CHR calls for safeguards in the conduct of random drug tests in schools

Marje Pelayo   •   June 15, 2018   •   2618

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) does not oppose the proposed random drug tests that the Quezon City government wants to employ in all elementary and high school students in the city.

However, the Commission wants to ensure that the students’ human rights are well-protected.

CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacquiline De Guia said the student as well as the parents must be informed of the purpose why such a test is needed. It is also important for parents and guardians to signify their consent before the procedure is undertaken.

Likewise, students’ identity should be protected and the results of the drug test must remain classified. In case a student is found positive of illegal drugs use, CHR recommends that the student undergo rehabilitation only and no lawsuit shall be filed against him or her.

“It must be assured that there are adequate safe guards to ensure that it will not be abused or it will not be susceptible to any wrong doing,” De Guia said.

The random drug test was prompted by a report from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that several schools were identified to have students who use illegal drugs.

For his part, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista maintained that the conduct of the random drug test is in accordance with law. – Grace Casin

QC gov’t flags milk tea shop for violating dine-in guidelines

Marje Pelayo   •   June 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government on Tuesday (June 23) warned a popular milk tea shop for violating dine-in guidelines issued by the national government.

On Tuesday (June 23), personnel from the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD) and the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) inspected four food establishments to check on their compliance with the dine-in protocols.

The establishments visited were Shangri-La Restaurant on Times St, Infinitea and Gourmet Gypsy on Maginhawa St. and Banapple along Katipunan Avenue.

Of the four, the BPLD said Infinitea received a notice for violating Quezon City and IATF guidelines on dine-in procedures.

Authorities found out that the establishment lacked a thermal scanner, no health and safety officer on duty, and there was no logbook for customers.

“The logbook is very vital for contact tracing in the event na may mag-positive na isa na nagpunta sa store nila,” said BPLD head Margarita Santos.

Santos said her office will return to the store to validate if the necessary adjustments have been made in accordance with the guidelines.

The other three restaurants were cleared, according to Santos.

For complaints, Santos encouraged the public to report not through social media but through official platforms like the BPLD’s e-mail bpld@quezoncity.gov.ph or the city hall’s hotline numbers 122.

“Sensitive kami sa mga report sa social media pero ang pakiusap natin, huwag dito idaan ang reklamo, (We are sensitive when it comes to reports on social media but please do not post your complaints there),” Santos said.

“Mayroon tayong sinusunod na proseso upang mapanagot ang mga restaurant na hindi sumusunod sa panuntunan (There is a proper process for holding non-compliant restaurants responsible for their violations),” she said.

Meanwhile, DPOS Head General Elmo San Diego announced that the city government will ramp up its joint surprise inspections on food and other establishments that have been allowed to operate during the general community quarantine (GCQ) “to ensure that guidelines are strictly followed” while the city is trying to jumpstart its economy.

QC gov’t to begin first phase of bike lane project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020

The Quezon City Government is set to begin the first phase of its Bike Lane Network project to accommodate the increasing number of bikers in the city.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said they target to begin the implementation of the project by July.

“We are working double time on this project so that the increasing number of bikers in our city will be able to travel safely without other vehicles running over their lanes,” she said.

The city government is also drafting an ordinance to support this bike lane program, which will strengthen protection and support for the cycling community.

The first phase of the program includes the improvement or repairs of existing bike lanes. New bike routes are also identified to improve route connectivity while route signage and bike parking areas will also be included.

Belmonte is also coordinating wit the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to implement this program along Commonwealth Avenue, a national government highway.

“Commonwealth Avenue is one of the major thoroughfares in our city so it is fitting to include it in our bike lane network,” she said. AAC

QC offers more ‘Libreng Sakay’ to commuters

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Quezon City has added two new routes to its Libreng Sakay program to help commuters catch a ride to and from their workplaces and other destinations.

“As we transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), we have to assist the people to adjust to the new normal and that includes going back to work,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

The Libreng Sakay program, which has dedicated 14 buses to ply two identified routes,  is available to the general public and Quezon City residents.

The said routes are as follows:

  • Route 1: SM Fairview – Quezon Avenue MRT (via Commonwealth Ave)

Starting point: SM Fairview

Pick up points

– Atherton / FCM

– Dona Carmen / Don Fabian (Wilcon)

– Litex

– Commonweath Market / Riverside

– Batasan

– Don Antonio

– Luzon / Tandang Sora (Puregold)

Drop off point: Quezon Avenue MRT

  • Route 2: Novaliches Bayan – North Avenue MRT (via Quirino Highway – Mindanao Ave)

Starting point: Nova Bayan

Drop off point: North Ave MRT

The city government has prioritized these routes due to the number of commuters who were stranded in these areas last Monday, the first day of the general community quarantine (GCQ) when several businesses were allowed to open.

“We recognize that a lot of people, mostly workers, are already returning to their offices but transport vehicles are few. We have to help augment,” said Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo.

Kimpo assured that the city government duly observes social distancing and other necessary protocols while the program is being implemented.

“Our seats have been installed with markers to keep passengers apart. Wearing of proper face mask will be strictly observed and is expected of our passengers,” said Kimpo.

Mayor Belmonte has asked the public to follow the city government’s  guidelines, adding that their cooperation is vital in curbing further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Mahalaga ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa sa paglipat natin patungo sa GCQ. Kailangan natin ang tulong ng lahat para hindi na kumalat pa ang virus na ito,” said Belmonte.

Meanwhile, the Libreng Sakay program for frontliners is still on-going.

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