DILG says pilot run of new alert level system in NCR ‘so far, so good’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021   •   295

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the launch of the new alert level system in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Thursday (September 16) has been good so far.

“Maayos po ang ating pilot run the first day of implementation ng new alert level system. In fact, malinaw sa mga local government units ang mga pamantayan,” said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

The official said the LGUs deployed their respective inspectors to different establishments to verify the vaccination status of patrons dining in restaurants.

Malaya said that even though the new policy poses a huge challenge to the department, they are confident that with the help and cooperation of the agencies and the public, the purpose of the alert level system will be achieved especially against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Malaking hamon po ito sa DILG kaya kahapon po nagbigay ng kautusan si Sec. Año na lahat ng LGUs, kasama na rin ang NCRPO, na paigtingin ang enforcement ng minimum health standards ng mga establisyemento na ina-allow to operate,” he said.

“Kahit na rin po ang ating mga kababayan, ang kanilang adherence to minimum public health standards,” he added.

Under the Alert Level 4, mass gatherings like concerts, wedding receptions, birthday parties, family reunions, parades and alike, as well as gatherings in residences with one person outside of the immediate household are strictly not allowed.

“Para po masiguro ang compliance ng ating mga kababayan dito sa mga regulasyon na ito, nagbigay po ng direktiba si Sec. Año sa ating mga barangay, kapulisan, at LGUs na mag-deploy at mag-reactivate ng kanilang mga COVID marshal, barangay at disiplina brigade, at mga police marshal,” Malaya said.

Alert Level 4 is the second highest classification imposed on  areas wherein case counts are alarming with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization at critical level.

DILG warns poll bets vs paying ‘permit to campaign’ fees to communist rebels

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned all candidates in the 2022 national and local elections against paying the so-called permit to campaign fees to the communist rebels.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminded candidates of the Memorandum Circular 2019-26, which calls this modus operandi as a “clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage.”

“Huwag po tayong magpaloko at matakot. Ang ibabayad n’yong extortion money sa mga komunista ay gagamitin din nila para makapaghasik ng terorismo sa bansa,” he adds.

In the said directive, Año enjoined local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police to ensure that all candidates are allowed unhampered entrance in every LGU and guarantee peace and order in all areas especially those considered as hotspots for insurgency.

“All local officials should steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA since this is a clear violation of law. This is something that the DILG under my leadership will never tolerate,” he said.

LGUs are also directed to ensure that all citizens desiring to exercise their right to suffrage are allowed and encouraged, and their rights are protected when participating in political assemblies and meetings and in the dissemination and receipt of information of any and all election-related matters.

“We must secure all candidates and political parties and ensure that they are given access to the electorate during the campaign period without intimidation and manipulation from communist terrorist groups,” he said.

The DILG said it will file disqualification cases against candidates who will be proven to have supported and cooperated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

“Supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means is an election offense and is sufficient to cause the disqualification of a candidate,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in the same statement.

“We will follow through on our words, those politicians who will be proven as accomplices of the CPP-NPA will face disqualification cases from the DILG,” he said.

The DILG also cited Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10168 known as ‘The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012’, which states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.

Malaya said that under RA 10168, the crime of financing terrorism is punishable by the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000).

Such is also punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines which can render the accused “permanent disqualification to hold public office” with imprisonment of one to six years, he added.

 

Work from home setup for CSC employees in NCR extended until Oct. 15

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has announced the extension of the work from home (WFH) arrangement for its employees in the National Capital Region (NCR) in line with the pilot implementation of the Alert Levels System for COVID-19 response.

The CSC said the work from home setup, which covers employees at its central office, CSC NCR Office, and CSC Regional Office IV headquarters, will be extended until Oct. 15.

“The WFH arrangement shall also continue to subsist in other CSC offices under ECQ or MECQ for the duration of their quarantine classification,” the agency said in an advisory.

It advised its clients requesting for the services of the CSC Integrated Records Management Office (IRMO) and Office for Legal Affairs (OLA) to continue transacting business online through the Online Registration, Appointment and Scheduling System (ORAS) at https://services.csc.gov.ph.

“Clients who are scheduled to be at the CSC Central Office to pick-up their requested documents on the said period are instructed to wait for further advisory on the rescheduling of the pick-up of requested documents,” it said.

“Further, documents or printed communications, including mail deliveries from couriers and postal services, shall still be received through a dropbox placed at the CSC Main Entrance,” it added.

The CSC said that a security guard on duty shall facilitate the recording of all documents submitted through the dropbox and ensure the safety of said documents.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4 until Oct. 15.

NCR business owners hope for lower alert level in October

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A group of business owners on Tuesday expressed hope that the COVID-19 alert level in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be lowered in the last three months of the year in order for them to recoup their losses amid the pandemic.

Resto PH president Eric Teng said shifting to a more relaxed alert level will help business owners as this will allow them more dine-in capacity.

“We’re just asking to move the country slowly, responsibly to the next stage which is alert level 3.  At alert level 3, for example, in our industry, our dining capacity will just go from 10 percent to 30 percent. That’s not significantly a big jump. But for us, it allows us to hire more people because wala namang ayudang nakakarating sa mga empleyado namin at sa pamilya nila eh,” Teng said.

Metro Manila is currently under alert level 4 in line with the alert levels system being piloted in the capital region.

Under level 4, restaurants are allowed to have dine-in customers at 10 percent capacity while level 3 allows up to 30 percent dine-in capacity.

Teng said that not all restaurants were able to operate under level 4, as some do not have outdoor dining space.

But they hope for a better alert level starting next month to help business owners makeup for some of their losses this year.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion also voiced the same opinion, saying lowering Metro Manila’s alert level in the fourth quarter will be beneficial for business.

With a vaccination rate projected to hit 80 percent by October, Concepcion said a loosening of quarantine restrictions is warranted.

“Tataas dito yung consumer spending dahil sa Christmas, at palagay ko, election spending. So, importante na ang quarter na ito sana ay ipalagay na ang quarantine ibaba sa level 3,” he said at a Palace briefing.

Concepcion also pushed for an improvement in the provisions for fully vaccinated individuals under alert levels 2 & 3.

“Kasi importante dito yung capacity, dapat itaas para mas maganda ang benta nila at tatlong buwan lang sa itong quarter. Importante dito na mabawi nila yung mga lugi nila para mabayaran yung 13th month pay sa mga empleyado pagpasok dito ng Christmas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said Concepcion’s proposals will be tackled in the next meeting of the government’s task force on COVID-19 response.

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