Two-week ECQ resulted in over 26,000 displaced workers — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2021   •   287

MANILA, Philippines – Over 26,000 workers have lost their jobs during the two-week implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), according to the latest data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Specifically, there were about 26,114 displaced workers in DOLE’s Job Displacement Monitoring Report from a total of 1,567 establishments within the areas covered by the NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal) set by the government.

Of the said number of establishments, 1,389 reduced their workforce while 169 declared permanent closure.

The most number of displaced workers were recorded in Metro Manila where 778 establishments reduced their manpower and 69 declared permanent closure.

This resulted in the displacement of 15,246 workers in Metro Manila alone.

Region VIA (3,322); Region III (5,151); Region VII (3,638), and Region V (2,274) are among the regions with the highest number of displaced workers in the past two weeks.

The ECQ was imposed in NCR Plus initially from March 27 to April 4 but has been extended until April 11.

DOH: Pagbabakuna sa NCR Plus areas, isa sa mga dahilan ng pagbaba ng kaso ng COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Unti-unti nang bumababa ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa National Capital Region (NCR) Plus, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Sa isang media briefing, sinabi ni DOH Epidemiology Bureau OIC-Director 3 Dr. Alethea de Guzman na isa sa mga  nakikitang dahilan ng pagbagal ng kaso ay ang patuloy na pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Gayunman, iginiit ng opisyal na kailangan pa ring bantayan ang sitwasyon dahil nananatili pa itong “fragile” o maaari pa ring tumaas sa mga susunod na araw.

“Itong pagbaba ng kaso lalo na sa NCR Plus ay tinatawag naming ‘fragile’, ibig sabihin magkaroon po tayo ng superspreading events. It’s possible po talaga na dadami na naman, magkakarron tayo ng spike of cases,” ani De Guzman.

“The trends can go either way it can go up again or it can really go down,” dagdag pa niya.

Batay aniya sa monitoring ng DOH, may “plateauing” na o pagpatag ng mga kaso sa buong bansa simula ngayong buwan ng Hunyo.

Sa nakalipas na linggo, nasa mahigit 6,000 ang naitatalang average COVID-19 cases sa bansa kada araw habang nasa mahigit 800 sa NCR.

Bagaman hindi ito masyadong gumagalaw, sinabi ni De Guzman na kailangan pa itong mapababa at higit na bantayan ang paggalaw naman ng kaso sa ibang rehiyon.

“Maganda iyong naging performance ng NCR pero patuloy iyong pagbabantay sa kaniya,” ani De Guzman.

“Ito iyong panahon that we are closely monitoring each and every area so that we’ll see kung ano ang trend, kung nag-plateau siya. Higit na babantayan dahil baka bigla siyang mag-uptick or baka unti-unti siyang tumataas,” dagdag pa niya.

Nakakita naman ang DOH ng pagtaas ng kaso sa ilang probinsiya, lalo na sa Visayas at Mindanao.

Sa ngayon, nasa high risk ang classification ng Region 2, CARAGA, at Region 6 dahil sa mahigit 60 hanggang 70 porsiyentong average daily attack rate at hospital care utilization rate.

Upang makatulong sa pagbaba ng kaso sa naturang mga rehiyon, sinabi ni De Guzman na flexible naman ang pagtatalaga ng vaccine supply at maaaring magpasya ang National Vaccination Operations Center kung ilang porsyento sa vaccine supply ng bansa pwedeng ipadala sa isang lugar.

“We will review our high risk areas so that we can see the augmentation we can give. But I guess we need to level off that right now. Padating pa lang ang mga bakuna, so as soon as the vaccines arrive we will be able to augment especially dito sa high critical risk areas natin,” ang sabi ng opisyal.

“The reason why we want to increase allocation in high-risk areas, number one gusto natin, sino ba pina-prioritize sa bakuna? These are the health workers, we want them to be immediately vaccinated, because we don’t want an overwhelmed health system to be further overwhelmed by additional healthcare workers getting sick,” dagdag pa niya.

Muli ring pina-alalahanan ng DOH ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na istriktong ipatupad ang istriktong health protocols, pabilisin ang detection at isolation process upang maagapan ang hawaan ng COVID-19. RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

Various groups divided on relaxing quarantine restrictions in NCR Plus 8

Marje Pelayo   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several groups are not in full agreement on the proposed relaxation of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, and the provinces of Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal or the NCR Plus 8.

For its part, labor group ALU-TUCP said downgrading quarantine classifications would be favorable as it would resume office and on-site works.

However, the group said the implementation of health and safety protocol must be strictly observed and maintained in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Nangangamba kami ng baka bumalik na uli tayo doon sa napakaraming mga kababayan natin at nakaparaming bilang ng mga manggagawa ang mahawa sa coronavirus disease,” said ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

“Nakita natin doon sa mga bus terminal halimbawa sunod-sunod ang mga araw na ang daming mga manggagawa ang nakapila. Naba-violate ang mga safety protocols natin,” he added.

Meanwhile, employers are concerned about how prepared the government is should the COVID-19 cases surge, specifically in terms of mass testing, isolation, and treatment of patients. If that happened, they said hospitals would be overwhelmed anew.

“Kung magluluwag at babalik na naman dito at maghahabol na naman sila, iyon ang problema. Sayang ang pagluluwag at delikado pagka ganun,” argued Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr, president of Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).

“Pero kami talagang gusto namin tuloy- tuloy ang pagluwag dahil hirap na hirap na ating ekonomiya at ang ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Private hospitals are still struggling with the current number of COVID-19 patients.

The Private Hospitals Association Philippines (PHAPI) said it could agree with the easing of quarantine restrictions provided that the minimum health standards are strictly imposed.

“Halos wala na masyado na talagang critical occupancy, bumabalik na tayo doon sa dati. Medyo tumataas pa rin nang konti doon sa below high risk, “ said Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, PHAPI President.

The Department of Health (DOH), on the other hand, said they have no records at present of any hospital having a high utilization rate of its intensive care unit (ICU).

“Pero sa ngayon nakikita natin iyong ating mga ospital sa Metro manila ay manageable lahat at wala pang risk level na mataas at lahat ay nakapag- decongest na from the last surge that we’ve had,” noted Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Former Special Adviser of the National Task Force against COVID-19 Dr. Tony Leachon, in the meantime, suggested that the government should observe the situation on the ground first before deciding on relaxing restrictions.

He noted that COVID-19 cases in NCR Plus are still high and other regions like Western Visayas, Davao and Zamboanga are also experiencing the spike.

It would be better, he said, to heighten border controls in between cities or regions to curb COVID transmissions.

“Kung luluwag tayo sa Maynila yun na nga lang inaasahan natin tapos babagsak din together with the other Western Visayas and Mindanao areas, ang hirap naman Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao meron kang three epicenters,” Leachon explained.

Experts from the OCTA Research Group also support the extension of a much stricter quarantine restriction in the NCR Plus 8 area.

“In the NCR, the GCQ must continue with stricter monitoring and compliance to minimum public health standards. Given the downward trends, further calibrated easing of restrictions for certain businesses can be considered provided these establishments comply with health and safety protocols of the government,” the group said in a statement.

“Further, the national government needs to accelerate implementation of the NCR plus vaccination plan,” it said. -MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Palace sees eased quarantine restriction in NCR Plus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus might ease next week.

On Thursday, Roque announced that community quarantine classification in NCR Plus might ease beginning June 15 due to the low attack rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and health care utilization rate. He reported that the hospital care utilization in Metro Manila remains very low or at 53% in ICU beds.

“I would say in fact that based on the figures, Metro Manila Plus might be looking at de-escalation. It might not be to modified general community quarantine [MGCQ] but it could be to ordinary general community quarantine [GCQ] because ang GCQ natin ngayon ay mayroon pang restrictions (because the current GCQ still has restrictions),” he said.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will discuss whether to  reopen gyms and fitness centers.

The NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, is currently under GCQ with restrictions until June 15. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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