Canteen dine-in service, use of smoking areas still not allowed under MECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 12, 2020   •   140

MANILA, Philippines — Business establishments in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) are not yet allowed to resume dine-in service in their canteens. Smoking areas inside buildings must also remain closed. 

This was clarified by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as additional health protocols in workplaces imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in an effort to  prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

Roque clarified that canteens are only limited to serving packed items and deliveries.

Likewise, companies must provide shuttle service for their employees and enforce the wearing of face mask inside the vehicle.

In addition to these protocols, a face mask and face shield must be worn in a room with more than one person in the event of an in-house meeting or business session. MNP (with inputs from Joan Nano)

Bacolod City, Lanao del Sur placed under MECQ until Sept. 30

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (September 7) placed Bacolod City and Lanao del Sur under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from September 8 to 30.

Duterte approved the recommendation of National COVID-19 response Chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. following reported increase in number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the said areas.

“We recommended to the IATF for the upgrading of Lanao del Sur as MECQ considering it is contagious to Iligan City and its cases also rising up,” Galvez told the President during Monday’s meeting.

“Based on the recommendation of the NTF, with consultation of Bacolod City, the cases of Bacolod City are much higher than Iligan City which is also MECQ. We will recommend Bacolod City be placed under MECQ as recommended by the IATF,” he added.

Other than Bacolod City and Lanao del Sur, Iligan City is also under MECQ until September 30.

Meanwhile, the President believes that the Philippines has already flattened the curve of COVID-19 infection which he credited to the public’s obedience to health measures imposed by the government.

He, however, advised the public to remain vigilant and always adhere to health protocols to further eliminate COVID-19 transmission.

“Remember that the lessening of contamination wala na masyadong tao nagkaroon ng COVID is not because COVID-19, the germ, is gone,” he said.

“It is there floating around us. Kaya lang ang mga tao sumunod na. Hindi humawak, alcohol kaagad. The mask was one important factor,” he said.

Malacañang places all except 15 areas under MGCQ from Aug. 16 to 30

Maris Federez   •   August 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has announced the new quarantine classification that will be implemented from August 16 to 30, based on Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No.63.

In a virtual press conference on Saturday morning, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that within the said period, the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay, and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province will be under general community quarantine (GCQ).

The majority of the country, on the other hand, will be placed on the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The Palace stressed, however, that localized and granular lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) remains in place in specific barangays, municipalities, cities, and provinces that would warrant it.

 “Maski sa mga lugar na nasa ilalim na ng GCQ at pati sa mga nasa ilalim ng MGCQ, magkakaroon pa rin po tayo ng localized ECQ. So wala po talagang katapusan ang ECQ, dahil ang atin pong ECQ ngayon ay localized or granular lockdown.”

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, in the meantime, remain under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until August 18.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the community quarantine classification for these areas on August 17.

Roque said that it will be up to the President to decide if he will keep the said areas under MECQ should the medical community request another timeout, especially with the spike of cases on Friday.

“Nasa kamay na po yan ng President. Siya po ang mag-aanunsyo sa Lunes, galing po sa Davao. Mayroon na pong rekomendasyong ibinigay ang IATF pero di po pwede nating pangunahan ang ating President.” —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Lawmaker commends class opening postponement

Maris Federez   •   August 15, 2020

Senator Joel Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva welcomed the government’s decision to postpone the opening of classes from August 24 to October 5.

In a statement, Villanueva said he supports the Department of Education (DepEd) for recommending the deferment of the school opening which President Rodrigo Duterte approved.

DepEd’s recommendation followed the reimposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We fully support DepEd’s decision to move the opening of classes to October. This is precisely why we pushed for the passage of Republic Act No. 11480, which gives the Secretary of Education more leeway to adjust the school calendar as necessary,” said Villanueva who is one of the authors of the law.

The senator also expressed his concern that the DepEd will not be able to smoothly implement its alternative delivery modes should it push through with the scheduled school opening on August 24.

“We know that it is a hard decision for Secretary Liling Briones, given her determination to start the classes as scheduled in order to keep the students learning. We commend her for considering the welfare of our students and teachers in arriving at the decision,” he added.

On Friday (August 14), DepEd announced that the opening of classes has been moved to October 5 following calls for adjustments as the country’s education system shifts to blended learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: DepEd moves opening of classes to October 5

Briones said she submitted the recommendation to the president on August 6 after the latter placed back Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“As per the memorandum, the President has given approval to the recommendation of DepEd. Thus, we will implement such a decision to defer school opening to October 5 pursuant to Republic Act No. 11480,” Briones said.— /mbmf

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