81,888 PDLs released during COVID-19 pandemic — SC

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020   •   311

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has noted the use of technology, specifically video conferencing, in expediting the cases of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) even amidst the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During Friday’s (October 23) ‘CJ Meets the Press’ briefing, Peralta reported that from March to October this year, a total of 81,888 PDLs had their cases resolved and been granted freedom.

The Chief Justice added that the majority of the more than 110,000 cases that they have deliberated on virtually were criminal cases.

The proceedings yielded 88% success rate and only 12% failed due to poor or intermittent Internet connection.

According to CJ Peralta, several PDLs were granted a reduced bail, particularly the indigent ones, to qualify for release while reading of sentence to minors was temporarily suspended.

“Napag-aralan namin na kakaunti lang makapag apply ng bail dahil karamihan dito ay mga indigent,” Peralta explained.

The decision to expedite the release of PDLs was to decongest jail facilities across the country where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high.

Because at that time we felt na yung COVID-19 ay nag-i-spread na sa mga jails, not only in BJMP jails but also in provincial jails, municipal jails and detention centers ng ating mga pulis,” the official noted.

Of more than 28,000 employees of the Judiciary, 252 contracted COVID-19 which is only 1% of the government branch’s total employee population.

Meanwhile, Peralta said the Supreme Court is now looking into the delays in the processing of cases of more than 1,700 detained quarantine violators.

The Chief Justice stressed these violators shouldn’t stay long in detention as they can be released by just paying a penalty or fine. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7% —PSA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

The unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

From April 2020, with a 17.6% unemployment rate, the number of unemployed Filipinos continued to drop to 10% in July and 8.7% in October. This is equivalent to 3.8 million Filipinos, 15 years old and above, who are unemployed.

With several establishments reopening after strict lockdowns due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several Filipinos were able to find jobs during the last quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate also droppedd to 14.4% this October, compared to 17.3%t last July.

The PSA said the economy is gradually recovering as lockdowns continue to ease. -AAC

Minors in NCR still barred outdoors except for exercise, essential purposes – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday said that Metro Manila mayors have agreed to still prohibit minors from going outdoors amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said Metro Manila mayors unanimously agreed to disallow minors from entering commercial establishments and other outdoor areas such as shopping malls.

“Unanimous po ano, 17-0 na Mayors will not allow minors to go out. That’s why yung ating GCQ guidelines na 18 to 65, yun pa din yung papayagang lumabas,” he said.

Garcia said they came up with the decision after meeting with health experts, including the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.

“Because of having high immune system, pediatrics experts said that minors who are infected with COVID-19 are usually asymptomatic carriers of the virus. They might be transmitting the virus unknowingly, especially to those vulnerable,” he said.

“Persons aged 18-65 years old are the only ones allowed to go inside malls in Metro Manila,” he added.

Garcia, however, said that essential activities done inside the malls such as medical and dental check-ups, buying of food, and medicines are allowed for all ages, including minors and senior citizens “as long as the minimum health protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield and observing of physical distancing are strictly observed.”

Minors are also allowed to do non-contact sports such as biking and jogging, subject to interpretation of local government units through their respective existing ordinances, he added.

Garcia said that both the mall owners and the LGUs have the responsibility to ensure that no minors will be allowed to go inside their establishments and other outdoor areas amid enforcement of quarantine protocols. The imposition of penalties will also depend on the LGUs according to existing directives.

The Department of Health earlier insisted that minors aged 14 and below, as well as senior citizens aged 66 and above, should still not be allowed to go out due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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