pagpapalakad o kaya ay magkaron tayo ng mga ganyang proseso,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergere said in a virtual press briefing.

Vergeire said the DOH is not in favor of the proposal as there is no sufficient evidence yet to say that a person who has already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can no longer be infected or spread the virus.

She added that initial studies have shown that the currently available vaccines against coronavirus cannot adequately block the virus.

“Wala pa ho tayong sufficient evidence to say na ang isang taong with complete doses of vaccines already would have that kind of immunity, na hindi na siya magkakaroon ng sakit o makakapanghawa dahil nga po dito sa mga paunang mga ebidensiya na ibinigay sa atin, hindi po nakakapag-block ng transmission adequately ang mga bakuna na mayroon tayo ngayon,” she said.

“As we have said, ang pinaka-assurance o benepisyong nakukuha natin ngayon sa vaccines is reducing severe infections and hospitalization. As to preventing mild to moderate infections, hindi pa rin po tayo nagbibigay ng ganyang assurance sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

Vergeire also reminded the public, especially those who have completed the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, to still observe health protocols against COVID-19.

“Even if you are fully vaccinated, meaning you have completed two doses, kailangan pa rin natin magpatupad ng minimum health protocols,” she said.

“Itong sinasabing vaccine pass ay hindi pa rin mairerekomenda ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan,” she added.

Comelec to resume voter registration in NCR Plus on May 17

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume voter registration in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus on May 17.

In a Tweet on Friday (May 14), Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the schedule for the registration will be from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Quarantine classification in NCR Plus which includes Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, has eased to general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

For those with appointments, applicants can contact the Comelec office they will register in or check the agency’s official Facebook page.

The voter registration was temporarily suspended after the NCR Plus was put under MECQ. This is to prevent the further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the surge of cases. -AAC

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