DILG directs BFP to assist in transfer of COVID-19 patients to isolation facilities

Robie de Guzman   •   July 17, 2020   •   481

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to assist in the implementation of the government’s Oplan Kalinga program.

“The BFP is part of the Municipal/City COVID-19 Task Forces and in this capacity they have been assisting the City/Municipal Health Office transport COVID patients since the start of the pandemic. In fact, they have so far transported 1,674 COVID patients nationwide,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año said the BFP’s Emergency Medical Service and Special Rescue Units have the necessary health personnel and equipment in the transportation of COVID patients.

Under the Oplan Kalinga program, the local government unit’s (LGU) Local Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, assisted by policemen, will go house-to-house to search for COVID-19 cases that should be transferred to quarantine facilities.

The DILG chief said that assigning the BFP in the movement of COVID patients to isolation facilities is nothing new since it has been doing this since the beginning of the pandemic.

He noted that since the start of the public health crisis, the BFP has mobilized 73.80% of the total BFP personnel or 20,947 officers out of the 29,383 total manpower to different tasks as part of DILG’s efforts to defeat COVID-19.

“We have deployed 98 BFP EMS ambulances, 35 Rescue/HazMat vehicles, 970 firetrucks and 114 BFP service vehicles for the DILG’s over-all COVID 19 response,” he said.

He also directed the BFP to intensify its contact tracing efforts as part of the local contact tracing and monitoring teams. “The BFP’s contact tracing efforts have assisted in the tracing of the close contacts of some 18,871 patients,” he said.

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

Mag-lola patay sa sunog sa Mandaluyong City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2021

Patay ang mag-lola sa sunog sa Barangay Addition Hills sa Mandaluyong City madaling araw ng Huwebes, ika-18 ng Pebrero.

Nabulabog ang mga residente ng Block 39, Barangay Addition Hills nang sumiklab ang apoy sa isang bahay pasado alas-12 ng madaling araw.

Batay sa ulat ng Bureau of Fire Protection, dalawang bahay ang naapektuhan ng sunog na umabot sa first alarm. Agad ring naapula ang sunog matapos ang isang oras.

Ngunit kinumpirma ng BFP na dalawang indibiduwal ang nasawi matapos maipit sa loob ng nasunog na bahay. Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Pacita Lamac, 55-taong gulang, at apo nitong si Althea Monique Salumbides, 13-taong gulang.

Ayon kay Barangay Captain Carlito Cernal, nasa third floor ang mag-lola nang sumiklab ang apoy sa katabing bahay nito na unang nasunog. Gawa sa light materials ang bahay ng pamilya Lamac kaya mabilis na kumalat ang apoy.

“Sadly, hindi nakalabas kasi ang sabi doon sa mga nakakakilala sa pamilya na ang ibang hagdanan masikip din, at iyon nga mabilis ang apoy kasi nga puro light materials ang kanilang tinitirhan,” aniya.

Wala nang iba pang napaulat na nasugatan sa insidente. Inaalam pa ng BFP ang sanhi ng sunog bagaman nakita umano ng ilang residente na may usok mula sa likuran ng isa sa mga apektadong bahay.

Kasalukuyan nang tinutulungan ng lokal na pamahalaan ang nasa 10 pamilyang naapektuhan ng sunog. (Ulat ni Asher Cadapan Jr.)

DILG orders PNP to arrest sellers of fake COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest individuals who are selling or administering fake vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DILG issued the warning following reports that fake COVID-19 vaccines are being circulated in the market amid an increase in demand and preparations for the rollout of the vaccination program in the country.

DILG officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said the PNP and the local government units must be on top of the hunt and arrest peddlers of bogus vaccines.

“Some people are taking advantage of the pandemic to make money by selling fake vaccines. I am directing the PNP to arrest these criminals and ensure that these bogus vaccines are taken off the market,” Florece said in a statement.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto earlier expressed alarm over the supposed sale of fake vaccines.

In his Twitter account, Sotto posted a photo of the alleged bogus Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines with a warning to the public not to purchase them.

Florece said the PNP should work double time to ensure that no fake vaccines are sold to the public as part of its task to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

He also directed the PNP Aviation Security Group and Maritime Group to enhance their monitoring of the country’s air and sea ports to prevent the entry of these items.

“Nauna na nating ipinaalala ang pagtutulungan ng PNP at mga LGU sa pag-secure ng mga bakuna but the two must also collaborate to ensure that fake vaccines are confiscated and those responsible arrested and charged,” he said.

Florece also urged the public not to buy these vaccines and immediately report these sellers to authorities.

“Huwag po kayong magpapaloko. Tanging sa pamahalaan lamang po dadaan ang mga lehitimong bakuna at maliban dito ay ireport ninyo po ang mga nagbebenta at nagtuturok ng mga pekeng COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.


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